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Old 03-19-2010, 02:11 AM
 
3 posts, read 26,608 times
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Hi. My family (4 kids and my husband and I) will be relocating to Westchester from NYC in the near future. We've narrowed it down to these two communities but are having trouble deciding. Aspects that are important to us are a good school system (which we know both of these areas have), convenient and abundant children's activities, down-to-earth people, a feeling of community and religious diversity (we are Catholic/Jewish and not super religious but want an area where there is a decent percentage of Jewish people, where my kids can take part in organized holiday activities; we know Chappaqua fits the bill but unsure about Irvington).

We also have a live-out babysitter (our 4 kids are 6 and under) who is like part of our family and I would like to be a part of a community where she would have an easy time making playdates and doing activities with other sitters. Commute to NYC is important as well but we've decided that both areas are doable (although Irvington is preferable in that aspect, particularly because we want our children to be able to take advantage of all that Manhattan has to offer on a fairly regular basis).

Any input on good preschools in either area is also appreciated (we are not considering any school associated with a church or a temple). I have looked at both Elmwood (which I know isn't community based but I preferred it to the preschools I saw closer to Irvington) and World Cup and liked those the best.

Thanks in advance for the help!
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Old 03-19-2010, 05:43 AM
 
2,440 posts, read 6,256,668 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beastsnyc View Post
Hi. My family (4 kids and my husband and I) will be relocating to Westchester from NYC in the near future. We've narrowed it down to these two communities but are having trouble deciding. Aspects that are important to us are a good school system (which we know both of these areas have), convenient and abundant children's activities, down-to-earth people, a feeling of community and religious diversity (we are Catholic/Jewish and not super religious but want an area where there is a decent percentage of Jewish people, where my kids can take part in organized holiday activities; we know Chappaqua fits the bill but unsure about Irvington).
No offense to my Chappaqua friends, but it is probably the least "down to earth" community in Westchester County.

Irvington probably fits your bill. It is actually very diverse economically (lots of garden apartment coops, and modest houses downtown), and has a totally different vibe.
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Old 03-19-2010, 08:23 AM
 
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No offense to my Chappaqua friends, but it is probably the least "down to earth" community in Westchester County.
This is a little harsh. After living in Pleasantville since last June, we are buying in Chappaqua and believe me I didn't make the decision lightly since Chappaqua gets slammed pretty regularly on here. Everyone we have met (through church services, my daughter's extracurricular activities, and just being frequently out and about in Chappaqua) has been generally friendly and not any more uptight, conservative,snobby, aggressive, etc. than our P-ville neighbors. Just by virtue of being in the northern part of Westchester, it has a more relaxed vibe than southern areas like Scarsdale or Bronxville and I would argue even the river towns. The main roads are usually congested, houses are closer together, the hills make it more difficult to maneuver.

Irvington is beautiful and we did consider it when moving here from Los Angeles, but quickly realized we wanted more space and proximity to nature and rural areas. Irvington schools are also at the top along with Chappaqua so clearly a pronounced emphasis on success (for better or worse) is present in both communities. You don't get those kind of test scores by being particularly laid back.

On the preschool topic, I have heard nothing but positives about World Cup, and we considered it for my son but he has acclimated so well to his current preschool in Pleasantville that we are going to keep him there for his last/pre-K year. Feel free to PM me if you have any additional questions about the area. Good luck!!
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Old 03-19-2010, 12:29 PM
 
Location: Westchester
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Both are great communities. You won't go wrong with either choice.

Irvington has the benefit also of being close to 287 and the Tappan Zee Bridge for quick getaways to Rockland, NJ. It also wins for proximity to NYC and other urban areas.
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Old 03-19-2010, 06:54 PM
 
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Irvington is a great choice.
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Old 03-20-2010, 06:22 AM
 
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I am a working mom (3 girls, now teenagers) that has lived in Chappaqua for 11 years. One big difference between Irvington and Chappaqua is the school size: Irvington very small, Chappaqua large. I chose Chappaqua due to the larger school size, it offers more programs and more choice of friends.

Regarding the vibe, Chappaqua is a really rich community and I have always struggled with that because we are upper middle class, not rich. This means my kids feel poor!! in this community, which is so outrageous. Why can't I go to a sleep-away camp, Mom? Why can't we go to Europe, Mom? Why can't you buy me a car, Mom? It's harder to teach your kids perspective in this community. I have friends who moved from Chappaqua to Irvington (due to one parent losing his job) and they like Irvington better because it is more down-to-earth. I still like a bigger school than Irvington offers.

On a more positive note, we have made so many wonderful friends in this community. Temple Beth El is very mixed (Jewish/Christian) and liberal. I used Oak Lane for my youngest daughter and we loved it. It was exceptional. I recommended it to a coworker and she loved it too, and used it for her two children.

Good luck!
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Old 03-21-2010, 07:37 AM
 
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Either place is fine. Chappaqua is more rural and spread out. Irvington is a more compact village.
Both have high property taxes.
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Old 03-21-2010, 07:04 PM
 
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Thank you all so much for your comments/suggestions. This is a difficult decision for me (I am very happy living in NYC--I grew up here and have never lived in the suburbs-- and am only moving b/c we recently had twins in addition to our two other children and being a family of six makes NYC living difficult in several ways) and any help is much appreciated.

Yes, am very aware of the unfortunately high property taxes. And, yes, am aware both Irvington and Chappaqua are affluent communities. While we are financially comfortable, I did not grow up that way and I am trying to avoid, to whatever extent possible, excessive materialism. Obviously, one can encounter that in many areas (and, of course, NYC'ers are not immune...but the people I am closest to are not like that at all) but I just don't want my kids to be completely surrounded by a focus on that. They are so far not really focused on things and presents and I would love for that to continue.

I am pretty friendly and enjoy the idea of walking around a town or being at a playground and running into people/families we know. I know this happens to a much lesser extent in Irvington and Chappaqua than NYC (and I know there are better "walking" towns but we are not looking at those for various reasons) but I would love to feel like I "belonged" somewhere and would like to know my neighbors and feel like I could count on neighbors if something were wrong and my husband were out of town (he travels a bit for work).

My husband prefers the pastoral nature of Chappaqua. I think it is beautiful there but I have to admit that having things so spread out scares me a bit (I don't even get claustrophic on a crowded subway!). I hardly have ever drive so living in either place and depending on a car for my mode of transport will be a bit shocking to my system. I am a walker!

I am not sure what to think about a bigger high school vs. a smaller one. I am not overly familiar with the public school system (I had a scholarship to a small private school growing up) so I am not sure how much or little a large or smaller school system will offer. I would just like them to be able to take advantage of extracurricular activities (my oldest are especially interested in music) and be able to take interesting classes with teachers who instill a love of learning.

Thanks again, everyone!
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Old 03-25-2010, 02:55 PM
 
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We looked at many areas (Hastings, Ardsley, Croton on Hudson, Pleasantville, Chappaqua) and settled on Irvington because I think it would fit our family best. (we have made an offer on a house there but are still in Park Slope). It's close to the city, which is important to us for the commute time for my husband, and to be able to easily get back to the city for all our favorite restaurants, bookstores, etc on the UWS. But Irvington also has better "green space" than the towns farther south, which is very important to us. I, too, am a walker and HATE the idea of having to drive-- but on the other hand, we park on the street and I can't wait to not have to deal w/ moving the car for street sweeping. It's a whole bunch of trade-offs, isn't it? Anyway, we decided to move to the suburbs because I didn't want to raise our kids (3 and 5) in the city any more (for example, watching a woman get arrested outside preschool yesterday), and Irvington seemed like the best fit. And regarding preschools, we signed our 3 year old up for the Good Shepherd program-- we have good friends in Irvington who are Jewish and non-religious-Christian and they send their son there and love it. I loved it that during outdoor time this winter, the kids all went sledding. (and also, I very much appreciate it that Irvington is more economically diverse-- I don't want my kids to be around kids who have everything thoughtlessly.)
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