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Old 04-21-2009, 11:08 AM
 
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We are moving to Westchester County from the San Francisco Bay area this summer and are trying to figure out which town is the best fit for us. Schools are extremely important to us which is why we've narrowed it down to these three towns. While we can afford to buy in any of them (we're used to paying a lot for real estate in SF), we're pretty down-to-earth, laid back Californians who don't really care about keeping up with the Joneses. We also value diversity and our kids are half-Asian, but we recognize none of these places is very diverse and are willing to sacrifice diversity in the near term for good elementary schools (we will be coming back to CA in 3-5 years).

I'm hoping not to offend anyone and realize this is completely subjective, but my main question is which of these 3 towns is the least snooty? Any other thoughts on which would be the best fit for a family with young children and be the easiest place to integrate as an outsider? Is parking at the train station easier at any of these towns? I like the fact Rye is on the water, I like the fact Bronxville would have the best commute to NYC for my husband, and I like the fact Scarsdale seems a bit bigger than the other towns so possibly (?) has a bit more diversity or things to offer like shopping and kids activities. Thanks!
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Old 04-21-2009, 11:09 AM
 
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If you want any diversity, don't look in Bronxville. There is somewhat more diversity in Scarsdale than in Rye, however... I wouldn't say any of these three is particularly diverse.
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Old 04-21-2009, 11:53 AM
 
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You mentioned your children are half Asian. If it matters, Scarsdale has a higher percentage of Asian children. As far as "snooty" factor, each of these towns has a certain reputation of being like that, but I think it's more of a perception with some reality blown out of proportion. Lastly, I don't think the commute should be a deciding factor for you because the differences will be minimal among these towns.
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Old 04-21-2009, 02:22 PM
 
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I don't find Bronxville particularly diverse, either.
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Old 04-21-2009, 02:32 PM
 
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Bronxville has the least diversity, virtually no racial, religious, or ethnic diversity.

Scarsdale and Rye are not particularly diverse in terms of socio-economic -- They are both very affluent. But you will find a bit more racial and religious diversity.

Scarsdale does have a nice town center, and does have good family amenities. (Nice pool, etc). Not sure about the other areas.

All 3 areas have pretty "snooty" reputations.

It's almost cliche, but whenever anybody seems to be relocating from San Fran, the Westchester River towns get recommended -- Primarily Irvington, Ardsley, Hastings and Dobbs Ferry. Slightly more diverse, slightly more laid back.
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Old 04-21-2009, 02:41 PM
 
Location: Live in NY State, work in CT
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Of the 3, I would reluctantly say Scarsdale. Historically, it is as "snooty", white-bread, etc. as Bronxville, but some of the "old money" has been replaced by significant Jewish and Asian (since you mention half-Asian) populations in recent decades. Now whether this "diversity" means that a "mixed" family is more accepted than elsewhere is very hard to say, though I imagine from my own observations in the field so to speak that white-Asian is accepted a lot more than any other "racial blending".

I agree with the immediately prior post about the Rivertowns for a laid back Californian, though I'd consider Irvington (and to some degree Ardsley) kind of a somewhat more laid-back version of Bronxville and still a little snobbish, especially Ardsley in more recent years. Dobbs Ferry is probably the least "snobbish" of the 4, and I have a former co-worker who has that "laid-back Californian" attitude and he is very comfortable living in Hastings (which would be the shortest commute of the 4 too, a la Bronxville). Good luck!
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Old 04-21-2009, 03:15 PM
 
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Thanks everyone! I'll look into the River Towns as well. Which of those has the best schools? I also wanted to throw out Larchmont as an option. It sounds like it may be slightly more diverse and has the appeal of the water, but are the schools in the same caliber as Rye/Bronxville/Scarsdale?
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Old 04-21-2009, 04:04 PM
 
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Dobbs Ferry is the most diverse and most laid back. Irvington is the best schools (and still more laid back than Scarsdale, Bronxville and Rye).

Some other areas that are less snobby, with exceptional schools -- Could consider Rye Brook, Croton, Pleasantville. Possibly Chappaqua.

Larchmont is a nice area, but the high school can be a bit more questionable. I wouldn't call it a bad school. But unlike most of the other areas you are considering, Larchmont is part of a larger school district, and all the schools feed into Mamaroneck High School. So the high schools has all the pros and cons you would expect to find when you have much greater socio-economic, as well as ethnic, diversity.
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Old 04-22-2009, 07:16 AM
 
Location: East Millcreek
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ally2 View Post
We are moving to Westchester County from the San Francisco Bay area this summer <<<<snip>>>>.....
....we're pretty down-to-earth, laid back Californians who don't really care about keeping up with the Joneses.<<<snip>>>
.....which of these 3 towns is the least snooty?
This is like wanting a rugged SUV for offroad use and being stuck between the Cayanne, X5 and GL450. By the standards of laid back Californians, you couldn't have picked 3 Westchester towns that seem less aligned with your lifestyle. All are beautiful, affluent, good-to-great elem schools with good NYC commute. All 3 also showcase the most extreme cases of keep-up-with-the-Joneses culture (with Scarsdale at the top IMHO). If you have the money for nice vacations, 2nd homes, fancy afterschool programs, nannies, etc, you'll fit right in and you may love it. But if you don't, especially if you're insecure about it, or even if you do but just hate the self-important attitude, you'll soon discover why these places are considered snooty.

If you want a more laid back lifestyle you need to look upcounty, though commute will suffer. Farther north there's as much (or more) affluence with vacations, nannies etc, just less competitive and judgemental, much more laid back. Towns include Chappaqua, Bedford, Mt Kisco, Pound Ridge, Katonah, etc. This thread captures the basic south vs north cultural differences:
Larchmont vs. Chappaqua
Substitute Bronxville or Rye for Larchmont and you won't be too far off. Scarsdale is far more heavily Jewish than Bronxville or Rye, more "country club and tennis," less outdoorsy if that's a consideration.
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Old 04-22-2009, 03:17 PM
hsw
 
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Which suburb in SF region do you prefer? Affluent NYC suburbs are similarly "diverse" socio-economically

NJ/LI suburbs (aside from Short Hills NJ) tend to be somewhat like affluent E Bay/Marin suburbs...less well-educated, more insular

Greenwich's Belle Haven and Round Hill area are NYC region's version of Woodside, where many of wealthiest hedgies reside (aside from Manhattan)

Scarsdale/Chappaqua are prob most akin to Los Altos Hills or Palo Alto....somewhat communist, overeducated...have similarly strong public schools as does PA...lacks the high-IQ PA tech/academic culture, more of a NYC middling lawyer/IBer culture (more annoyingly aspirational than Greenwich)

East Bay and Marin tend to be a little less welcoming of Jews/Asians; LAH/Atherton more cosmopolitan...Scarsdale and Greenwich tend to be most cosmopolitan, upscale suburbs of NYC

Biggest arbitrage is arguably the onerous NY income (and property) tax rates vs those of CT...many of region's most astute financiers prefer Greenwich as a relative tax haven
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