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Old 07-03-2016, 05:48 AM
 
50 posts, read 76,991 times
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Forgive me - this is a silly question but I could use some perspective.

I have been an apartment dweller my whole life. We are looking for our first house in a part of northern Westchester. The only house that's a "contender" is a bit off the beaten path in the town we have agreed to settle. It is near other houses but in a more isolated part of town where your neighbors aren't exactly walkable.

We have an only child. I am particularly concerned with her being in a "neighborhood" where she can make friends with the "kids next door" and not have to drive across town to see a friend. Our daughter has lived in an apartment for long enough with not many other kids around. She is under 10 years old. I work from home- so in the absence of any daycare/sitter/afterschool program, I am the de facto entertainment.

For those of you with kids, has the feeling of proximity to neighbors/other kids in your neighborhood made a difference? i.e, your child making friends and being able to "hop over the fence," so to speak, to another child's house? Or do you end up hopping in your car to bring them to friends no matter what?

Last edited by tpwpny; 07-03-2016 at 06:10 AM..
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Old 07-03-2016, 09:00 AM
 
Location: NY
195 posts, read 189,553 times
Reputation: 243
Not a silly question - when we started house hunting, we looked at a house on a two way street, and as a kid who grew up playing in the street with friends, I was horrified that my husband wanted to consider it. I said "But where will our kids play???" and he turned to me and said, "Um, the GIANT BACKYARD?"
So I get it!

We're currently house hunting in an area where the houses have more space around them, but I think even if you had a normal "block" like in the city, the kids wouldn't be hopping the fence to play with neighbor kids unless you actually were lucky enough to have kids next door or even two houses down that were similar ages and wanted to play with each other. From my research many areas have community centers where the kids and families go to hang out - pools and rec centers and such. I think besides actual play dates, there's not much "come over to hang out at my house" stuff.

If you wanted to possibly get lucky enough to have kids "on the block" you'd have to look at a town with smaller plots and houses that were closer together (and had actual sidewalks!) - maybe spots like Harrison or Eastchester or White Plains. If you're looking further north in spots like Mount Pleasant or Katonah or Armonk you have to look into the community centers.

Good luck!
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Old 07-03-2016, 10:35 AM
 
226 posts, read 172,049 times
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We are house hunting too. When we check out houses we always make sure to see if there are kids bikes strewn about and basketball hoops. Check- kids in the neighborhood! Yes, things are different today. Kids are over scheduled with sports and music lessons, tutors, etc. But- kids are still kids. Where we live, kids walk to school, ride bikes to their friends houses, meet in town or just hang out playing hoops in the driveway. But- I understand wanting space and not having neighbors right on top of you. In the end, worst case- you have to shuttle your child around for a few years, which everyone else is doing up there. You get lots of space, unlike me, who will likely have a postage stamp yard with nosy neighbors watching our every move. You have to think about what's most important to you. I have friends that moved to Northern Westchester and love having the space all to themselves. The kids still have friends over and they have great parties/bbq w that space.They also got a lot more for their $ and were super thrilled to get away from their annoying neighbors who were always complaining about the noise their kids made. But, it wouldn't be for me. I want my kids to have a little more freedom in a different sense, ie. walking to school, into town, to friend's houses, etc. There may also be a happy medium somewhere! Best of Luck to ya!

Last edited by jego914; 07-03-2016 at 10:44 AM..
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Old 07-04-2016, 05:01 AM
 
50 posts, read 76,991 times
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I think where we are is at the need to strike a happy medium between space and some neighbors in close enough proximity. I'm in the camp of having kids close enough that they'll play in the street or ride bikes to town together. The house we have been pondering doesn't allow for that— and that's its largest fault.

Then I guess the question becomes, barring any community center, does being off the beaten path affect the child's ability to make —and keep— friends when all of them likely live near each other in the more populated part of town. I would imagine the answer is "yes"... unless you want to be doing a lot of driving...
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Old 07-04-2016, 07:21 PM
 
5,532 posts, read 5,938,804 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tpwpny View Post
Forgive me - this is a silly question but I could use some perspective.

I have been an apartment dweller my whole life. We are looking for our first house in a part of northern Westchester. The only house that's a "contender" is a bit off the beaten path in the town we have agreed to settle. It is near other houses but in a more isolated part of town where your neighbors aren't exactly walkable.

We have an only child. I am particularly concerned with her being in a "neighborhood" where she can make friends with the "kids next door" and not have to drive across town to see a friend. Our daughter has lived in an apartment for long enough with not many other kids around. She is under 10 years old. I work from home- so in the absence of any daycare/sitter/afterschool program, I am the de facto entertainment.

For those of you with kids, has the feeling of proximity to neighbors/other kids in your neighborhood made a difference? i.e, your child making friends and being able to "hop over the fence," so to speak, to another child's house? Or do you end up hopping in your car to bring them to friends no matter what?
Each is an individual case. You (wrongly) assume you will always live next door to people you like. What will you do in an apartment building if your child doesn't make friends? Or in case you don't like the neighbors?
At this point you don't know who your neighbors will be in either home. And yes, there are cases when you live in a single family home, just next door to lovely people with children.
Moving means taking a risk.
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Old 07-04-2016, 07:47 PM
 
Location: New York
831 posts, read 637,142 times
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Some of the friends will be from "the block" and a lot will be from places such as school, church, MOPS, cub scouts, Girl Scouts , LEAH, and many other groups that exist in northern westchester. Yes, you will be driving to meet some of these friends. Enjoy!
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Old 07-05-2016, 05:13 AM
 
Location: Westchester County, NY
293 posts, read 728,690 times
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Get used to the fact that in the suburbs, you will be driving a lot no matter where you live - even if it's a very walkable community.

I would say that I personally was focused on finding a house in a community where there did seem to be a lot of neighbor action - which means smaller yards and little car traffic and sidewalks. I have an only child as well and I was concerned about the same things you are - without siblings, who do they play with? We found a house on a cul-de-sac right around the corner from the elementary school - win-win in my opinion. We've already made friends with other kids on the block (they often go scooting outside after dinner) and in a few years my child will be able to walk to school with those friends. Of course, we'll still have to drive to see other friends around town - but it is nice to know that there is some built in child entertainment within walking distance. Now this is in Southern Westchester - I'm not sure how easily you would find this in Northern Westchester.
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Old 07-07-2016, 10:19 AM
 
Location: Lower Hudson Valley, NY
313 posts, read 938,033 times
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It's luck of the draw wherever you go, I think. You can choose a denser neighborhood but there is no guarantee there will be kids around who your kid wants to play with.

We bought in a neighborhood where everyone's on a quarter acre and lucked out because my daughter (also an only) hit it off with a child a few doors down. They are inseparable and I love that I can now watch her walk down to her friend's house instead of having to walk her myself- it's a good amount of independence for this stage of her life. There are also a handful of other kids she likes down the block and I know the moms enough so that we are all ok with them roaming among houses.

We couldn't do that if we'd chosen a home on a larger plot in a more remote area (which was what I initially wanted.) But as I said, you can't know what the situation is like with potential friends for her till you move there.
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Old 07-07-2016, 11:51 AM
 
50 posts, read 76,991 times
Reputation: 28
Thank you all. Enlightening advice. And comforting to hear all your experiences.

The one house in question for us, aside from being off the beaten path, is barely walkable to the nearest house - it's somewhat on a blind curve, on a hilly grade, no sidewalk. Even going to the next 2-3 houses down the street is a no-go because of the cars racing around the bend. So in this instance it's drive or nothing, it seems. Hoping another option arises for us... school will be starting before we know it.
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Old 07-12-2016, 10:30 AM
 
Location: Westchester, NY
71 posts, read 67,841 times
Reputation: 37
For my family this is the #1 priority. Even though we live in Yonkers, it's a dead end near a playground. My kids (all under 10) have several good kids they can play with at any given time. They are outside ALL DAY playing every sport, bike riding, putting on plays for the neighbors, making bracelets... doing all the other crazy stuff kids do. This is what I need to replicate, it won't be easy but I know it's out there.

I'd recommend to you to drive the neighborhood during the day, look for the kids!
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