Photo by Ken Gabrielsen
Shopping for a place to live? Consider these nine desirable areas in Westchester and see what you can get for your money.
Add to that a wealth of cultural activities, outstanding dining and entertainment, and this region continues to be a beacon for young families, while generations of its proud longtime residents preserve the deep roots they have formed here.
This year’s top picks are categorized by median house prices, to feature locales that are experiencing growth and improvement, shining examples of places that exemplify Westchester’s vibrancy and superb quality of life.
Median House Price Above $2.5 Million
Scarsdale seems to have it all — a quick commute to New York City, an abundance of beautiful homes on tree-lined streets, a community of active and engaged citizens, and nationally acclaimed schools.
The town/village also carries the distinction of being Westchester’s wealthiest town, according to Bloomberg, and the second-wealthiest nationwide. The leafy suburb of roughly 18,000 has a quaint downtown, with picturesque Tudor-style buildings that house boutiques, specialty shops, and eateries.
Residents enjoy Scarsdale’s well-maintained parks and pools, sports facilities, and other municipal services, along with the nearby Greenburgh Nature Center — a favorite activity for the kids, with its 33 acres of walking trails and live animal exhibits.
“You have this gorgeous setting, and we are known for our excellent schools and extensive recreation programming,” says former Mayor Jane Veron, also a 25-year resident of Scarsdale.
Veron believes Scarsdale is an ideal place to raise a family, having “everything you would want within six-and-a-half square miles,” adding, “we just renovated our public library, which is a jewel in our town.”
4 Rutland Rd, Scarsdale
4 BD | 5 BA | 4,506 sq ft | .59 acres | $45,718 est. taxes
Listed by Laura Miller Team, Houlihan Lawrence
Multinational Corporations Amid the Greenery
It is not just the huge Wegmans grocery store and the convenience of Westchester airport just minutes away, but also the lush, green golf courses, country clubs, and gorgeous residential neighborhoods that make Harrison a desirable place to live.
The town/village is made up of the town of Harrison, along with the hamlets of Purchase and West Harrison — which are in the northern portion of the figure-eight-shaped municipality.
Roughly 17 square miles, the town attracted world-renowned multinational corporations, like Mastercard and PepsiCo, which chose Harrison as their headquarters — an understandable move given the location’s accessibility and picturesque setting. It is also home to two college campuses, Manhattanville College and Purchase College.
Richard Dionisio, the supervisor/mayor of Harrison, says residents cherish their small-town values and traditions, while they look forward to the future. “We are taking big steps with our new, state-of-the-art recreation-and-community center — which has been designed with our growing, modern community in mind, as well as with our popular senior and recreation programs,” he says.
As for the town’s solid footing and overall success, “we have an impressively low tax rate of 1.58%, and we’ve been awarded an AAA rating from Moody’s Investors Services for the past eight years; I’m proud to say Harrison’s valuation is the highest it’s ever been,” he adds.
Choosing Pound Ridge as home base was a savvy move by actor couple Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively, as it is known for its quiet elegance and sense of privacy — allowing for a way of life that celebrities seek and locals relish.
Nature abounds within the town’s 23 square miles, located in the northeast section of the county (it borders Bedford, North Castle, Lewisboro, and Connecticut), which includes Ward Pound Ridge Reservation and the Mianus River Gorge Preserve.
Pound Ridge has a compact but walkable business district that does not have a train stop or even a traffic light — though you will find a collection of cool antiques stores, restaurants, and an independent bookshop called Booksy Galore.
Kevin Hansan, a 28-year resident who has been the town’s supervisor for the past six years, says that everyone gets to know one another in Pound Ridge, through the schools or mingling in town. “We have one elementary school and plenty of community events, like our annual Harvest Festival, pop-up water park, and Food Truck Fridays in the summer,” he says. “And the good news is, most residents attend these events so it’s easy meeting your neighbors.”
The town includes the hamlets of Pound Ridge, Sarles Corners, and Scotts Corners, and is the county’s smallest in population density, with just over 5,000 residents. In the post-pandemic world, with many people working from home, Hansan adds, there has been a shift from considering Pound Ridge as a second-home destination to many now calling it their primary residence.
“We have no problems attracting people up here,” he says. “Where else are you going to find a town that has a Jean-Georges restaurant [The Inn at Pound Ridge] and a Peter Dye golf course?”
There has been a shift from considering Pound Ridge as a second-home destination to many now calling it their primary residence.
Median House Price $1 Million to $2.5 Million
With 6,000 new apartments being built in New Rochelle, the seventh-largest city in the state, this Westchester waterfront city with stunning views of Long Island Sound is an increasingly sought-after place to live.
Only 30 minutes from New York City, it boasts its own urban vibe with luxury towers and a surging skyline, while being surrounded by tranquil neighborhoods. The city’s unique features set the suburb apart, says Catherine White, executive director of the New Rochelle Chamber of Commerce.
“We have fantastic parks, we have shoreline and beachfronts, as well as a dynamic downtown with growing new developments,” she says. “Plus, great retail, homes, and an extensive schedule of events including concert series, ArtsFest, the Thanksgiving Parade and the Holiday Market.”
New Rochelle prides itself on its diversity and is known to be culturally, racially, and socio-economically inclusive. White explains that all types of faiths live and worship together within its borders: Mormon, Jewish, Muslim, Christian, and others — and gives a nod to the positive outreach offered by the Inter-Religious Coalition, an organization that fosters understanding and cooperation among different traditions.
As for housing options, the “Queen City on the Sound” offers multistory rental buildings, co-ops, and condos, plus a mosaic of various enclaves and neighborhoods where a range of single-home styles, including cottages, elegant Tudors, and Mediterranean and Colonial-revival properties line the streets.
The vibrant community of just over 80,000 residents participate in a host of activities and happenings, from a lineup of free concerts and ongoing farmers markets to indoor entertainment and retail at the New Roc City complex; the city even holds the state’s second-largest Thanksgiving Day parade, according to White.
495 Forest Ave, New Rochelle
4 BD | 4 BA | 2,314 sq ft | .14 acres | $21,777 est. taxes
Listed by Linda Filby, Compass
New Rochelle prides itself on its diversity and is known to be culturally, racially, and socio-economically inclusive.
Convenience in Central Westchester
Just 27 miles north of Manhattan, Mount Pleasant beckons with its many distinctive villages and hamlets that are situated in an area rich with history and natural beauty.
The 24-square-mile area encompasses the villages of Pleasantville and Sleepy Hollow, along with the eastern portion of Briarcliff Manor, and the hamlets of Hawthorne, Pocantico Hills, Thornwood, and Valhalla.
Its roughly 45,000 residents have easy access to transportation options — to New York City and to points north — and it is home to medical care facilities at Westchester Medical Center and Phelps Hospital.
The town buzzes with community events and activities, like cultural heritage celebrations and concerts at the Kensico Dam Plaza in Valhalla; cinema buffs enjoy the Jacob Burns Film Center in Pleasantville, and locals flock to the annual Pleasantville Music Festival, which draws thousands.
The quaint village of Sleepy Hollow is celebrated as the setting of Washington Irving’s “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.” One can visit Kykuit, the Rockefeller Estate or tour living-history museum Philipsburg Manor, a mill and trading complex from 1750. Foodies and nature-lovers appreciate Rockefeller State Park Preserve, where you can hike the trails and experience two-star Michelin-rated Blue Hill at Stone Barns, a top-rated restaurant in the world.
“It’s a very rural vibe, but it’s not in the middle of nowhere,” says Pocantico Hills resident Jennifer Sabin, describing Mount Pleasant. “It is really centrally located; there are all these great little towns to shop and eat, and they are all like five minutes away.”
“It’s [Pocantico Hills] a very rural vibe, but it’s not in the middle of nowhere.”
Six Bucolic Hamlets
Whether or not you love to ride horses or hike in the woods, living in Lewisboro offers a gorgeous backdrop to call home, with its 4,700-acre Ward Pound Ridge Reservation and plenty of parks, lakes, and trails.
The 28-square-mile town is made up of six hamlets: Goldens Bridge, South Salem, Cross River, Waccabuc, Lewisboro, and Vista. With little to no crime, in 2018 it was ranked for a third year in a row “as the safest place to live in the United States” by Safewise, a home security company.
Beyond safety, the variety of charming rural properties (some on unpaved roads) and to-die-for homes attracts an eclectic mix of homebuyers who love nature, according to Realtor Melissa Marcogliese of Compass.
“Lewisboro is quiet sophistication with city accessibility; it is a town where rocking chairs are required,” Marcogliese says. One can find vintage homes that were formerly summer-only cottages along the lake, along with Colonials, raised ranches, and country estates.
Families love the 60-acre Lewisboro Town Park with pool access, and Onatru Farm Park and Onatru Preserve, where there is tennis, baseball, sports fields, walking trails and an annual fireworks event.
Median House Price Under $1 Million
Enclave Along the River
This approximately 10-square-mile historic village is situated where the Croton and Hudson Rivers meet. Its quaint vibe is known to attract an eclectic mix of creative people, who make up the waterfront community.
According to Croton-on-Hudson mayor Brian Pugh, the village’s population of around 8,000 is a tight-knit and involved group.
“Our most important feature is the engagement, energy, and empathy of our citizens, which is demonstrated by the residents’ high levels of voter turnout and participation in civic rituals, like the U.S. census, and the dedication of residents serving on village boards and committees and the volunteerism that sustains our fire department and EMS,” he says, citing a description that was recorded in the 1898 Manual of Westchester County, when the village was first incorporated, which he says is still true today. It read, “the village is attractive as a residence locality and its citizens are progressive.”
Croton-on Hudson, part of the town of Cortlandt, is ideal for outdoor activities like boating, fishing, swimming, and boasts many parks and open spaces.
On top of that, are several cool coffee shops and restaurants, two excellent school systems (Croton-Harmon and Hendrick Hudson), and cultural activities like The Clearwater Festival. The annual Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze at Van Cortlandt Manor, a walk through an 18th-century landscape with dazzling displays of more than 7,000 illuminated jack o’ lanterns, attracts more than 175,000 during its seasonal, multi-month run. It is no wonder that the village’s reputation continues to grow as a desirable choice to settle in Westchester.
Though sometimes referred to as New York City’s “sixth borough,” Yonkers is not just a bustling city on the water but is also home to some landmark status neighborhoods that feature neoclassical-style architecture.
It is a city where the best of both worlds meet: five major highways connect Yonkers with the rest of Westchester County; it is a short trip to New York City and beyond; and both the Harlem and Hudson Metro-North lines can be easily accessed.
Among the 38 unique neighborhoods in the city, which include the revitalized downtown waterfront, are areas in the northwest side of Yonkers, like Monastery Heights and Grey Oaks, the latter being mostly medium-size (three or four bedroom) to large (four, five or more bedroom) single-family homes and small apartment buildings.
And in the Northeast section, there is Cedar Knolls, a historic subdivision with a Bronxville P.O.—in walking distance from Bronxville village.
Other sought-after neighborhoods include Crestwood, Colonial Heights, Mohegan Heights, and Beech Hill, according to Sharon Zanzano, brokerage manager of Houlihan Lawrence’s Yonkers branch.
“What drives most buyers to Yonkers is, first of all, the taxes are the lowest in Westchester,” Zanzano says. “Then, the proximity to Manhattan, along with all the shopping and activities, the Hudson River Museum and planetarium, the Cross County Center, Ridge Hill, LEGOLAND, indoor skydiving, and the big-box stores on Central Avenue.”
14 AKA 34 Bryn Mawr Pl, Yonkers
4 BD | 3 BA | 2,200 sq ft | .22 acres | $10,800 est. taxes
Listed by Rose Thomson, Keller Williams Realty Group
Melting Pot Brimming with Community Spirit
It is no surprise to longtime Greenburgh Supervisor Paul Feiner that his town has appeared on multiple “Best Places to Live” lists this year, including Fortune — where it was named it ninth-best place for families in the U.S.
“Greenburgh is a fantastic place to live,” Feiner says. “We are close to New York City; we have easy access to highways and parkways; the schools are among the best in the country; it is a safe community with low crime and an excellent police force.” He proudly adds that local officials will make house calls to any resident who has a governmental problem.
The town has a population of approximately 91,000 and encompasses six villages: Ardsley, Dobbs Ferry, Elmsford, Hastings-on-Hudson, Tarrytown, and Irvington, along with the three hamlets, Fairview, Hartsdale, and Edgemont.
Known for its robust after-school programs, childcare facilities, excellent new restaurants, riverfront villages, the Captain Lawrence Brewing Co. in Elmsford, and a wonderful public library, Greenburgh has attracted businesses like Regeneron, which is currently undergoing a $1.8 billion expansion, according to Feiner.
For lifelong Greenburgh resident Zuleka De Grace, now a mother of four, the decision to stay in her hometown to raise a family came easy.
“The diversity here is truly a blessing — as far as religious, cultural, and socioeconomic diversity, it is a true melting pot,” she says. “And you have it all, with the extracurricular options in town; sports, athletic facilities, nature preserves — we’ve got it,” adding, “there is a huge sense of community here; everybody is always willing to lend a hand.”
Jessica Jafet has written for theatlantic.com, contributes articles to several local publications and loves to tell the stories of the many dynamic people and places that make Westchester County a great place to live.