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Old 06-17-2020, 07:49 AM
5 posts, read 9,821 times
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I currently live in lower Westchester and am considering moving north. I'd love to learn more about the Katonah and Cross River areas and would be particularly interested in knowing more about living in Michelle Estates. What's it like? How are the people? The school? How awful is the commute to NYC? What else should I know or ask before considering a move there?

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Old 06-17-2020, 04:15 PM
Location: Putnam Valley, NY
140 posts, read 104,391 times
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(For anyone else who's confused, "Michelle Estates" is apparently the name of the neighborhood that's sort of behind John Jay, that comes out to 121 via Gideon Reynolds and comes out to 35 via Avery Rd. I had no clue until 2 minutes ago that neighborhood had an official name lol)

It's pretty quiet around there. It'll definitely feel pretty rural coming up from NYC/downcounty. You're really in nature (with a lot of great hiking, btw- Ward Pound Ridge Reservation is right down the road). The shopping plazas in Cross River have the basics like a small supermarket, small drugstore, Chase bank, pizza, Cameron's Deli which is 24/7, etc. but for most big-box/serious shopping you're looking at 15-20 minute trips into Bedford Hills/Mt. Kisco, Brewster, Yorktown, or Ridgefield CT. It's definitely not for somebody who wants nightlife or wants to be able to barhop on the weekends or anything like that...it's for people who want to see deer in their massive yard and go fishing on the weekends. But it has the benefit of feeling quite remote without being too far away from conveniences.

There are tons of city transplants and city commuters. The commute will be roughly 10 a minute drive to Katonah train station and a 74 minute train ride to GCT (there may be some quicker peak/express trains, not sure). Leave a few minutes to walk to the platform in Katonah, since you definitely won't get a permit right away (waiting list is YEARS out...) and the auxiliary lot is a couple blocks away. I'd expect between 1.5h-2h door-to-door depending on where in the city you work.

KLSD has a good reputation. Like every high-cost Westchester school district with a good reputation, a lot of the good grades and acceptances to good colleges are bought, not earned. Note- I'm not saying that the education the kids receive is BAD by any means...just realize that what you're seeing on paper is a bit fudged. It's the same story everywhere in Westchester. Despite that, I still think the school are decent. John Jay HS has very strong athletics and strong music/arts.

The people? Most of the people from around town I met from my days working at the gas station in Cross River, so I sort of saw the worst side of the worst people in town, in a setting where I was already not too thrilled to be at myself. I'll refrain from commenting because - like anyone who works in service or retail - my opinion of the people is going to be heavily biased, and not in a good way. For what it's worth, despite all the ****heads I met a lot of great people and friends there as well.

Other potential problems - check your cell service. There are some huge dead zones in the area, thanks mostly to NIMBYs whining that they don't want cell towers in their town. Also, you may get some sticker shock when you see your property taxes. They're not outrageous for Westchester, but Westchester is pretty outrageous compared to the rest of the world.

My advice would be to drive around the area and explore, and get a good buyer's agent and be clear with them about exactly what you're looking for. I personally wouldn't live there, but that's just one young single dude's opinion, and I'm sure it's my fault for just not getting it. Most families I know seem to love it, especially those who moved up from the city.
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Old 06-17-2020, 08:23 PM
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It is a beautiful area, expensive, some nice people there, but also some real snobs. Unless you got something to offer (like being of money) don't expect to make too many friends (Though I met some great people there...but not many). I moved out of area and am now happily across the river...Less expensive, nicer, down to earth people...(just a ***** if you have to commute to NYC or someplace like White Plains).
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