U.S. CitiesCity-Data Forum Index
Go Back   City-Data Forum > U.S. Forums > New York > Westchester County
Please register to participate in our discussions with 2 million other members - it's free and quick! Some forums can only be seen by registered members. After you create your account, you'll be able to customize options and access all our 15,000 new posts/day with fewer ads.
View detailed profile (Advanced) or search
site with Google Custom Search

Search Forums  (Advanced)
Reply Start New Thread
Old 01-21-2009, 02:04 PM
395 posts, read 1,382,719 times
Reputation: 148


I will be relocating my family from So Cal in the next few months and transferring to my company office in Rock Center. We are considering the standard NJ commuting towns but Harrison has also been suggested as a nice family town, good schools, and more manageable commute via Metro North to Grand Central instead of NJ Transit/Penn Station. There is not much info here on Harrison as Pelham, Larchmont & other Westchester towns so would appreciate any thoughts out there.

I have done the walk from GC to our office before but not in winter weather. Is walking that route the only option?
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message

Old 01-21-2009, 02:32 PM
7,079 posts, read 34,416,174 times
Reputation: 4035
What is your housing budget and how long a commute is tolerable for you?
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 01-21-2009, 03:58 PM
395 posts, read 1,382,719 times
Reputation: 148
Hi - prefer to keeping home cost under $800k and keep commute around one hour door-to-door if possible. I guess about 40 - 50 minutes max on the train? Although I would consider longer if all other factors were in place - great schools, nice safe neighborhood. For example I would consider taking the ferry from NJ (if I could figure out how to reasonably get from either stop to Rock Center) to get those Monmouth schools and beach lifestyle (we're coming from a CA beach town).

I just feel like we need to explore all options including Westchester, and I am hearing a lot of negatives about commuting into Penn Station. Thanks much.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 01-22-2009, 11:51 AM
223 posts, read 680,426 times
Reputation: 57
Walk from GC is less than 10 minutes-and the nice thing is that you can do most of it underground in the concourse which is great for the winter. Much easier to get to GC than Penn from that area
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 01-22-2009, 12:32 PM
395 posts, read 1,382,719 times
Reputation: 148
mfenimore - thanks for the info!
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 01-22-2009, 06:52 PM
57 posts, read 217,051 times
Reputation: 21
No comparison between Grand Central (which is like a cathedral) and Penn Station (a dump). I work in a Rockefeller building now; I estimate it would probably shave a good 10-15 minutes off comparable commutes if you come in through Grand Central vs Penn. And no need for an extra subway ride. Plus Penn Station is a zoo and doesn't come close to the great shopping/food/atmosphere in Grand Central.

If you want a beach-type town there are some options along the Connecticut side of the Sound--these trains all run into GC. But nothing in this area is close to California, except the Hamptons and Fire Island on the South Shore of Long Island. That's a hike though for a daily commute.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 01-22-2009, 09:14 PM
Location: Washington, DC & New York
10,827 posts, read 26,291,812 times
Reputation: 6890
Harrison is a nice town in Westchester, and has much of what you're looking for, as do some other nearby areas, including Rye, Rye Brook, Larchmont, Mamaroneck, and Pelham, which are all on the Sound Shore. There are beaches in the area, but Harrison is inland. The area's housing stock ranges from modest split-level and split-foyer plans to mansions that are well into the eight digit price territory, especially near the Sound and near the country clubs.

For New Jersey, you could get from the Sea Streak terminal on E 35th to Rockefeller Center in about half an hour if you take the 34th Street bus (M16?) and get out at Herald Square to take the F uptown to Rockefeller Center. The other option from the E35th St Ferry terminal would be to take two buses, one that goes up first avenue from the ferry terminal to 42nd (M15) and then the crosstown bus (M50) which would put you there at around the same time. E35th takes about 20-25 minutes longer than Wall St., and then you have to get to Rockefeller Center.

It would likely be easier to to take the Sea Streak to Wall St. from Highlands (more departures than Atlantic Highlands) and then take the 4 or 5 subway to Grand Central Station from Wall Street. That would take about 30 minutes, plus a few minutes to walk over to Rockefeller Center and to the station, but you'd save 20-25 minutes on the ferry. About an hour and a half door-to-door from New Jersey, plus time to get to the ferry terminal (~10-15 minutes from Monmouth Beach or Rumson). 1:45 total each way, roughly. Also, the M1 bus would get you from Wall Street to Rockefeller Center in about 45 minutes, so that would be about 50 minutes on the boat, 45 minutes on the bus, and a few minutes walking, but would be about the same as two walks and a subway.

In Contrast, Harrison is about an hour to get to Rockefeller Center, is one train and a walk. And, MetroNorth is significantly less expensive for a monthly pass than the over $600 monthly fare for the Sea Streak. The MetroNorth commutes from this area of Westchester is going to be within an hour door-to-door, depending upon train (express/local) and distance from the station. Harrison also gives flexibility, since you can catch an express train out of White Plains and be in GCT in 35 minutes or so, which can be convenient for parts of the area close to White Plains. That would be about a 10 minute drive, perhaps, and then you're still well under an hour.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 01-23-2009, 05:58 AM
7,079 posts, read 34,416,174 times
Reputation: 4035
It's only 40 minutes or so by train from Harrison to Grand Central - and a ten minute walk to Rockefeller Center. Less than an hour.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 01-23-2009, 07:40 AM
701 posts, read 2,917,972 times
Reputation: 178
Based on your requirements and preferences, I'm surprised you did not consider Westchester earlier. The commute to midtown, and to Rockefeller Center, will be significantly better from most Westchester points, over New Jersey. From most train stations in southern and central Westchester, (even some points in Northern Westchester), you can catch an express rush hour train to Grand Central that is under 50 minutes. Then about a 10-15 minute walk. As already noted, on colder days, you can do the majority of the walk underground, only needing to surface for the last couple of blocks. You could also take the subway one stop north, to save some walking, but it won't really save you much time (going all the way down and up from subway, to take it 1 stop/9 blocks, and then you would still need to walk a few blocks to Rockefeller Center).

The only advantage I can see to New Jersey communities would be proximity to the Jersey Shore. Westchester and Connecticut have some beaches on the LI Sound, but they are not as big and touristy as the New Jersey shore.

In terms of Harrison, it's a nice community with some socio-economic diversity (has a bit of middle class, not entirely super affluent). It's right by White Plains, with all of its conveniences. The schools are very good, but don't have the elite reputation of some other Westchester Schools. (As a demonstration of school and community, for 2006, Harrison's Average SAT score was 1600 with 94% going on to college. Some other Westchester districts have average scores of 1800+ with 98%+ going to college, but I won't get into a debate about whether that means the schools are better or simply the areas are more affluent).

If I was house hunting in Westchester for the first time, Harrison would be on my list, but it wouldn't stand out for any particular reason over other Westchester towns. May I ask why the focus on Harrison?

As to your budget, 2 years ago, 800K would have bought you a "starter home" in Westchester's more affluent towns, but nowadays, you can get a fairly nice house for that price. But remember to factor property taxes into your calculations, which are behemoth in Westchester.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 01-23-2009, 02:13 PM
395 posts, read 1,382,719 times
Reputation: 148
Thanks to all for the valuable input. My preference would definitely be Westchester over Jersey at this point for my commute to RC and other factors overall. We're just still exploring other options because we still don't know exactly where my husband's sales territory will be (metro NY vs. other parts of NJ, etc.).

Harrison came up because there are a few listings there with the same realty company we are using to sell our house in CA and they have some kind of deal where they will pay you x% of your for-sale home's value up front in order to buy one of their other listed properties without waiting for the first one to close (insead of getting a bridge loan), and then you get the balance once it sells. I didn't see a lot of discussion about Harrison as compared to other towns & schools. BTW those SAT scores sound like heaven compared to what we are dealing with here with the utter disaster that is LA Unified.

We are definitely keeping an eye on the tax situation, but even factoring those in we will still be able to get more for our money in NY or NY than here. To give you some idea, our 3 bd 2 bath 1950 sq. ft home on a 5500 sq. ft lot is "priced to sell" at $950k. Sunshine does come at a price. Our local high school rates a 4 out of 10. Our sales tax is about to go up to 10%. And all other factors aside I would like my kids to grow up in a smaller town with a community feel and not so much in this urban sprawl.

Anyone have particular thoughts on Briarcliff Manor, Pleasantville or Croton-on-Hudson?

Thanks again!
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Please register to post and access all features of our very popular forum. It is free and quick. Over $68,000 in prizes has already been given out to active posters on our forum. Additional giveaways are planned.

Detailed information about all U.S. cities, counties, and zip codes on our site: City-data.com.

Please update this thread with any new information or opinions. This open thread is still read by thousands of people, so we encourage all additional points of view.

Quick Reply

Over $104,000 in prizes was already given out to active posters on our forum and additional giveaways are planned!

Go Back   City-Data Forum > U.S. Forums > New York > Westchester County
Similar Threads
Follow City-Data.com founder on our Forum or

All times are GMT -6.

2005-2019, Advameg, Inc. | Please obey Forum Rules | Terms of Use and Privacy Policy

City-Data.com - Archive 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35 - Top