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Old 10-04-2018, 06:16 AM
33 posts, read 70,758 times
Reputation: 29


I am starting a fresh thread here, as I have ended up writing extensively in other posts to answer people's questions about Pelham and Pelham Manor, and several people have noted that my comments have been very helpful. Therefore, I thought it might make sense to start a new thread consolidating this prior content into a single post for those of you who may find it helpful. The following content is a bit disjointed because I've copied and pasted my comments from elsewhere. I'm happy to answer any further questions in this thread.


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, Highbrook, 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. There was another approximately 60 unit development approved at 101 Wolfs Lane, all market rate luxury apartments. Two other larger scale developments are proposed downtown, one of which would replace the municipal parking lot around the Fire Station on Fifth Avenue with about 100 apartments and retail, and the other that would provide about 320 new commuter parking spaces on another municipal lot behind Wolfs Lane and within a very short walk of the train – there may be some residential here as well. My view is that this new development has been a long time coming, and more people living downtown will help to enhance the retail atmosphere as well as fill in some visible holes in the building stock.

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.

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.

While the latest demographic estimates as of 2018 from ESRI indicate that Pelham Manor, in particular, has very high income and wealth (Median household income of $256,000 and net worth of $3.9 million), Pelham overall is very down-to-earth. As compared with Larchmont, Rye, Bronxville and Scarsdale, all of which are wealthier but not by a lot, Pelham doesn't have any of the pressure cooker mentality. I see people of extraordinary wealth socializing as friends with the local landscaper or plumber. I can't say that there is no caste system or sense of haves and have nots, but I think one of the reasons people choose to live in Pelham is because people generally check their private equity or law firm egos at Grand Central. You don't generally see parents on conference calls on Saturdays while they're supposed to be watching soccer, nor do you hear boisterous or obnoxious conversations at parties about the securitization of this or that, or investing "in that space" - jockeying for social position based on your job or wealth is really not something you see typically in people's personal lives in Pelham. It may happen very well as soon as everyone goes to work, but I think people choose Pelham because nobody really cares in town whether you just made $80 million on an IPO or whether you just won a huge case. You're a member of the community, a dad or mom, an assistant coach, a neighbor walking their dog like everyone else. There extraordinary wealth and income in Pelham, and particularly in Pelham Manor, but it is not apparent or in your face.


Pelham overall is a singular community made up of several historic villages which have been consolidated into one school district. I'm not sure I've lived here long enough (3 years) to get this right, but the basic areas of Pelham are: (1) North Pelham and Chester Park, where there are smaller more affordable houses, but still located in the Pelham school district, (2) Pelhamwood, which is a historic area of moderately-sized homes near the train station, (3) Pelham Heights, which is a prime neighborhood near the train of typically nicer larger homes, but on smaller lots, and (4) Pelham Manor, which has its own Village government (recreation, public works, fire, police) and is overall the wealthiest area with similar houses as can be found in Pelham Heights, but generally on larger lots.

I live in Pelham Manor, south of I-95 and my son attends Prospect Hill Elementary School. My opinion is that this is the nicest part of Pelham because the lots tend to be much larger, there are flatter lots altogether (Pelham like much of Westchester has plenty of rock), and we have access to Shore Park, which is a lovely waterfront park with playground reserved for only Pelham Manor residents. We also have immediate access to the 3,000 acre Pelham Bay Park, with bike trails, forests, hiking, kayaking, etc. Prospect Hill Elementary School is considered the nicest school in Pelham because its grounds are huge. Tons of greenspace with ball fields, multiple playgrounds, ancient oak trees, blacktop areas, etc. The school is also scenic and looks like a historic college campus building. All of the schools in Pelham, however, are excellent and rated similarly. Pelham Manor is also where the private clubs are located - the Pelham Country Club and the New York Athletic Club at Travers Island. I am a member of neither, and have not felt that I need to be, but many people in town are members of one or both. The fees for both are fairly accessible.

There are many great neighborhoods in Pelham, and it all depends on your budget for a house. The least expensive houses in Pelham are around $600,000. The average is around $1,000,000. Houses generally range from $300 to $500 per square foot depending on the lot size, location, and quality. Assuming no budget limitations, I personally love the southernmost area of Pelham Manor, in the "Estate Area" south of I-95. This area is comprised of a number of streets where the houses are large, lots are large, and the feel of the houses is "estate" like - local brokers have designated these streets accordingly as the "estate section" of Pelham Manor. Not every street is designated as such, but you'll see it in listings of homes in the applicable locations.

In my view, the nicest part of town borders the Pelham Country Club golf course, and comprises the streets Mount Tom Road, Rockledge Drive, and Hillcrest Drive. The homes here are architecturally unique, high quality, on minimum half-acre lots, and the layout of the neighborhood is very scenic. Other really beautiful streets are Park Lane and Priory Lane. Some other streets have a mix of large and small houses, and less cohesive feel. But you should drive around and see what you like. Bolton, Roosevelt, Bon Mar, Esplanade, and others are also nice streets, all south of Boston Post Road and convenient to the nursery schools and recreational amenities I mentioned, and zoned for Prospect Hill School.

There are gorgeous streets in Pelham Heights also, and Pelham Heights is located near to the train. However, I have personally found it to be better to be in the southern part of Pelham Manor because it's a little quieter and the lots are larger. I live two miles from the train, but it's no big deal - there are taxis that know every house in town and pick up per the train schedules. There are also parking options around the train station - we drive and never have a problem finding a parking spot before 730. It fills up later. While walking to the train is nice, it has been more important to me to live in a house with more elbow room in a more scenic part of town, and just dealing with getting to the train.


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.


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.

All of the childcare options in Pelham that have notoriety to them are located in Pelham Manor or adjacent to it. I have sent my kids to Mount Tom Day School, which in a prior post I have noted as being in a mansion on ten acres, on Mount Tom Road just beyond the Pelham Manor village line. Other popular options are the Montessori School, which is located in a historic church campus at Pelhamdale Avenue and Shore Road near the water, and Huguenot Day School, which is located in a church at Pelhamdale Avenue and Boston Post Road. All are well-regarded in town. There is also the Pelham Childrens Center, which I believe is located in the basement of the Town Hall, but I don't know many people who use it. There are other options in surrounding towns also. I may have missed a couple of options in Pelham, but most of my contacts in town and the people I know tend to send their kids to one of the aforementioned places. I believe they all offer extended hours options, but usually not until 5:00. The vast majority of people in town have nannies or do not work, although the recreational programs after school are great for kids once they hit kindergarten and are in the public schools, and they last until I think 4:00.

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 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.


We are on the very long parking permit wait list. However, my wife and I drive to the station every day, park on the street, and pay $10 for 10 hours of parking. It's no problem. We take the 707 train into GCT, and suspect most of the parking spots are taken up by 8. However, there are also two taxi companies in town. They pick up on time, know all the houses well, and it costs $5 plus tip to and from the train to your house in a shared cab. Sometimes there is only one passenger.

Sometimes if my wife or I are running late, and one of us needs to head home in a taxi rather than take the car, I will also often take Uber. There is good Uber service in Pelham. Despite living two miles from the train station, almost at the Sound Shore, I can usually order up an Uber at 645 in the morning, it will be at my house within 7 or 8 minutes, and then it is a 6-7 minute drive to the train. I really do not feel that not having a parking pass has been an impediment at all to commuting from here. Obviously it might make it more convenient, but other than the $10 daily parking charge (which would be $200 anyway per month, not far off of a parking pass), I never ever have any trouble making a train or making it home efficiently regardless of whether I'm driving myself or taking a taxi or Uber. Also, when the large structured commuter parking facility is completed in a couple of years near the train, this will also help.

Plus, I travel a lot for work - and only realized later what an added plus it was that Pelham is so close to LGA, and particularly where I live in the far south side of Pelham Manor. It's about 20 minutes, and no more than 25. I order up an Uber, and I'm on my way in less than ten minutes. The service and travel distance is better than when we lived on the Upper West Side, and there is rarely any traffic over the Whitestone Bridge. Something that is perhaps of importance to many of you all who travel like I do.


I live in Pelham Manor, and there are well-maintained sidewalks. Many Westchester towns and villages have no sidewalks at all.

The East Coast Greenway is a non-profit organization working with local, state, and federal agencies to create a 3,000 mile bike route on the East Coast. You can learn more at www.greenway.org In Pelham Manor, the ECG runs from Pelham Bay Park, where there are voluminous well-maintained bike and running paths through forests and along the Long Island Sound, up into Pelham Manor neighborhoods. The ECG runs directly by my house on Mount Tom Road before heading into New Rochelle. In Pelham Manor, the ECG follows fairly low-traffic streets that are scenic in nature. Regionally, the ECG seems to use existing bike path infrastructure wherever possible, and then connects between such existing paths by creating routes through neighborhoods. In Pelham Manor, the path is labeled with street signs that designate the route with a bike symbol and "ECG" and arrows pointing one in the right direction. I regularly see cyclists in small and large groups riding by my house, presumably following the ECG.
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Old 10-04-2018, 09:52 AM
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I also live in Pelham. A few thoughts:

- I never quite understood the substantial premium of Larchmont or Rye. They certainly have nicer downtown areas and Rye has a lower property tax rate, but that's really it. To each their own.
- IMO, Pelham has the best "small town" feel in all of Westchester. Sidewalks on every street, kids playing, etc.
- It's actually surprising that Pelham's commercial area isn't more developed. It's very accessible and walkable.
- Glen Island Park is also great. It's right across the Pelham/New Rochelle border.
- All of Westchester is liberal. That said, Pelham (and all towns in Westchester, for that matter) could probably benefit from some administrative consolidation. Call me crazy but I don't think Pelham really needs two separate governing bodies for the Village and the Manor. It's only two square miles...
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Old 10-04-2018, 10:09 AM
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Thanks for your comments mlamb93. I agree with them.
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Old 10-06-2018, 05:41 AM
Location: Fairfield, CT
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In general, there are far too many separate governing bodies in Westchester, and that helps to make the taxes astronomical. Pelham is small and doesn't need two different governments. At least it has only one school district - Eastchester has three.

Pelham doesn't have a well developed downtown area, for whatever reason. The Boston Post Road in Pelham Manor is a bit of an eyesore, and Fifth Avenue/Wolfs Lane doesn't have much there. This is one disadvantage that it has compared to Bronxville or Rye.

Overall, Pelham is a very nice town but too expensive and the taxes are too high. I grew up in Westchester but no longer live there. I could afford to move back now, but I've grown to like where I am.
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Old 10-09-2018, 06:45 AM
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The taxes in Pelham are certainly high. However that can be said of nearly every town in Westchester (with a good school district) aside from Rye. They're all fairly uninform at ~$30k on ~$1mm
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Old 10-09-2018, 08:04 AM
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Originally Posted by mlamb93 View Post
The taxes in Pelham are certainly high. However that can be said of nearly every town in Westchester (with a good school district) aside from Rye. They're all fairly uninform at ~$30k on ~$1mm
I think you can say within +/- 1%. However, north of 3% is very high to me so we avoided all towns higher than 3% when we were searching.
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Old 10-10-2018, 04:09 PM
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Pelham is a lovely town with a lot to offer. But, I do think many people opt to reside in some of the other, comparably nice and wealthy lower Westchester towns because of three reasons: (1) Pelham taxes are incredibly high (even by Westchester standards); (2) its downtown has no real draw to it (while residents may do errands there, it has no real walkability or "cuteness" factor); and (3) Pelham's crime rate is higher than those of other comparable, wealthy Westchester towns Moderator cut: link removed, competitor site
. Sure, Pelham has a great rail commute to GCT, but the difference in express trains to Bronxville and Scarsdale is negligible and the extra ~10 minutes to Larchmont and Rye is not considerable.

This is not a knock on Pelham, but just a collection of comments from others I know who have looked at Pelham and chose to buy elsewhere.

Last edited by Yac; 10-12-2018 at 02:00 AM..
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Old 10-10-2018, 06:04 PM
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Originally Posted by CardiffGiant View Post
Pelham is a lovely town with a lot to offer. But, Pelham's crime rate is higher than those of other comparable, wealthy Westchester towns (seeModerator cut: link removed, competitor site
The crime rate is what I wonder about with Pelham. Pelham Manor is lovely --- Many of the houses are beautiful, and I would be thrilled to be able to afford them. But drive just a few short minutes away, and you feel like you're in the Bronx. Even going to the Stop N Shop or the CVS is like an experience you would have in the city. There are many Westchester suburbs that feel like peaceful suburbs. Pelham does not - I think of it as similar to Kew Gardens or Forest Hills in Queens. There are beautiful homes but it's much more urban and more dangerous, particularly because it's right on top of Mount Vernon and the Bronx.

Last edited by Yac; 10-12-2018 at 02:00 AM..
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Old 10-11-2018, 06:40 AM
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The crime rate is overstated. Much of it is petty theft near the shopping center at the outskirts of town. Hardly anything bleeds over to Pelham Manor/Heights.

That said, it certainly is more urban than other suburbs.

In terms of taxes, there aren't any Westchester towns outside of Rye and Scarsdale that have "low" rates. Pelham is marginally higher than Larchmont and on par with Dobbs Ferry/Ardsley.
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Old 10-11-2018, 08:38 AM
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Originally Posted by mlamb93 View Post
The crime rate is overstated. Much of it is petty theft near the shopping center at the outskirts of town. Hardly anything bleeds over to Pelham Manor/Heights.

Perhaps, but I would imagine people are less inclined to spend 1M on a home and 30+M in taxes to deal with petty theft in the outskirts of their town.
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