U.S. CitiesCity-Data Forum Index
Go Back   City-Data Forum > U.S. Forums > New York > Westchester County
 [Register]
Please register to participate in our discussions with 2 million other members - it's free and quick! Some forums can only be seen by registered members. After you create your account, you'll be able to customize options and access all our 15,000 new posts/day with fewer ads.
View detailed profile (Advanced) or search
site with Google Custom Search

Search Forums  (Advanced)
Reply Start New Thread
 
Old 08-27-2018, 12:29 PM
 
60 posts, read 63,723 times
Reputation: 19

Advertisements

Hi all,

My family is considering a move (back) to the NYC area and we are looking at Westchester County because of schools and wanting to avoid the whole NYC rat race for schooling. We are a bi-racial, politically progressive family that cares a lot about quality education, the arts, the environment, diversity and yummy food.

Of the three cities I mentioned, which would you recommend for our family based on what you know of those cities?

Thanks!

Rebecca
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message

 
Old 08-27-2018, 06:51 PM
 
33 posts, read 52,966 times
Reputation: 28
Hello! We are a bi-racial couple and we moved from Manhattan to Oelham Manor in 2015. We couldn’t be happier. We value ethnic and racial diversity. Pelham is one of the few communities in Westchester with amazing schools and some degree of diversity. This is tough in Westchester. But I think you would be happy in Pelham. Many interesting and ethnically diverse families moving here from Brooklyn and Manhattan, partly for this reason. Good luck!
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 08-28-2018, 08:18 AM
 
Location: NY
39 posts, read 27,005 times
Reputation: 34
White Plains would be a great fit, has everything you are looking for.
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 08-28-2018, 06:13 PM
 
60 posts, read 63,723 times
Reputation: 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by ilehamwood View Post
Hello! We are a bi-racial couple and we moved from Manhattan to Oelham Manor in 2015. We couldn’t be happier. We value ethnic and racial diversity. Pelham is one of the few communities in Westchester with amazing schools and some degree of diversity. This is tough in Westchester. But I think you would be happy in Pelham. Many interesting and ethnically diverse families moving here from Brooklyn and Manhattan, partly for this reason. Good luck!
Hi! Can you say more about what you like about Oelham? Does it feel cosmopolitan or more “small town”? Do people often go into Manhattan? Do you feel it’s proximity in terms of progressive politics, culture?
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 08-28-2018, 07:55 PM
 
69,432 posts, read 96,257,645 times
Reputation: 15281
What about Tuckahoe?
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 08-30-2018, 12:04 AM
 
60 posts, read 63,723 times
Reputation: 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by ilehamwood View Post
Hello! We are a bi-racial couple and we moved from Manhattan to Oelham Manor in 2015. We couldn’t be happier. We value ethnic and racial diversity. Pelham is one of the few communities in Westchester with amazing schools and some degree of diversity. This is tough in Westchester. But I think you would be happy in Pelham. Many interesting and ethnically diverse families moving here from Brooklyn and Manhattan, partly for this reason. Good luck!


Hi! May I ask you some additional questions?

1) Do you have children and if so, do they attend the public schools?
2). Do people often go back and forth between New Rochelle and Pelham?

Thanks!
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 09-01-2018, 06:19 AM
 
33 posts, read 52,966 times
Reputation: 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by RWeston View Post
Hi! Can you say more about what you like about Oelham? Does it feel cosmopolitan or more “small town”? Do people often go into Manhattan? Do you feel it’s proximity in terms of progressive politics, culture?
This is going to be a fairly long and rambling response, but hopefully useful beyond answering your straightforward questions - Happy to try to answer more if people have further questions: Pelham is a small town, but the people are largely cosmopolitan. Many creative professionals, worldly people who have lived in other countries or Chicago or California, people who are drawn to mass transit convenience because of their bent toward "urbanity", etc. My own family has spent a lot of time in Africa, and I have met many others who have also, in addition to those who have lived (or are from) Europe, South America and Asia. Traditionally Pelham has attracted more than its fair share of people employed in advertising, media, and publishing along with the regular assortment of medicine, law, and finance. Senior executives with the NY Times, MTV, the NY Post, the major ad agencies and PR firms, etc. presently live here, or have lived here. Many notable authors/writers and musicians as well.

There are I think fewer than 10,000 people who live between Pelham and Pelham Manor. It has a small intimate downtown area with numerous restaurants, coffee shops, and services, and a historic train station built before 1900 which is scheduled for renovation by the MTA in collaboration with the Pelham Preservation and Garden Society - I think it was last renovated in the 1980s and is very attractive, but could use a refresh. In fact, you might check out Pelham Preservation's website as it can help give you a flavor of the place: Pelham Preservation & Garden Society

Because Pelham was one of the most, if not the most, fashionable place for New York City residents to build country houses or to relocate from the early 1800s through the 1920s, the quality of the houses from this time period is exceptional - the design, the construction, etc. The Roosevelt family had a country house in town, and many Ambassadorial residences are or historically were here (Japan, Indonesia, Netherlands, Burma, Barbados, etc.) because the mansions were well-suited for it. There are almost no tear-downs in Pelham, because there is a strong preservation mentality and the houses are full of character to begin with. Drive on the following streets for a good flavor of this: Monterey, Corlies, Witherbee, Bonmar, Mount Tom Road, Rockledge Drive, Hillcrest Drive, Priory Lane. There are many others. Just drive around and see what we saw the first time we visited.

There are a number of cultural anchors to the community, which are distinctly local in flavor: The Pelham Picture House, the longest running movie theater in Westchester (possibly the country?) which is a small historic theater and film center, supported by an active board of community members bringing in directors for private screenings, showing tons of art films, and conducting a film camp for kids. It's a major community anchor, and its annual fundraiser brings out the entire community. Check out their website: Home - The Picture House | Pelham, New York

Also good to know that there will be a market rate rental apartment development on the closed gas station lot next to the Picture House, which will include an expansion of the Film Center, with at least one new screening room. This will help to fill in some of the "holes" in the continuous retail atmosphere downtown and also add to the reach of the Picture House, about which I'm excited.

Just down the street from the Picture House is a fabulous Mexican restaurant and cantina called Cantina Lobos. https://www.cantinalobos.com/ One of the owners was recently elected President of the Chamber of Commerce, and he's a really creative, big-thinking kind of guy. I expect to see some further traction in the "atmosphere", branding and feel in the retail area of Pelham as a result. Per your question about politics, Cantina Lobos hosted a bottomless margarita watch party for the Nixon vs. Cuomo debate. Cantina Lobos has a lively bar scene at night, which is upscale and festive. There is a fantastic and stylish Thai restaurant, as well, with outdoor seating and great drinks. People typically grab dinner at Cantina Lobos or one of the other six or seven upscale/good quality restaurants within a close walk, and go to a movie or advance screening at the Picture House. It's great.

Another anchor in town is the Pelham Art Center, which is entirely community supported, has great studio space for classes, gallery space, etc. Check out their website: https://www.pelhamartcenter.org/

The Pelham Country Club Pelham Country Club, Pelham Manor, NY - Home and the New York Athletic Club's "country house" https://www.nyac.org/travers-island are located in Pelham Manor. The Country Club is a distinctly local membership, with an incredible and historic golf course - it hosted the 1923 PGA tournament. The Athletic Club also attracts locals, but mainly serves as the country retreat for members from the City. It has vast amounts of playing fields, athletic facilities, swimming pools, a marina, a sailing club for kids, etc. I can walk to either from my house, and this is a nice quality of life. Many people in town belong to both clubs. Also in Pelham Manor, there is Shore Park, which is a waterfront park only for use by Pelham Manor residents - it was a deed restriction put in place 100 years ago by the man who donated the land. Gorgeous views, nice kids playground, BBQ grills, etc.

These are just a few examples. It's a very small town feel, and an incredibly strong sense of community. I think partly because of people moving to town, seeing this community involvement being already established and getting involved themselves. I also think that Pelham has tremendous upside potential from the standpoint of filling in its downtown area with more compelling retail - there are a number of businesses that are old and crusty, too many Italian restaurants for any small town, and a few buildings or parking lots that really ought to be redeveloped. There is a fair amount of new apartment development with retail at its base proposed for the main drag in Pelham (Fifth Avenue/Wolfs Lane). I think that will help with the overall aesthetics over time and enable more compelling retail. Don't get me wrong, Pelham is already extremely attractive, but falls short versus Bronxville or Larchmont in the cohesive charm factor of its main drag. I think that will change. And I think that many people moving here do so because they see the upside - and they believe that with their involvement in the community and support for the existing retail and cultural infrastructure they can influence positive new additions that will improve an already great quality of life.

This spring, we held a town-wide referendum to fund a $50 million construction project to build an entirely new Hutchinson School in North Pelham, replacing the old building with a state-of-the-art new facility, and to fund a few other smaller construction projects at other school district properties. Even though it will increase everyone's real estate taxes by a few hundred dollars per year on average, the community supported the referendum by a margin of 2:1. My understanding is that a schools referendum has never not passed at a similar ratio. This gives me confidence that there is strong and sustained community dedication to the schools and the quality of life here, even when it costs more.

I happen to work in commercial real estate development finance, and chose Pelham because (a) the commute is unmatched among communities with good schools - there is not another option that is closer to Grand Central, (b) the houses are incredibly high-quality and architecturally diverse, and charming, and (c) the schools are top notch. There are a lot of other real estate people in town, and we all talk about how we came to the same conclusions about Pelham because our professional instincts told us it was "undervalued" and had such great potential beyond the existing and already excellent baseline.

I think there are many new and newer families who have moved from the city who are desirous and working toward creating many more venues like Cantina Lobos in town, and filling in the commercial atmosphere. This is the only area where I would say Pelham is lacking comparatively with Larchmont, Rye and Bronxville, for example - and I think it will change. Our taxes are a bit higher also, but alas, I have an incredible house that I bought for a price I feel good about, despite paying above asking due to a competing bidder, and my commute is 30 minutes on the train. We considered Rye and Larchmont, which are incredibly attractive, but the houses are dramatically more expensive and the commute is longer. There are also a lot of tear downs in those places that I think are increasingly making those communities feel a bit less authentic, and more like bedroom communities, simply from the look of the place. I feel like I'm paying higher taxes for more immediate access to the city, and in fact my house would have been 20% to 50% more expensive in Larchmont or Rye.

My wife and I are liberal Democrats. Two-thirds of the town votes Democratic, and many are clearly of the most liberal order. Nevertheless, about 1/3 of the town voted for Trump in the 2016 election. Sigh. My own observations, because I've seen a few Trump bumper stickers at the grocery store, is that these are the old Italian households who moved here in the 60s. There may have been a few finance guys/ladies voting Republican because they were misguided in prioritizing tax cuts versus the future of our Democracy. Nevertheless, my sense is that Pelham attracts a higher ratio of liberals that other towns in Westchester with similar wealth and income profiles.

Pelham residents frequently travel into Manhattan for leisure. It's so close. Dinner, shows, shopping - I work in Manhattan, but I see tons of people heading into the city when I'm arriving home, and others who head in on the weekends. There is strong connectivity, and I think that people who choose to live in Pelham do so in part because they envision themselves doing this. In reality, with kids at home, it doesn't happen as often as anyone envisions However, the potential is always there, and moreso in Pelham that most other places. I'll also mention that my kids attend a language immersion camp every summer in Manhattan, and they commute with me on the train. It's short and easy.

I'm happy to answer any further questions about Pelham or Pelham Manor - It's been a great choice for my family.
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 09-01-2018, 06:27 AM
 
33 posts, read 52,966 times
Reputation: 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by RWeston View Post
Hi! May I ask you some additional questions?

1) Do you have children and if so, do they attend the public schools?
2). Do people often go back and forth between New Rochelle and Pelham?

Thanks!
In follow-up to my more lengthy recent reply, here are answers to your questions:

1) We have three kids, and they do all (or will) go to Pelham Public Schools, which are excellent and top rated. When in nursery school or Pre-K, they have all attended Mount Tom Day School, which is a historic mansion set on ten acres on Mount Tom Road in New Rochelle, just beyond the Pelham Manor town line. It's a wonderful place that also runs an exceptional summer camp. There are other tremendous early childhood options including the Montessori School and Huguenot Nursery School. Most people I know send their kids to one of these three options, although there are others.

2) I presume you are talking about downtown New Rochelle, rather than some of the attractions in North New Rochelle, such as the very charming childrens' library and playground near the high-school, and some of the retail that is up there. There is not presently a lot of reason to go to New Rochelle, although that is changing quickly. There are some great restaurants in New Rochelle that we go to: Modern, Dubrovnik, Coromandel, etc. but the retail atmosphere (while being fully occupied) is not generally upscale. Nevertheless, there will be 5,000 residential units added to New Rochelle in the next ten years, and this will by nature improve the quality of retail business there - all of the apartments will be fairly expensive, so I'm optimistic that with that many higher-income households moving in we will have more reasons to go to New Rochelle in the future.

Let me know what further questions you may have.
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 09-01-2018, 07:27 PM
 
785 posts, read 855,812 times
Reputation: 1160
Quote:
Originally Posted by ilehamwood View Post
This is going to be a fairly long and rambling response, but hopefully useful beyond answering your straightforward questions - Happy to try to answer more if people have further questions: Pelham is a small town, but the people are largely cosmopolitan. Many creative professionals, worldly people who have lived in other countries or Chicago or California, people who are drawn to mass transit convenience because of their bent toward "urbanity", etc. My own family has spent a lot of time in Africa, and I have met many others who have also, in addition to those who have lived (or are from) Europe, South America and Asia. Traditionally Pelham has attracted more than its fair share of people employed in advertising, media, and publishing along with the regular assortment of medicine, law, and finance. Senior executives with the NY Times, MTV, the NY Post, the major ad agencies and PR firms, etc. presently live here, or have lived here. Many notable authors/writers and musicians as well.

There are I think fewer than 10,000 people who live between Pelham and Pelham Manor. It has a small intimate downtown area with numerous restaurants, coffee shops, and services, and a historic train station built before 1900 which is scheduled for renovation by the MTA in collaboration with the Pelham Preservation and Garden Society - I think it was last renovated in the 1980s and is very attractive, but could use a refresh. In fact, you might check out Pelham Preservation's website as it can help give you a flavor of the place: Pelham Preservation & Garden Society

Because Pelham was one of the most, if not the most, fashionable place for New York City residents to build country houses or to relocate from the early 1800s through the 1920s, the quality of the houses from this time period is exceptional - the design, the construction, etc. The Roosevelt family had a country house in town, and many Ambassadorial residences are or historically were here (Japan, Indonesia, Netherlands, Burma, Barbados, etc.) because the mansions were well-suited for it. There are almost no tear-downs in Pelham, because there is a strong preservation mentality and the houses are full of character to begin with. Drive on the following streets for a good flavor of this: Monterey, Corlies, Witherbee, Bonmar, Mount Tom Road, Rockledge Drive, Hillcrest Drive, Priory Lane. There are many others. Just drive around and see what we saw the first time we visited.

There are a number of cultural anchors to the community, which are distinctly local in flavor: The Pelham Picture House, the longest running movie theater in Westchester (possibly the country?) which is a small historic theater and film center, supported by an active board of community members bringing in directors for private screenings, showing tons of art films, and conducting a film camp for kids. It's a major community anchor, and its annual fundraiser brings out the entire community. Check out their website: Home - The Picture House | Pelham, New York

Also good to know that there will be a market rate rental apartment development on the closed gas station lot next to the Picture House, which will include an expansion of the Film Center, with at least one new screening room. This will help to fill in some of the "holes" in the continuous retail atmosphere downtown and also add to the reach of the Picture House, about which I'm excited.

Just down the street from the Picture House is a fabulous Mexican restaurant and cantina called Cantina Lobos. https://www.cantinalobos.com/ One of the owners was recently elected President of the Chamber of Commerce, and he's a really creative, big-thinking kind of guy. I expect to see some further traction in the "atmosphere", branding and feel in the retail area of Pelham as a result. Per your question about politics, Cantina Lobos hosted a bottomless margarita watch party for the Nixon vs. Cuomo debate. Cantina Lobos has a lively bar scene at night, which is upscale and festive. There is a fantastic and stylish Thai restaurant, as well, with outdoor seating and great drinks. People typically grab dinner at Cantina Lobos or one of the other six or seven upscale/good quality restaurants within a close walk, and go to a movie or advance screening at the Picture House. It's great.

Another anchor in town is the Pelham Art Center, which is entirely community supported, has great studio space for classes, gallery space, etc. Check out their website: https://www.pelhamartcenter.org/

The Pelham Country Club Pelham Country Club, Pelham Manor, NY - Home and the New York Athletic Club's "country house" https://www.nyac.org/travers-island are located in Pelham Manor. The Country Club is a distinctly local membership, with an incredible and historic golf course - it hosted the 1923 PGA tournament. The Athletic Club also attracts locals, but mainly serves as the country retreat for members from the City. It has vast amounts of playing fields, athletic facilities, swimming pools, a marina, a sailing club for kids, etc. I can walk to either from my house, and this is a nice quality of life. Many people in town belong to both clubs. Also in Pelham Manor, there is Shore Park, which is a waterfront park only for use by Pelham Manor residents - it was a deed restriction put in place 100 years ago by the man who donated the land. Gorgeous views, nice kids playground, BBQ grills, etc.

These are just a few examples. It's a very small town feel, and an incredibly strong sense of community. I think partly because of people moving to town, seeing this community involvement being already established and getting involved themselves. I also think that Pelham has tremendous upside potential from the standpoint of filling in its downtown area with more compelling retail - there are a number of businesses that are old and crusty, too many Italian restaurants for any small town, and a few buildings or parking lots that really ought to be redeveloped. There is a fair amount of new apartment development with retail at its base proposed for the main drag in Pelham (Fifth Avenue/Wolfs Lane). I think that will help with the overall aesthetics over time and enable more compelling retail. Don't get me wrong, Pelham is already extremely attractive, but falls short versus Bronxville or Larchmont in the cohesive charm factor of its main drag. I think that will change. And I think that many people moving here do so because they see the upside - and they believe that with their involvement in the community and support for the existing retail and cultural infrastructure they can influence positive new additions that will improve an already great quality of life.

This spring, we held a town-wide referendum to fund a $50 million construction project to build an entirely new Hutchinson School in North Pelham, replacing the old building with a state-of-the-art new facility, and to fund a few other smaller construction projects at other school district properties. Even though it will increase everyone's real estate taxes by a few hundred dollars per year on average, the community supported the referendum by a margin of 2:1. My understanding is that a schools referendum has never not passed at a similar ratio. This gives me confidence that there is strong and sustained community dedication to the schools and the quality of life here, even when it costs more.

I happen to work in commercial real estate development finance, and chose Pelham because (a) the commute is unmatched among communities with good schools - there is not another option that is closer to Grand Central, (b) the houses are incredibly high-quality and architecturally diverse, and charming, and (c) the schools are top notch. There are a lot of other real estate people in town, and we all talk about how we came to the same conclusions about Pelham because our professional instincts told us it was "undervalued" and had such great potential beyond the existing and already excellent baseline.

I think there are many new and newer families who have moved from the city who are desirous and working toward creating many more venues like Cantina Lobos in town, and filling in the commercial atmosphere. This is the only area where I would say Pelham is lacking comparatively with Larchmont, Rye and Bronxville, for example - and I think it will change. Our taxes are a bit higher also, but alas, I have an incredible house that I bought for a price I feel good about, despite paying above asking due to a competing bidder, and my commute is 30 minutes on the train. We considered Rye and Larchmont, which are incredibly attractive, but the houses are dramatically more expensive and the commute is longer. There are also a lot of tear downs in those places that I think are increasingly making those communities feel a bit less authentic, and more like bedroom communities, simply from the look of the place. I feel like I'm paying higher taxes for more immediate access to the city, and in fact my house would have been 20% to 50% more expensive in Larchmont or Rye.

My wife and I are liberal Democrats. Two-thirds of the town votes Democratic, and many are clearly of the most liberal order. Nevertheless, about 1/3 of the town voted for Trump in the 2016 election. Sigh. My own observations, because I've seen a few Trump bumper stickers at the grocery store, is that these are the old Italian households who moved here in the 60s. There may have been a few finance guys/ladies voting Republican because they were misguided in prioritizing tax cuts versus the future of our Democracy. Nevertheless, my sense is that Pelham attracts a higher ratio of liberals that other towns in Westchester with similar wealth and income profiles.

Pelham residents frequently travel into Manhattan for leisure. It's so close. Dinner, shows, shopping - I work in Manhattan, but I see tons of people heading into the city when I'm arriving home, and others who head in on the weekends. There is strong connectivity, and I think that people who choose to live in Pelham do so in part because they envision themselves doing this. In reality, with kids at home, it doesn't happen as often as anyone envisions However, the potential is always there, and moreso in Pelham that most other places. I'll also mention that my kids attend a language immersion camp every summer in Manhattan, and they commute with me on the train. It's short and easy.

I'm happy to answer any further questions about Pelham or Pelham Manor - It's been a great choice for my family.
This was a very informative post on Pelham. For me, it’s known as being the best town for youth and high school hockey in all of Westchester/Hudson Valley, especially on a per capita basis. Great players, coaches and parents.
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 09-01-2018, 09:59 PM
 
60 posts, read 63,723 times
Reputation: 19
Hi! Thank you so so much for this incredible response!! I will read more thoroughly, but get back to you!!
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Please register to post and access all features of our very popular forum. It is free and quick. Over $68,000 in prizes has already been given out to active posters on our forum. Additional giveaways are planned.

Detailed information about all U.S. cities, counties, and zip codes on our site: City-data.com.


Reply
Please update this thread with any new information or opinions. This open thread is still read by thousands of people, so we encourage all additional points of view.

Quick Reply
Message:



Over $104,000 in prizes was already given out to active posters on our forum and additional giveaways are planned!

Go Back   City-Data Forum > U.S. Forums > New York > Westchester County

All times are GMT -6.

© 2005-2021, Advameg, Inc. · Please obey Forum Rules · Terms of Use and Privacy Policy · Bug Bounty

City-Data.com - Contact Us - Archive 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37 - Top