Condos and co-ops in Westchester often seem like mansions by city-standards. But they come with something even better than what you can get in the city: lots of green space. “Many of the more popular condo and townhouse developments have it all — playgrounds, pools and club houses as well as tennis courts and more,” says Ali Bernstein, president of Suburban Jungle Realty, who helps city families relocate to Westchester communities. “It’s all very attractive to young families and also provides a built-in social sphere for new transplants.”
We asked Ali to name the hottest condo hotspots for families moving (or living in) Westchester. Hint: There’s at least one northern Westchester surprise here — but it ain’t cheap.
Garth Road, Scarsdale
What It Costs: Garth Road co-ops include 2 – 3 bedroom units that typically sell in the $300,000 range. It’s a very sought after area — one friend just sold her unit 24 hours after putting it on the market.
Commute: Excellent — it’s a block from the Scarsdale train station and the express train from Scarsdale is about 30 minutes to Grand Central
Neigborhood Vibe: Garth Road is a long row of shops and restaurants — like neighborhood gourmet food cafe Cooked & Co. Plus, you’re a stone’s throw to the Bronx River Parkway bike trail as well as Soul Cycle, Body Fit, yoga studios, and Starbucks. There are many retirees here, but there’s also a growing number of families, as evidenced by the strollers on the sidewalk on any given day. “The community is a great stepping-stone to a single-family home for those with a more modest budget or who are just starting out,” says Ali.
Cons: Parking. “It’s very tight and, more often than not, there are no assigned spots or indoor garage access and finding street parking can be a challenge,” says Ali.
What It Costs: According to Suburban Jungle Realty, the average 2- to 3-bedroom unit is about $375,000. Many units come with parking spots. The bigger complexes have amenities, which are great for young families. At Hudson Harbor, a luxury town home and condo community on the river, tack on another million.
Schools: Sleepy Hollow. While the schools are very good, some choose to send their children to private schools here than in some other Westchester towns.
Commute: Great — the express train from Tarrytown to Grand Central is 40 minutes.
Neighborhood Vibe: “Tarrytown has a definite “cool” vibe,” says Ali. The diverse community, both socioeconomically and racially, has lots to offer, from well-curated antique shops to a lively restaurant scene. “It’s also much more lively much later in the evening than any of the other Rivertowns,” says Ali. Still, the draw here is the great outdoors. There’s hiking at Rockefeller Park and Stone Barns, riverfront parks, bike trails, and a general appreciation of the outdoor adventure; there’s even a co-working space for freelancers. “Families we work with who ultimately choose Tarrytown love it,” she says.
Cons: “Traffic does sometimes bog down on Route 9 near the village but, otherwise, getting around is easy. The only other significant drawback are the taxes, which are fairly high by Westchester standards,” says Ali.
What It Costs: Two bedrooms can go for around $300,000
Commute: Easy walk to the train station from most condos and apartments
Neighborhood Vibe: Ali didn’t recommend Hartsdale, since she finds it an older community. But we know at least two families who call the stretch of condos along East Hartsdale Avenue home — and love it. Hartsdale is a small community, but it has a lot going for it. You can walk to a great Indian restaurant, a stylish pub, a smoothie bar, a Mexican place and a bakery serving cronuts. There’s even a NYSC in this small charming village. It’s a great spot to “try out” the suburbs while you figure out where you want to buy.
Cons: You’re very close to the congested Central Park Avenue, which is where all of the superstores are.
What It Costs: Expensive! “The main townhouse community (Whippoorwill Ridge) in Armonk has great amenities, TONS of young families and is walking distance to town,” says Ali. Each home and unit come with 2-car garage, and average unit (2- or 3-bedroom) is approximately $900,000+.
Schools: Byram Hills
Commute: Can be annoying, since you have to drive to the North White Plains train station, which can takes about 15 minutes; express trains from North White Plains takes 38 minutes.
Neighborhood Vibe: If you’ve always dreamed of living in a Normal Rockwell painting, Armonk is for you. It’s a very small community where everyone knows your kids, your friends and your neighbors, says Ali. But there’s a level of sophistication in Armonk that residents love too. Restaurant North and Fortina are two of Westchester’s best eateries, and Armonk Square, a new development housing an updated DeCiccos supermarket, will also house a blowout salon and Tazza Coffee. Says Ali: “Overall, it’s a great place to live.”
Cons: “There’s not much diversity,” she says.
Did we miss your favorite condo community? Tell us about it.