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Old 10-23-2013, 08:26 AM
Location: Ossining, NY
87 posts, read 166,986 times
Reputation: 71


Let me third the "bring the kids" advice! Before that (as childless renters in NYC), we always used to bring the dog and chat up folks at the dog park. Best way to get a feel of the area.

Hazelsky, I think you are on the right track with all of these places (except maybe Larchmont/Rye), but have some personal choices to make. All the river towns are low-key in a way, but with different vibes (and $$/commute tradeoff) as you move North-South.

For what you want I would go with Cold Spring first, but only if you can handle the commute. Personally, I could not, but it is a great town otherwise. Next, you could spend some time in the lower river towns and see if you are put off by the wealth or not. Again, this comes down a personal feel. If that fails, I'd take a closer look at Tarrytown schools. They are supposed to be decent. Not top rated, but that will only come with more uniform wealth so again you'll have to decide what you can handle.

Lastly, if you like Tarrytown/Sleepy Hollow area, but want better-rated schools, then maybe nextdoor in Briarcliff? I live at Ossining-B'cliff border and I haven't found people to be all that snobby. Maybe it is different if you are in the district, but I don't know.
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Old 10-23-2013, 08:46 AM
7,698 posts, read 8,120,118 times
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Yes, I second the local library idea (esp. the children's section)! Make sure you check it out, I think its an indicator of like-minded people in the area - do they support the library budgets or not?
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Old 10-23-2013, 09:29 AM
Location: Yorktown Heights NY
1,316 posts, read 4,554,624 times
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I agree with library and playground visits as an indicator of the general population of the area. But keep in mind that (contrary to what some on this forum imply) towns are not walled fortresses that one cannot leave. When I was a SAHD I routinely went to a number of libraries and playgrounds in a number of nearby towns. Our local library was a favorite for the kids room and programs, but we'd hit the libraries in about 4 or 5 other towns all the time for variety. (And of course you can borrow books from any branch in the system and return them to any other branch.) For playgrounds we'd pick the ones we visited based on our mood (best swings or best climber or next to the woods for a post playground hike?) and what else was on our to do list (closest to a lunch spot or to a good food store?). And I met a lot of the same moms and dads at the range of libraries and playgrounds, so we were definitely not the only wanderers. So by all means check out what's in the town, but remember that your daily experience won't be limited to what's within your town limits.
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Old 10-23-2013, 11:06 AM
395 posts, read 1,384,944 times
Reputation: 148
I would add Pleasantville and Thornwood/Hawthorne to your list as well.
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Old 10-23-2013, 06:54 PM
24 posts, read 40,287 times
Reputation: 12
Check out Crestwood/Tuckahoe. Lovely, walkable neighborhood, though it seems most people send their kids to private schools so you'd need to consider that in your budget if you plan to buy something.
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Old 10-28-2013, 02:37 PM
1 posts, read 1,420 times
Reputation: 10
Have you thought about Pleasantville? My husband and I moved there just under a year ago and we could not be happier with our decision! We came from the city and wanted a house, space, and a dog and didn't want to pay for private schools, but I really didn't want to end up in a sprawling suburb with no character where I had to drive to a shopping center just to get a carton of milk. Like you, we were going back and forth on where to live and looked at a lot of towns, including a lot of the ones that you looked at. In the end we settled on Pleasantville and it was the best decision we ever made! Here's why:
- The people: they are so welcoming, nice, friendly, and really down to earth. You won't have that "Keeping up with the Jones's" feeling - Pleasantville is one of the more socio-economically diverse towns in Westchester.
- The schools: the schools are excellent. Although we don't have kids yet, most of the people in our neighborhood do, and they all have had an amazing experience. The parents really care about the schools and there are lots of activities for the kids.
- The town: Pleasantville is really cute and charming. It has a vibrant, active main town center with plenty of cute shops, coffee places, great restaurants, and bars. The Jacob Burns Film Center helps gives the town a cultural vibe. There are also multiple town centers throughout, so even if the main part is not walking distance from where you may live, you can probably walk to at least one of them. There are a lot of great town events and a wonderful farmers' market year-round.
- The services: Don't get me wrong, the taxes are not cheap by any means. But you pay for what you get - the services are excellent. The people in the Village Hall are incredibly accessible and get things done for you very quickly.
- Commutability: Many people living in Pleasantville commute to the city (my husband and I both do) and it's easy and just part of life there. It's just the right distance from NYC and a good central location to other main areas of Westchester. You might even be able to avoid having to have 2 cars for a while - you might be walking distance from the station, or certain parts of the town are walking distance to the Chappaqua station (Pleasantville and Chappaqua are in the same Metro North zone so you can use the same ticket).

The one downside which made us discount Pleasantville at first was that there are no school buses. Coming from the city and barely ever driving, I thought, no way am I going to drive my kids to school every day! But, it's a quick drive to the schools and it's right near the train, and the buses may even arrive too late after you've already had to leave for work. Plus there are carpools and people help each other out.

I think Pleasantville is the perfect combination of city and country. Definitely come check it out if you haven't already - you will love it!
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Old 10-29-2013, 09:08 AM
32 posts, read 43,512 times
Reputation: 11
Thanks for the great info on Pleasantville - so helpful! We are going to check it out for sure.
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Old 10-30-2013, 08:21 PM
7 posts, read 13,987 times
Reputation: 14
We just bought a home in Tarrytown and are moving there with our 2 year old in December. The schools don't rate as highly as Irvington/Hastings but they are good and we know many families with very successful (Ivy League) grown children who graduated from this district. The test scores are lower because the area is more diverse (which I consider a good thing) and there are more ESL students who don't score as highly. The homes are much more affordable and as you probably have seen, it has a lively/urban downtown. For us, it was the best of both worlds with a 38 minute train ride to the city. It seems to be the next popular spot for people (like me) from the city or Brooklyn. Lately, it seems that I keep meeting people also moving to Tarrytown with small children. Good luck!
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Old 11-04-2013, 08:38 AM
32 posts, read 43,512 times
Reputation: 11
Plepod006 - We are headed back out to Tarrytown/Sleepy Hollow this week to check it out again. I can definitely see why you are moving there
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