As a child of the seventies, I grew up without smart phones, texting and apps to entertain me. When I was bored I found things to do outside where serendipity reigned. I also read comic books. Comic books were not required school reading, so I gladly devoured them on my front porch during unscheduled summer vacations. Archie was always in my stack and on my radar at local garage sales and church rummage sales.
Archie takes place in the fictitious American town of Riverdale, which made me wonder if it had any connection to Riverdale, NY. In the comic book, the town is set against various settings from rural to suburban.
While the more recent Archie comics have been deliberately vague about Riverdale’s location, it was not ambiguous in the earliest run of the comic. In Jackpot Comics #5 (Spring, 1942), written by Archie’s creator, Bob Montana, the story has the gang going on a river trip. One panel says “…the good ship “Peter Stuyvesant” settles into the Hudson, as Riverdale High clambers aboard for a happy trip to Bear Mountain.” The ship is named after Peter Stuyvesant, a historic figure of New York City and New York state. The Hudson River flows by Manhattan. Bear Mountain State Park is up the Hudson River, not too far from New York City, and there is a section in the Bronx, a borough of New York City, on the Hudson known as Riverdale. In a special issue of Archie published by the Bronx Zoo in the early 2000’s, Betty refers to Riverdale as “back home” when talking about a bear program she worked in over the previous summer. She takes the group to the zoo multiple times over the course of the comic, implying that Riverdale is not far away from there. Since the actual New York City neighborhood of Riverdale is near the Bronx Zoo, this could provide a clue as to the finctional Riverdale’s location.
Another interesting fact: Archie Comics is headquartered in the nearby Westchester County town of Mamaroneck, NY.
The Riverdales were an American punk rock band that hailed from Chicago, Illinois. Wikipedia says the band was “named after the small town of Riverdale from the Archie Comics.” The original lineup formed in 1994 and broke up in 1997, a quintessential short run for punk. They reformed on and off for the next 13 years finally breaking up for good in 2011.