Best places to live in Westchester in 2013: Irvington, NY
Irvington Town Hall
Of the River Towns, Washington Irving’s namesake village has the fewest people and some of the best restaurants. It has a well-done waterfront complex flanked by two gorgeous parks, one private (Matthieson), both with views of the Manhattan skyline. It has a steep yet charming Main Street that plunges straight toward the river. (Don’t panic, the train tracks will stop you.) It has Eileen Fisher, the Red Hat on the River, and Sunnyside, Irving’s historic home. It also has slightly higher real estate prices.
Irvington is nicknamed “Scarsdale on the Hudson.” But this socioeconomic edge may be overstated, says Jennifer Holiday, founder and editor of RivertownGuides.com. “I have friends in all three villages, and people who have been in Irvington a long time feel there’s been a real leveling out. They would say the villages are more similar now than they were 10 years ago.”
“There are towns some perceive as better than others,” says Janet Griffin of Houlihan Lawrence. “It used to be clients would call up and request to see a particular town. What happened is, these towns are so small that there’s never a lot of inventory. If you wanted Hastings, you could spend two years looking. Now people call up and say, ‘I’d like to look at the River Towns.’ I don’t think of them as separate entities; I think of them as one big town with three or four different neighborhoods.”
Delina Codey and her husband, Marc Barrachin, came here two years ago from Park Slope. “We had a friend from Brooklyn who was very happy here,” says Codey. “We came to visit her a few times and really liked it.”
Self-described “do-it-yourself people,” the parents of two small children bought a 1904 folk Victorian in a hilly section east of Route 9. The house was a short sale; its interior was gutted thanks to a ruptured steam radiator system. The transaction was so drawn out that the couple looked at houses in other River Towns “just in case we fell in love with another house.” They did not. They lived in the house while remodeling it, with the help of two local carpenters. “We liked that we could make it ours.”
Both trail runners, they also liked that the house bordered the Irvington woods, with its extensive trail system. “We live a low-key life,” Codey says. They shop the local farmers’ markets and get deliveries from a CSA. They also have a large vegetable garden, fenced off against deer.
So far, Codey, a stay-at-home mom, hasn’t run into “any of the stereotypical fears” she had about living in the suburbs. “I was afraid I wouldn’t meet anybody I liked or we would be weird somehow because we’re athletic and outdoorsy and we fix up our house ourselves. But I love the people we’ve met. They’re a good fit for us.”