How did a famous Bollywood actress end up living in Tarrytown?
“We wanted open skies and there was no sky when we were living in Hell’s Kitchen,” says Sweta Keswani, an actress who moved with her family into a five-story Tarrytown waterfront condominium in 2013.
Keswani is among a growing number of entertainment industry professionals who have happily left Manhattan and New Jersey to settle in the River Towns.
Keswani, who plays an FBI agent in NOS4A2, a supernatural thriller on AMC that begins its second season June 21, says she never dreamed of becoming one of India’s busiest actors. A fortuitous audition in Mumbai led to her starring in two top-rated family dramas.
“I lived in a van on the set,” she says. “I didn’t know my family for years.”
She says her husband, Ken Andino, and their six year-old daughter Ismara, love everything about Tarrytown.
“It’s so quaint,” says Keswani. “Tarrytown has the perfect balance of urban and suburban life.”
She also appreciates the town’s diversity, attracting people from many different cultures and backgrounds.
“My husband is Puerto Rican and I’m Indian,” she says. “We finally feel at home.”
All three founders of String and Can, a busy Manhattan audio post-production company, live in northern Westchester. Benny Mouthon was the last one to make the move, purchasing his first home in Peekskill in 2018.
Mouthon and his wife, Julia Funk, a massage therapist and yoga instructor, live on a quiet street between Depew Park and the train station.
They have a great view of the mountains across the Hudson River and enjoy many spectacular sunsets from their yard. When they aren’t working, the couple enjoys hiking and kayaking in and around the river.
“I never feel like I’m done exploring around here,” says Mouthon.
“Peekskill is incredibly affordable, but the thing that made me fall in love with it was the ethnic mix,” says Mouthon. “There are many Guatemalans and Ecuadorians living here. I like that, since I speak Spanish.”
He says they love the variety of ethnic restaurants and “the spectacular” Peekskill Farmer’s Market.
Mouthon, who worked as a sound editor for many years on the late Anthony Bourdain’s travel shows, has a full audio studio in his home, allowing him to work three days a week in Peekskill and two in the city.
Yvonne Russo describes herself as a multi-hyphenate producer of film, television, documentaries and animation.
Originally from Los Angeles, she attended UCLA and worked briefly as an actor. A few years later, she was recruited by National Geographic to work as a producer in the D.C. area.
Russo is currently producing three episodic series, and an independent feature, Kelly’s Bar, which is being made in collaboration with Casey Affleck’s production company.
Russo and her husband live in a one-of-a-kind home in Ossining.
“When the lease was up on a home we rented in Bergen County, we decided to move to this side of the Hudson River,” says Russo, “because it would be easier to get to New York City.”
FEELS LIKE BROOKLYN
Russo was working on a feature film in Canada when she realized that the shooting schedule meant she could only fly home for one weekend to find a new home.
“We were lucky to find this rare, one-of-a-kind house in Ossining,” she says. “It was built by one man over 20 years.”
Best of all, she says, Ossining is attracting so many new and interesting small businesses, including a craft brewery.
“It feels like what Brooklyn used to be.”
Jane Applegate is a writer and producer who recently moved to Verplanck, N.Y. from Brooklyn. The 100 year-old house they rent overlooks the Hudson River.