26 Things That Westchester Needs

Westchester pretty much has it all, right?

With 450 square miles of real estate, plenty of money, vast resources, and almost one million residents, Westchester pretty much has it all, right? Maybe not. We polled our staff to see what our beloved county needs to be even better.


An aquarium

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Considering Westchester’s prominent shorelines — the Long Island Sound, an tidal estuary of the Atlantic Ocean, and the Hudson River — plus the myriad marinas, waterfront parks, restaurants, and residences, a public aquarium would fit snugly into our body-of-water-connected county. What better restorative oasis from the sensory overload of harried suburban living than an aquatic salute to the natural world? —John Bruno Turiano, Senior Editor


Poke bar

Poke is probably the most popular food right now in NYC, and there are several restaurants that focus only on this fishy dish. It’s crazy that Westchester doesn’t have one.  —Paul Adler, Assistant Editor


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Jazz clubs

No, not restaurants that feature occasional guest performers, but bona fide cabaret-style clubs that host music performances during all business hours. Not enough jazz fans in Westchester? No worries: Pair the exceptional music with great food, and all will be well in Westchester. —Karen Odom, Senior Writer


Half Price Books

Texas-based Half Price Books accepts book donations from customers in exchange for cash that can be used to buy discounted books at their stores. It’s a must for our county. —Patty Monaghan, Editorial Assistant

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Clear road signs

Two words: Diane Schuler. Though intoxication was involved in the wrong-way Taconic crash that killed eight in 2009, unclear signage at the parkway’s exit ramp didn’t help. There still are numerous unmarked or poorly marked road signs in Westchester. Why? —Carol Caffin, Features Editor



It’s hard to explain to someone who hasn’t experienced a Wawa firsthand. But ask anyone who lives within a one-hour radius of one, and they’ll tell you Wawa isn’t just a convenience store with great proprietary foods and cheap gas — it’s a way of life.  —Robert Schork, Editorial Director



The best industrial fast-food burger (on the fence about whether Five Guys qualifies) these lips have tasted. Rather than playing passive host to tastes supplied by fixin’s and toppings, the meat actually has flavor of its own. And the shakes… real-dairy ice cream and whipped cream make all the difference, pile-driving their golden-arched, “royal,” and pigtailed competitors into the ground (beef). —Nick Brandi, Associate Editor



Unrivaled selection, quality, pricing, and service (some have pubs!), plus the family-owned firm is a fixture on Forbes’ Best Places to Work list. —Amy R. Partridge, Managing Editor


Hudson River dinner cruises

Hey there, maritime entrepreneurs, how ’bout launching dinner cruises on the Hudson with seasonal views of the Valley? —KO


Cooler music clubs

Not naming any names, but there are three fabulous music clubs near Westchester — in Beacon, Pawling, and Piermont — that consistently draw big-name touring talent and charge fair prices. What is Westchester, chopped liver? —CC



Conducting commerce while both sitting and moving — these are the virtues of the almighty drive-thru. Yet Westchester does not have enough of them. We are a car culture in this county, making drive-thrus a very logical, natural extension. Besides, what’s better than grabbing your morning joe in your rattiest old PJs? —NB


More public places to play golf

Unless you can pony up tens of Ks for a club membership, golf options here are limited. Competition for tee times is fierce at our six 18-hole muni-courses (try finding a foursome on a summer Saturday), and there’s only a few driving ranges left. Anyone with deep pockets and some land willing to build some new courses? —ARP


Dog Parks

For a county that loves dogs, we have a relative dearth of quality dog parks. How about some more parks with basic doggie playground equipment, access to clean water, a sprinkler in the summer. What, don’t we pay high enough taxes? —CC


More Affordable Housing

I love Westchester, but we need to spread the love with expanded options for mid-priced sophisticated and comfortable housing. It’s a win-win for all! —KO


Ski Slopes

I’d grown up despising winter until my cousins literally forced me to learn to ski (by shoving me down a double-black-diamond slope for my maiden voyage — and before I was ready). But the irreplaceable joy of snow skiing made me do a 180 on winter. It’s probably cost-prohibitive in Westchester, I know, but wouldn’t it be nice? —NB


Lights on the Saw Mill

Driving on the Saw Mill at night requires eagle eyes, lightning-quick reflexes, and nerves of steel. It also requires wearing sunglasses to help block the glare of high-beams, necessitated by drivers’ fear of veering off the winding parkway in the inky blackness. Lights, PLEASE! —CC


Public Pools & Water Playgrounds

Wilson’s Waves water playground in Mount Vernon and the Tibbetts Brook swimming complex in Yonkers are fabulous retreats for kids. But Westchester needs more public-access pools and water playgrounds. Lots of residents in many parts of Westchester cannot afford a town-pool membership. —CC


Taffy Apples

I’m dreaming of taffy apples in Westchester year-round instead of the week or two they’re available in September. I’m referring to the original, non-gourmet caramel- and peanut-covered apples. Until then, I’ll just have to continue bringing quantities back following my hometown visits to Chicago or ordering straight from the Affy Tapple factory. —KO


A cross-county train option

The Harlem, Hudson, and New Haven Metro-North lines are ideal for traveling north and south, but why not some love for would-be cross-county train commuters? Life and commerce don’t only exist in two directions, ya know. —ARP


More public places to play golf

Unless you can pony up tens of Ks for a club membership, golf options here are limited. Competition for tee times is fierce at our six 18-hole muni-courses (try finding a foursome on a summer Saturday), and there’s only a few driving ranges left. Anyone with deep pockets and some land willing to build some new courses? —ARP


In-N-Out Burger

Not to obsess over fast-food burgers, but we finally got a Shack Shack here, in Yonkers. Now, what about its notorious West Coast rival, for even more great choices? —NB


Bike Rentals

Why should you miss all the fun of Bicycle Sundays just because you don’t own a bike? Bike rentals located near the Bronx River Parkway not only offers the perfect solution, it also seems to be the next logical step following the addition of practical and eco-friendly bike lanes in many Westchester towns. —KO


A Grand Christmas-Tree-Lighting Event

Similar to the fun, celebratory, and unifying Fourth of July fireworks at Kensico Dam, an official county tree-lighting would bring us together and lift our collective spirits now and for countless years to come! —KO



This is my favorite salad chain; I really wish we had one here. —PA


Dirt-Bike Trails

What if you love motorcycles but ride with your heart (among other things) in your mouth every time you have to share the public roads with hostile, distracted, inept, or even crazy four-wheelers? Dirt-bike trail riding is a utterly unique combination of skill, frustration-venting athleticism, communing with nature and downright Zen. —NB


A Gourmet Cheese Shop

It’s time those of us who are cheese lovers, but can’t tolerate dairy, had easy access to nondairy cheese that not only tastes delicious (instead of like cardboard) but also actually melts in an omelet! —KO

Our Westchester Home Design Awards event is June 26!

Our Wine & Food Festival returns June 4-9!

Our Wunderkinds event takes place on May 23!

Our Best of Business Ballot is open through May 15!

Our Healthcare Heroes Awards event takes place on May 9!

Our Westchester Home Builders Awards take place on April 4!

Our Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Forum is March 14!

Unveiled: A Boutique Bridal Brunch is February 25!

Our Best of Westchester Elimination Ballot is open through March 6!

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