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Old 02-07-2010, 07:22 PM
 
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I am getting ready to the Tri-State Area and will be working near Grand Central. I learned a lot about NJ by the 5 Pros and 5 cons post. Can you please list 5 Pros and 5 cons to living in Westchester County. Thanks.
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Old 02-07-2010, 08:48 PM
 
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cons:
1. super expensive with highest property tax and higher income tax.
2. super snobbish people (not sure NJ is better) with the attitude of "I will ********* if I can".
3. hilly landscape compared to NJ, lots of houses have dangerous steep drive ways or unusable backyard.
4. school districts are facing large budget cut, which will soon lead to school quality and ranking slide.

pros:
1. car insurance premium is lower than NJ
2. close to CT if you are in financial industry.
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Old 02-08-2010, 08:19 AM
 
374 posts, read 971,066 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PEmom View Post
cons:
1. super expensive with highest property tax and higher income tax.
2. super snobbish people (not sure NJ is better) with the attitude of "I will ********* if I can".
3. hilly landscape compared to NJ, lots of houses have dangerous steep drive ways or unusable backyard.
4. school districts are facing large budget cut, which will soon lead to school quality and ranking slide.

pros:
1. car insurance premium is lower than NJ
2. close to CT if you are in financial industry.
overly harsh PEMom! Here are my opinions about your comments.

1) true, but I would rephrase it to say that you get paid more because the cost of living is much higher. So if you are chosing westchester for a 5k$ salary difference, you may be getting cheated when you realize the cost of living is $10k more (just an example)
2) not true in my case, but I am at the low end of the income ladder so I fraternize with a lot of poor and lower class people who are not snobby
3) Yes, make sure to buy a house that doesn't get flooded because of the way the soil slopes!@@@@
4) yes harsh school budget cuts... but I can't really imagine better schools in NJ

But I definitely like Westchester a lot more than NJ. And CT seems nice but I don't have much experience there
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Old 02-08-2010, 02:01 PM
 
Location: Westchester County, NY
10,345 posts, read 16,585,508 times
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My 5 pros and cons (I have to admit I strained a little to come up with cons after the 1st one while the pros were pretty easy):

Pros:

1) Beautiful scenery -- hills, and the Hudson River and LI Sound shorelines - lots of vistas if you know where to look

2) Public schools are among the best in the country.....even the worst urban districts would be somewhat decent compared to other places (compare Yonkers or Mt. Vernon to say Detroit City for example).

3) Can have urban, suburban, and even semi-rural in short distances from each other. And overall, relative to distance from Manhattan, nowhere near as "congested" or "commercialized" as NJ, LI or even coastal CT.

4) Close to NYC and easily accessible by train.

5) Lots of local work options and shopping if you don't want to go to NYC.


Cons:

1) Super-expensive, and while salaries are higher here, for most the salaries still make it pretty unaffordable compared to elsewhere, even sometimes within the NY area. And among the highest property taxes in the US.

2) Somewhat segregated with a "fear of diversity" by many -- Westchester's original growth patterns stemmed from "white flight" and the demographics of different areas often show it, though upper middle class minorities are probably still more accepted here than other places.

3) The only direction to travel cheaply for a "Sunday drive" is northward or into New England.....every other direction involves toll bridges or expensive trains or parking (and often non-rush hour traffic like in NJ or LI). I live in southern Westchester and parts of NJ are as little 6 miles from me "as the crow flies" but in reality 20+ miles plus tolls.

4) Lack of many major chains, and when they do come, we're often the last place in America to get them......no Olive Garden, only Wal-Mart until recently was at the northernmost edge of the county and the new other one in White Plains is a pain to park at (free, but you have to wait on an often long line to leave while you validate with a machine that you bought $5 or more at the store to get free parking), no Chili's, no PETsMART outside of the extreme north of the county until recently, no Chuck-E-Cheese for the kids, we were the last part of the country to get Target and Best Buy, etc.

5) Especially north of I-287, it is colder than NYC and can sometimes snow, even heavily, when NYC has rain. I remember working in NYC and having a co-worker who lived in Yorktown Heights and there was a time it looked bad for him when he couldn't come in due to 8" of snow and no plowing yet but it was raining in Manhattan.

Last edited by 7 Wishes; 02-08-2010 at 02:11 PM..
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Old 02-08-2010, 04:22 PM
 
Location: East Millcreek
2,521 posts, read 6,116,727 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 7 Wishes View Post
Cons:
3) The only direction to travel cheaply for a "Sunday drive" is northward or into New England.....every other direction involves toll bridges or expensive trains or parking (and often non-rush hour traffic like in NJ or LI). I live in southern Westchester and parts of NJ are as little 6 miles from me "as the crow flies" but in reality 20+ miles plus tolls.

4) Lack of many major chains, and when they do come, we're often the last place in America to get them......no Olive Garden, only Wal-Mart until recently was at the northernmost edge of the county and the new other one in White Plains is a pain to park at (free, but you have to wait on an often long line to leave while you validate with a machine that you bought $5 or more at the store to get free parking), no Chili's, no PETsMART outside of the extreme north of the county until recently, no Chuck-E-Cheese for the kids, we were the last part of the country to get Target and Best Buy, etc.
Apart from WP parking, I'd put 3 and 4 at the top of the pros category.
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Old 02-09-2010, 09:48 AM
 
Location: Yorktown Heights NY
1,316 posts, read 4,863,766 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 7 Wishes View Post
5) Especially north of I-287, it is colder than NYC and can sometimes snow, even heavily, when NYC has rain. I remember working in NYC and having a co-worker who lived in Yorktown Heights and there was a time it looked bad for him when he couldn't come in due to 8" of snow and no plowing yet but it was raining in Manhattan.
Yes, but just as often we in the north miss storms that are coming up from the south and end up blowing out along the CT coast. That's happened a few time already this year. Even more frequently, southern Westchester often gets sleet and icy road conditions when northern Westchester is having a lovely sprinkle of snow that melts on contact. And in the summer those few degrees colder can make all the difference!


Picking 5 PROS and CONS was hard....

PROS

1. Tremendous natural beauty; great nature reserves and parks with amazing hiking, swimming, cross-country skiing, horse back riding, etc; the North County Trailway and the development of the Hudson River Walk; Lots of protected open space.

2. Nice towns with interesting stores and good restaurants; a recent boom of cool independent coffee houses, breweries, interesting restaurants, and funky stores.

3. Great stock of homes ranging from 1700's farmhouses to 1920's Tudors to 50's modern classics.

4. Excellent schools and great town amenities (pools, lakes, parks, etc); great free or almost free activities and classes for kids and grownups.

5. A booming cultural scene with good art museums (especially Hudson Valley Center for Contemporary Art and Katonah Museum), performing art centers, independent movie theaters, and artist collectives; and wonderful local libraries that host a huge variety of events and classes.

6. Excellent commuter rail system that (while expensive) is fast and reliable.

CONS:

1. High taxes

2. Too much development and not nearly enough consistent control on development. Practically no effort to maintain historic structures.

3. Direct relationship between taxes and school budgets; allowing taxpayers to approve or disapprove of school budgets. (Taxpayers in the city don't get to approve school budgets; we in the state don't get to approve education budgets; school budgets should be up to the schools and taxpayers should express their pleasure/displeasure through election of school board.)

4. Lack of adequate public transportation; failure to create infrastructure to reduce dependence on cars.

5. Commuter rail system too expensive.
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Old 02-09-2010, 12:25 PM
 
Location: Westchester County, NY
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dma1250 View Post
But just as often we in the north miss storms that are coming up from the south and end up blowing out along the CT coast. That's happened a few time already this year. Even more frequently, southern Westchester often gets sleet and icy road conditions when northern Westchester is having a lovely sprinkle of snow that melts on contact. And in the summer those few degrees colder can make all the difference!
Good points. I remember commuting to the far north of the county a few times where they had almost nothing vs. a couple of inches of snow at home or sleet/ice at home vs. simple soft snow up north.
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Old 02-09-2010, 06:36 PM
 
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Thanks 7wishes to get those points out of me.

2) is definitely true, esp. if you want your kids to be in a decent school district, then diversity is a joke. I am struggling with that between better diversity/low-ranked school and low diversity / higher-ranked school. Edgemont is the only exception but its ridiculous amount of property tax scares me away.

4) that's because Westchester's small businesses have strong union to block those big chains from coming in, which is at the expense of consumers. It also reminds me of another Con: super-expensive contractors. After using local contractor once, I never touched and would never touch them again. A lower Westchester plumber put a lien on our house because our contractor did not pay him enough (the plumber was the sub-contractor). I use those from NJ, NYC, or CT....anywhere is better than here.

5) colder - that's true. but i really don't think that's a big deal. Everything is cheaper and less crowded (but less / no diversity) if you go further north, which should more than offset your slightly higher heating bill. That's just a trade off.
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Old 02-09-2010, 06:43 PM
 
9,336 posts, read 20,511,542 times
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I have lived in Tarrytown in the past and here are my 2 cents:

PROS
1. Easy access to NYC
2. Metro North into Grand Central
3. Can be scenic, I esp. love the river area
4. I'd rather cross the Tappan Zee than the GWB
5. Lower car insurance than NJ

CONS
1. Traffic can be a pain, esp 287 w/c always seems to be under construction
2. Drivers aren't always.. polite..
3. High cost of living
4. Higher income tax than NJ
5. If its important to you, from a Manhattanite's perspective, you're Bridge and Tunnel (just like people from NJ, Queens, etc.)
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Old 02-09-2010, 06:49 PM
 
Location: Yorktown Heights NY
1,316 posts, read 4,863,766 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PEmom View Post
cons:
4. school districts are facing large budget cut, which will soon lead to school quality and ranking slide. .
This is hardly a Westchester-specific con. All districts in NY are facing some degree of crisis next year due to the state's draconian cuts in education and the addition of new unfunded mandates. The city is planning major cuts in programs and teachers which will have a huge impact across the schools. Upstate schools are generally worse off since they tend to have much smaller reserves to fall back on. New Jersey is in a very similar budget crisis, and I know from co-workers who live in South Orange and Maplewood that those schools are wrestling with big cuts for next year, too. I don't know anything about CT's finances, but I doubt they're in much better shape.
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