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Old 01-16-2009, 07:13 PM
 
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My husband and I and 2 young children are relocating to NY in a couple weeks from MI, and based upon much information from this site, greatschools, insideschools.org, etc we are looking into rental properties in these areas: Larchmont, Pelham, Tuckahoe, and Bronxville. My husband and I wanted to be in areas within an hour train commute to the WTC, with the top public schools, good community offerings, and of course, safe and family friendly.

-Are there any other areas that we should consider?
-Where exactly are these so-called "bad areas" of Pelham, and what schools are they affliated with?
-We read that the parking spaces for the Larchmont train is extremely difficult to obtain, if we have a property that is not within walking distance to the train, where to commuters park?
-How do Tuckahoe schools compare to Larchmont and Pelham?
-For a family with a toddler and a preschooler would Larchmonts community offerings provide more diverse options and convenient access than Pelham or Tuckahoe?
-An agent told me that there is no parking in Bronxville, unless you pay for it, specifically that if you live in an apartment and have a car, you can't find parking for it anywhere unless you have a reserved spot. Is that so?
-Lastly, are any of these areas a closer and easier commute to the WTC than others?

Last edited by minymom; 01-16-2009 at 07:25 PM..
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Old 01-16-2009, 08:48 PM
 
Location: Washington, DC & New York
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An hour to the WTC does tend to limit some of your choices in Westchester, since some will be 40-45 minutes to Grand Central. You have a good handle on some of the closer-in communities that meet the needs you outlined.

Most of Pelham is very nice, but the fringe areas nearer to Mt. Vernon are not as posh. Pelham schools cover all areas in the town. Pelham, however, is very safe, and has a good police presence. Closer to The Bronx, you have the Hutchinson Parkway and Pelham Bay Park that divide the area. Interestingly, the most posh area of Pelham is the Village of Pelham Manor, which lies directly over The Bronx border.

Larchmont and Bronxville have parking issues. It is advised to be in walking distance of the train if at all possible, otherwise, you can take the Bee Line buses from many points in Larchmont to the train station, which only takes a few minutes. It can be a challenge in Bronxville to get parking in some apartments, but once you are registered as a resident, you can get a residential permit for the municipal lots for overnight, long term, or meter parking at the station. There are waiting lists, however, for some lots/types, so it's best if you can get a parking spot with the residence. You can get a resident meter spot at the train station with relative ease, but this does not guarantee a spot and you must pay the meter, unless you get a commuter spot that allows you to park in Kraft and Kensington lots without paying the meter.

Tuckahoe is a small school district, relatively speaking, that serves the Village of Tuckahoe (part of the Town of Eastchester as is Bronxville), and a tiny part of Eastchester. It is a good district that many people like, however, other districts tend to have more enrichment in their schools and facilities.

Larchmont does have a good number of families in the area and does have some very nice parks and facilities for children. That said, you're not terribly far from many areas in Lower Westchester that have offerings for children, so unless it's a town-specific program, it's only a few extra minutes from some areas as the areas you're considering are all relatively close to one another.

In terms of a train commute, Pelham, Larchmont, and Bronxville are going to be quick. Pelham is closest, but you can get an express train at Larchmont that gets you into GCT in about the same time as a train from Pelham. Tuckahoe is only a couple of extra minutes from Bronxville, so it's not really anything that would make a huge difference in a commute schedule. You're not going to save ten or fifteen minutes, for example, by picking one of these areas over another, since they all go to GCT and then you need to take the subway to the WTC from there.
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Old 01-17-2009, 01:07 PM
 
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There is one other option for a WTC commute, but I don't know all the details. There is a ferry/water taxi that goes from Yonkers, directly to WTC. It's about 45 minutes. I don't know the cost, and I don't know the parking situation from Yonkers. But if you're close enough to Yonkers, it's a commuting option worth checking out.
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Old 01-17-2009, 09:40 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bmwguydc View Post

Tuckahoe is a small school district, relatively speaking, that serves the Village of Tuckahoe (part of the Town of Eastchester as is Bronxville), and a tiny part of Eastchester. It is a good district that many people like, however, other districts tend to have more enrichment in their schools and facilities.

Larchmont does have a good number of families in the area and does have some very nice parks and facilities for children. That said, you're not terribly far from many areas in Lower Westchester that have offerings for children, so unless it's a town-specific program, it's only a few extra minutes from some areas as the areas you're considering are all relatively close to one another.

In terms of a train commute, Pelham, Larchmont, and Bronxville are going to be quick. Pelham is closest, but you can get an express train at Larchmont that gets you into GCT in about the same time as a train from Pelham. Tuckahoe is only a couple of extra minutes from Bronxville, so it's not really anything that would make a huge difference in a commute schedule. You're not going to save ten or fifteen minutes, for example, by picking one of these areas over another, since they all go to GCT and then you need to take the subway to the WTC from there.
That was very helpful info! Thank you...Could you elaborate on the "other districts" that have more enrichment programs in their schools. That is something that we would like to have for our children. I did look into Larchmont and Pelham PS curriculum and was pleased to see their offerings.

Also, would Rye Public Schools be an area worth looking at? We were thinking that it might add another 10 minutes to the commute to WTC than from Larchmont or Pelham. And, that because it is a higher income area, we would not quite get as much as we would in Pelham or Larchmont, (we are renting).

I saw a comment on a different post that the New Haven line is not quite as reliable as the Harlem line. Is this a factor worth considering? Or is it just a once in a month occurrance? I've also read numerous "bloggers" mention how congested, slow and unreliable the 4/5/6 is from GCT to the financial district. Is that all the time, and anytime of day, or is it just during peak travel times?
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Old 01-17-2009, 10:18 PM
 
Location: Washington, DC & New York
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You're welcome. Rye is one of the other districts that does tend to have more facilities and enrichment. Scarsdale does as well, but the district is loved by some and despised by others, since it can be pressure cooker for some children. Harrison, Edgemont, Ardsley, Dobbs Ferry, and Irvington are also well-regarded districts, though they are getting to the 40-50 minute mark to GCT, depending upon whether or not one takes an express train.

The New Haven Line can have fits at times, since it switches power at Pelham. Below Pelham, it's electrified third-rail, but at Pelham it switches to/from a catenary, and sometimes there are issues in icy weather with making the connection between the pantographs on the cars and the overhead wires that can cause some delays. Parts of the New Haven Line also have heavy Amtrak traffic that can add to delays as well at times. In contrast, the Harlem Line does not have this issue, though it lacks some of the express trains that are found on various branches of the New Haven and Hudson Lines.

You can get express trains at Harrison, Mamaroneck, and Larchmont, and there are one or two very early in the morning out of Rye, that save a few minutes on the commute. Rye is going to be more expensive for the rental, but between Rye, Rye Brook, and Rye Neck, you might find something, though it might be a tad smaller. Irvington will be a longer commute on the Hudson Line, and it's also going to likely represent a compromise in house size, not unlike Rye. Ardsley is a nice area, but the train station is in Dobbs Ferry, despite the name being Ardsley-on-Hudson. That will add a few minutes to the commute, and then there's the hassle of parking at the station, and availability of residential permits with which to contend in some of the towns/villages.

At GCT, the subway can be very congested, and it's like that mostly during rush hours. At other times during the day, it's not as congested, but there are certainly a good number of patrons on the trains. The service is fairly reliable, but it can be very crowded during rush hours.
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Old 01-18-2009, 06:49 AM
 
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By measures of academic achievement, Tuckahoe is at least a step below the other school districts you listed. That’s not to say an individual student cannot get a good education going through the Tuckahoe schools, and there are many happy families who send their children there.

I used to commute from the Crestwood station in Tuckahoe to downtown. The Harlem line is very reliable, and the 4,5,6 lines are also. Yes, they are very crowded during rush hour. As much as I tried, I was unable to get my commute time to less than about one hour and fifteen minutes door-to-door.
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Old 01-20-2009, 07:55 PM
 
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I noticed that the Crestwood station is just north of the Tuckahoe station. If we are considering looking at Tuckahoe rentals, would Eastchester be worth looking into as well? It seems like there is more affordable housing in Eastchester. Are Eastchester public schools similar in terms of academic offerings with Pelham and Larchmont, or with Tuckahoe, or below?
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Old 01-20-2009, 08:47 PM
 
Location: Washington, DC & New York
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Eastchester is a notch below Pelham, but for most students it would not be that significant a difference. It is a very good, solid district that has a little more economic diversity than some neighboring jurisdictions.
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Old 01-22-2009, 07:05 AM
 
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I live in Eastchester. There is very little economic diversity here. You may be thinking of Tuckahoe. Eastchester is largely Italian middle class, with a significant Japanese minority. My kids are in the public schools. They are good in the sense that they get good test scores. They are very test-driven, and don't teach anything that isn't aligned to the NY standards (at least in the elementary schools). There is little enrichment or individuation for kids who are ahead. On the other hand, they are very good at meeting the needs of kids on IEPs. I have kids in both situations, that is how I know!
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Old 01-22-2009, 07:37 AM
 
Location: Washington, DC & New York
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Actally, I was referring to Eastchester as being more economically diverse than Scarsdale and Bronxville; since, in Eastchester, you can find lower cost co-ops (comparatively), middle class single family homes ($500s-$700s), and homes that are well over $1M all in the same district. That's the diversity to which I was speaking, though some may use private schools so it may not translate into the public school system.
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