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Old 03-24-2009, 09:12 AM
 
5 posts, read 36,716 times
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Default What is it like living in Pleasantville?

Hi all,

I'm married with three young kids, ages 6, 3, and 1. We've been living in Larchmont for roughly 3 years now and want to make a move, because of negative experiences we've had here due to class and race issues (I'm of Asian descent, while my wife is of German/Russian stock) That being said, we've been looking around at different towns in Westchester to try and fit our needs. The characteristics we're looking for are:
1) a family-friendly town, with a fair percentage of residents having kids
2) a friendly town in general, devoid of the snobbery
3) a walkable downtown with interesting shops/places of interest/restaurants
4) a racially / culturally diverse population, though this is actually a much, much smaller consideration than the friendliness of the town in general. I would overwhelmingly prefer a place that is 99.999% Caucasian but very friendly vs. one that has a broad mix of ethnicities domainated by hyper-competitive, snobby people.

So, all that being said, we keep hearing good things about Pleasantville, and in the past few outings we've made out there, it seems to match all our criteria, excepting perhaps #4, which is fine. Can anyone on this forum give the inside scoop on Pleasantville, i.e. what the people are like in general, whether they might be accepting of an educated, interracial family, and what the downtown is like?

I'd be very grateful for any guidance you have to offer!
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Old 03-24-2009, 09:55 AM
 
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I reside 1 town over from Pleasantville, so I can give you my limited observations. Primarily, I can tell you the town meets #3. The Jacob Burns Film center is really a nice place to have. And surrounding it, you have a pretty decent mix of restaurants, shops, etc. All a bit more down to earth than Larchmont as well.

It is definitely a family-friendly area as well. So #1 should not be an issue at all.

I don't know if it's devoid of snobbery, but it might be a bit better than some other Westchester towns.

As to your last element -- It is *not* a particularly diverse town. You can look up school demographics at greatschools.net. A very tiny Asian population. Over 90% Caucasian in total. Not the least diverse place in Westchester, but among the less diverse. The total diversity is a bit of a Hispanic population.
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Old 03-24-2009, 10:14 AM
 
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And, if it's important to you, there is NO school bus service in Pleasantville.
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Old 03-24-2009, 11:26 AM
 
Location: Washington, DC & New York
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#2 on your list can be difficult to find within many affluent communities in Westchester. Pleasantville may have a lower incidence of pretensions and snobbery than Larchmont, in general, but I would not describe it as the most down-to-earth community. That said, one of the more important factors is that you have children, since that's a bridge to make friends in many Westchester towns. Are there any other areas you're considering?
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Old 03-24-2009, 03:31 PM
 
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Thanks for the replies thus far! I understand about the no-bus service, but we're used to that here in Larchmont, which also has no bus service. As for the diversity, I saw from the city-data page at http://www.city-data.com/city/Pleasa...-New-York.html that 86% of the town is Caucasian, though this is still better then Larchmont, where the percentage is 91%. And, again, the friendliness of the town is more paramount to me than the racial makeup. My brother lives in Western Springs, IL, which is as white as the driven snow at 97% Caucasian. His son is the only Asian in his grade, yet because the people there are so friendly, race is practically a non-issue. I guess I just want my kids to be in an environment where they don't have to worry about a classmate pulling her eyes back and saying, "I'm making Chinese" or where a different classmate mimics throwing up after meals (and that was in kindergarten, if you can believe that...). If I can have that for my kids, I don't really care what the ethnic makeup of a town is.

We considered New Rochelle, but the schools don't appear to be that great. Same with Mamaroneck. Hastings looked good in terms of possibly being a laid-back town, but we can't afford it. I'd be happy to hear of other towns that might fit the bill, but right now we only know of Pleasantville as a viable alternative. Anyone else have a first-person view of what Pleasantville is like?
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Old 03-24-2009, 07:43 PM
 
Location: Washington, DC & New York
9,339 posts, read 15,374,241 times
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That's awful that children make comments like that in school. And, you're right to do something about it, since it does impact on their quality of life at school. Have you considered the Edgemont district in Greenburgh? It's a smaller school district and the people are more laid back than Scarsdale, though the walkable downtown is a sticking point, but it's not terribly far from Scarsdale for the village.

New Rochelle is fine at the lower grades in certain schools, but at the upper grades, the district has performance lags because it's huge and has large middle and high schools as opposed to the smaller village schools in other locales.

Some towns/villages that come to mind with a significant amount of diversity and a good number of residents of Asian descent (Japanese, Korean, Chinese) would include: Harrison, Armonk, and Eastchester: Bronxville, Eastchester (unincorporated), and Tuckahoe. I know that Eastchester has a good population of those of Japanese ancestry, with a smaller proportion of those of Korean and Chinese ancestry, and that's in all areas of the town, though Bronxville is expensive and can be uber competitive. But, the nice thing about all these areas is that your children would not be the only students of a multi-ethnic background, particularly among those who have Asian ancestry. I eliminated Scarsdale and Chappaqua as they do tend to be a little more competitive, overall, and Scarsdale, in particular, can be a tad pretentious in many areas of town.

If you don't mind going a bit further north, I would suggest looking into Katonah, Bedford, Pound Ridge, and Lewisboro. While not having large populations of those from Asian ancestry, I know that these areas are pretty welcoming, attracting a good mixture of people from the affluent to the positively wealthy. The other aspects of Northern Westchester that are nice are the open space, and the fact that many people may have some money, but they are down-to-earth in that they do not have the need to conspicuously consume. Thus, there are people who are much more comfortable and are not jockeying for position. For example, in Katonah, it makes no difference to most who live in town if one lives in a 3/2 cape cod house in the village or on a palatial spread on acreage on the reservior, since they are part of the community. While it's not terribly diverse, I cannot recall anyone making an issue out of another cultural background in the area, quite the contrary, however, since I do know people who were peppered with questions about their heritage (to learn more about it), though they had been Americans for generations. The commute is significantly longer, however, which can be a drawback.

In my experience, Westchester does have some areas that have open-minded, friendly people who have nothing to prove. The walkable downtowns can be an issue, since some areas, like Armonk, are a little more spread out. But, Eastchester has options in that it's close to Scarsdale in places, and Tuckahoe is a compact village in its own right. Eastchester schools are a notch below their peers in Scarsdale, but it's a solid district. Harrison schools tend to perform well, though parts of the town can get very expensive, especially in Purchase and by the country clubs. In Northern Westchester, Katonah-Lewisboro covers Katonah (which is the Town of Bedford) and the Town of Lewisboro (Waccabuc, South Salem, Cross River, etc.) and has an excellent reputation. Bedford is a more diverse district, covering Pound Ridge, Bedford, Bedford Hills, and Mount Kisco. Some of the elementary schools in Bedford Central do not perform as well as others, but the middle and high schools are respectable, and the majority of the elementary schools are good.

Pleasantville might not be a bad choice, but I'd explore the town on weekends, having lunch and/or dinner there, etc. just to get a feel for the prevailing trends that you perceive within the town. It's difficult to put myself in your shoes, but I can say that not everyone is as closed-minded as those to whom you are already acquainted in Larchmont. The problem with other areas is the walking distance to the village center, since some have one that's convenient and walkable, but it might be a 5-10 minute drive to town as opposed to living in the town/village and walking to everything.
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Old 03-24-2009, 08:43 PM
 
712 posts, read 1,274,024 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by billin View Post
Hi all,

I'm married with three young kids, ages 6, 3, and 1. We've been living in Larchmont for roughly 3 years now and want to make a move, because of negative experiences we've had here due to class and race issues (I'm of Asian descent, while my wife is of German/Russian stock) That being said, we've been looking around at different towns in Westchester to try and fit our needs. The characteristics we're looking for are:
1) a family-friendly town, with a fair percentage of residents having kids
2) a friendly town in general, devoid of the snobbery
3) a walkable downtown with interesting shops/places of interest/restaurants
4) a racially / culturally diverse population, though this is actually a much, much smaller consideration than the friendliness of the town in general. I would overwhelmingly prefer a place that is 99.999% Caucasian but very friendly vs. one that has a broad mix of ethnicities domainated by hyper-competitive, snobby people.

So, all that being said, we keep hearing good things about Pleasantville, and in the past few outings we've made out there, it seems to match all our criteria, excepting perhaps #4, which is fine. Can anyone on this forum give the inside scoop on Pleasantville, i.e. what the people are like in general, whether they might be accepting of an educated, interracial family, and what the downtown is like?

I'd be very grateful for any guidance you have to offer!
1. Pleasantville is family-friendly with a fair percentage having kids though there are more older people with roots in the neighborhood who can actually afford to stay there than many other neighborhoods in Westchester.

2. Because many of the parents seem to have blue collar roots despite current white collar professions it seems to me to be less snobby than many other towns. The parents drive Hondas instead of Porsches, the kids play football and basketball instead of squash and golf and the families summer at the pool instead of "Out East."

3. The village of Pleasantville right around the center of town is walkable. Beyond that it is not walkable at all.

4. Friendly more than racially diverse. There are a number of kids of different races (not a majority though) who are totally assimilated and welcomed.
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Old 03-24-2009, 09:29 PM
 
Location: Yorktown Heights NY
1,316 posts, read 2,979,572 times
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In my experience, the communities in northern Westchester are all remarkably friendly, unassuming, and welcoming. There's a tremendous socio-economic diversity and I've never seen any snobbery or social awkwardness. The parents in my son's school range from very successful (or formerly so) financial types to artists and writers to accountants and construction managers. There are certainly distinct neighborhoods and different social groups, but there's a strong sense of community and everyone gets along. It is a very welcoming community. Our town (Yorktown Heights) has very little racial diversity, but each of my son's classes has had a nice mix of children with distinct ethnic backgrounds. Each year he's had at least a few classmates who are Asian, African-American, and Latino. It is certainly not a lot of diversity, but I think it is enough to make the kids comfortable with differences. Overall, I think you'll find the towns in northern Westchester to be very open-minded and welcoming.
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Old 03-25-2009, 02:53 PM
 
128 posts, read 248,025 times
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Pleasantville is truly all in the name : Pleasant. It's your typical town. It's got great facitlies like resturants, good parks, people are pleasant, everything is just pleasant. In Westchester you got towns that are either very rich or very poor, but Pleasntville is pleasantly middle class, not too much of anything. It's a pretty small town in terms of actual radius, but I always thought of Pleasantville as the epicenter of Westchester, from a geographic point of view, rather the whole Town of Mt. Pleasantville is. Like you can acess 684 in like 10 mins and you can acess the hudson river in 10 mins, its pretty much the middle of the county, and it kinda balances the county out since it is the middle in the literal, figurtive, and metaphorical sense.
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Old 03-25-2009, 02:59 PM
 
59 posts, read 118,069 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by billin View Post
Hi all,

I'm married with three young kids, ages 6, 3, and 1. We've been living in Larchmont for roughly 3 years now and want to make a move, because of negative experiences we've had here due to class and race issues (I'm of Asian descent, while my wife is of German/Russian stock) That being said, we've been looking around at different towns in Westchester to try and fit our needs. The characteristics we're looking for are:
1) a family-friendly town, with a fair percentage of residents having kids
2) a friendly town in general, devoid of the snobbery
3) a walkable downtown with interesting shops/places of interest/restaurants
4) a racially / culturally diverse population, though this is actually a much, much smaller consideration than the friendliness of the town in general. I would overwhelmingly prefer a place that is 99.999% Caucasian but very friendly vs. one that has a broad mix of ethnicities domainated by hyper-competitive, snobby people.

So, all that being said, we keep hearing good things about Pleasantville, and in the past few outings we've made out there, it seems to match all our criteria, excepting perhaps #4, which is fine. Can anyone on this forum give the inside scoop on Pleasantville, i.e. what the people are like in general, whether they might be accepting of an educated, interracial family, and what the downtown is like?

I'd be very grateful for any guidance you have to offer!
I lived and worked in Pleasantville from 1993 til 2000, I attended Pace University and loved the town and people in it enough to stay there 2 years after graduating, I have not been there in a while but still know some in the area and its still a good place to live, good luck.
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