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X-Planations: Chef Peter X. Kelly Waxes Poetic On His Yonkers Pride

Chef Peter X. Kelly poses with U.S. Representative Nita Lowey underneath the Yonkers sign at Xaviars on the Hudson.
Chef Peter X. Kelly poses with U.S. Representative Nita Lowey underneath the Yonkers sign at Xaviars on the Hudson. Photo Credit: Submitted

YONKERS, N.Y. -- Why Yonkers?

I'm often asked why I chose Yonkers as the site of my Westchester Restaurant X2O Xaviars on the Hudson .

I suppose it might have been easier to open in what would be considered more affluent or more culinarily sophisticated areas such as Scarsdale, Bedford, Chappaqua or Armonk.

But for me, having been born along with my 11 siblings in downtown Yonkers, “The City of Gracious Living,” it was the excitement of the challenge.

Clearly, Yonkers is many things to many people as no matter where I travel I always meet people that tell me a story about this great city at the gateway to the Hudson Valley.

Yonkers has great diversity with nearly 35 unique neighborhoods and more than 200,000 residents; it is a suburban community with an urban heart.

The city is poised to be the next great revitalized locale. It sits within view of Manhattan and by train you can be in midtown in 20 minutes. Nearly every major highway in Westchester runs through it, making it the ultimate meeting place for friends.

And then there's the vitality of the waterfront with its shops and restaurants and the culture of the Hudson River Museum. Empire City Casino at Yonkers Racetrack all add to the vibrancy of Yonkers, once home to Ella Fitzgerald and Mary Jay Blige.

Brooklyn may have its hipsters and Hoboken its Sinatra heritage but Yonkers still holds the promise of the great city of hills where the diversity of its citizens keep reinventing what it means to be a community.

This is Generation Yonkers and I'm proud to be a small part of it.

This column is a continuing series by Chef Peter X. Kelly of Xaviars Restaurant Group which runs every Thursday.

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