Best places to live in Westchester in 2013: Yonkers, NY
The Yonkers waterfront is slowly being transformed from factories and warehouses to condos and parks
With almost 200,000 people, The City of Hills may be the State’s fourth-largest city, but it’s more a patchwork of 38 neighborhoods sectioned off by commercial streets. “All the neighborhoods have their own character,” says Jane McAfee, associate broker for Houlihan Lawrence in Bronxville.
McAfee is a Yonkers booster. She not only sells homes here, she puts out a weekly email newsletter called Good News in Yonkers. “I do it out of my love for the city,” she explains. “Over the years, the perception of Yonkers has changed. Look at the waterfront! An old parking lot is now a beautiful river park. Several new projects have gotten the green light. Cuomo has put them on the priority list.”
Yonkers has plenty of special places to live. There’s Lincoln Park, with its level streets of neat Tudors and brick Colonials. There are affluent estate sections, like Lawrence Park West and Cedar Knolls, “where you get a Bronxville PO and Yonkers services and taxes.” There’s Colonial Heights, a shady ’burb with large homes within walking distance of the Crestwood Metro-North station. And there’s Crestwood itself, where the Church of the Annunciation is a big draw and homes near the station come at a premium.
But McAfee’s heart belongs to Park Hill. One of the first planned commuter suburbs to New York City, it’s a historic neighborhood of winding streets and beautifully restored old homes tucked under, on, and around rocky outcroppings. “It’s an eclectic mix of houses, but that makes for an eclectic mix of people,” says McAfee: artists, musicians, writers, teachers, people involved in Broadway and film. “A lot of people start out in Riverdale and end up in Park Hill.”
In 1981, McAfee and her husband bought the first house they saw. “We walked in and said, ‘This is it!’ Clients tell me, ‘I can’t buy the first house I see!’ And I say, ‘You can, and you can live there for 31 years.’”