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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Briarcliff Manor's ample green space contributes to its residents' quality of life.
Photo by Adam Samson
 Briarcliff Manor
Diversity: 3 / Housing Costs: 3 / Parks & Recreation: 7
Property Tax: 2 / Proximity to NYC: 4 / Safety: 10 / Schools: 8
Proximity to Water: 10 / Nightlife: 2 / Shopping: 2 / Downtown: 4
This town has good schools, its streets are safe and bucolic, and it’s near the river. It is the site, too, of the spectacularly beautiful Trump National Golf Course. But one pays a steep price to live here in terms of real estate.
Diversity: 2 / Housing Costs: 10 / Parks & Recreation: 2
Property Tax: 10 / Proximity to NYC: 2 / Safety: 6 / Schools: 4
Proximity to Water: 10 / Nightlife: 1 / Shopping: 1 / Downtown: 1
It’s home to Indian Point Energy Center with its nuclear reactors and concerns about leaks. But if you’re willing to deal with that, housing costs are the lowest in the county, as are property taxes.
Diversity: 7 / Housing Costs: 6 / Parks & Recreation: 1
Property Tax: 4 / Proximity to NYC: 9 / Safety: 8 / Schools: 3
Proximity to Water: 6 / Nightlife: 4 / Shopping: 4 / Downtown: 6
A little wisp of a village (0.6 square miles) that’s close to Manhattan, Tuckahoe has a quaint downtown. Its diverse population enjoys an equally diverse range of housing options, some at relatively affordable price points. But being densely populated, there is a conspicuous absence of green space, and its schools are not among our very best.
 Sleepy Hollow
Diversity: 8 / Housing Costs: 4 / Parks & Recreation: 6
Property Tax: 7 / Proximity to NYC: 6 / Safety: 10 / Schools: 2
Proximity to Water: 10 / Nightlife: 4 / Shopping: 2 / Downtown: 5
This legendary and "sleepy," that is, quiet, village—home to famous landmarks including the Old Dutch Church, the Rockefeller estate Kykuit, and Philipsburg Manor—is safe, close to the water, and pretty diverse. But what about that undeveloped and increasingly unsightly hunk of property left behind when General Motors shuttered its massive assembly plant there in 1996?
Diversity: 1 / Housing Costs: 4 / Parks & Recreation: 10
Property Tax: 5 / Proximity to NYC: 1 / Safety: 10 / Schools: 8
Proximity to Water: 2 / Nightlife: 1 / Shopping: 1 / Downtown: 2
Lewisboro comprises Cross River, Goldens Bridge, South Salem, Vista, and Waccabuc. It boasts lots of parks and recreational opportunities and reasonably priced real estate. But it’s a long haul to Manhattan and offers little in the way of shopping or nighttime
Diversity: 1 / Housing Costs: 2 / Parks & Recreation: 9
Property Tax: 3 / Proximity to NYC: 3 / Safety: 10 / Schools: 6
Proximity to Water: 3 / Nightlife: 3 / Shopping: 9 / Downtown: 5
Small, quaint, and wealthy, Bedford (which includes the communities of Bedford Hills, Bedford Village, and Katonah) is where so many of our celebrities live: Martha Stewart, Chevy Chase, Chazz Palminteri, and Ralph Lauren among them. Its winding, tree-lined, sidewalk-free streets are among the most beautiful anywhere. Ditto its many horseback riding trails. But Bedford is hardly diverse and far from inexpensive (buying a house here will set you back, on average, $828,140).
 North Salem
Diversity: 2 / Housing Costs: 6 / Parks & Recreation: 10
Property Tax: 7 / Proximity to NYC: 1 / Safety: 5 / Schools: 5
Proximity to Water: 1 / Nightlife: 2 / Shopping: 1 / Downtown: 1
In the northeast corner of the county, this lovely town of 5,259 people and 22.9 square miles is a rustic enclave of horse farms and estates, surrounded by verdant woodlands and apple orchards. And if you like space to roam, most of the land is zoned for four acres or more. It gets high scores for parks and recreation, but it is far from the city, it's landlocked, and you need to travel elsewhere for shopping, dining, and any kind of nightlife.
 Pound Ridge
Diversity: 1 / Housing Costs: 2 / Parks & Recreation: 10
Property Tax: 3 / Proximity to NYC: 1 / Safety: 10 / Schools: 6
Proximity to Water: 2 / Nightlife: 1 / Shopping: 2 / Downtown: 3
Ah, Pound Ridge, home to Richard Gere and Carey Lowell—another very safe and very beautiful community. Bordered by Connecticut, Bedford, and Lewisboro, Pound Ridge, where fewer than 5,000 people reside in an area that spans 23.5 square miles, has tons of green space. However, it is far from Manhattan, has few minorities, and house prices are steep. It has a cozy little village center with a couple of antiquey-type shops. Sure is pretty driving around those back country roads, too.
Diversity: 5 / Housing Costs: 1 / Parks & Recreation: 6
Property Tax: 1 / Proximity to NYC: 6 / Safety: 8 / Schools: 3
Proximity to Water: 8 / Nightlife: 3 / Shopping: 3 / Downtown: 3
And here’s the biggest surprise of all: well-heeled Harrison (median household salary: $94,590), with its large estates and manicured lawns, is at the bottom of the livability list! Indeed, its motto is, "It's Great to Live in Harrison." Harrison houses are often huge—and stunning. And it's home to one of the most exclusive and gorgeous country clubs, The Westchester Country Club. But Harrison, which includes the super-wealthy hamlet of Purchase, has some of the priciest houses in the county and among the highest property taxes. Plus, there’s not much to speak of in the way of a downtown or shopping, and its high school does not perform as well as many other high schools in our county.
Elsa Brenner lives in New Rochelle, and when the longtime journalist is not writing about residential and commercial real estate—which she does from sunup to long after sundown most days—she kayaks on the Long Island Sound, tends a vegetable garden, and hikes with her labradoodle.