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Old 07-27-2008, 07:58 AM
 
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We are relocating from the Boston suburbs with two young kids, and I know nothing about the towns in Westchester. Can you tell me what quiet towns with great public schools have the quickest commutes into the city? We'll be spending around 1M, so I'm hoping that gives us some choices. We are happy with 1/4 acre, 2200 sq feet house in very good condition.

I appreciate your guidance!! I don't know where to start (other than Scarsdale which I knew about from friends in college...)
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Old 07-27-2008, 08:19 AM
 
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We need more information, please: what is your budget and how long a commute would be tolerable?
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Old 07-27-2008, 08:28 AM
 
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I'm confused -- what more do you need to know about budget than spending around $1,000,000? Maybe we could get up to 1.2 if absolutely necessary and the house needed absolutely no work at all.

And commute - as short as possible to get a quiet pretty town and good schools. Doesn't matter if I'd want 15 minutes if that doesn't exist!

Where we currently live outside Boston it takes my hubby 45 minutes door to door in the morning (and 20 minutes at night after rush hour).

He'd be working in midtown. I'd love to keep it around that 45 minute mark. Train or driving is fine. But he wouldn't have us live closer if it meant sacrificing the quality of our kids education or quality of life...
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Old 07-27-2008, 08:33 AM
 
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Aha - didn't see the budget. Mea culpa.

Your husband will be working where? East side? West side? Financial District?

I only ask because someplace in Westchester will drop him on the East side.

For West side or FiDi, I'd say NJ.

In Westchester, Chappaqua, Pelham, Bedford, Katonah are all nice.
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Old 07-27-2008, 05:00 PM
 
Location: Washington, DC & New York
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To keep the commute short in Westchester, you would want to be on an express train to the city, or at a station closer to the city as I would not recommend driving every day, even with dedicated parking in Manhattan, since it can be unreliable.

Your budget does give you some options as to where to live, and you will have no shortage of good school districts. Bedford-Katonah is about an hour out of the city via train to Grand Central on the Harlem Line train. It's a fantastic area, though I am biased because I grew up between there and Manhattan, and you can really have a country lifestyle in that area. Other nearby areas, that are great include Waccabuc, Pound Ridge, and South Salem. The shcools are great, but the commute is a little longer than what you are currently used to, but the area is not congested and offers some stunning natural scenery. Chappaqua is a little closer-in on the Harlem Line, and offers great schools and a better commute than Bedford-Katonah, but it's ever so slightly more of a built up area.

If that's too far out of the city, close-in towns such as Pelham, Larchmont-Mamaroneck, and parts of Harrison are nice as well, and you should be able to find the house you seek near your budget. Harrison has express trains that make their last stop at Larchmont before heading directly to GCT. Bronxville and Scarsdale have excellent schools as well, though it might stretch your budget to find what you want in the school district, since the schools do not follow the same boundaries as the town. It's very important in lower Westchester, particularly, to shop the school district, as a house can have a zip code and address of one town and have different schools. On the river side of Westchester, Irvington is a great place that's convenient and has good schools, and is steeped in history. Croton also offers express trains to GCT, that average about 45 minutes, and is felt by many to be more open and liberal than Sound Shore towns or some in Central Westchester.

The best place to start is the schools and identifying the type of lifestyle you desire will give an indication as to the area. Northern Westchester is more rural, the Sound Shore is great for boaters, and the river towns offer stunning vistas. Regarding schools, Scarsdale and Chappaqua have excellent test score reputations, but they are highly competitive districts, and there are others that are on par in terms of quality of education, without the same stress level.
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Old 07-27-2008, 06:50 PM
 
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If great schools is the most important criterion, Scarsdale is probably your best bet. If you're concerned about the snooty factor, the Edgewood area may be better for you. In either Scarsdale proper or Edgewood, you could likely find your 2000-2500 sq. ft. home for that budget, although it may require some work

Larchmont is an alternative, but the public schools are not the best. Good, but not great.

Another area with a great school system is Irvington, but it's a bit farther away. It's one of the "river towns" which also include Dobb's Ferry, Ardsley and Hastings.

Still, Irvington is not nearly as far away from the city as the northern Westchester towns mentioned such as Chappaqua and Bedford. A good rule of thumb is that the farther away from the city, the longer the commute (obviously) and the bigger the lots. So, if you're looking for a small lot and a shorter commute southern Westchester is where you should focus.
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Old 07-27-2008, 07:46 PM
 
Location: Washington, DC & New York
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nowita View Post
If great schools is the most important criterion, Scarsdale is probably your best bet. If you're concerned about the snooty factor, the Edgewood area may be better for you. In either Scarsdale proper or Edgewood, you could likely find your 2000-2500 sq. ft. home for that budget, although it may require some work
I am not sure if the poster was talking about the Edgewood section of Scarsdale, which is a section of Scarsdale, or Edgemont which is in the neighboring Town of Greenburgh. Edgemont has either a Scarsdale or a Hartsdale address and has an excellent school district that serves it. Your budget does go further in Edgemont, since Scarsdale proper tends to have more of a price premium attached to it.

Edgemont is not incorporated as such, and is a district known by the school system, and does not reflect a place name of a village or hamlet within Greenburgh. Edgemont is west of Scarsdale proper, near Central Park Avenue, whereas Edgewood is the comparatively more modest section of houses off White Plains Road in Scarsdale proper. Edgewood lots are among the smallest in Scarsdale, while Edgemont houses tend to be on par with other areas of Scarsdale though at a somewhat lower price due to the Greenburgh location. The only downside to Edgemont is that it's not as close to the train as Scarsdale proper, and it lacks a real definition of a downtown area since it's punctuated by the comparative sprawl on Central Park Avenue that is not present within the confines of Scarsdale proper.
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Old 07-28-2008, 11:42 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bmwguydc View Post
I am not sure if the poster was talking about the Edgewood section of Scarsdale, which is a section of Scarsdale, or Edgemont which is in the neighboring Town of Greenburgh. Edgemont has either a Scarsdale or a Hartsdale address and has an excellent school district that serves it. Your budget does go further in Edgemont, since Scarsdale proper tends to have more of a price premium attached to it.

Edgemont is not incorporated as such, and is a district known by the school system, and does not reflect a place name of a village or hamlet within Greenburgh. Edgemont is west of Scarsdale proper, near Central Park Avenue, whereas Edgewood is the comparatively more modest section of houses off White Plains Road in Scarsdale proper. Edgewood lots are among the smallest in Scarsdale, while Edgemont houses tend to be on par with other areas of Scarsdale though at a somewhat lower price due to the Greenburgh location. The only downside to Edgemont is that it's not as close to the train as Scarsdale proper, and it lacks a real definition of a downtown area since it's punctuated by the comparative sprawl on Central Park Avenue that is not present within the confines of Scarsdale proper.
Wrong. There are parts of Edgemont that are within easy walking distance (down Ardsley Road) of the Scarsdale train station. And if you live in this area you are closer to downtown Scarsdale than most Scarsdale residents.
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Old 07-28-2008, 11:57 AM
 
Location: Washington, DC & New York
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Originally Posted by rubygreta View Post
Wrong. There are parts of Edgemont that are within easy walking distance (down Ardsley Road) of the Scarsdale train station. And if you live in this area you are closer to downtown Scarsdale than most Scarsdale residents.
Ardsley Road is hardly an easy road to walk with narrow sidewalks, where there are some, and it's a major road with cars traveling quite quickly. In bad weather, etc. this is not a pleasant walk. Yes, anything is walkable, but it's not as easy as walking on a residential side street within the town proper, especially since the op has two small children. I would not walk to town on Ardsley Road with kids, personally.
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Old 07-30-2008, 08:28 AM
 
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Ok, I'm thinking that Scarsdale may not be a good match on personality for me. I'm a sneaker wearing, go down the slide with my kids, ice cream eating, target shopping, stay at home mom -- and I'll be hoping to make friends who are the same... I'm guessing that without designer fashion sense I'm going to feel out of place wandering around town, would you agree?

Based on the comments above and in other threads, I think now the towns/school districts for me to look at are:
Edgemont
Harrison
Hastings
Irvington
Larchmont
Mamoroneck

Would you consider these to all be similar in terms of school quality? Do they differ significantly in character?
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