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Old 05-15-2009, 01:42 PM
 
395 posts, read 1,385,115 times
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Hello - I've received so much good info and advice on here in the last few months of our home search, and we have narrowed it down to 2 homes. One is in Ardsley, Ardsley schools, close to schools & shops, would have to use the Dobbs or Ardsley-on-Hud train stations for commute. The other is in Pleasantville PO/Armonk schools, so we would be using Pleasantville train (and preschools probably) but kids going to Armonk (bus stop near house though).

All other things being equal with the homes themselves, can anyone share insight on living in these towns, the schools (armonk vs. ardsley), commutes, etc? I understand that southern and central/north Westchester have different vibes in general, but wondering if anyone can give more detail on these 2 towns specifically.

We are torn between the additional lot/space in P-ville vs. being closer to the city, and I'm also concerned about the social aspects of living in one town w/kids in school in another.

Insights and info greatly appreciated!!

Last edited by cali_to_nj; 05-15-2009 at 01:52 PM..
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Old 05-15-2009, 02:34 PM
 
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Let's try to address your concerns and thoughts.

In terms of regional "vibes," it's not just north v. south. There are a few other categories, including "river towns." The river towns have a reputation of being a bit more progressive and a bit less pretentious than other towns in the county. Ardsley is a border-rivertown. I've only heard good things about Ardsley schools. On the downside, Ardsley does not have much of a town center, and I never felt it had much of a town identity. It does not have its own trainstation, and you may have difficulty getting train permits for those stations. On the metro-north website, you should be able to get phone contact info for the parking lots -- Give them a call, tell them you are purchasing in Arsdley, and ask if a parking permit would be available (and what the waiting period would be, etc).

Turning to Pleasantville/Armonk-- The "living in one town, school in another" -- That's a non-issue. There is actually a large region of Pleasantville that uses Armonk schools. Further, it's not as if Armonk residents don't venture into Pleasantville, and vice versa. It's just a matter of where the post office drew boundaries. Nothing more. If your kids are using Armonk schools, then you really live in Armonk, regardless of which post office delivers your mail. Since you live close to Pleasantville, you will take advantage of some of the shops, train, etc, in Pleasantville. You may even qualify for a Pleasantville train permit, which would be a real major plus (again, make a phone call and ask). Armonk does not have a train station, which can make commuting a hassle. Many Armonk residents drive down to North White Plains.
Armonk schools are top rated (that's the pro). But I have heard stories about the school being especially cutthroat and pretentious. I don't know the full degree of truth behind those rumors.

Geographically, the towns really are not that far from each other (15 minute drive). Comparing commutes, will really depend on whether you can get parking permits, for what train station. Once you know what parking lots you can actually use, then you can map out distance to the train station, look at the train schedules, and really calculate the difference in the commute.
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Old 05-15-2009, 04:30 PM
 
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Thanks, Havoc (and thanks for the PM re: Croton, we had actually crossed that off the list since DH may be driving into the city occasionally for his commute but will take a look). That's actually what I was afraid of regarding the schools vs. PO. The house is literally on the border so we would do drop-off to Pleasantville train, and would prefer to put my little one in preschool/daycare in Pleasantville as well. I would generally prefer to have our social center be in Pleasantville rather than Armonk, based on the rep you mentioned (which I have heard from others).

If I have one child and eventually both going to Armonk schools, would I have to do summer camps, etc. there also or conceivably in Pleasantville? Wondering how many Armonk-school kids there are in P-ville daycare or camps if parents are using that train? This is seriously a dilemma for us - if this house was one block over in P-ville schools we would not hesitate.
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Old 05-15-2009, 04:53 PM
 
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Your "social center" is a combination of choice, and school district. For many things, your social center is really county-wide. Unless you are using the local village summer camp (and not even sure all local villages have their own daycamps), kids go to summer camp all over the county, and even outside of the county. My children are still too young for daycamp, but I know my neices have been in programs all over the county.

If you do use the local town sponsored summer camp, I do not know if it would be divided by school district, or mailing address. It's quite possible you could choose either.
Same with daycare -- We use a daycare center located in Mount Kisco. We live in Chappaqua. But truthfully, I don't know any families that use the center, that actually reside in Mount Kisco. I know families that live in Armonk, Katonah, Somers, and North Salem, that use this particular daycare in Mount Kisco. The same can be said for the daycare centers in Pleasantville and Armonk, they cater to people from the entire region, not just from the immediate town.

It is inevitable that the children's social circle will be built around their classmates, and that's the concern of "rep."

Not sure what I would do in your situation. In many ways, I prefer the Pleasantville/Armonk/Chappaqua region over Ardsley. Just a bit nicer, and Pleasantville is a nice town center. Arsdley is a bit charmless. But on the other hand, Ardsley is very centrally located, with excellent school reputations.

In terms of driving to the city from Croton -- It would be worse than Ardsley or Armonk, but not significantly so. Probably a 10-15 minute longer drive, than Armonk/Pleasantville border. (I actually do know a couple slightly older families who live on that border, who sent their kids to Armonk schools). Maybe about 20-25 minutes longer than coming from Ardsley.

One other area to consider in your budget, you may want to look at Rye Brook.
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Old 05-15-2009, 08:11 PM
 
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I live in Ardsley and commute into NYC every day so I can give you some insight.

Town Center - Havoc is right - there is no town center but that doesn't bother me too much because Ardsley is centrally located so I end up doing my shopping elsewhere. Town center is not that important to me because I have a car and I usually go to Dobbs Ferry, Yonkers and even the Palisades Mall (really close by) to shop for anything I need. There are restaurants in town and a supermarket/pharmacy and deli so technically there are places to go in Ardsley, it just isn't a nice walkable downtown like Bronxville or Larchmont.

Schools - Schools are the #1 reason I moved to Ardsley. My child is now in the middle school but I was extremely happy with the elementary school. The classes were small (17-18 kids with 1 teacher and a teacher's aide or student teacher), diverse (mostly Jewish, Asian and Caucasian), with lots of extra activities. There is an after school program (Ardsley Children's Center) that is relatively inexpensive and well run. I used it the entire time my daughter was in elementary school. Lunch is inexpensive as well $2.50/day and they have healthy options. I really respected and liked the teachers and found the environment to be nurturing. From an academic standpoint, I found the school challenging for those that needed it and yet nurturing for those that had trouble. There was a lot of individual attention given to students.
My daughter is now in middle school and I admit, I do not like it as much as the elementary school but I think that is because I personally am not crazy about the principal. Ardsley students start middle school in 5th grade which is earlier than most so the first year of middle school can be difficult. I have no experience with the highschool but from friends who have kids there, the highschool is excellent. The middle school is probably the "weakest" of the 3 schools in Ardsley. There is an Ardsley Day Camp that is in the Middle School fro kids in Grades K-8. It's expensive ($1850 for 6 weeks) but my child enjoys spending the summer with friends.

Commute - you will need to secure parking now if you need want to get a spot in any of the train stations nearby. Dobbs Ferry is train station is only for Dobbs ferry residents and there are only about 10 non-resident spots. Unless, you are buying a house with a Dobbs PO and Ardsley schools, you may have to get on a waiting list to park at Dobbs. You can also try Scarsale. My DH parks in Scarsdale - they had plenty of spots last I heard but you need to call the Town of Eastchester to inquire about train station parking. You can also try Hastings but there might be a waiting list there as well. Prior to moving in, I called all 3 towns to get on their waiting list. I got called for all 3 eventually (Scarsdale first) but ended up parking elsewhere. You can also drive to work if you get desperate (Saw Mill to Henry Hudson to West Side Highway). I work exactly 20 miles away and it took me an average of 45-60 minutes depending on traffic. Without traffic, it can be as little as 30 minutes.

Attitude - For the most part, Ardsley is probably a little more pretentious than Dobbs and Hastings. I find the moms to be a bit clicky, but it may be because I work full time and I don't interact with other parents that often. Many moms here are stay at home moms and tend to stick together.

Overall, I find Ardsley to be a great place to live. My home value has gone up despite the housing market, my child has made some great friends and is getting a wonderful education. Public services are also excellent - streets are ALWAYS plowed in the winter, garbage is always picked up, police show up in a moments notice etc. Overall it a nice small town, you will find that everyone here kind of knows each other, especially if they have kids in the district. PM me if you need more info or want to know more about the neighborhood where the house you are at is located. Good Luck.
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Old 05-15-2009, 08:16 PM
 
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One other thing - Ardsley on Hudson train station is actually only for Irvington residents (go figure). Your best bet for parking is Scarsdale, Dobbs and/or Hastings but I suggest you put your name on the list now so you won't get stuck in a bind.
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Old 05-15-2009, 08:21 PM
 
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Last post - sorry - here is a link if you want to learn more about the River Towns and all they have to offer.

Welcome to RivertownsGuide.com
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Old 05-15-2009, 08:32 PM
 
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jyyanks - thank you so much, very informative!! I may pm you with some additional questions.
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Old 05-16-2009, 05:45 AM
 
Location: Live in NY State, work in CT
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A lot of good info has been given here, most of which I would say exactly, but since my wife grew up in Ardsley and her folks still live there, I wanted to give you a few quick thoughts.

Basically, if you commute by car, it's a great place (near the Saw Mill and Thruway, somewhat near the Sprain), but if you commute by train it's a bit tougher. Also I would say they're a bit more pretentious than the "river towns" but a bit less so than say Scarsdale, but in recent years becoming more pretentious as a lot of people who would normally buy homes in Scarsdale but were a bit priced out by the real estate boom prices of most of the 2000s bought there (Ardsley's still expensive nowadays even by Westchester standards, except for a few very small (1000 sq. ft.) homes on Ashford Ave.). For example, her folks had an old somewhat beat up car whose plates were taken off awaiting a pickup from a sale that had to wait a week, and someone called the police saying that "an unsightly old car" was making the block look bad and they got fined. Also like towns like Bronxville, etc. there is no overnight parking on the streets.
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Old 05-16-2009, 01:25 PM
 
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Sorry if I am saying too much but thought of some other things. Living in Ardsley with Ardsley schools has advantages but living in Greenburgh with Ardsley schools has even more advantages. Greenburgh recreation is fantastic and you get access to the Greenburgh pool which is in Ardsley but not open to Ardsley residents (long story). There are also a lot of recreation programs worth exploring. Homes within Greenburgh that have Ardsley schools have higher taxes but its something to consider, esp if you want access to a pool in the summer. There is no overnight parking but I find that to be common in many towns/villages. Great soccer program (AYSO) open to kids in Dobbs, Hastings and Ardsley and an added advantage of having a pool in the middle school.
Honestly, the commute isn't bad if you can secure train station parking but traffic on Ashford from Ardsley to Dobbs where 9A crosses is quite nightmarish.
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