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Old 04-18-2009, 04:49 PM
 
13 posts, read 41,958 times
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My husband and I are frustrated with our current living situation in the city and are looking into single family homes for 400k and under. Preferably in the mid 300's. It may be a tall (and naive) order, but here is what we're looking for:

An arty community
Walkable to transportation and at least a few restaurants and a pub
Safe
Relatively easy commute to NYC
Some kind of nightlife (even if it's just a good handful of bars and some galleries)
Decent schools - We don't have kids yet, but that's the plan. We want to avoid being in an area with an awful track record for education. It doesn't have to be a stunning school district, just something doable if we're not ready to move on in 5 years or so.

We've looked heavily into Rockland County and love it, but the commute looks pretty bad from all the areas along the Hudson that we like. Plus there is barely anything in our price range. We're not really that interested in Suffern, plus it's barely affordable for us.

We've heard a few good things about Floral Park Queens/Long Island. Sounds like a decent commute and safe, but can't find any info on if there's anything going on out there. We don't want to live in the straight-up burbs. It needs to have something for a young couple who enjoys good food and a little art once in awhile.

New Rochelle - heard there is a decent art community. Anyone know more about the area? I've heard mixed things about its safety. No idea at all what neighborhoods to look at and if they're walkable to the train.

Wakefield, Bronx - Very mixed reviews, can't get a sense of it at all.

We're not really looking in CT or NJ, seems just as expensive as any of the above areas and isn't as appealing to us for a variety of reasons. But we're open to ideas.

We work from home a lot, so don't need an easy commute every day, but also don't want to be completely locked off from the city. We're open to suggestions.
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Old 04-18-2009, 04:55 PM
 
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I think the wall you're hitting has to do with wanting a single family home at the pricepoint you describe. If you'd consider a condominium, there'd be a higher likelihood of finding something you could afford and where you'd want to live.
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Old 04-18-2009, 10:35 PM
 
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Default Okay

That's very true. But still, if we end up in a better condo than the apartment than we're in now, any ideas on where?
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Old 04-19-2009, 04:04 AM
 
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I hate to sound negative, but I have only seen one decent house in lower Westchester that's not in Mt. Vernon or Yonkers, and that is a nice looking house in Ardsley for $449,000; this price is a real anomoly and makes me wonder what's wrong with the place, though the pics look very nice. However, I have been looking at houses for several months now and a beautiful house near there just lowered its price from $539,000 to $499,999. There are a bunch of decent houses now going at around $500,000, but most of the houses below that are very very outdated and even look bad from the outside, or are tiny (like under 1,000 sq ft). I was heartened by the drop of $39,000 off of the house that I love, but since I am not completely ready to move out of the city yet I'm waiting to see if the prices will drop even more. It would be astounding though if they made it down to $400K, but it is certainly possible that will happen at some point this year (or maybe not..).
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Old 04-19-2009, 06:13 AM
 
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You might want to check out Irvington and Tarrytown. The houses in town, in Irvington, are pretty inexpensive, and interesting. It's an arty place with a good commute.
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Old 04-19-2009, 06:18 AM
 
Location: East Millcreek
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Quote:
Originally Posted by newyork004 View Post
An arty community
Walkable to transportation and at least a few restaurants and a pub
Safe
Relatively easy commute to NYC
Some kind of nightlife (even if it's just a good handful of bars and some galleries)
Decent schools - We don't have kids yet, but that's the plan.
By "arty" do you mean on enough producing artists to have a meaningful impact on the community (non-chain bookstores, active galleries, alternative lifestylers, etc)? If so you'll be very hard pressed to find it in Westchester. There are plenty of towns with a couple galleries, but no meaningful, local creative community. What you're is Beacon or Cold Spring, except for the NYC commute and maybe the decent schools part ( I have no idea about their schools).

Forget New Rochelle. Downtown New Rochelle is a struggling wasteland of dollar stores, nail salons and generally low rent Mexican restaurants. There are always new, more upscale bars trying to make it, none ever seem to hold on, there's no clientele. The downtown is dominated an overwhelmingly enormous latino population and Monroe College, a for-profit trade school catering to immigrant kids from the Caribbean. There's no visible creative community whatever, also no bookshops, no coffee shops, no alternative lifestyle support of any kind (gay bookstore, natural food market, crystal/new age shop, galleries, etc). That said, The Little Mexican Cafe has great food and the best margaritas anywhere.

Last edited by kletter1mann; 04-19-2009 at 06:32 AM.. Reason: Forgot a key point
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Old 04-19-2009, 06:43 AM
 
Location: Austin
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Have you considered New Haven, Connecticut? Growing and very active artist community, college town with inexpensive entertainment, reasonable real estate prices, accessible to NYC by train. You might consider doing a little research on this town. There are lots of single family homes in your price range. Check Realtor.com.

I recently bought a piece from an artist who lives there. She told me she lived in an artist community in New Haven.
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Old 04-19-2009, 09:11 AM
 
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In Rockland, Nyack would be an excellent match. Unfortunately, the commute is poor. Still, take a look at the Tappan Zee Express schedule for commuting.

If you want to be in Westchester, the river towns are a bit more arty, and you may find a condo you like. Try Dobbs Ferry, Irvington and Croton.
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Old 04-19-2009, 09:11 AM
 
13 posts, read 41,958 times
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Thanks for the suggestions! But I was surprised Irvington was on the list. It's really expensive to buy a condo, let alone a single family. The cheapest single family I've seen is 495k.

I'm not that interested in New Haven, and have spent time there. I suppose anything in our range is going to be a sacrifice of something, though.
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Old 04-19-2009, 01:25 PM
 
Location: Yorktown Heights NY
1,316 posts, read 4,864,422 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kletter1mann View Post
By "arty" do you mean on enough producing artists to have a meaningful impact on the community (non-chain bookstores, active galleries, alternative lifestylers, etc)? If so you'll be very hard pressed to find it in Westchester. There are plenty of towns with a couple galleries, but no meaningful, local creative community. What you're is Beacon or Cold Spring, except for the NYC commute and maybe the decent schools part ( I have no idea about their schools).
Peekskill has a very large community of working artists. Check out the Peekskill Arts Council: home | Peekskill Arts Council. Peekskill also has independent coffee houses (2), bookstore, galleries, performing arts center, and "alternative lifestylers". Croton and the surrounding area does not have much of an art "scene" but it does have a lot of working artists and a definite community. Check out the Croton Council on the Arts, Croton Council on the Arts. More globally, there's the Westchester Arts Council, ArtsWestchester, based in White Plains. And you'll find communities of artists all over northern Westchester. My little corner of Yorktown Heights has a large population of working artists, all of whom get together and connect with other artists throughout the area. So I don't think that anyone should have too much trouble finding a "meaningful, local creative community" in Westchester.
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