White Plains, New York, consistently ranks in the top 100 Best Places to Live, according to Livability | Best Places to Live, a rating index of small-to-medium sized cities in the US created by the research team of Livability-Journal Communications, Inc from polling data gathered from residents of 2,300 cities.
That is hardly new news for those who already live in White Plains.
Residents know the White Plains City School District, which includes 7,000 students in nine district public schools for K–5, middle school, and high school grades, is among the most highly rated in New York, as are the six private schools for students at all grade levels.
Residents know the small city is welcoming to all cultures, ages, and ethnicities. That it attracts professionals, retirees, and families who want the quiet ease of a suburban lifestyle, with access to all the amenities of the urban experience. That—for those who do not want to commute into Manhattan—White Plains offers career opportunities within numerous national and international companies such as Argus Information & Advisory Services, Danone North America, OrthoNet, Heineken USA, Fortistar, Downtown Capital Partners, and March of Dimes to name just a few.
Residents know there is a rich venue of activities in White Plains, from live theater at the White Plains Performing Arts Center to nature walks through Saxon Woods Park, to modern history at The Garden of Remembrance in the center of town, to the J. Harvey Turnure Memorial Park, especially in the spring to see the Cherry trees in full blossom.
What visitors and those looking to create their lifestyle of choice might not know about White Plains is that it is the county seat of Westchester County, an upscale suburban enclave of villages and towns with a combined population of about 1 million. That White Plains is 25 miles from New York City and an easy commute by car via I-287 or the Bronx River Parkway, and by train from either of two Metro-North Railroad stations into Grand Central Terminal. Or, if the need to get away from Manhattan, and White Plains is not far enough in February, the Westchester County Airport, about seven miles from downtown White Plains, has regular flights to Florida and the Bahamas.
Knowledge is power so it cannot hurt anyone to know that White Plains was founded in 1683 when 4,435 acres was purchased from the Native American Weckquaesgeek by a group of settlers from Rye, New York. In homage to its first residents, the area was named White Plains, the translation of the Native American word quarropas, which means white plains.
White Plains became the county seat in 1757. On July 9, 1776, the Fourth Provincial Congress of the Colony of New York approved the Declaration of Independence and word was sent to the New York delegates of the Continental Congress convening in Philadelphia to sign. With that, the Provincial Congress of the Colony of New York changed its name to the Convention of Representatives from the State of New York. That is how history is made—and how White Plains became the birthplace of the State.
What residents and visitors alike are most likely to appreciate is the area’s architectural history. With the opening of the Bronx River Parkway in 1906, the towns in Westchester County were suddenly accessible and the population grew. Tudor homes abounded in a building boom of the 1920s as new homes replaced razed estates. Businesses built in Downtown White Plains since the 1960s reflect the style of the day, namely American Modernism.
Today, there is an active historic preservation presence in White Plains—alongside a new plan under the Transit District Development Zone to transform the Westchester Financial Center into City Square, a mixed-use development more pedestrian friendly.
The living in White Plains might be easy, but it does not come easy. Homes in White Plains are among the most expensive in New York, and often in the US. The top three neighborhoods with the most expensive homes in White Plains include Mamaroneck Avenue/East Post Road, Rosedale, and Ridgway. All are adjacent to one another and surround downtown. Prices drop somewhat farther from downtown. The median home value is about $570,000; about 29 percent of homes are priced between $597,001 and $895,000. About 13 percent of homes are priced from $895,001 to $1.2 million, and 6 percent are priced above that.
Thanks to its diverse population, restaurants in White Plains are equally diverse, offering every kind of dining experience and cuisine imaginable, from Asian to Mexican to Italian to Indian to steakhouses to pubs and sports bars to gluten free to child friendly. Most dining establishments are clustered along Mamaroneck Avenue and Main Street, providing convenient access before or after the theater, or to parks, or to shopping in the retail experience known as The Galleria. Located at the intersection of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and Main Street, The Galleria at White Plains is an indoor mall with more than 130 retailers. Need we say more?
Of course, there is more to say about the lifestyle White Plains offers those who want to experience a more gentrified ambiance little more than an hour away from the City that Never Sleeps.
44 percent of residents speak another language
32 percent of residents are foreign born
49 percent of all residents have some college, a college degree, or higher
38 years is the median age