Paul, seriously. how about this? You can start anywhere you want in Rockland county, and you can take any ground transportation, at any time of day you want and I'll bet you $1k that you cannot reach the west village in 20 mins. From a sizeable portion of Rockland county, you couldn't reach NJ or Westchester in 20 mins.
I would suggest for you to consider Staten Island, there is a great 2bedroom apartment right on St. George for under 200K, the ferry is free and the area is becoming a great place for artists . In addition, there are alot of Museums, including Staten Island botanical gardens, children's museum. The ferry is half hour to get to the city, by the time you get to the city via, the 1 R N W 4 5 6 it will take you about 15 to 20 mins to get to the West village.
If you have any questions dont hesitate to contact me.
Prosperity Real Estate Group
If you like the country feel, you might want to look at Rockland County. It is only about 20 min away from Manhattan. Check this site out. http://www.prudentialrand.com/
I do work for Prudential but not for this branch. Please let me know if there is anything else I could do for you.