Amsterdam (city), New York

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The Sanford Clock Tower, built in 1922
The Sanford Clock Tower, built in 1922
Location within Montgomery County and the state of New York
Location within Montgomery County and the state of New York
Amsterdam is located in New York
Location in New York
Amsterdam is located in the United States
Amsterdam (the United States)
Coordinates: 42°57′N 74°11′W / 42.950°N 74.183°W / 42.950; -74.183Coordinates: 42°57′N 74°11′W / 42.950°N 74.183°W / 42.950; -74.183
CountryUnited States
StateNew York
Incorporated (village)1830
Incorporated (city)1885
 • TypeMayor-council
 • MayorMichael Cinquanti (D)
 • City council
 • Total6.26 sq mi (16.21 km2)
 • Land5.87 sq mi (15.21 km2)
 • Water0.39 sq mi (1.00 km2)
361 ft (110 m)
 • Total18,620
 • Estimate 
 • Density3,025.54/sq mi (1,168.13/km2)
Time zoneUTC−05 (Eastern (EST))
 • Summer (DST)UTC−04 (EDT)
ZIP code
Area code(s)518
FIPS code36-02066
GNIS feature ID0942450
WebsiteCity of Amsterdam website

Amsterdam is a city in Montgomery County, New York, United States. As of the 2010 census, the city had a population of 18,620. The city is named after Amsterdam in the Netherlands.

The City of Amsterdam is surrounded on the north, east, and west sides by the town of Amsterdam. The city developed on both sides of the Mohawk River, with the majority located on the north bank. The Port Jackson area on the south side is also part of the city.


Market Street in 1909

Prior to settlement by Europeans, the region which includes Amsterdam was inhabited by the Mohawk tribe of the Iroquois Confederacy, having pushed the Algonquin Mohican tribe across the Hudson River. Dutch settlers began to arrive in the area in the 1660s, founding Schenectady in 1664, and arrived in what would later be Amsterdam c.1710. They called the community Veeders Mills and Veedersburgh after Albert Veeder, an early mill owner. In the early 1700s, Scotch-Irish and German Palatinate immigrants began to arrive in the Mohawk Valley region, but few settled in Amsterdam, instead going further west.[3]

The American Revolutionary War had little effect on the Amsterdam region. No major battles were fought there or in the surrounding region, with the exception of the Battle of Johnstown, which was essentially the repelling of a raid by British forces and their Native American allies.

The settlement grew slowly in this period, primarily providing the services needed for the farming communities which surrounded it.[3] It was located in the now-defunct town of Caughnawaga,[4] but when the town of Amsterdam was created, the city changed its name to Amsterdam in 1803, possibly to encourage its selection as the seat of the town's government.[3]

After the War, Loyalists like the powerful Johnson family fled to Canada, and many new settlers came from New England.[4] The settlement was incorporated as a village on April 20, 1830, from a section of the Town of Amsterdam. This was a period of rapid growth for the village. In turn, the Mohawk Turnpike, the Erie Canal, and the coming of railroad service improved trade, and the steeply descending creeks were used to power an increasing number of mills, which in turn provided materials to make manufactured goods which were shipped by land, canal and rail. Products such as linseed oil, brooms, knit ware, buttons, and iron goods came out of the growing village, making it an important manufacturing center. It was best known, however, for its carpets, eventually becoming the carpet and run manufacturing center of the U.S.[3] Through the late 19th and early 20th centuries it was a destination for immigrants from Europe: Irish, Italian, Polish, and Lithuanian people, among others, who found worked in the factories.

In 1865, the population of Amsterdam was 5,135.[4] New charters in 1854, 1865, and 1875 increased the size of the village.[citation needed] In 1885, Amsterdam became a city, which subsequently increased in size by annexation of Rockton to the north, with the former village of Port Jackson on the south side of the Mohawk River becoming the fifth ward of the city. By 1920, the city's population was 33,524.

In the Great Depression the mills slowed down their output, but did not close, and the city survived the two world wars without significant effect. Shortly after World War II however, manufacturing in general began to move to the southern United States, where costs – including wages and taxes – were lower, and the mills of Amsterdam were no exception. One by one, they moved south or overseas. Additionally, the second and third generations of the city's immigrant families often left to go to college and did not return, as there were few jobs to attract college-educated citizens. The city attempted to re-create its industrial base, but these efforts were not particularly successful.[3]

Subsequent city and State projects for urban renewal further eroded the local character. As the city's website expresses it:

In an attempt to draw people and business back to Amsterdam, the City and State began a program of urban renewal and arterial roadway construction, destroying much of the original fabric of downtown. Now, not only is there less to go downtown for, it's harder to get there. Once again, Amsterdam is somewhere to be bypassed on the way to somewhere else.[3]

In the 21st century, post-industrial Amsterdam is still trying to re-invent itself.[3]

Amsterdam experienced serious flooding damage in the aftermath of Hurricane Irene in late August 2011. The flooding threatened properties at the river's edge due to erosion and water damage.[5]


According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 6.3 square miles (16.3 km2), of which 5.9 square miles (15.4 km2) is land and 0.3 square miles (0.9 km2) is water, with the total area being 5.41% water. The city developed on both sides of the Mohawk River and Erie Canal, and both North Chuctanunda Creek and South Chuctanunda Creek flow into the Mohawk at Amsterdam.

New York State Route 30, a north-south highway called Market Street in part, crosses the Mohawk River to link the main part of Amsterdam to the New York State Thruway. NY-30 also intersects east-west highways New York State Route 5 and New York State Route 67 in the city. New York State Route 5S passes along the south side of the Mohawk River.

Amsterdam is currently within New York's 20th congressional district.


In the 19th century, the city of Amsterdam was known for carpet, textile, and pearl button manufacturing. It continued to be a center for carpet-making in the 20th century, when the Bigelow-Sanford and Mohawk Mills Carpet companies both were located in Amsterdam, but these companies have relocated to other regions. Amsterdam was also the home of Coleco, makers of the ColecoVision, Cabbage Patch Kids and the Coleco Adam. Founded in 1932 as the Connecticut Leather Company, Coleco went bankrupt[6] in 1988 after a failed attempt to enter the electronics market, and pulled out of Amsterdam, as well as its other North American manufacturing sites.

The enclosed shopping center is named the Amsterdam Riverfront Center. Once filled with clothing shops, the mall complex has been adapted for offices of doctors, public assistance services, community organizations, a radio station WCSS, and an off-track betting site.

Historical population
Census Pop.
2019 (est.)17,766[2]−4.6%

Media in Amsterdam includes one print newspaper, The Recorder, which is owned by the Schenectady-based Daily Gazette,[10] an online newspaper, The Mohawk Valley Compass, and two AM radio stations, WVTL and WCSS.

In the early 2000s distribution centers began being constructed in the Florida Business Park in the Town of Florida which is located just outside the City of Amsterdam. The park currently holds Target, Hill & Marks, Alpin Haus, and most recently, Dollar General. In 2019 Vida Blend broke ground on a new distribution center in the park. Some thousands of city and adjacent county residents are now employed by these businesses.


As of the census[9] of 2010, there were 18,620 people, 8,324 households, and 4,721 families residing in the city. The population density was 3,176.4 people per square mile (1,226.4/km2). There were 9,218 housing units at an average density of 1,573 per square mile (607/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 80.4% White (68.1% Non Hispanic White), 3.8% Black or African American, 0.6% Native American, 0.9% Asian, 0% Pacific Islander and 3.4% from two or more races. 26.2% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 8,146 households in the city, with the average household size being 2.24 persons. In the city, 25.0% of the people were under the age of 18 and 15.8% were age 65 or older.[9] The median income for a household in the city, based on data from 2007 to 2011, was $38,699.[9]


Amsterdam is at the convergence of State Routes 5, 30 and 67. The New York State Thruway/Interstate 90 is a little less than a mile to the southwest of the city.

Three Amtrak trains stop at Amsterdam Station in each direction daily:


Places of interest[edit]

Lock E11 includes a truss structure which spans the river and which has multiple steel gates which can be opened and closed by the use of electric winches in order to dam the river or let it flow freely. Seven other locks have these trusses, but only two of them carry roadways; this is not one of them.
  • The Mohawk Valley Gateway Overlook pedestrian bridge spans the Mohawk River and connects the city's Bridge Street downtown area on the south shore and Riverlink Park on the north. It was built from 2014 to 2016.
  • Lock E11 was built to facilitate water traffic on the Mohawk River/Erie Canal; it is one of 8 locks which include a truss structure which spans the river and which has multiple steel gates which can be opened and closed by the use of electric winches in order to dam the river or let it flow freely.
  • The Sanford Clock Tower, also known as the Sanford Mills, the Hasbro Plant, the Coleco Industries Plant – where Cabbage Patch Dolls and ColecoVision were manufactured in the 1970s and 1980s – and, currently, the Clock Tower Complex, was built in 1922 for carpet magnate Stephen Sanford as the headquarters and mill of the Sanford-Bigelow Carpet Company. The current owners, who bought the property in 2001, hope to attract small businesses and professional as well as manufacturing and warehousing businesses to the building.[11][12][13]

Although ill-considered urban renewal highway projects did significant damage to the city's historic downtown,[3] a few historic buildings and sites, mostly from the 19th and 20th centuries, remain in the city, and are listed on the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP):[14]

The Chalmers Knitting Mills was added to the NRHP in 2010,[15] but was later demolished.

Houses of worship[edit]

The interior of St. Stanislaus Church, Amsterdam, New York


Wilbur Lynch School
City Hall, formerly the Sanford Mansion
The Greene Mansion in 2012

Public schools[edit]


  • William H. Barkley Elementary[19]
  • William B. Tecler Arts in Education Magnet School[20]
  • Marie Curie Institute of Engineering & Communications[21]
  • Raphael J. McNulty Academy for International Studies and Literacy[22]


  • Wilbur H. Lynch Literacy Academy[23]
  • Amsterdam High School (part of the Greater Amsterdam School District, located in the Town of Amsterdam)[24]

Private schools[edit]

  • St. Mary's Institute


The Amsterdam Free Library at 28 Church Street is a Carnegie library built in 1902-1903 with $25,000 from philanthropist Andrew Carnegie. It was designed by Albert W. Fuller in the Beaux-Arts style.


Amsterdam's government consists of a city council and a mayor. The mayor is elected in a citywide vote. The council consists of five members each elected from wards.


Name party Year(s)
Carmichael, John 1885
Kline, Harlan P. Rep. 1886
Liddle, Thomas 1887–88
Dwyer, John F. 1889
Waldron, Hicks B. 1890
Breedon, William A. 1891–92
Nisbet, Charles S. 1893
Hannon, George R. 1894
Fisher, William A. 1895–96
Kaufman, William H. Rep. 1897
Westbrook, Zerah S. Dem. 1898–99
Wallin, Samuel Rep. 1900–01
Gardner, William A. Dem. 1902–03
Pabis, David R. 1904–05
Dealy, Jacob H. Dem. 1906–09
Conover, Seely Rep. 1910–11
Dealy, Jacob H. 1912–13
Cline, James R. 1914–17
Conover, Seely Rep. 1918–19
Akin, Theron Rep., Dem., Soc. 1920–23
Salmon, Carl S. Rep. 1924–29
Gardner, William A. 1930–31
Brumagin, Robert B. Rep. 1932–33
Carter, Arthur Dem. 1934–43
Lynch, Wilbur H. Rep. 1944–45
Hand, Joseph P. Dem. 1946–47
Deal, Burtiss E. Rep. 1948–55
Martuscello, Frank J. Rep. 1956–57
Gregg, Thomas F. Dem. 1958–59
Martuscello, Frank J. Rep. 1960–63
Breier, Marcus I. Rep. 1964–67
Gomulka, John P. Dem. 1968–79
Villa, Mario Rep. 1980–87
Parillo, Paul Dem. 1988–91
Villa, Mario Ind. 1992–1995
Duchessi, John M. Dem. 1996–2003
Emanuele, Joseph Rep. 2004–2007
Thane, Ann M. Dem. 2008–2015
Villa, Michael Rep. 2016–2019
Cinquanti, Michael Dem. 2020-Incumbent

Notable people[edit]

Notable natives or residents of Amsterdam include:


  1. ^ "2019 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved July 27, 2020.
  2. ^ a b "Population and Housing Unit Estimates". United States Census Bureau. May 24, 2020. Retrieved May 27, 2020.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h "History of Amsterdam, NY" City of Amsterdam website
  4. ^ a b c Hamilton Child, History of Amsterdam, New York; Syracuse, New York 1869 Archived 2013-02-01 at
  5. ^ Leyden, Liz (September 1, 2011) "Manor That Has Stood for Centuries Teeters in Storm's Wake" Archived 2016-12-30 at the Wayback Machine, The New York Times
  6. ^ Feder, Barnaby J. "Coleco Fails To Fend Off Chapter 11". Archived from the original on 16 December 2017. Retrieved 1 May 2018.
  7. ^ "Amsterdam, New York (NY 12010) profile: population, maps, real estate, averages, homes, statistics, relocation, travel, jobs, hospitals, schools, crime, moving, houses, news, sex offenders". Archived from the original on 14 August 2017. Retrieved 1 May 2018.
  8. ^[permanent dead link]
  9. ^ a b c d "Amsterdam, New York (city)" Archived 2012-06-18 at the Wayback Machine QuickFacts page from the U.S. Census Bureau's American FacFinder. Accessed: May 21, 2012
  10. ^
  11. ^ "Cock Tower Complex Emporis
  12. ^ Becker, Tom (July 8, 2016} "Clock Tower owners hope to turn old Coleco offices into business incubator" Mohawk Valley Compass
  13. ^ Hornbeck, Leigh (January 13, 2015) " Cool spaces: Diamond in the rough" Albany Times-Union
  14. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. March 13, 2009.
  15. ^ "National Register of Historic Places Listings". Weekly List of Actions Taken on Properties: 1/10/11 through 1/14/11. National Park Service. 2011-01-21. Archived from the original on 2014-08-18.
  16. ^ Congregation Sons of Israel Archived October 8, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  17. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2010-10-20. Retrieved 2014-01-06.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  18. ^ First Baptist Church of Amsterdam Archived May 30, 2013, at the Wayback Machine
  19. ^ William H. Barkley Elementary Archived May 24, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  20. ^ William B. Tecler Arts in Education Magnet School Archived November 23, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
  21. ^ Marie Curie Institute of Engineering & Communications Archived October 28, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  22. ^ Raphael J. McNulty Academy for International Studies and Literacy Archived September 14, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  23. ^ Wilbur H. Lynch Literacy Academy Archived December 12, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  24. ^ Amsterdam High School Archived December 11, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  25. ^ a b c Who Was Who in America, Historical Volume, 1607–1896. Chicago: Marquis Who's Who. 1963.
  26. ^ "Ed Sullivan delighted with singer Arlene Fontana". The Daily Gazette. Retrieved February 7, 2020.
  27. ^ "Arlene Fontana IMDB". Retrieved February 7, 2020.

External links[edit]