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Old 12-14-2010, 10:26 PM
 
44 posts, read 95,662 times
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I am seeking outside advice on an obviously important decision for my family and I. I'm a life long Queens/Brooklyn resident with wife and 2 children (4 & 7). I am looking to move to an area of Westchester or Nassau where there is a greater sense of community and my children can experience what me and wife did not growing up in the city. We are leaning towards Westchester at the moment our price range is high 600s or very low 700s. Most of my family lives in Northern Queens and Nassau County, but my wife and I are not very keen on Nassau except for possibly Port Washington or Roslyn. My Wife and I have been to the Pleasantville/Brioarcliff Manor area and were impressed with quality of life that the residents seem to enjoy. We are just torn between what is best for the us as life progresses i.e proximity to family or schools and quality of life for our kids. I work in Manhattan and my wife is a teacher that can transfer from Queens to the Bronx. I am asking if members of the forum who have had to make a similar choice between Westchester and LI and how they came to their decision and if there are regrets. (Sorry for the long post) Our decision is based on the following in order of importance:

Schools
Activities for children
Commute/Accessibilty to Mass Transit
Shopping
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Old 12-15-2010, 04:34 AM
 
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Former Brooklynite living in Pleasantville here.

Quality of life is not what I experienced growing up. Much better way of life for our kids. Here they play soccer and baseball on lush green fields instead of on asphalt, glass littered schoolyards. Schools are great offering services and extracurricular activities that we couldn't dream of in Brooklyn. Commute to the city is more expensive than that $2.25 that took me from Canarsie to anywhere in the city, but that constant fear for your life is gone. Metro North is part of the reason why housing costs are higher here than, lets say, in Rockland. Shopping is the one thing that's far superior in LI in my opinion. More variety, more discount stores and outlet malls in LI; here there's a few big box stores and one or two expensive malls and that's it.

As far as the highlights for me between Westchester and Nassau:

1. Westchester is far less congested. There's only a few spots where you'll see highway traffic on a weekend in Westchester though the Bronx-Queens bridges are notoriously bad. Seems like everywhere I drive in LI on the weekend is packed.

2. Make sure you folks are cool with not having your families right next door.
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Old 12-15-2010, 07:12 AM
 
Location: Bellevue, WA
1,496 posts, read 4,236,914 times
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This isn't specifically what you were asking, but I have to chime in here. As a parent to two little ones that has never had any family close by, I would say always choose the area closer to family, all other things being equal. Assuming they are the type that you actually WANT to be near, and will help watch your kids for you.

When comparing the quality of our life and marriage to that of friends that can easily send their kids off to family for free (and DO!), versus having to constantly pay a kings ransom for a sitter anytime we want to get out, it highlights how much easier parenting is when you have a village.

Also, we've only been here a few months, but I find it kind of sad that everyone here brags about how they are putting the 'for sale' sign up on their house the minute their kids go off to college (due to opressive taxes). It's depressing to think that just as we are ready to retire, all of our friends will be running for the hills. Maybe it's an east coast thing - that everyone moves away for retirement, but coming from CA where people never really went anywhere due to prop. 13 (old people weren't taxed out of their houses), it seems very isolating.

Granted, Nassau taxes are marginally cheaper, but I hear much more about generations growing up on LI, which I rarely hear about in Westchester. And yes, as Pony said, don't even get me started on the lack of shopping options here! Good luck!
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Old 12-15-2010, 07:38 AM
 
Location: Bronxville, NY
58 posts, read 226,030 times
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Schools -Great schools in LI and Westchester, so it's probably a wash.
Activities for children - Prob. better in LI, but there's much to do in both places.
Commute/Accessibilty to Mass Transit -I guess there are two ways to answer this question:
1) Commute: It's incredibly easy to get to Manhattan from Westchester. But also, if at some point in the future you are not working in Manhattan, Westchester is much more convenient to Connecticut and New Jersey. So your options are easier in the future.
2) Accessibility to Mass Transit: LIRR has far more lines and covers more ground. There are fewer places in LI where mass transit is out of reach, because Westchester has three lines, and two hug the coastline.
Shopping - Similar, except there appears to be less traffic in Westchester. A glaring omission from Westchester's stores is Ikea.
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Old 12-15-2010, 02:56 PM
 
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As mentioned... the long term impact of Taxes and especially property taxes should not be overlooked.
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Old 12-16-2010, 09:59 AM
 
223 posts, read 782,311 times
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I grew up in Whitestone. My husband was from NJ and refused to live on LI. I refused to live in NJ so we compromised-plus he works in Westchester. As a Queens girl most of my friends wound up on LI and I thought I would also but I am very happy with our decision to live in Westchester

Schools and quality of life-I think the schools in the areas you are looking are comparable.
Shoppping-good access in both-plenty of mall access.
COngestion is definitely less in Westchester-LI has so much traffic!
Commute to Manhattan is much better on Metro north than LIRR and much more pleasant. My co workers in LI have delays often, on Metro north I encounter them like once a year.
Visiting relatives in Queens for Westchester will be a bit longer than LI maybe but not too bad-between 30-45 min.
I live in Briarcliff so any questions specific to the area I could answer.
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Old 12-16-2010, 12:54 PM
 
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if you are going to pick Westchester and still want to see your family often, I'd recommend sticking to the east side of westchester since the best commute to LI will be over the Hutch and Throggs neck bridge. Places like Rye or Larchmont come to mind.
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Old 12-17-2010, 07:27 AM
 
Location: New York
86 posts, read 264,643 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jjinla View Post
.

... I find it kind of sad that everyone here brags about how they are putting the 'for sale' sign up on their house the minute their kids go off to college (due to opressive taxes). It's depressing to think that just as we are ready to retire, all of our friends will be running for the hills. Maybe it's an east coast thing - that everyone moves away for retirement, but coming from CA where people never really went anywhere due to prop. 13 (old people weren't taxed out of their houses), it seems very isolating.

here's another way to look at it jj. First, given the warm climate, Los Angeles is the kind of place a lot of people retire to...so it's natural the aging population seldom leaves...they are already in a great retirement locale. Also lot of people indeed leave Los Angeles because of prop 13. I did. If the taxes hadn't been capped, quality of life in LA would have been more like it was when I was a kid there. Back then, public schools were known for being some of the best in the country (kind of like Westchester now). Now, they are known as some of the worst because people demanded taxes be capped. It's a lesson to be learned...both for the tax payers of Los Angeles and for the folks of Westchester. I hear some grumbling re: capping taxes here. I really hope that people think about the consequences. A lot of people move here for the terrific schools and quality of life. But then everyone complains about taxes. IMHO you can't get great public schools without paying for them. After going through the budget process with our particular school here, it appears to me that there is little wasted money...the board is not payed. The school admin isn't top-heavy. The only thing I have a problem with is that we pay like $700k a year to bus kids to private schools...wassup with that!?!

Anyway, to the OP - I agree with most of what prezjoemorgan said Re: our lack of a lot of Ikeas and big box stores - IMHO that is what gives the towns in Westchester a lot of their charm. But bottom line, there is plenty of shopping in White Plains.

Last edited by tammy42; 12-17-2010 at 07:37 AM..
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Old 12-17-2010, 08:49 AM
 
27,932 posts, read 60,105,374 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tammy42 View Post
here's another way to look at it jj. First, given the warm climate, Los Angeles is the kind of place a lot of people retire to...so it's natural the aging population seldom leaves...they are already in a great retirement locale. Also lot of people indeed leave Los Angeles because of prop 13. I did. If the taxes hadn't been capped, quality of life in LA would have been more like it was when I was a kid there. Back then, public schools were known for being some of the best in the country (kind of like Westchester now). Now, they are known as some of the worst because people demanded taxes be capped. It's a lesson to be learned...both for the tax payers of Los Angeles and for the folks of Westchester. I hear some grumbling re: capping taxes here. I really hope that people think about the consequences. A lot of people move here for the terrific schools and quality of life. But then everyone complains about taxes. IMHO you can't get great public schools without paying for them. After going through the budget process with our particular school here, it appears to me that there is little wasted money...the board is not payed. The school admin isn't top-heavy. The only thing I have a problem with is that we pay like $700k a year to bus kids to private schools...wassup with that!?!

Anyway, to the OP - I agree with most of what prezjoemorgan said Re: our lack of a lot of Ikeas and big box stores - IMHO that is what gives the towns in Westchester a lot of their charm. But bottom line, there is plenty of shopping in White Plains.
I doubt many will have a problem with local taxes going to local schools... unfortunately, at least in CA, the schools started declining when the State took over school funding otherwise known as the Serrano Decision... which was a major reason for Prop 13's success.

Good schools are still a draw anywhere in the Nation... and California has plenty of communities with excellent public schools because under Prop 13 the voters can and do approve additional school funding.

I think limiting the amount government can increase taxes without voter approval is sound fiscal policy... we all need to live within our means and budget accordingly.
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Old 12-17-2010, 09:38 AM
 
Location: Bellevue, WA
1,496 posts, read 4,236,914 times
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You absolutely cannot equate capping Westchester's taxes to what happened to CA. First, prop. 13 capped tax increases at 1% a year, which was just stupid because it is far below inflation. So you have a ton of older people living there paying nothing in taxes - my next door neighbors for instance lived in a house valued at over $1M and yet paid $1100 a YEAR in taxes. Had I bought it, I would have paid around $13K. And you have voting by proposition, and as you can see, most of Congress isn't smart enough to pass laws, yet they let people with absolutely no understanding of the full impact of issues vote on them. Then there is the insanely Democratic representatives, term limits, 2/3 majority for passing a budget, illegals....it goes on and on.

However, make no mistake, there is so much waste, corruption and useless levels of governement in this county. Look at Fairfax VA, or any of the top districts in the country...they educate kids just as well or better for half of what we do. We have town police, village police, fire chiefs making more than the one in NYC, school districts for under 1000 kids, teachers' median salary in poor districts being almost $100K.

Aside from obvious reasons in CA, most people still stay in their homes long after retirement in the rest of the country...they simply can't AFFORD to here.
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