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Old 02-07-2010, 12:38 PM
7 posts, read 23,619 times
Reputation: 11


I'm new to City-Data and find it a great resource. I posted this over in the New Jersey forum but since it deals with a comparison of New Jersey (Essex County towns) and Westchester, I wanted to hear from this forum as well.

I'm wondering if anyone here cross-shopped Maplewood/Millburn/South Orange, NJ area with towns in Westchester before ultimately picking one. Which did you pick and why? From my perspective:

Maplewood area advantages
It seems to me that Maplewood et al represent better value in terms of property prices. The houses in general are more attractive with modern finishes and renovations. There seems to be a thriving artistic and cultural community in Maplewood and South Orange, something that's hard to equal in pretty much any town in Westchester, with the possible exception of some of the River towns (although those communities are much smaller). The close proximity to Manhattan is a plus (30-35 minute commute) as are all the amenities like Trader Joe's in Millburn, Short Hills Mall, and South Mountain Reservation. I know of some this can be easily achieved in Southern Westchester but it isn't as well laid-out as in the area of question in NJ. Moreover, it's easy to find a place that's walkable to the train and town. Quite easy in fact to have only one car. People, especially those with young families like me, seem to genuinely love this area with a passion that's hard to find anywhere else in the Tri-State area.

Westchester advantages
However, there's the congestion of New Jersey (densest state in the country) and the pitiful state of the surrounding communities like Newark and Irvington. In most of Westchester, there isn't really anything approaching the decripit nature of these towns; only Mount Vernon comes close and parts of the Bronx (and perhaps Yonkers) that touch Southern Westchester and they can easily be avoided. Also, traffic in and out of Manhattan and cross-county is pretty smooth compared to Essex County and there aren't tolls every 100 feet. It makes me think you have to plan very carefully before you hit the Turnpike on the weekend to avoid heavy traffic. Then there's Grand Central vs Penn Station, with the former being a far more attractive commuting hub. Finally, it seems New Jersey is in worse shape financially with a looming property tax reassessment planned and and lots of dire predictions about severe cutbacks in services.

Overall, property and other taxes are bad in both places. Schools are good in both areas.

I know Westchester is highly diverse so let me say that areas of particular interest include Pelham, Hastings, Irvington, Tarrytown, Croton, Pleasantville, Mt. Kisco, and Katonah.

Anything I'm missing? Any and all advice appreciated.
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Old 02-07-2010, 01:23 PM
Location: Yorktown Heights NY
1,316 posts, read 4,778,938 times
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We looked at all of the towns you mentioned when we decided to move out of the city. We came pretty close to buying a place in Maplewood, but then we realized that it didn't feel right to us. It was too "suburban" and house/driveway/house etc, and while the towns have nice main streets they're part if this never-ending sprawl of towns bleeding into each other with nothing really dividing them. We decided that if we were going to leave the city we wanted to get things that the city simply doesn't have. So we rejected those NJ and southern Westchester towns and focussed on northern westchester and the Katonah/Kisco/ossining/Yorktown/croton area. In this area you have the choice between being in-town in a village setting or you can be 5 minutes outside of town in a more rural setting and get land and privacy. Whichever you opt for, the area offers a wonderful balance of natural beauty and outdoor amenities and great cultural amenities. We've been here for 8 Years now and love it.

Last edited by dma1250; 02-07-2010 at 01:49 PM.. Reason: typo
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Old 02-09-2010, 11:44 PM
Location: Scarsdale
13 posts, read 38,419 times
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That is really such a hard questions to answer, because each town in Westchester offers different things... for example if you want a more NY city feel...than White Plains is the place to be.... if you like the water, than Mamaroneck and Larchmont has the boaters feel...Mod cutbest of luck and let us know if you pick NJ or NY

Last edited by Viralmd; 02-10-2010 at 06:32 AM.. Reason: TOS violation
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Old 05-30-2010, 02:18 PM
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I am surprised that more people did not respond to your question. I am going through the same analysis and strongly leaning towards Essex Co. The main reason is that it seems that you get more value in terms of real estate than in Westchester. Older, larger homes are available in SO and Maplewood, and I have not come across anything like these homes in Westchester. I work on the eastside so I would prefer to come into GCS of course, but that alone will not make me switch my choice to Westchester. I would be interested in finding out your decision. On one of my recent excursions out to SO to look at homes, I met a couple with baby in tow who also lived in Manhattan and had to make the same decision. They bought a house in SO.
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Old 05-30-2010, 02:24 PM
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Not sure about the schools. Have you checked them out?
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Old 06-01-2010, 07:42 AM
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I used to live in Englewood Cliffs as well as Fort Lee NJ-then Manhattan for many years. When I decided to move out of the city, I had a choice-it's very tough commuting to NY-getting over the bridge-getting around-heavy traffic-we decided to move to Westchester. We are now selling our home, have the same choice again, and we still choose Westchester. Besides the easier commute, and it being so much less congested than NJ, we we have heard the schools are much better-having checked them as far as resale value on our home.
We are also not crazy about the government in NJ-so another preference for Westchester.
There are also more acidents on the NJ highways vs Westchester. Very tough to get around.
In short,having lived in both places I would never go back to NJ. Los of great places in Westchester-have you looked at Harrison? Close to shopping, easy to get to the city, close to Conn., good schools, friendly people, nice town-lots of land-good value with the home.
Feel free to send me a PM if I can help further-as I do feel pretty expert in this area.
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Old 06-02-2010, 01:58 PM
Location: Peekskill, NY
95 posts, read 396,512 times
Reputation: 38
As you've already determined, both areas have a lot of positives and some negatives. I think it's a matter of spending time and seeing which area you like better -- and to some degree where you find a house that you think you love/will love. We lived in Maplewood for a year, then moved to Montclair, and ultimately ended up in Westchester, in Peekskill. But I think that with the right house we could have been equally happy in Maplewood long term. I too am happy to answer any specific questions if you have them. Good luck
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