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Old 02-01-2009, 10:56 AM
10 posts, read 37,734 times
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With the growth of our family and simultaneous onset of Wall St driven recession, we are at long last going to move out of NYC and looking for a place to call home. We require strong public schools, speedy commute to midtown, a nice 'main street,' and some local culture and recreation. Our price point is roughly $1.5 mio give or take. We would hope to join a community with plenty of kids, ours are 2 and 4. Ideally, we'd find a place that was not cheesy nor too snobby. This is going to be a significant adjustment for us as we are so used to being in the center of things here in the city, so any thoughts on ways to avoid suburban isolation would be appreciated. Finally, we have a summer place on eastern LI so would want to have reasonable drive there. So far, Bronxville, Larchmont, parts of Mamaroneck, and Rye Neck look promising - any ideas why Greenhaven seems to have a lot of stuff available ?Thank you.
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Old 02-01-2009, 08:10 PM
Location: Washington, DC & New York
10,830 posts, read 26,338,550 times
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Larchmont will tend to have more for your money than Bronxville, especially since you have to be sure to be in the village to have the school system, not in the zip code. Pelham has much of what you might want as well, save for the downtown not being as comprehensive as Larchmont. You might also consider Irvington, since it's a nice village on the Hudson with very good schools. And, while Irvington is a little further from the East End, it's an extra 20 minutes or so from Larchmont.
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Old 02-02-2009, 07:37 AM
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First off, not exactly sure what you mean by "Greenhaven,"... is it a neighborhood within Rye Neck?

Getting to your questions: Westchester obviously have many NYC transplants just like you, with young children, etc, etc. (I have a 4 year old and 2 year old myself). You'll fit right in, in multiple neighborhoods. In your budget, you have the good forture of being able to find a nice home anywhere in the county, though you'll get more for your money in some areas over others. But for $1.5 million, you will get a "nice" house anywhere.

In terms of strong public schools, about half the school districts in the county have exceptional schools. I won't even begin to give you the whole list.

In terms of a nice "Main Street," culture and recreation -- Nothing will really compare to a NYC neighborhood. Further, many towns are close together, so it's easy to enjoy the culture and ameneties of neighboring towns. I live in Chappaqua, for example, but I enjoy the "Main Street," and culture of Pleasantville, which is just minutes away.

Of the towns you mentioned so far:
Bronxville has a nice downtown area, it's very affluent with excellent schools, and definitely a short commute. On the downside, it does have a reputation for being snobby in an old-money, exclusive type of way. It's not one of the more diverse towns in Westchester.

Larchmont/Mamaroneck share the same school district. Larchmont have a very nice, upscale "downtown" area, with lots of nice shops and restaurants. Mamaroneck's downtown area is a bit more down-to-earth, but still has plenty to offer. Mamaroneck has a bit more cultural and economic diversity than Larchmont. Overall, the schools rate very well, though some people complain that the higher grades are too large. The town is also known for have good amenities for residents. Parks on the LI Sound, etc. In terms of arts, if has the Emilen Performing Arts Theater.

Rye Neck is interesting. It's essentially a tiny area, just off Rye proper. It's a small district, and has slightly less prestige than Rye. Yet, it does rate well. Overall, the town is a bit less wealthy than some of its neighbors. I looked at houses in Rye Neck about 8 years ago, and I don't really recall it having any true downtown area. Still, you are close to Rye, which has plenty to offer.

Scarsdale is a town you should consider, for ease of commute, exceptional schools, and a nice downtown area -- But it does have a competitive/snobby reputation somewhat.

Ivrington was mentioned. A lovely Hudson River town. Exceptional schools. The river towns have their own downtowns, their own culture somewhat. But considering your desire to be close to Long Island, the western part of the county would add a little bit to that trip. On the other hand, from any point in Southern/Central Westchester, you're probably only talking about a 10-15 minute difference in terms of getting to L.I.

Ardsley... Located between Scarsdale and Dobbs Ferry, could be a fit. Not much of a downtown, but nice family neighborhoods.

In terms of culture, you will find it spread out through out Westchester. Much is located in White Plains, and all the towns discussed are within 15 minutes of White Plains. But you will find fine restaurants spread all over. Blue Hill/Stone Barn in Pocantico Hills area, X2O in Yonkers, Bedford Post in Bedford, Crabtree Kittle House in Chappaqua, La Panetiere in Rye, harvest on Hudson in Hastings... just to give some examples of the best.
It's similar with the arts and culture scene. It's spread out. Already mentioned the Emelin Performing Arts Theater in Mamaroneck. For arts-film, there is the Jacob Burns Center in Pleasantville. There is the "Westchester Broadway Theater" in Elmsford for Broadway-style-dinner shows, but they are pretty laughable (no reason not to hop a train to go into the City for the real thing). Peekskill has a reputation of a burgeoning arts and culture scene, but it's much further north than you would want to consider living.

Though the Peekskill area is likely too far north, don't be totally frightened of going a bit north. Due to express train schedules, you can consider more northern towns (such as Briarcliff, Chappaqua, Armonk, Pleasantville, even Croton), without adding significant time onto the Manhattan commute. For example, the morning train from Mamaroneck to Grand Central, is 37-43 minutes. From Pleasantville, it's 50-54 minutes. From Chappaqua, it's 50-57 minutes. From Croton (which is the most northern town I have mentioned), it's 45-70 minutes (obviously big savings if you get the express).
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Old 02-02-2009, 09:15 AM
Location: Washington, DC & New York
10,830 posts, read 26,338,550 times
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Greenhaven is Rye Neck, but I am actually surprised that there are many houses for sale in that area for $1.5M or so, though there was a good deal of speculative buying and renovation of smaller homes in the area and that could account for the difference. It's actually a nice community, overall, so I wouldn't worry about there being a proportionately larger number of homes for sale, save for downward pressure on sales prices. There are no issues with it being a toxic site or being next to a power plant, etc.
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Old 02-02-2009, 08:27 PM
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Havoc, thank you so much for the comprehensive post, really helpful, and appreciate the other comments.
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Old 07-28-2009, 07:05 AM
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To Ledzep123...
Curious...did you ever decide on a town? We are in a similar situation.
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Old 08-02-2009, 08:06 AM
10 posts, read 37,734 times
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We did make a decision, but ended up going in a different direction. We are renting a house in Munsey Park in Manhasset LI. We are giving it a try and if all goes well will look to buy something in 6 months or so. I must say, it is a beautiful spot. Most of the knocks that we heard from people about LI had to do with traffic. So far we havent had that much of a problem and it is very nice to be near the Miracle Mile and a number of other shopping places. That is something we didnt find in Westchester. The taxes are also a lot lower here. Good luck to you!
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