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Old 01-27-2013, 09:47 AM
22 posts, read 36,363 times
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Hi all,
We're a family looking to move to either Riverside or Old Greenwich. After a full tri-state area search (for which great schools, proximity to city, near water etc. was important), we've effectively settled on the above two sections of Greenwich. The only hesitation that we have is how open and progressive is that area of Greenwich? questions such as:
1) do you have to frequent a religious place of worship to have a social circle (we don't)? or if you have young kids it's driven by parents who you meet in school?
2) is joining a sailing/country or other club something the majority of residents participate in? (trying to get back at the social lifestyle in above question)
2) is there a decent amount of diversity in the people in Riverside/OG? (wife and I are both european born and spend half of our lives on the old continent and half in the US, we skew liberal on many topics. we appreciate having diversity around us in brooklyn: both working parents families, LBGT, mixed race, international, from executives in financial sector to academics to public to non-for-profits, etc.)
3) how many working moms are there in riverside/old greenwich? (my wife is in an executive role so an important one for her)
4) how do the fathers break down in terms of work, interests, casual and family time (I'm in a creative field with a flexible schedule and enjoy spending family time)?

Thanks for any insight. We are deep into the house search, we love the area so far but these are some of the lingering question we still haven't fully checked off the list.

Much appreciated.
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Old 01-27-2013, 11:38 AM
Location: Coastal Connecticut
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Even though Greenwich votes Republican, it's mostly fiscal conservatism. It's still a fairly socially liberal constituent.

There's definitely a strong country club, yachting culture just based on the sheer wealth of the area - but not everyone is like that and there's a decent variety of demographics starting at upper middle class. It's certainly less homogenous than nearby Darien and New Canaan, despite having equally epic affluence.
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Old 01-27-2013, 12:34 PM
Location: Fairfield, CT
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It's not going to be anywhere near as diverse as Brooklyn in the areas you mentioned. The neighborhoods you are looking at are heavily white. LGBT families are very rare in the suburbs. I have no idea about the breakdown for how many families are two-income. In wealthier neighborhoods, it's more likely that the mother will not work. At least that's the case in my neighborhood.

There's certainly not a church-dominated social scene, though it doesn't hurt to belong to a church as a way of meeting people. But there are surely other ways. Greenwich schools aren't lily white, at least as much as the other suburbs in the area. But you're not going to find anything like Brooklyn level diversity there, and you'll have to reconcile yourself to that if you really plan to move there.
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Old 01-27-2013, 02:00 PM
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Thank you for the responses. we're ready to reconcile, it seems like a big bump up in quality of life when you take into account schools, nature, activities etc... and we've visited the schools so we're comfortable with that. Our thinking was mostly that if we didn't join a church or a country club (we're more sailing, rowing, tennis oriented so we may join a sailing one) that we'd be out of the social life there - or since my work is project/part-time but my wife works full time, that we'd have a very different approach / parenting mix happening.

I'm not sure by what you mean in 'wealthier' neighborhoods within Riverside/OG except for the coastal properties? are there areas where there is more diversity within those either by type of work people do, background, etc. (we're looking predominantly walking to train, preferably below the train line)? When we look at the statistics it shows that almost 20% of greenwich is foreign born--any insight on whether this is more true in OG or Riverside?

I know it's a lot of questions, but any guidance here would be helpful. thanks again.
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Old 01-27-2013, 04:00 PM
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Riverside and Old Greenwich are great neighborhoods for young couples, and a lot of people who settle here are from NYC, so you'll have that in common. Racially, they're both predominantly white, but for a CT suburb there are a lot of families who are Asian, Latin American or from Europe. It is not uncommon to hear families speaking French, German, etc. I'd say there is a bit more cultural diversity in OG than Riverside.

There are a lot of country clubs and yacht clubs, but you certainly don't need to belong to one - most people do not. Same goes for churches, there are several if you're interested, but you won't feel 'excluded' if you don't belong to one.

Even though people hear Greenwich and think rich and powerful, these are both walking neighborhoods with a laid back beach feel, esp in the summer. If you're active/athletic, you'll see lots of people walking, jogging, hanging out at the beach, playing baseball and tennis in Binney Park, at local shops on Sound Beach Ave, etc. Do you have a dog? Dog owners quickly become friendly on their morning strolls (similar to how it is in Brooklyn in that respect).

Stylo is correct re political leanings - socially liberal, fiscally conservative. There are a lot of 'traditional' families where dad walks to the train and mom stays home with the kids, but there are also a lot of moms who do work - either in the city or from home. It's a mix.

Good luck!
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Old 01-27-2013, 08:15 PM
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Thank you. That was the impression that we got as well regarding cultural diversity and physically active lifestyles, but it's very reassuring to hear all your views on clubs, churches, etc... no dog here (yet) but plenty of little kids. One follow up question, since it seems to be a toss-up between RS and OG:

In Riverside, unless in an association, one will have to go to Todd's point to use the beach, and to get there you have to drive from RS but you could walk/bike to Todd's point from OG?

Thank you.
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Old 01-28-2013, 07:50 AM
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It really depends on what you consider "walkable." There are a few streets in OG that are almost in the beach itself - it's an area called Lucas Point. If you live there, you have a really easy/quick walk to the beach, and can probably see the water from your house. For the rest of OG (the streets closer to the train, school, park) you're an easy bike ride away, but it would be a long walk to the beach.

Riverside is a bit further, but anyone who's relatively fit would have no trouble bike riding to the beach. It would be a long walk/run, so unless you want a workout, you'd either bike or drive. Riverside is also on the water though, so depending on which street you're on, you may have access to a private beach - or at least have water views.
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Old 01-28-2013, 08:29 AM
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Thank you.

We walk a lot -- a biking friendly streets are always a plus -- and biking in the city, or Brooklyn for that matter, is not a very "friendly" activity unless you are inside a park. So I would imagine that unless it's a short walk to the beach we would bike most of the time. It's important though, that it's not too far for biking, we'd have two kids with us.

What are Binney Park Nature trails and Rosa Hartman Park like? Is this mostly woods with trails? Any other activities there? Is it swampy and wet? Are mosquitos/bugs a big annoyance in the summer and are they evenly spread out or is there a significant amount more of them when you get closer to the water/wetlands?

Thank you for all the feedback. Much appreciated.
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Old 01-28-2013, 08:48 AM
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Originally Posted by amda View Post

What are Binney Park Nature trails and Rosa Hartman Park like?
I've never been to either, but i just wanted to note that Hartman backs up to an industrial/ghetto section of Stamford. That area of Stamford is gentrifying though.
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Old 01-28-2013, 09:50 AM
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I'm not a fan of nature trails so haven't visited those, but if you are interested in that I'd recommend Mianus River Park, it's a popular spot for hiking, etc: Mianus River Park - Stamford, CT Patch - It runs along the Greenwich/Stamford border (nice part of Stamford).

The main part of Binney Park people visit features tennis courts, baseball diamonds, a playground and a pond with paths running along side it.
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