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Old 05-05-2010, 09:26 PM
 
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for a family of 4 with 2 kids, 7 and 1. We need a town with a great school district -- our daughter is a genius and we can't have her languishing in obscurity in a school that doesn't recognize her supreme gifts! LOL -- and a great town -- something kind of walkable, near restaurants, shops, etc.

We're moving from Queens, so we're used to easy access to everything, but we definitely don't want that "city neighborhood" feel -- we want the more laid back lifestyle of the suburbs. Town should have family activities, stuff to do. Oh, and near the train would be great, too; and it could be as much as a 1 - 1 1/2 hours from Manhattan.

We're thinking we'd rent for a year first...just to see if we really can handle the laid back suburban life.

Also, how would you say the taxes compare to Long Island's?

Any input would be great! Thanks!
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Old 05-06-2010, 03:29 AM
 
Location: Sound Beach
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I LOVE the description of your daughter...thats great!!

I grew up in Peekskill (northern westchester) but its a little rough there.

I hear really great things about White Plains these days.

Taxes...as I understand are the same of higher than here (Long Island). I live in Sound Beach and pay $5800. I would be hard pressed to find an 1800 sq ft house in Westchester for those taxes.

Happy hunting!
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Old 05-06-2010, 05:44 AM
 
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If you're looking for a great school district, try Hastings, Irvington, Scarsdale, Bronxville, Larchmont, then Chappaqua, Briarcliff, Pleasantville, which are also good but less walkable. They are all within an hour from Manhattan.

Keep in mind she's going to be in classes with other highly motivated geniuses.

The taxes in those towns are astronomical. I'll approximate between 15-20k per year for an average 2000 sf (or less) 3-4 bedroom house.

Look around for a house that's in a particular school district but not in the village and you'll save 5-6 grand a year.
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Old 05-06-2010, 08:14 AM
 
Location: Washington, DC & New York
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I would also consider Katonah, South Salem, Lewisboro, most of Bedford, Pound Ridge, and Chappaqua. Chappaqua is just under an hour to Grand Central. Katonah just over an hour from Grand Central, but the other areas will be pushing the 1.5 hour mark when you factor in the commute to the station and parking. Unfortunatley, Northern Westchester has high taxes as well, but Chappaqua and Katonah-Lewisboro have very good school districts. Bedford Central, which covers Bedford, Bedford Hills, Pound Ridge and Mount Kisco is also good, but at the elementary level, there are perforamce gaps, so you would want to pick a location by elementary school.
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Old 05-06-2010, 10:19 AM
 
Location: Harrison
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To get a walkable town you're probably going to want to concentrate your search in lower Westchester. Think places like Rye, Larchmont, Mamaroneck, Scarsdale, Bronxville, Irvington... Pleasantville and Katonah come to mind also as having nice town centers. The fact is that the more north you go the more rural Westchester gets. Coming from the city we found places like Chappaqua to be WAY too spread out and rural for us (although there was a house right near the village center that we considered) and we realized that we didn't want 4 acres in what seemed like the middle of nowhere! Now maybe you do, so you should definitely look up some houses that interest you and drive around. You may want tons of space, or like us, you may want something less rural. We ended up in Scarsdale and despite what the stereotype is, have found everyone to be perfectly nice and we really like our super-fantastic location. Plus, our son is a genius too so he'll be right at home with all the other geniuses here once he gets into the school system!
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Old 05-06-2010, 03:30 PM
 
Location: Yorktown Heights NY
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Originally Posted by streetsmart View Post
....The fact is that the more north you go the more rural Westchester gets. Coming from the city we found places like Chappaqua to be WAY too spread out and rural for us ....
If you want to be in-town, Northern Westchester has a number of options--Katonah, Croton, Mt Kisco have attractive, walkable village centers with plenty of nice houses nearby. Ossining is good if you want more of small city vibe. The good thing about these towns is that you can be in a walkable village and still be surrounded by natural beauty and minutes from hiking and great nature preserves. Croton has a great trail system.

As streetsmart says, its all personal. Coming from the city (where we were both born and bred), my wife and I were desperate to get what the city doesn't offer--space and privacy and beauty. We've been living in an old farmhouse on 4 acres with a barn for almost 9 years now and love it. So definitely look all over and see what feels right.

As for schools, ignore 99.9% of what people on this forum say. They're all micro disecting test scores down to the nano score. If you have ever worked on assessment measures--or even looked at them--you'd die laughing at the attention people pay to them. My son is going through the state tests right now. I asked his teacher about how they were going to prep for them and she said, "We go over the question format. We do a few sample tests. Every year one or two kids in the school don't pass. Everyone else gets the highest possible score. Don't worry about them." And that is the best possible attitude toward standardized tests.
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Old 05-06-2010, 06:34 PM
 
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Taxes are comparable... perhaps slightly more... than similar neighborhoods in Long Island. For the areas people have listed, the taxes run more along the lines of 20K (Hastings, Scarsdale, Irvington, Larchmont). I compare these areas to Manhasset (15-20K) I think of taxes as roughly corresponding with school rankings & commutability to the city... and when compared to the best areas of Queens, they are astronomically higher.

I'd say: take a few drives & see what neighborhood matches what you want the best. Walk-ability is a difficult factor: I think my immediate area is walkable, but it's nothing like Queens (I'm originally from there myself).

Dobbs Ferry, Hastings, Larchmont & Irvington are a bit more walkable than others. School systems are in the eye of the beholder... Croton, Chappaqua & Armonk are very nice as well...I visit their parks on weekends (but too far North for me).

I could have written what "streetsmart" wrote myself. I couldn't imagine living so far away from neighbors (we looked in Armonk). I liked southern westchester for the setup (but it's quite more $$ for what you get).
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Old 05-06-2010, 09:14 PM
 
71 posts, read 184,728 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dma1250 View Post
...As streetsmart says, its all personal. Coming from the city (where we were both born and bred), my wife and I were desperate to get what the city doesn't offer--space and privacy and beauty. We've been living in an old farmhouse on 4 acres with a barn for almost 9 years now and love it. So definitely look all over and see what feels right.

As for schools, ignore 99.9% of what people on this forum say. They're all micro disecting test scores down to the nano score. If you have ever worked on assessment measures--or even looked at them--you'd die laughing at the attention people pay to them. My son is going through the state tests right now. I asked his teacher about how they were going to prep for them and she said, "We go over the question format. We do a few sample tests. Every year one or two kids in the school don't pass. Everyone else gets the highest possible score. Don't worry about them." And that is the best possible attitude toward standardized tests.
Thank you all! Coming from Queens, where I grew up, I have this impression that anything "upstate" (yes, that means anything north of the Bronx!) is extremely expensive...those figures for the taxes just about gave me a heart attack! I live in Long Island City now..."houses" here (which are really just brownstones or Federal style buildings) can be as little as $1,500- 2,000 a year!!!! So yeah, $15,000 is a bit of a pill to swallow.

dma, your home sounds like our dream: we'd the love the whole farmhouse thing, lots of space. Plenty of room, and the kids can learn what peace and quiet is. Mind if I ask you how far north you are? Or what school district you're in? Not looking for your address -- just an idea about where that kind of property might be available.

The school consideration...it's making me a little nuts, I'll admit. But you feel like you want to do the right thing (especially when your child is a genius and you don't want to mess up her eductaion for life!).

UGH!!! Too much pressure...
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Old 05-07-2010, 05:37 AM
 
Location: Yorktown Heights NY
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Quote:
Originally Posted by curlygirl! View Post
dma, your home sounds like our dream: we'd the love the whole farmhouse thing, lots of space. Plenty of room, and the kids can learn what peace and quiet is. Mind if I ask you how far north you are? Or what school district you're in? Not looking for your address -- just an idea about where that kind of property might be available....
We're in Yorktown Heights, in the Yorktown Central school district. We love the schools and have found them to be very focused on differentiated instruction and giving kids work that is right for their level. As for how far north we are, we're just north of Croton and just south of Katonah. You can find old farmhouses on a few acres of land in "rural" settings throughout Northern Westchester area, especially in the corridor around the Croton reservoir.
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Old 05-07-2010, 11:28 AM
 
Location: Katonah, NY
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We just moved to Katonah from the Upper East Side in Manhattan - and we love it here! There is so much natural beauty - and we are not that far from the adorable downtown part of Katonah. We don't have children yet but the school system here is supposed to be excellent. We bought our 3 bedroom, 2 bathroom house for a little under 500K and our taxes are a little less than 10K a year. We have only lived here for a month but feel like we landed in paradise! We loved the city and were sad to move - but we are so relaxed and happy up here. We love how spread out it is and how laidback it is.
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