R5 Best places to live in Westchester in 2013: Tarrytown/Sleepy Hollow, NY

Last year, Sumi Sedor was thrilled to learn that her due date was October 31. She lives in Sleepy Hollow, after all, the historic village that’s hitched its star to Washington Irving’s Headless Horseman legend and made itself a Halloween destination. “I was rooting for him to be born on Halloween—we could have fantastic birthday parties!” says the corporate lawyer.

Her son arrived on November 5, but Sedor remains a big fan of Sleepy Hollow’s month-long Halloween festivities. “We’ve gone to Horseman’s Hollow every year; it gets bigger and better. We take the candlelight tour in the cemetery. The goal is to be bigger than Salem, Massachusetts. I think we’re on our way.”
Sedor lives in Philipse Manor, a large and lovely neighborhood north of Sleepy Hollow’s downtown, between Route 9 and the Hudson. It has its own boat club and Metro-North station, which it shares with Sleepy Hollow Manor to the north. The streets are broad and level, the houses a tasting menu of early 20th-century architectural styles. Riverside Drive, which runs along the bluff, is one of the most scenic streets in Westchester.

Sedor and her husband, Jeff, who’s in sales and marketing, have a small Tudor with a finished basement. They looked at about 100 houses in Westchester. “Our Realtor,” she says, “was so patient!” They knew Philipse Manor was the place the first time they visited, because “all the basketball hoops were facing the streets. They call ours ‘the kid street.’” They loved it so much they persuaded Sumi’s mother to relocate here from Omaha, Nebraska.

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Still dubbed the Tarrytowns, the two villages share a chamber of commerce, a high school, and a zip code. Each has its own elementary schools and waterfront development: Ichabod’s Landing in Sleepy Hollow, and the ever-growing Hudson Harbor in Tarrytown, which is fast becoming a village unto itself. Sleepy Hollow was called North Tarrytown until 1996, when the village voted to change its name. It was an effort to step out of the shadow of Tarrytown, its jazzier neighbor, and generate tourism revenue after the GM plant closed that same year.

Legend has it Tarrytown got its name from the large number of husbands who “tarried” at its many taverns. It remains a fine place to tarry, whether you’re visiting Lyndhurst or strolling Main Street, with its appealing art galleries, restaurants, gourmet food shops, and, of course, the music hall. Not for nothing did Forbes name Tarrytown one of America’s 10 prettiest towns.

“We’ve got the River, the historic mansions, and the people stock,” says Jenifer Ross, who owns a freelance office space called W@tercooler in Tarrytown. “There’s certainly a lot of soul here. We have amazing residents with a lot of positive energy.” She lives in Sleepy Hollow Manor, a smaller enclave at the north end of Philipse Manor, next to Phelps Memorial Hospital Center.

Sleepy Hollow hopes a long-planned development on the old 95-acre GM site will boost revenues and revitalize its main drag, Beekman Avenue, where businesses cater primarily to the large Hispanic population there. Tarrytown sued to stop the plans, citing traffic concerns, but a judge dismissed the suit.
Sedor is looking forward to the day when she can use the new parks planned for the site with her newborn, assuming it happens before he goes to college. In the meantime, there’s always October: “I can’t wait to do Halloween stuff with him!”

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