Real Estate Matters by John Baer, SRES
City Apartment or House with a Yard
I grew up in Greenwich Village. While growing up I was exposed to music lessons, swimming lessons, singing lessons, and regularly visited the Museum of Modern Art for art lessons. Periodically, I joined my parents to see Broadway shows and attended classical concerts. My friends and I, frequently, took the subway to Central Park to play baseball and to Yankee Stadium to watch the bombers play. As a teenager I would ride my bike through the five boroughs to familiarize myself with the diversity of neighborhoods. I particularly enjoyed taking the Staten Island ferry and biking through the forgotten borough. Another great bike ride was the one to the GW Bridge and across the bridge to the Palisades.
I fiercely enjoyed living in the city. No one was more chauvinistic about living in New York City than was I. So when my wife, who was then living in New Rochelle as a single mom with two young children, and I were courting, she was very much looking forward to moving into the city where she and the kids could take advantage of the city’s rich cultural offerings. But first she felt it important that I join her and the children in New Rochelle so that the kids could become comfortable with me before making the move into the city.
But a very strange thing happened. Within a very short period of time I realized New York City's world-class museums, the Great White Way, Lincoln Center, outstanding restaurants, and the city's major sporting events were only a short drive away or an easy commute away on Metro-North. And once more, I was enjoying the spaciousness and the fresh air of Westchester.
Many years later one of my sons and his wife, who are living in a cramped apartment on the upper west side with two young children under three years of age, are debating whether to remain in the city along a with easy access to work, great ethnic restaurants and just the general stimulation of urban living, or move to Westchester. The prospect of more space, a bedroom for each child, a lawn for the children to play on is very inviting, not to mention, the outstanding Westchester schools and not having to pay increasingly expensive private school tuitions for each child.
But today younger families are finding that Westchester also has a rich choice of offerings for both adults and children. In most Westchester communities you will find a variety of recreation programs for kids of all ages, and a rich selection of afterschool activities. Whether you’re looking for academic programs in math, reading, and literacy, or classes in theatre, music, and dance, even sports ranging from tae kwon do to equestrian centers, parents can now find them in Westchester. And there is always Playland. For the adults there are a plethora of adult education programs offered at local high schools, colleges, and at houses of worship. Throughout the county adults can join local theater groups, book clubs: or attend world-class symphony orchestra, dance, or entertainer performances at the Performing Arts Center at Purchase College. There are dozens of public as well as private golf courses, hiking trails, tennis courts, boating activities and so much more.
The bottom-line is living in Westchester allows a young couple an opportunity to have a relatively short and easy commute into the city if that's where their jobs are, the ability to send their children to excellent schools tuition free, living space that affords each member of the family privacy and room to entertain friends and family. Sure, urban living offers exposure, but sooner or later, the American Dream sneaks up for most of us with visions of a sweet house with green grass. Just imagine opening up a back door to let the kids burn off steam instead of the huge production it is to get to the playground – especially when one child’s must-get-out-or-meltdown moment doesn’t work for mom, dad, or new baby. I find that most young couples like to envision taking a long walk with their dog off the leash and letting their kids wander happily a good ten feet ahead of them to explore; it’s an image that reinforces my love for the Westchester lifestyle.
John E. Baer, SRES, DPA is a NYS licensed real estate salesperson associated with Prudential Centennial Realty of Scarsdale and Larchmont. He can be reached for questions at 914/600-6086 or at 914/844-2059. His website is www.WestchesterHomes.info.