The city is located on the eastern bank of the Hudson River. Its best-known attraction is Yonkers Raceway, a harness racing track. There is also a large shopping area along Central Park Avenue (New York Route 100), which attracts many shoppers from the surrounding areas, including New York City.
The city is spread out over many hills rising from sea-level at the Hudson to as high as 415 feet at Sacred Heart Church (the spire of which can be viewed from as far away as Long Island, New York City, and New Jersey). The landscape of the city has been compared to that of San Francisco and Rome.
The land on which the city is built was once part of a land grant given to a Dutch lord named De Jonkheer in the 1600's.
Phillispe Manor, a renovated Colonial-era farm house is a museum and archive which offers many glimpses into life before the American Revolution. It was built by the Phillipses, a prominet family who were tories, that is, loyal to Britain during the war.
During the 1800s, into the Industrial Revolution, waves of Irish immigrants who originally settled in New York City made their way north to Yonkers to work in the many factories which were then in the city. The Irish-American community plays a prominent role in Yonkers, and the city hosts one of the oldest St. Patrick's Day parades in the country.
The city is also home to a large Italian-American community many of whom moved to city after originally settling in the Bronx and in Brooklyn. The city hosts a large Columbus Day festival with A Miss Italian-American pageant.
There was a years-long battle over housing integration in the 1980s and 1990s, which ended only after a court ruling nearly bankrupted the city government, by imposing geometrically increasing contempt of court penalties after the then-mayor refused to build public housing in the wealthier parts of the city.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 52.6 km² (20.3 mi²). 46.8 km² (18.1 mi²) of it is land and 5.8 km² (2.2 mi²) of it is water. The total area is 11.02% water.
As of the census of 2000, there are 196,086 people, 74,351 households, and 49,294 families residing in the city. The population density is 4,187.5/km² (10,847.5/mi²). There are 77,589 housing units at an average density of 1,656.9/km² (4,292.2/mi²). The racial makeup of the city is 60.18% White, 16.61% African American, 0.44% Native American, 4.86% Asian, 0.05% Pacific Islander, 13.44% from other races, and 4.42% from two or more races. 25.93% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There are 74,351 households out of which 30.9% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 44.2% are married couples living together, 17.2% have a female householder with no husband present, and 33.7% are non-families. 29.2% of all households are made up of individuals and 11.9% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 2.61 and the average family size is 3.23.
In the city the population is spread out with 24.3% under the age of 18, 8.8% from 18 to 24, 30.6% from 25 to 44, 21.2% from 45 to 64, and 15.0% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 36 years. For every 100 females there are 88.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 84.2 males.
The median income for a household in the city is $44,663, and the median income for a family is $53,233. Males have a median income of $41,598 versus $34,756 for females. The per capita income for the city is $22,793. 15.5% of the population and 13.0% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total people living in poverty, 24.8% are under the age of 18 and 9.9% are 65 or older.