Best Places To Live
Call us gluttons for punishment (and angry letters from you), but this year, we dared to tackle the unthinkable—we’ve numerically ranked (virtually) every place there is to live in our county, from best to worst. Yes, this means there is indeed a Number 1—and it also means there is a Number 40. Read on, and see where your town fell in our rankings.
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Diversity: 5 / Housing Costs: 2 / Parks & Recreation: 7
Property Tax: 1 / Proximity to NYC: 7 / Safety: 10 / Schools: 10
Proximity to Water: 6 / Nightlife: 6 / Shopping: 10 / Downtown: 8
Scarsdale is virtually synonymous with great schools. It should come as no surprise that this quintessential upscale village came in in the top 10, thanks in large part to top scores for its schools (the high school’s students collectively got the highest SAT scores in the county: 1899—or 159 points higher than the county average of 1640 and 388 higher than the national average); safety; and shopping (Wilson & Son, La Dentelliere, BoConcept, Space.NK.apothecary, et al). Which may explain why housing isn’t cheap in this beautifully manicured town of 17,672 residents. The average cost of a house in Scarsdale is $876,740, making it the sixth most expensive place to live in the county. And when it comes to property taxes, it's among the worst towns to live in (it, along with Bronxville, Harrison, and Rye rated a 1 out of 10—ouch!).
Diversity: 5 / Housing Costs: 9 / Parks & Recreation: 8
Property Tax: 8 / Proximity to NYC: 3 / Safety: 5 / Schools: 7
Proximity to Water: 10 / Nightlife: 3 / Shopping: 3 / Downtown: 4
Croton is a little gem of a village—right on the water with lots of parks. It also offers a variety of price points when it comes to housing. But in order to live here, one has to relinquish desires for a quick in-and-out of Manhattan. A daily commute is doable, but it’s still a hefty 35 miles north of the city. It also lacks a sparkling nightlife scene and shopping options are sparse. But the point is—and Crotonites will tell you this in no uncertain terms—you don’t move here for those kinds of amenities. One moves to Croton for its green space, its seven miles of waterfront, its opportunities to hike and boat, and wondrous experiences like witnessing rainstorms barreling across the Hudson from the opposite shoreline.
Bronxville buzzes with one of the loveliest and most vibrant downtowns in all of Westchester.
Photo by Adam Samson
Diversity: 2 / Housing Costs: 2 / Parks & Recreation: 1
Property Tax: 1 / Proximity to NYC: 10 / Safety: 8 / Schools: 10
Proximity to Water: 6 / Nightlife: 9 / Shopping: 9 / Downtown: 9
Like Scarsdale, Bronxville is a community that some might give an eyetooth to live in. And rightly so. In a number of respects (proximity to Manhattan, high-quality schools, a vibrant downtown, great shopping), Bronxville is tops. And it is just gorgeous. Some suspect that Bronxville must have a housing law that prohibits residents from having anything other than drop-dead beautiful houses with lush green lawns. How wonderful.
But, alas, it isn’t perfect. Indeed, when it comes to housing affordability and property tax rate, fugetaboutit. It ain’t cheap; in fact, it has the fourth most expensive homes in the county ($890,210 is the average cost of a Bronxville home) and the highest property tax rate in the county. And as for diversity? Fewer than 9 percent of its residents are minority.
 New Castle
Diversity: 3 / Housing Costs: 3 / Parks & Recreation: 8
Property Tax: 3 / Proximity to NYC: 3 / Safety: 10 / Schools: 10
Proximity to Water: 8 / Nightlife: 5 / Shopping: 8 / Downtown: 7
This town, home to the hamlets of Chappaqua and Millwood, did especially well when it came to schools (Horace Greeley High School is a nationally revered high school) and safety, scored nicely for parks and recreation (14 percent of New Castle is reserved for parks and recreation). It’s home to our former first family, Reader’s Digest's ultra-green campus (a proposal to turn it into condos is before the planning board), and lots of rolling hills and beautiful countryside. But it’s not as diverse as many other towns (less than 10 percent of its residents are minority), housing costs are high (the fifth most expensive real estate values in the county), and property taxes are significant (on average $17,619 a year).
 Mount Pleasant
Diversity: 7 / Housing Costs: 7 / Parks & Recreation: 8
Property Tax: 8 / Proximity to NYC: 5 / Safety: 10 / Schools: 4
Proximity to Water: 10 / Nightlife: 7 / Shopping: 4 / Downtown: 5
Located in central Westchester, the town of Mount Pleasant includes the incorporated villages of Pleasantville, Sleepy Hollow, and a small portion of Briarcliff Manor. The remaining area of the town is unincorporated (i.e., not part of any other municipality) and includes the hamlets of Hawthorne, Thornwood, Valhalla, and Pocantico Hills (home to Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture). Eleventh on the livability list, it has a near non-existent crime rate, is filled with parks and playgrounds, and its housing costs are not prohibitive. However, Mount Pleasant (especially its villages of Valhalla, Thornwood, and Hawthorne), doesn't have much of a nightlife scene or great dining or shopping options.