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Yonkers's later growth rested largely on developing industry.

In 1853, Elisha Otis invented the first safety elevator and the Otis Elevator Company, opened the first elevator factory in the world on the banks of the Hudson near what is now Vark Street.

The downtown area also houses significant local businesses and non-profits, and serves as a major retail hub for Yonkers and the northwest Bronx.

The city is home to several attractions, including the Hudson River Museum; Saw Mill River daylighting, wherein a parking lot was removed to uncover a river; Science Barge; Sherwood House; and Yonkers Raceway, a harness racing track that has renovated its grounds and clubhouse and added legalized video slot machine gambling in 2006 in a "racino" called Empire City.

In 1888, Scottish-born John Reid founded the first golf course in the United States, St. Bakelite, the first completely synthetic plastic, was invented in Yonkers circa 1906 by Leo Baekeland, and manufactured there until the late 1920s.

Today, two of the former Alexander Smith and Sons Carpet Company loft buildings located at 540 and 578 Nepperhan Avenue have been repurposed to house the Yo Ho Artist Community, a collective group of talented artists that works out of private studios there.

The original structure (later enlarged) was built around 1682 by Frederick Philipse and his wife Margaret Hardenbroeck.Still, some residents call the city "the Sixth Borough" referring to its location on the New York City border, its urban character, and the failed merger vote.The New York City and Northern Railway Company (later the New York Central Railroad) connected Yonkers to Manhattan and points north from 1888.World War II saw the city's factories manufacture such items as tents and blankets in the Alexander Smith and Sons Carpet Factory and tanks in the Otis Elevator factory.After World War II, however, with increased competition from less expensive imports, Yonkers lost much of its manufacturing activity.

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