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Old 10-12-2009, 06:52 PM
 
Location: Yorktown Heights NY
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It's always fascinating to read other people's descriptions of places. I very much like Pleasantville and enjoy going there often, but it feels very dense and suburban to me--not at all "small town/rural." That's a description I would use for Katonah, which to me has a large core that's within easy walking distance of main street.

My point is only that everything is personal and in the eye of the beholder. No matter what you're looking for, the only way to get a sense of what area is right for you is to go out and explore.
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Old 10-12-2009, 07:05 PM
 
Location: Washington, DC & New York
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With a White Plains commute, you're better off not having to drive across the county, since 287, the Cross Westchester Expressway, is notorious for its backups. Most of the areas that have been recommended so far would not fall into the category of using 287, but some routes from Chappaqua, Plesantville, or the river towns would have the appearance of convenience via 287, but your best bet will be a secondary road that would add a little bit to the commute, but is without the same notorious tie-ups.

I would throw Pelham into the mix as well, though downtown areas are not as comprehensive as Bronxville or Larchmont in immediate proximity, yet many houses are of the desired vintage and price range. Scarsdale would also have houses that would meet your requirements, though the town is not everyone's cup of tea, and the degree of quaintness can be proportional to the price.
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Old 10-12-2009, 07:53 PM
 
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That's true about commuting on 287. I always think of the drive from Pleasantville to WP as being so easy, like 15 minutes, but I never do it during commuting hours only on evenings or weekends. Then again, coming from Los Angeles I have yet to experience that kind of mind numbing traffic anywhere here at any time of the day. This also goes to dma's point which is that in comparison to LA, Pleasantville is definitely small town and if not rural itself, a pretty close neighbor to it.
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Old 10-13-2009, 07:10 AM
 
Location: East Millcreek
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To add an interpretive flavor to your criteria, it sounds like you're looking for "Bedford Falls" (It's a wonderful Life) along with the values you'd expect to find in an older, established community.

Since the job is in White Plains, I'd strongly urge you to focus upcounty rather than Pelham, Scarsdale etc. If you're from the midwest you're going to find southern Westchester to be vastly more crowded with more traffic, more competition and conspicuous consumption, more attitude and more day-to-day rudeness than farther north. You'll also pay more and get less. The reason these towns are so popular on this board is that they have great schools, affluence (and so high brand recognition) and easy commute to NYC. Nobody on this board will dispute their dark side (snobbiness, pressure, astronomical taxes). The only reason anybody lives in Bronxville is because somebody in the family makes a lot of $$$ working in NYC. If the same person worked in WP makinn the same $$$ they'd live on 5 acres in Bedford (Bedford NY, not Bedford Falls) or Pound Ridge with a pool, a barn and maybe a horse or 2.

So, do yourself a favor and look north. Anyplace up I-684 is an easy, easy WP commute, specifically Mt Kisco which really is quite Bedford Falls-like and quite vital. Pleasantville is as well. Katonah and Chappaqua might qualify too, and commutes to WP are easy, but they're smaller. Katonah is almost postcard-like. You definitely need to see all these towns first hand.
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Old 10-14-2009, 10:04 AM
 
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I agree with the sentiment of sticking to Central and Northern Westchester. You will get more for your money, than in Southern Westchester, and still have an easy commute to White Plains.
Pleasantville, Armonk, Croton, and Mount Kisco strike me as areas where you can walk to the town center. On that list, Mount Kisco has the biggest town center, Pleasantville probably has the nicest. And Croton perhaps has the slightly nicer residential neighborhoods, with a bit more value in prices. Armonk has a pretty nice town center, considering it does not have a train station. Would still be an easy commute (under 20 minutes), to White Plains.

As to those saying you should avoind 287 --
If you are driving within Westchester, to/from White Plains, 287 won't give you too many headaches. Sure, there will be days when there is an accident. And going westbound on a Friday night can be horrible. But for the handful of exits you would be on it for commuting within Westchester, it shouldn't be a major headache.

I commute between Chappaqua and White Plains every day. I take 287 virtually every day, for a few exits. It's pretty rare I have a problem.
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Old 10-14-2009, 10:38 AM
 
Location: Washington, DC & New York
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The problem with some areas in Northern Westchester is that they don't have huge numbers of pre-war houses; rather, many were developed in later years, such that the overall neighborhood character that the OP is seeking might not be as accurately represented in those areas of the county.

Lower Westchester has many first suburbs, which is what I believe the OP is seeking -- a neighborhood that had development in the 1920s/1930s and earlier, of a house, around a village. Bedford was founded in 1680 and there are many older houses there that meet the definition by age, but not by neighborhood character. Few areas in Northern Westchester would have a significant number of such houses, though Pleasantville and Katonah would be on the list.

The Tudor Revival, Medieval Revival, Colonial Revial, Mediterranean, Italianate, in mixed neighborhoods are found in greater numbers in Lower Westchester. Even parts of New Rochelle have such houses, though since the OP wanted to walk to town, I left it off my list of recommendations, since such areas can be a hike to the downtown, which is not as nice. And, if closer to Scarsdale, they're just a shade out of the easy walking distance that the OP requested. There are pockets of such houses in Northern Westchester, but not large neighborhoods of them around the village center.
__________________
All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players: they have their exits and their entrances; and one man in his time plays many parts, his acts being seven ages.
~William Shakespeare
(As You Like It Act II, Scene VII)

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Old 10-14-2009, 01:00 PM
 
Location: Yorktown Heights NY
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bmwguydc View Post
The problem with some areas in Northern Westchester is that they don't have huge numbers of pre-war houses; rather, many were developed in later years, such that the overall neighborhood character that the OP is seeking might not be as accurately represented in those areas of the county.
As a rule Northern Westchester has a huge stock of older homes. Most town centers have a good supply of older homes and you'll find plenty of them scattered all over. Most of the houses on my street are from the early 1800's, with a number dating from the 1700's. My town, like many, has a very active historic preservation group and a large number of landmarked homes.

In terms of walkable town centers, Katonah of course has a large number of Victorians, as well as early 1900's homes. Most of Mt Kisco is homes built in the 1800's to early 1900's. Croton is less pure--the zoning was changed in the 1950's to allow for smaller lots and developers bought up the new lots and built houses. So you have a 1920's tudor next to a '50s ranch next to a 1910 colonial and so on. But parts of town, such as the Upper Village, are more pure, with almost all of the homes from the late 1800's to early 1900's.
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Old 10-14-2009, 10:53 PM
 
Location: Washington, DC & New York
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Around $1M in Mount Kisco, using it as an example, has houses not in walkable proximity to the town center, and/or houses built in the later half of the 20th Century, just glancing at current inventory. The area has older homes, but it's not as easy to find one as it is in a first suburb where there were neighborhoods developed. Katonah, too, has a similar issue in terms of inventory, since the area has some great old houses in town, but they don't come up for sale all that often.

Contrast this with an area like Bronxville or Pelham, where there were actual neighborhoods created during the era from which the OP wants a house, and there's a better chance of finding one that's on the market.
__________________
All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players: they have their exits and their entrances; and one man in his time plays many parts, his acts being seven ages.
~William Shakespeare
(As You Like It Act II, Scene VII)

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Old 10-15-2009, 08:18 AM
 
Location: Yorktown Heights NY
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bmwguydc View Post
Around $1M in Mount Kisco, using it as an example, has houses not in walkable proximity to the town center, and/or houses built in the later half of the 20th Century, just glancing at current inventory. The area has older homes, but it's not as easy to find one as it is in a first suburb where there were neighborhoods developed. Katonah, too, has a similar issue in terms of inventory, since the area has some great old houses in town, but they don't come up for sale all that often.

Contrast this with an area like Bronxville or Pelham, where there were actual neighborhoods created during the era from which the OP wants a house, and there's a better chance of finding one that's on the market.
Does Bronxville etc. have 10 times as many houses? Yes, definitely. Will the OP have a broader range of choices in those towns? Yes, definitely. Can the OP find the type of house she wants in the type of neighborhood she wants in Mt Kisco or Katonah? Yes, definitely.

Off the top of my head I can recall 5 or 6 homes on the market in the last year in Mt Kisco that fit the bill. Big, attractive homes built between 1880 and 1930 in the Captain Merits Hill section, about 2 blocks from the train station and Main Street that were asking between 800K and 1.2 million. That neighborhood, as well as some others in the center of Mt Kisco, was developed in that time period and the housing stock is exactly what the OP is after. In Katonah village the housing stock is almost all from 1860 to 1930 and there are definitely some perfect homes. There is a great victorian on the market about half a block from main street for a little over 1 million, as well as some smaller homes built in the early 1900's in the 700K to 1 million price range all within a few blocks of main street.

I have no idea if Mt Kisco or Katonah is what the OP is really after. But they fit the bill enough to get on her list of towns to visit and consider.
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Old 10-15-2009, 10:18 AM
 
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I got the impression that the OP was describing the general feel of a neighborhood, and not expressing a specific uncompromising desire to buy a pre-war house. But I'm not a mind-reader.
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