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Crunchy, affordable area in Westchester, NY?

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
Hey all,

We're in Yonkers currently and (once we sell our condo) are planning to buy a house. So far we've been very discouraged about home prices in the area, even in this down market. We're looking at Tarrytown and the other rivertowns so far; my preference would be Tarrytown. Hastings is nice but seems to be out of our league financially.

DH will not consider NJ, and wants to be about a 45 minute train ride max from grand central.


p.s. we're thinking about Yonkers too. Is there any sense of community there? Which hoods are good? Right now we live on the Hastings border and send most of our time there, so we're not too familiar with the various nabes in Yonkers.
post #2 of 12
Hey- not sure if I've got the answer (would love to hear what other people have to say as we are searching, too) but I did read somewhere on here that Croton-on-Hudson has got a nice down to earth, crunchy feel. It's more affordable then lower Westchester but because it's a hub it has express trains to GCS that take about 48 min.

We just moved here from IL and are renting in Dobbs Ferry but are a bit priced out of here as well but also feel like we could find a community with more similar philosophy for parenting, living etc. So pass along any information that you hear! Good luck in your search.

post #3 of 12
Thread Starter 
Thanks Megan! I'll keep you posted. Right now we're actually leaning towards Yonkers. I wouldn't call it crunchy, but it has lots of nice people and the school system, while intimidating, has a lot of bright spots. And the more I look at the Rivertowns the more I feel like they're a rip-off. In Dobbs for example, you pay so much for houses and taxes, yet they stop bussing kids to school after elementary and the high school isn't exactly top-notch. What are the taxes paying for? I don't get it. I grew up in Ithaca where the cost of living is so much lower. I get that being a bedroom area for NYC makes everything more expensive, but I can't accept paying so much for so little.
post #4 of 12
If I could I would live in Rockland County. Nyack is far, far more crunchy than anywhere I've encountered in Westchester. I think the Nyack train would go into Penn Station, but I don't know for sure.

Commute wise, White Plains has an express train (only stops are WP and GCT) that takes 30 minutes to the city. I wouldn't call it super crunchy but they do boast the only Whole Foods in the area and a midwife centered family practice
post #5 of 12
Hi there. I live in Cold Spring, which is great, but not affordable (our on-farm house comes with dh's job, or we could never afford it). But...

If you go for Croton, there's a nice pediatric practice with docs (Baskind and Cowan) who are used to no vax/slow vax/homebirthy types. Nearby is Peekskill. I haven't spent much time there but it seems to be very arty. I know a couple of holistic moms from there (our HMN meetings are in Garrison, 15 minutes from Peekskill.) I imagine it's affordable in relation to its surroundings. Of course it's a city, not a town, but a small city. And the train goes directly to Grand Central in less than an hour, methinks.

Best wishes!
post #6 of 12
Originally Posted by Faliciagayle View Post
If I could I would live in Rockland County. Nyack is far, far more crunchy than anywhere I've encountered in Westchester. I think the Nyack train would go into Penn Station, but I don't know for sure.
Nyack doesn't have a train. You need to drive to Tarrytown.

The only train lines in Rockland are the Port Jervis and Pascack Valley Lines. They're slow and you need to change at Secaucus Junction or Hoboken. Lines are operated by NJT and there is no direct service to Penn.
post #7 of 12
Westchester isn't crunchy. Really, it isn't. That doesn't mean you won't find like minded people if you look. Wherever you live, you'll be driving here and there- so focus on finding a home and school district you love. The rest you'll travel to!
post #8 of 12

Crunchy Town

I just moved to Tarrytown and I really like it. I am 5 months pregnant and haven't yet met any moms or moms-to-be but it seems like there is a sense of community here - especially with Main Street being a bustling town center.
I know that there is a cooperative nursery here in town that was recommended to me.

Good luck in your home search,
post #9 of 12
Nyack does have a frequent bus that takes you to the Tarrytown train station. It's an awesome town. I worked there for a few years (my office is still there, I just moved & work from home now). It's very crunchy/liberal-minded!
post #10 of 12
I've lived in Yonkers for about twelve years, and nope...crunchy it is not. We live about a mile north of the Raceway (Empire City, etc.), just across the border from Mt. Vernon, where I grew up. Having been brought up since age three in southern Westchester, I've had plenty of exposure to the hoity toity areas (Bronxville, Scarsdale), as well as the more blue-collar parts of Mt. Vernon and Yonkers. The thing is, regardless of socio-economics, I've found that the attitudes I've encountered re: child-rearing and education are quite conservative across the boards. You can always find a few people who have a crunchier approach, but it's more work to suss them out, kwim?

Yonkers schools have developed a pretty lousy rep over the years, but they've been making a comeback recently. It's not an issue for us, as we're homeschooling DS. Still, when DH and I have the money to buy a house, we're planning to move to Milford, CT. It has a Metro North station, (although it's over an hour haul to NYC). But since neither of us work in Manhattan any longer, that's not a deal-breaker. We can take the train to visit my parents in Mt. Vernon if we don't feel like driving, so that's cool. Plus the proximity to New Haven and Yale is really nice, and they have a strong arts community as well as fun stuff like an annual oyster festival.

I agree with PP that Tarrytown has a great Main Street and the Hudson views are lovely. Plus, there are some fascinating historical sites up there. We had planned to move to Ithaca a couple years ago--but our mortgage applications went in just as the bubble was popping. We (both freelancers) couldn't get a loan for love nor money. I'm still broken-hearted over it, as Ithaca was my dream "crunchy" town. I can't, in all honesty, think of a southern Westchester town that appeals to me in the same way (and is as affordable). If you go a bit higher up though, it may be different. Katonah is very pretty, but quite expensive, I think. There are so many nice things to do nearby, though (Muscoot Farm, Caramoor, etc.)

I guess I'm not giving you much in the way of good suggestions, but the problem is exactly as you state: it's a real challenge to get great value for the money you need to lay out in exchange for proximity to NYC. Around here, the farther away you get from NYC, the more affordable life becomes. Beacon is pretty affordable and has truly spectacular proximity to the Hudson River--but the train ride is longer than your DH would want.

This is definitely a tough one!
post #11 of 12
This is a little late, but I would like to second or third Croton on Hudson. My husband moved to the area after 13 years as a farmer and Croton was the one place he felt like home. Much much crunchier than any other place I have lived in Westchester (was there for almost a decade). You will see lots of moms with slings, lots of moms nursing at the parks and lots of moms who make their own food. Baskin is simply an amazing pedi. Very crunchy practice (although their billing staff is awful, so just keep all your receipts!).

I delivered at Hudson Valley with water births and never a single mention of any drugs or intervention. Sue Cavanaugh and Joanne Mazzio were my 2 midwifes (DH caught both boys, but they were the ones in the room with us).

Also, houses are running 350-400 for starter houses. We used to live on Thompson Ave and I know there is a house for sale there now (because we were actually considering moving back because we love it so much there and are talking about having a 3rd now). GL. I have nothing but fond memories of my time in Croton.

(oh and I commuted to the city daily -- express train is just around 45 minutes from Croton to GCT. Very easy commute.)
post #12 of 12
We moved to Hastings a bit over a year ago and love it. I would definitely say there is a big crunchy element. The elementary school is nestled in Hillside woods and they incorporate the trails and ponds into the curriculum through a parent involved program called Nature Guides. There are many community events going on throughout the year that are especially arts and music oriented as there is such a large community of artists. Sustainable Hastings is a fast growing community environmental organization. We are on a tight budget as my husband is the only one who works (I am SAHM for now) and decided to rent an apartment for now until we can afford to put a downpayment on a little house. For us, it was the right move, coming from the a neighborhood in the city with overcrowded and rigid, unimaginative schools. We found an affordable spacious apartment with a balcony overlooking the Hudson. Property taxes are outrageous, but it seems the houses in the downtown of the village have lower taxes than up on the hill or in the outskirts. The middle and high schools are excellent and progressive with great arts programs. Overall it is a very progressive town. I have also heard good things about Croton as well--it was just a bit far from the city for us.
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