Rensselaer, New York, is a city of about 9,400 located on the Hudson River in the western part of Rensselaer County. It occupies three square miles and sits ten feet above sea level. It is across the river from the city of Albany.
Rensselaer takes it name from a Dutch diamond merchant, Kiliaen Van Rensselaer, who purchased 700,000 acres of land in the Hudson River Valley in the late 1630s. The city incorporated in 1897, taking in three villages: Greenbush, East Albany, and Bath.
Rensselaer is above average for precipitation and below average for temperatures compared to the rest of the United States. The city sees about 41 inches of rain and 50 inches of snow annually compared to 39 and 26 inches for the rest of the country. The average high temperature in July (82.5°F) is slightly below the national average (86.1°F), as is the average low in January (15°F vs 22.6°F).
Rensselaer is accessible by roadway and rail. Major highways include I-90, US Highways 4 and 20, and state roads 93, 151, and 43. The Rensselaer Rail Station serves more than 800,000 rail travelers a year, making it one of the busiest passenger depots in the country. It connects to Amtrak lines throughout the region. Capital District Transportation Authority operates out of Albany and provides bus service. The primary air hub is Albany International Airport (ALB).
Rensselaer Cost of Living
Rensselaer offers a favorable cost of living, about six percent below national averages. The biggest savings comes in housing, which sells for about a third less than in the rest of the country. Transportation and groceries are slightly higher than national averages, and utilities are slightly lower than national averages. Use the links below to see how far your income will go in Rensselaer.
The Rensselaer City School District administers public education with one elementary school and one junior-senior high school. Doane Stuart offers private education for students in grades K-12. Several Catholic schools in Albany also serve Rensselaer families. Several colleges operate in the area, including the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, ranked among the nation’s best by U.S. News & World Report.
According to U.S. Hospital Finder, there are 19 hospitals within 30 miles of Rensselaer. The most immediate are Albany Medical Center, a 734-bed hospital and academic health sciences center. It is recognized for excellence in care for patients with Alzheimer’s Disease, Cancer, Heart Disease, Digestive Disease, and more.
Rensselaer Real Estate
Per the most recent census, there are 4,695 housing units in Rensselaer. The median value of owner-occupied houses is $141,700 and the median selected monthly owner costs for those with a mortgage is $1,339. The median gross rent is $870. The city comprises four neighborhoods; Neighborhood Scout ranks Defreestville (approximately the north half of the city) as the safest.
Rensselaer is considered as part of the Albany hospitality market, and you have several choices for overnight lodging. Moderately priced comfort is available from Hampton Inn and Holiday Inn Express in the downtown area as well as in East Greenbush. For a more upscale stay, consider the Hilton Albany.
Although it’s a small community, Rensselaer offers several nice dining options. The most popular eatery in town is Casey’s Restaurant and Bar with seafood, steaks, chicken and sandwiches. For cheap eats, most patrons agree it’s hard to be the Skyline Diner in Rensselaer. Among the highest rated places for fine dining are Angelo’s 677 Prime, an American Steakhouse, and Yono’s Restaurant, serving American and Indonesian dishes. Both are located in nearby Albany.
Rensselaer Things to Do
If you plan a visit to Rensselaer, be sure to see the Crailo State Historic Site. The museum and tour give you a fascinating view of what life was like in colonial New Netherlands during the 18th century. A visit to this part of the country is also an excellent chance to visit one or more of the local business that grows, processes, and markets food and drink. For a fun family outing, check out the Funplex Funpark in East Greenbush. They offer go-karts, miniature golf, a climbing wall, batting cages, bumper boats and more.