PUTNAM POSTING: Diversity Hits Putnam County Post Pandemic

Jennifer Maher | January 18, 2022

Jennifer Maher

When I first moved “upstate” to Putnam County 26 years ago from New York City, I experienced culture shock on many levels. Among the many differences, trees, grass, subdivisions, and the shocking relative quiet among them, one change stood out. I was startled by the lack of diversity. In many respects the adjustment to Putnam County living made me long for the multicultural environment that was so familiar to me growing up in the boroughs.

Like you perhaps, I fell head over heels in love with all that Putnam had to offer. What stood out most was the abundance of water—the reservoirs, lakes, the Hudson River, plus endless nature trails and outdoor recreation are something that will keep my roots here, but the cultural, almost monochromatic differences took some adjustment.

Following a robust real estate market in 2020, in 2021 Putnam County saw an increase in sales volume of 25.36% and, with that, an influx of expatriates from New York City. Driving around, shopping, or dining, you can actually see the difference in the variety of cultures of the people that have made their home here in Putnam County.

Diversity means more than just race. Putnam has been experiencing a rise in its senior population for nearly a decade. Consequently, many of the seniors who cashed out their equity from empty nests were replaced by a younger and far more mixed population than we’ve seen before. The younger first-time home buyers came up in droves during the pandemic, and have given the county a younger face in many respects.

The LGBTQIA+ community, which includes individuals who identify as gay, trans, and non-binary, has also made an appearance here in Putnam County. I attended the first Pride Parade here in Carmel, and it was a well-attended, beautiful event.

Diversity brings so many beautiful things to a community. Places like Peekskill, Hudson, Beacon and Newburgh prove that the local economy and overall vibe of a community is better off when everyone has a chance to live, work and learn with different perspectives coming together. That mix of backgrounds forms a beautiful cultural tapestry. Diversity indeed can improve the individual and collective quality of life for all.

It will be interesting to see the impact this new diversity will have on the Putnam community. I look forward to the many changes we will enjoy from a new variety of dining, shopping, entertainment and recreation that will be sure to follow. I for one always welcome this type of change and the opportunities that come with it.

Jennifer Maher
Jennifer Maher is a partner of J. Philip Real Estate and Founding Chairwoman of the Putnam County Business Council.