Welcome to Westchester

Four fresh new 914 nieghbors.



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Each year, on average, 30,000 people move into our county—22,000 from elsewhere in the United States and 8,000 from other countries. (Likewise, on average, 28,000 county residents move elsewhere within the United States each year.) And while we never quite made it over to any of our new residents’ doorsteps with a fresh-baked pie or the name of a good plumber, it’s not too late to give these four new county homeowners a warm welcome to the neighborhood.

Dermatopathologist Melissa Gill, MD (interviewed here), husband Mathias Lilja, vice president of business development for MasterCard in Purchase, and their now one-year-old son, Viggo, relocated from a two-bedroom apartment in Manhattan to a 2200-square-foot, four-bedroom house in Dobbs Ferry a little under a year ago. They viewed more than 100 houses over a nine-month period before settling on their mid 20th-century house with Hudson River views for $820,000.

Why Westchester? My husband works here. Did you look outside of the county? Yes, in Ridgewood, Glen Rock, and Tenafly, all in New Jersey. What other towns did you consider in Westchester? We liked the feel and personality of Pelham and Rye, but Rye was too expensive, and we looked at Rye Brook, but that didn’t feel like a fit. Ultimately, the Rivertowns became our top choice. What compromises did you have to make? We don’t have a pool or a master bedroom suite, and we have a one-car garage, not two. What kind of town feel where you looking for? Someplace very diverse—culturally, racially, and economically; Dobbs came across as very down-to-earth and friendly. Any criterion you wouldn’t budge on? I didn’t want our kids having to rely on a parent or nanny to drive them everywhere, so we wanted a house a walk away from a town center. Glad you moved? Very. I was nervous about moving because I had never lived in the suburbs before. But we had moved to a fantastic, very welcoming street, with lots of kids and where everyone really helps each other out. The biggest difference between living here versus Chelsea? Now we have space and can park our car in front of our house. Any surprises? We’ve been pleasantly surprised by how warm and friendly the neighborhood is, like a big family. People are very easygoing and we have a much more active social life than we ever did in Manhattan. One thing you’d change if you could? I’d have a great grocery store here. Why can’t we have a Fairway?

Jeffrey Crane (interviewed here), an equities broker with electronics brokerage house Instinet, and his wife, Linda, moved to Hawthorne from Hoboken, New Jersey, a year ago, before their now four-month-old son, Dillon, was born. After looking at more than 100 houses over a two-year period, they purchased a 2600-square-foot center-hall Colonial for $727,000. Located on two-tenths of an acre, it has four bedrooms.

Why did you want to move? It was just time to get out of a five-hundred-square-foot rented apartment and into someplace that had more room for all of our things. Why did you choose Hawthorne? We specifically wanted to live in Westchester, but we didn’t know where. We narrowed it down by school district—and realized that we could get more house for our money in Hawthorne, where we liked the school district. What was the home-buying process like? Houlihan Lawrence’s Lauren Zaccaria showed us this house eight months before we bought it. We put in a bid, but the seller didn’t want to deal with us because we were so far below what he was asking. We bid again, and it took us a long time to negotiate a price. What were the biggest selling points? We liked that it was brand new. It didn’t need any major construction and everything was updated. We also liked its location close to the train. How did the economy impact your plans? The economy actually helped us. We were able to wait to get a better price.