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Old 04-18-2009, 07:20 AM
6 posts, read 24,842 times
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Thanks for all your help. You and many others convinced me to stay in Westchester. We are concerning Cortlandt Manor. Any suggestions???
[SIZE=3] [/SIZE]
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Old 04-19-2009, 09:37 AM
Location: Moving to Rockland County, NY
13 posts, read 64,171 times
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Before you decide on Cortland, which is a great place to live, I wanted to clarify on Westchester versus Rockland. I grew up in Rockland, and now work as a real estate broker that covers both areas (plus Orange and Putnam and some other places).

Some basics:

1. Living Style
Basically the same. Westchester has some higher end areas, with access to more golf courses and restaurants and a generally more upscale living style. But Rockland has some high end areas. Both have good restaurants along with mediocre restaurants. Westcheser is just bigger, so it has more stuff generally.

2. Prices
Westchester is more expensive, befitting its status as closer to the city (generally, the closer to Manhattan, the more expensive, throughout the region). Last quarter, the average sales price in Westchester was $694,672, the median was $530,000. In Rockland, the average was $433,285, and the median was $408,750. So it's significant. As someone noted, prices in Westchester go down the further you get from the city, so Yorktown is less expensive than southern Westchester towns.

3. Housing Styles
Whoever posted that Rockland was "vacation homes" was just simply incorrect. The home styles are the same, mainly colonials, raised ranches, ranches. More coops and condos in Westchester. And more classic colonial types, since there was more building in Westchester at the time that style was prevalent.

4. Commute
Much better from Westchester, hence the higher prices. Westchester has more direct access to the city, because you don't need to cross the Hudson. And Westchester has the train system, which is extremely good. If you're commuting from Rockland to the city, you're going to either (a) drive, (b) Metronorth, or (c) Jersey train. Driving is not bad if there's no traffic on the GW Bridge, but you'll be backed up during rush hour. The Metronorth trains run through Tarrytown, which is just over the Tappan Zee Bridge that connects Rockland to Westchester, so you can take that, but that means crossing the TZ Bridge in the morning. Some people complain about that, my experience is that if you're only going to Tarrytown, it's not so bad; the bridge backs up a little, but the real backup starts later, after the toll, when a lot of lanes merge onto 287. Also, you have the Jersey trains that pick up in various parts of Rockland. You have to connect in Secacus, which is the negative, but they're generally okay. I wouldn't ever recommend taking the bus that someone talked about.

Hope this helps.
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Old 05-06-2009, 01:36 PM
137 posts, read 302,390 times
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I think people are exaggerating the commute from Rockland a little bit. Commuting from lower Westchester is definitely better, but I wouldn't completely rule out Rockland until you do a little bit of research. I don't think it's fair to say Rockland has a bad commute, especially when compared to Cortlandt Manor. I have no idea what the commute is from there, but it can't be good. According to google maps, Cortlandt Manor is 1 hr, 8 minutes from mid town with no traffic, and 1 hr, 40 minutes with traffic. I doubt the train is any better than the lower parts of Rockland either, although I really don't know - it could be.

I used to commute from Tappan to midtown by car. It usually took 1:10 - 1:20, but there were rare days when it took more. In August, it used to take me 32 minutes door to door from my driveway to the parking garage in midtown, and many days during other parts of the year when it took only 1 hour.

The frustrating part is that it's totally unpredictable. When I first started doing it, I was almost homicidal by the time I got to work, but after a while you get numb to it. Another benefit of being closer in mileage, is that if I stayed late at night, I could get home in 32 minutes. If you're in Cortlandt Manor, you're looking at a long commute with or without traffic.

The TZ bridge has gotten much better too, but I do get off 287 right after the bridge. I also travel on the late side, but I don't hit much traffic even when I'm on the bridge at 9ish. Like a previous poster said, the traffic really builds up after the bridge, so you'd have to test your route to know for sure.

There are obviously many factors to consider, and lots of good reasons to choose Westchester over Rockland, I just don't think it's fair to say Westchester always beats Rockland in commute time. On average Westchester is better, but averages aren't very meaningful. I'd check your commuting routes and talk to people who have actually travelled them.
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Old 05-06-2009, 01:49 PM
137 posts, read 302,390 times
Reputation: 35
I stand corrected....

See the post by awregar on this thread:
Should I live in Tarrytown or Nyack?

about actual commute time from Nyack to midtown, via TZ Express.

I didn't realize it's that bad - 1hr, 45 minutes. I'd still be curious how much of that is after getting to Grand Central, and at what time of the morning that is. If you go at off hours, it could be much shorter.
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Old 05-06-2009, 03:46 PM
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Even from far Northern Westchester, *mass transit* is better from Westchester than Rockland. That's because you can always take a train directly to Grand Central. Even if it's a 75 minute train ride, it's tough for Rockland to compete.
There is very limited train service from Rockland. I believe there is 1 fairly efficient train that can get you from Suffern to Penn Station is a decent amount of time. (I think its 50-60 minutes), but that train only runs 1 or 2 times per day. Miss that train, and you're stuck with a far worse commute.

Putting aside that train line, most other commuting options require buses, or buses to trains, or ferries to trains, etc, etc.

From boarding the bus, to getting to Grand Central, on the TZ Express, is almost 80-90 minutes. That's worse than any Westchester train.

On the other hand, as stated, if you are driving -- Then depending on your hours, depending on traffic, the commute could conceivably be easier from southern Rockland, than from northern Westchester. Westchester still has the advantage of not having to cross any major bridges. From Rockland, you still need to cross the GWB or the TZ every day.
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