Insider's Guide to Westchester

Westchester Magazine has been dishing about the county for more than a decade now, so we know more than our share of insider secrets about how to best navigate the dining, shopping, and overall living-in-the-county scene. So here we tell you how to nab a table when no one else can, dine at the finest restaurants at a fraction of the cost, score tickets for sold-out concerts, get your hair cut and colored (for free), find the easiest DMV for road tests, and much more.



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[transportation]

Get Your Driver’s License Renewed Without Losing a Year or Two

There is no shame in crossing borders, and it’s worth your while to take a drive up north to the Brewster, New York, DMV branch (1 Geneva Rd, 845-278-2838) just off exit 19 on I84 in Putnam County. Lines are usually short, the people friendly, and they even let you retake your picture if you don’t like the first one.

Avoid 287 Traffic

Now there’s an app for that. The New York Department of Transportation has added a mobile phone application, INRXTraffic ($24.99), which gives you traffic, transit, emergency services information, and weather advisories. It works with BlackBerry, iPhone, and Android phones.

Avoid Parking at The Westchester (And Save Money!)

The Westchester parking garage creeps us out, probably as much as it does you. Try parking just up the street at the Westchester Pavilion, the mall that houses Daffy’s and Toys 'R' Us. It’s less expensive and generally less crowded. And if you’re just running in to The Westchester for something super-fast—like to ooh and aah the Jimmy Choos at Nieman Marcus before returning to Daffy’s to buy a pair of no-namers for $39.99—it won’t cost you anything, because Daffy’s gives you one free hour with purchase. But if money’s no object, use the valet: Nordstrom is on Paulding Street off Westchester Avenue, Neiman Marcus is on Pauling Street off of Maple Avenue.

Help Your Kid Pass the Driving Test—No Bribes Involved

Well, you want to avoid New Rochelle, where one tester is referred to as The Flunker, that’s for sure. White Plains also has a tough rep. We’ve found that Yorktown is your best bet. Directions there are vague: 118 to Underhill, then take a right at the firehouse. Oddly, there is no building or any indication that this is where driving tests occur; the line of nervous 16-year-olds in cars parked at the curb is your only clue. Just some turns on quiet streets (remember to signal and look both ways before!), maybe a parallel-parking test, and a drive through the shopping center. Piece o’ cake.

Save on Parking Meter Fees

If you’re using the White Plains Metro-North station in the evening, park in the public lot on Barker Avenue next to the Porsche dealership instead of paying $6 at the station. After 5 pm, there’s no parking attendant until early the next morning, so there’s no charge. It’s only a minute walk to the station depot. In Rye, no need to pay to use the parking lots behind the stores; you can park for free on the streets downtown. Ditto Bedford Village.

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