Best Places For Empty-Nesters

“The old empty-nester was choosing between Arizona and Florida,” says  realtor Betancourt-Morgan of Sotheby’s. “The new empty-nester is saying, ‘I want more vibrancy in my life.’” And for that, they are going to White Plains. 

Mark Seiden, who runs the Mark Seiden Real Estate Team based in Briarcliff Manor, calls White Plains “the city without being in the City…there is a hell of a lot more happening than in most of the villages and towns in Westchester.” 

Within a tight radius (and within walking distance from many downtown White Plains residential areas), empty-nesters can access some of Westchester’s most coveted shopping and entertainment destinations including Whole Foods, The Westchester, and the City Center, which includes a 15-screen movie theater and popular chains like Barnes & Noble, Target, and Nordstrom Rack, plus a New York Sports Club location, and restaurants like Asian Temptation and Atlanta Bread Company. For mom-and-pop flavor (and lots of bars), residents head to buzzing Mamaroneck Avenue and its side streets for hotspots like Hudson Grille, Mulino’s of Westchester, Lazy Boy Saloon, and Tre Angelina Ristorante. The addition of The Ritz-Carlton, Westchester, in the late 2000s, added high-end dining options BLT Steak and 42 The Restaurant, as well as the legendary Ritz-Carlton Spa. And if none of these options satisfy, a train ride to Manhattan takes just 35 minutes. 

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This plethora of options is perfect for this age group, Seiden says. Now that the kids are out of the house, empty-nesters “are looking for people around their age that they can hook up with for dinner and a movie or dinner and a show,”  he says.  


White Plains offers plenty of tree-lined streets suitable for strolling and dog-walking.


White Plains also offers condos and apartments at various price points for empty-nesters looking to trade in their sprawling homes—which are taxed heavily and tiresome to maintain—for smaller living spaces. For those seeking luxury, residents can pay $500,000 and up for a condo at the Trump Tower at City Center or The Residences at The Ritz-Carlton, Westchester. These facilities are like “living in a luxury hotel,” says Kennedy of Houlihan Lawrence. They offer vast spas, high-end restaurants, in-room dining options, concierge services, private garages, business centers, and high-end details like Viking kitchen appliances and floor-to-ceiling windows. But for those looking to pay less, there are “oodles” of co-ops to choose from, says Seiden. They are much more affordable, starting at around $100,000, and offer the basic amenities and close proximity to the city center. 

Other Empty-Nester Hot Spots

Homes in gated communities are another popular option for Westchester empty-nesters. Susan Strawgate Code, an associate real estate broker with Houlihan Lawrence, says many of her clients are attracted to Rosecliff in Briarcliff Manor, a luxury gated community with 116 single-family homes. In addition to remaining in a well-built, spacious abode, these buyers get to enjoy the communal pool, tennis courts, clubhouse, and a complimentary jitney to the local train station. Perhaps what residents relish most, however, is the homeowners association, which takes care of home repairs and exteriors. 

That was a big reason why empty-nesters Phyllis and Timothy Coon chose a single-family home in Rosecliff when they moved out of their 6,000-square-foot Briarcliff home last year. They loved the area—Timothy still works in the City and enjoys the 37-minute commute—but wanted an easier life. “With each stage of life, you embrace it,” says Phyllis Coon. “We want to be carefree with our time and not feel like, ‘Oh my God, it’s Saturday; I have to weed the [garden] beds.’”

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Another popular empty-nester option, the gated community Water’s Edge in Rye, is an oasis on the Long Island Sound. In addition to sailing or swimming at the nearby Rye Beach, residents can also take a dip in the resort-style waterfront pool. Water’s Edge also provides 24-hour security, underground parking, and large residences. Buyers can choose from 2,000-square-foot condos or single-family homes with two or three bedrooms. 


Living In: White Plains Empty-Nester Pad

Three years ago, Ellen and Neil Gold moved to the Residences at The Ritz-Carlton, Westchester, craving a “new adventure.” They had been living in Scarsdale, but with their grown sons out of the house, they no longer needed such a big place. “We were tired of dealing with the gardener, the plumber, the snowplow guy—all the things that make a house tedious,” says Ellen Gold. 

They looked at a lot of townhouse communities across Westchester, but didn’t feel comfortable with the set-ups. Then they walked into The Ritz-Carlton, Westchester in White Plains and pictured themselves living there. 

Three years later, they know their first instinct was correct: The Ritz has provided everything they wanted. The complex is in a fabulous location, a quick 35-minute drive or train ride into New York City for Neil, who still works there. It is also close to Scarsdale’s shops and restaurants, so Ellen didn’t have to change the places she likes to visit on a regular basis. In the bad weather, there is a shuttle that goes directly to the train station, and there are also restaurants right in the complex, like the elegant BLT Steak, that they love. “In the dead of winter when it was snowing, we can still go to a restaurant here in the complex,” says Gold. 

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The Golds also cherish their apartment, a spacious three-bedroom space that fits the entire family when their sons come to visit. All the amenities are state-of-the-art, and they have uninhibited views of the Long Island Sound and New York City. From their window, they see the sunrise every morning and the sunset every night. 

And then there is the population of the building, stylish empty-nesters like themselves who like to socialize and greet each other in the elevator and lobby. Perhaps most satisfying of all, is when their friends come to visit they see an ideal situation and consider living there as well. As Gold says, “It’s an alive place.”

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