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Old 03-19-2012, 04:31 PM
 
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We are a young family of four (with a child entering kindergarten in the fall) relocating from the Bay Area. We are trying to keep our commute reasonable, which means train time around 30-40 min, and want as much walkability as possible. While everyone we know recommended we look in Park Slope, we are choosing Westchester for the superior public schools (and ease of actually getting into those schools vs crowded city schools). Our budget is around 800K. As Bay Area natives, we're used to people being inclusive and very low-key about wealth and status - for this reason, we've been scared off from Scarsdale based on so many of the comments here. Larchmont seems like it could be a good fit for us - and I've heard almost nothing negative about it - so tell me: what's not to like?
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Old 03-19-2012, 05:15 PM
 
Location: Bellevue, WA
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What is it with all of the Californians moving out here??

OK, as a recent SoCal transplant, here goes.

House - $800K is only going to get you about a 1700 sq. ft older home here on a smaller plot of land. If you lived in Marin that might be normal, but if you are coming from Santa Rosa or Petaluma you are in for a possible shock.

Taxes - on that home, they will be around $17K+. But that is par for the course here in most desireable towns south of the 287. And you can actually attend the public schools for that!

Wealth - now I say this as someone that lived in LA myself before relocating (albeit not in Beverly Hills or the more flashy towns as I was and still am a coastal person), but I feel odd out here sometimes even though we do great by most standards. It seems like about half the town is in finance, which we are not. There are a lot more nannies then I ever saw in LA. There were a lot of nannies there, but just for the kids with working parents. Here, kids have them even when mom stays home in some cases. Note this is still MUCH less prominent than in places like Scarsdale, and I really feel that 'most' of the people outside of the Manor (not in your range anyway) are really down to earth, considering that a good part of the town makes north of $200K.

With that all said, there could not have been a better town for us. Our neighbors are amazing and there is a great sense of community here. I've only been here 1.5 years and cannot go anywhere without seeing 1-2 people I know. Besides the weather (although this year is amazing) I have no complaints whatsoever. Feel free to PM me if you have any other questions.
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Old 03-19-2012, 05:20 PM
 
Location: East Millcreek
2,406 posts, read 5,247,204 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AliciaN View Post
We are a young family of four (with a child entering kindergarten in the fall) relocating from the Bay Area. We are trying to keep our commute reasonable, which means train time around 30-40 min, and want as much walkability as possible. While everyone we know recommended we look in Park Slope, we are choosing Westchester for the superior public schools (and ease of actually getting into those schools vs crowded city schools). Our budget is around 800K. As Bay Area natives, we're used to people being inclusive and very low-key about wealth and status - for this reason, we've been scared off from Scarsdale based on so many of the comments here. Larchmont seems like it could be a good fit for us - and I've heard almost nothing negative about it - so tell me: what's not to like?
Nothing not to like, Larchmont is terrific and lower key than Scarsdale, to be sure. But people won't open up as fast as Cali. This is the east coast after all and you'll get used to many new things, no getting around it. The CA "inclusive" thing may be interpreted as superficial by some if you wear it on your sleeve or carry on about how awesomely progressive CA is (too many of west coasters do).
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Old 03-19-2012, 05:44 PM
 
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This is so helpful, thank you. We are thrilled to be moving to the area, and we're not looking to replicate the Bay Area by any means. For one thing, we're gaining some great schools and experiences we definitely could not have here! I just have read a lot about status competition and snobbishness being a problem in some Westchester towns, and that wouldn't be a good for our family, particularly as newcomers!

We are from Marin, so the sticker shock isn't terribly bad - and we know we'll be in a tiny house!

Any thoughts on Murray vs. Chatsworth Avenue schools, culture-wise? On paper, both look fantastic. Sounds like the Murray Ave side of town has more of the "affordable" homes...
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Old 03-19-2012, 07:18 PM
 
Location: Bellevue, WA
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No difference whatsoever culture wise between the schools. Most people just fall in love with a particular house and the school follows. They are the two most coveted elementaries here, warranted or not. Either way, they all go to the same middle and HS.

I wouldn't think that either of them were more or less affordable, although I guess since Chatsworth includes all of the Manor it skews the median. Chatsworth also pulls in the village homes, though, which tend to be smaller and in your range.

I haven't really encountered a lot of snobbishness, but perhaps someone of lesser means might feel differently. There are a few cliques here and there but by and large they are the overwhelming exception. As for the competitiveness, it's also not that noticeable here - much more so in Chappaqua and Scarsdale. I really don't see it being much different than Marin or Tiburron. I think living near water keeps people a bit more grounded.
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Old 03-19-2012, 09:45 PM
 
Location: Washington, DC & New York
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I can just echo what others have said that Larchmont is much lower key than Scarsdale and Chappaqua, and even Bronxville. Larchmont is a great area, and is one of two downtown areas in Westchester that has successfully eschewed chains from opening up, save for local chains, the other being Katonah.

If you don't mind the smaller house that you may find around $800k, and can deal with hassles of an older house, such as parking, and a lack of modern amounts of storage, there's not much that would detract from the village. I know parking may seem like a silly issue, but I have a sibling for whom one-car driveways would be a deal breaker, as one or more cars would have to be moved to get the garaged car out, etc.

Regarding train station parking, it would be much easier if you were in walking distance of the train station, possible in the $700-$800k range, because it would alleviate the need to secure parking at the station. Larchmont is not the worst in terms of parking problems, as that honor would go to Rye, with a years-long waiting list, and there is a bus loop that serves the train station in Larchmont. Check with the town clerk's office regarding parking availability, as Larchmont allows current permit holders to renew and then makes available non-renewed spaces at the station to new applicants.
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Old 03-20-2012, 07:11 AM
bg7
 
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Larchmont is great. The only real downside I've seen is the train in the mornings. depending on which one you're catching, it can be a bit of a scrum for a seat. I'd say once I week I see a bunch of Larchmont commuters getting on the 8.15ish train standing, and standing is a bit more frequent with the 8am train. However, perhaps if you're at the back of the train its not a problem, I don't know. The trip home is never a problem.

The commute is reasonable as there are express trains whose last stop before GCT is Larchmont, and a couple going the other way whose first stop is Larchmont.
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Old 03-20-2012, 07:40 AM
 
Location: Bellevue, WA
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Re: parking, we moved to this side of town from Mamaroneck over the summer and my husband had to park at the metered lot for about 2 months, then came up on the wait list to get a permit for the Town of Mamaroneck lot (since we are technically Larchmont PO, unincorporated town of Mamaroneck as Walter would point out). Not sure about the actual village lot, but honestly that is such a small area that many of those ppl. walk as others pointed out. FYI, walking to the station comes at a huge premium money-wise and NYers version of 'walkable' is far different than a Californian's I have found. We happily fork over about $500 a year to get an extra 30 minutes a day since I don't ever see us being comfortable being a one car household anyway.

As or the train, he is usually on the 8am one or the 7:30ish one and has never stood...just sometimes gets the dreaded middle seat. Really not a big deal, but I don't know about later trains. It's still NOTHING like the subway!
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Old 03-20-2012, 07:49 AM
bg7
 
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Yes, its nothing like the subway. Its quite civilized, most people are reading and there is never anyone playing music loud enough for others to hear. The worst behavior is the occasional slob drinking coffee on the train and then leaving the mainly-empty cup on the floor.
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Old 03-20-2012, 09:37 AM
 
116 posts, read 309,020 times
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jjinla - did you tour either of the elementary schools before you committed to buying in the area? I know you can't tell much from a tour - maybe just a sense of whether your child would "fit" there - but I'm trying to do some school visits when I'm out in a few weeks to do some preliminary house-hunting.
Realtors are totally useless when it comes to school questions!

Also - if the perfect house doesn't present itself in our time frame - are there any rental homes to be found in the area? So far I've seen a grand total of two, and I'm wondering if there's a secret hidden list somewhere
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