What Does it Mean to Be a New Yorker at Hackley?


Hackley’s location as a school in the suburbs of New York City leads it to attract a student body predominantly from Westchester County, but a significant percentage of students attend school from Connecticut, NYC, and New Jersey. This creates a diverse community of students who live in different places and share contrasting experiences that are unique to the school. This is especially true for students living in New York City where growing up is a starkly different experience than a childhood in suburbia, even if it is New York suburbia. 

Students from New York City bring their identity as a “New Yorker” to the suburbs each day to learn and develop connections with other students who may not identify in the same way. 

“To me, when anyone says that they’re a New Yorker that automatically means that they’re from the city, and that’s kind of the truest form of being a New Yorker,” said sophomore Peter Roberts. 

Growing up in the city leads younger New Yorkers to establish strong roots of identity specific to the city as opposed to New York State or the Northeast. For a few (not all), this point of pride can manifest itself in negative ways. 

“It definitely happens, it’s definitely apparent, and it’s definitely a thing in New York,” said sophomore Andre Reichelsdorfer.

 At Hackley, there appears to be a balance in the spread of students that live in the city as compared to those from the suburbs. 

While the school is close to New York City, commutes can still be a challenge because of the volume of traffic in the city’s surrounding areas. Hackley operates two buses from uptown Manhattan, but some don’t have easy access to those areas. “I have to go down and then back up, which will usually take an hour,” said sophomore Mia Alukal. This inconvenience can also permeate into city students’ social life outside of school.

 “It’s a super difficult commute for [my friends] just to get into the city to hang out with me for a few hours,” said Mia. 

The good news is that there are a number of Hackley students who live in the city who are able to meet school friends who live close to one another. It is also an opportunity to make new connections. 

Hackley’s proximity to New York City is instrumental in student development outside of the classroom. The city’s cultural offerings go hand in hand with many of the curricular offerings at Hackley; students in publications like The Dial and the Vision went to Columbia University to attend lectures on how to improve the way they approach their journalistic pursuits. The Art and photography classes went to some of the many world-renowned museums, parks, and programs located in NYC. 

Conversely, the possibility of getting away from the city and learning in a different environment with people of diverse backgrounds is a beneficial attribute of Hackley’s location. 

“When you go to Hackley, it feels like you’re in a different place when in reality you’re still in New York, and it’s a much more relaxing environment to be in,” says Mia. 

When it comes to New York City, Hackley reaps the benefits of all it has to offer for the betterment of its students and the enhancement of its curriculum. But Hackley also offers a haven where New Yorkers can leave what feels like a bubble to find refuge and experience the benefits of a robust and rewarding education in the suburbs.