Erik, Home Buyer in New York, NY

What are the South Orange and Montclair equivalents in Westchester County?

Asked by Erik, New York, NY Sat Aug 30, 2008

My wife and I are finally planning on leaving Manhattan. We are looking for a safe, walkable town with good restaurants and a public transportation commute of less than 40 min to Manhattan. We are looking primarily at condos/townhouses in South Orange and Montclair, NJ which happen to be college towns.

We would much rather commute through Grand Central Station rather than Port Authority or Penn Station.

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Zack’s answer
One of my million pet peeves on this site is the BLATANT falsifying of commute times.

Erik, you said you want a commute of less than 40 mins to Manhattan... ok. That needs to be defined because if you don't, you'll get ridiculous suggestions, not that you haven't already. Manhattan is a big island, most trains stop at 125th st/Harlem station 10 mins before Grand Central. You're in Manhattan at that point, but most likely not where you want to go. Also, do you want < 40 min train ride into Grand Central, or do you want 40 mins from your door to Grand Central? 40 mins from your door to Grand Central is going to be nearly impossible. If you live within a 5 min walk from a train in Yonkers, Mount Vernon, Fleetwood, New Rochelle, Bronxille maybe, you could do it, but that's about it. 40 mins on the train opens it up a little bit. First, the morning trains in are serially late. The MTA considers their trains on time if they arrive within 5:59 of their scheduled time. If you're taking a train that leaves between 7:00 and 8:00, you will be 2-5 mins later than the schedule says. I've been taking MetroNorth on both the hudson and harlem lines for 9+ years now, being on time in the morning is a once every two months event. So you'll want to define/temper your expectations for that. Btw, not to disparage the MNR, because everyone i work with takes the LIRR or NJ transit and they're much worse, NJ transit especially. If your 40 mins is a real limit, you can discard Mt Kisco and Croton on Hudson right away as they're both outside that range. Croton has a 42 min train at 6:08 but during normal times its more 47-48. The other river towns from Tarrytown south have trains listed at under 40 mins which should work. I'm not sure all have complexes right near the stations also. I know Irvington and Hastings on Hudson both do, but not sure about the others. A realtor could help with that. Anyway, good luck and welcome to the north. Grand central is much more convenient than Penn station but man the taxes up here are a killer.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Sep 12, 2008
I Have been thinking about your question since I left you a response a few days ago.
Mt. Kisco has been voted the #1 town in Westchester due to its successful diversity and family/social resources. From the Condos in Town - it is a short walk to the train and town. You will also find a movie theatre, bookstore,many restaurants and shopping - all a walk away!
Some of the shops include The Gap, Target,Banana Republic, Victoria's Secret and Ann Taylor!
Taxes are also reasonable.
Look forward to hearing from you!
All the Best,
Karen Benvin Ransom
Associate Broker
Houlihan Lawrence
914-232-1212 x342
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Sep 3, 2008

I live and work in the westchester Rivertowns of Hastings on Hudson, Dobbs ferry, Irvington, Tarrytown, and Sleepy Hollow. Any of these communities would meet your commuting requirement as far as time and Metro North goes into Grand Central Station. The villages each have their own unique qualities, restaurants, parks, schools etc. I would recomend driving up here and checking out the area. I could also send you information about each village. There are condo/townhouses in each area, some within walking distance to the train station that you could check out to get a feel for the lifestyle transition.

Please feel free to contact me,
Web Reference:
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Aug 31, 2008
Good Morning!
I love working with people like yourselves that take that big step out of Manhattan! There is LIFE up here!
Our Company - Houlihan Lawrence has offices in each of the areas that may apply to your needs, What is even more important is that the offices are filled with local experts on the area. People that have enjoyed the towns they represent, have sent their children to the schools, have enjoyed the local day camps, pools, and town events. I would be happy to help you find the right person for you to work with.
Also, one thing you will learn is that for the taxes you would pay in Southern Westchester, you would get a great deal more land and sq. footage in your home - a great deal more of each with perhaps even lower taxes! Well worth the perhaps extra 15-20 minutes.
I have raised my two children here and if given a chance I would do it all over again!
As a Docent at the Caramoor House Museum and a docent in training for the childrens programs at The Katonah Museum (now that my own children are too old for the same programs and I am ih withdrawal !) I am realizing that life here is even richer than I had known over the past 30 years!
I look forward to hearing from you!
Karen From Katonah http://( for even more local information)
Karen Benvin Ransom
Associate Broker
Houlihan Lawrence, Katonah (Town of Bedford)
914-232-1212 x342
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Aug 31, 2008
Hi Erik,

As a licensed Realtor I cannot comment on the safety of an area due to the laws that govern. I can provide you with resources. Check out to get crime stats, demographics, etc. Some desirable and walkable towns I can recommend are Bronxville proper, Hartsdale, White Plains, Tarrytown, Scarsdale, Rye, Larchmont to name a few. You should really come up for a visit sometime and see these towns for yourself, it's the best way to get familiar. These areas are very popluar due to their proximity to NYC. I would be more than happy to send you listings to help get you acclamated. If you need any other info or resources please don't hesitate to ask, this is the part of my job I enjoy the most!


Christopher Pagli
Associate Broker
Legends Realty Group
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Aug 30, 2008
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