Help! I'm moving to White Plains
June 12, 2006 12:48 PM   Subscribe

Where (and how) to live in White Plains, NY?

My brother is accepting a financial analysis job in White Plains, NY. He's 23; this is his first job out of college. Where in the area should he live? Are there any neighborhoods or nearby towns that would be a good place for a young, single male? Even information about good restaurants or bars in the area would be a plus; this is a totally new place for him.

He'll almost certainly have a car.
posted by BackwardsCity to Grab Bag (13 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
On the plus side, White Plains is one of the better places to be young and single in Westchester County. On the minus side, it's still in Westchester County and the restaurant/bar scene pales in comparison to NYC.

White Plains has a downtown area that is pretty dead after 7pm but has dirt cheap loft spaces and luxury apartments. The surrounding residential neighborhoods and subdivisions offer some pretty good deals as well.

Nearby towns that I could imagine a single person in their twenties working in finance enjoying include New Rochelle, Bronxville, Rye and some of the more upscale portions of Port Chester.

Keep in mind White Plains is also served by the Metro-North train, which runs hourly trains into Manhattan on weekends. If your brother plans on keeping a social life in the city as a large number of Westchester folks do, it might make sense to live within sensible commuting distance of a station.
posted by huskerdont at 1:04 PM on June 12, 2006

Yea, I'm told that despite its reputation, you can get decently priced living spaces in Westchester, so what might work well is something between White Plains and Manhattan, then you could take the train either direction.

If memory serves the White Plains Metro-North station is only a half hour from Grand Central, which is actually a shorter commute than I have from north Jersey.
posted by cyrusdogstar at 1:28 PM on June 12, 2006

White Plains also benefits from its proximity to the nightlife along the Long Island Sound shoreline: Summer St. in Stamford, downtown Greenwich, Old Greenwich, South Norwalk, etc. All connected via Metro North and all within decent driving distance of White Plains.

Also, in the late summer/early fall, you've got the NY Renn Faire up in Tuxedo. Woohoo!
posted by thanotopsis at 1:32 PM on June 12, 2006

45 mins. into Grand Central Station and midtown Manhattan via Metro North, convenient, low-hassle airport that is beginning to serve more cities -- (Chicago, DC, Philly and now Atlanta as well), but generally a dead dog on nights and weekends, though I would suggest heading to downtown White Plains for social activity.

If he golfs, there are plenty of superb municipal and private courses well within 30 mins., if he likes to shop there's the Galleria Mall with Nordstrom and many other fine shops, and if he likes the shore/beaches he is fairly close to Long Island Sound with all that has to offer. There is plenty of affluence around White Plains, so he can drive around marveling at the grandoise homes and properties, and it is a very safe place to live. Tell him he could've done a LOT worse. Good luck.
posted by terrier319 at 1:38 PM on June 12, 2006

Whenever I'm considering moving to a new area I always learn everything I can about it and all surrounding areas from Wikipedia (link goes to White Plains entry). There's a ton of information there, and you can build a pretty clear picture of the area just by reading through what you find.

That being said, downtown White Plains is a pretty good area to get a studio or a one bedroom, and your brother would be very close to great food, public transportation, and major highways. As other posters have said, though, White Plains is still Westchester so expect it to close down around midnight except for a handful of lazy bars.

The Metro North runs fast into the city from White Plains (express stop), but the last train is some time around 2:00am, so staying out late usually means a choice between staying out not so late and riding the train back, or staying out til whenever you want but staying sober after a certain point.

Avoid North White Plains and nearby Elmsford as they are kind of crappy living areas.
posted by ducksauce at 1:40 PM on June 12, 2006

White Plains does have its pros: Proximity to/from the city, the trader joe's in hartsdale and scarsdale, and well, it's really close to the city.

I've been to two bars in white plains, the thirsty turtle and a place i remember being called coughlins, both of which were decent bars with good booze selections and decent music (y'know, for bars). Pretty much going down mamaroneck avenue for restaurants and bars.

I always figured white plains would inevitably turn into a popular place for new grads wanting to be close to the city without being IN the city. I don't know if it's become like that yet, but it probably will as the city fills up.
posted by marxfriedrice at 1:45 PM on June 12, 2006

If he's willing to commute, he could try looking around Katonah; it's 20 miles from White Plains, but it has it's own station on Metro-North's Harlem Line, not to mention its own art scene.

Food wise, I tried the Lazy Boy Saloon. It's an alfresco sports pub, with a decent beer list, and tex-mex fare. It's an inevitable place to start when exploring the city. Here as well are a couple lists of dining establishments.

If he's into music, there's a Sam Ash on Mamaroneck Ave, as well as Thomson's, an art supply store just next door. Across the street is Toys in the Attic, a rare guitar shop which sees customers by appointment.
posted by Smart Dalek at 1:47 PM on June 12, 2006

I second the proximity to Stamford and South Norwalk, that's where the 'scene' is; if he's planning to drive to work anyway, he should look for something in-between.
Try Port Chester; it's up-and-coming. (At least, that's what my father keeps telling me, but he's not exactly an authority.)

If he's going to try to rely on the Harlem line, the White Plains station by the Galleria is great because both the express AND the local stop there, so it's double the action to Manhattan. Most single-recent-grad-types tend to go in to Manhattan or Stamford/Norwalk.

Katonah is beautiful, but it is also pricey and far from Manhattan. The commute to White Plains by car would be over a half-hour each way, and the Metro-North only stops in once an hour in the off-peak. Also, very little nightlife. However, it's a fantastic place to visit, and the Blue Dolphin Diner is a MUST.

Unsolicited: Be careful when driving. Westchester County (and Fairfield in CT) has a growing reputation for overly-self-important drivers who truly believe they are more important and better than you. The driving can be scary.
posted by Sprout the Vulgarian at 2:20 PM on June 12, 2006

First thing I think of with the car is that when I was looking in White Plains the agent mentioned that overnight street parking is not allowed. There seems to be enough garages, which should be fine for visitors, but I don't know what the wait is (if any) for permits for residents-- just something to keep in mind in case he finds a place with no parking spot.

Otherwise I think White Plains would be nice if he works there. Short commute and don't have to drive everywhere. It'd be possible to walk to bars, restaurants, stores, etc. Metro-North is great, and even if he ends up not in White Plains I'd keep the train station locations in mind as he looks at places. Yeah, it's not NYC, but I think it's fine for Westchester living.
posted by unsigned at 2:28 PM on June 12, 2006 [1 favorite]

He might as well try to live as close as possible to work, assuming work is in the downtown area. He'd then be able to walk to a lot of stuff NYC-style (the densely built area is compact, I'd say a maximum fifteen-twenty minute walk between any two locations in it), although he'd still need the car as I don't think you'll find any supermarkets and probably a few other stores you need in downtown White Plains. On the other hand, you will be able to walk to a great number of malls.

There's a lot of construction going on. I haven't been there regularly for about three years, but I was back recently and the skyline is still dominated by huge cranes.

If it's still there, there was a bagel shop called The Bagel Emporium near the Galleria that had very delicious bagels - better than most I get in NYC.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 2:46 PM on June 12, 2006

marx has it right, pretty much all the night life in White Plains is restricted to Mamaroneck Avenue, although there's a stretch of about seven or eight bars that get big crowds on weekends and certain nights of the week.

Most of the bars have outdoor tables set up on the wide sidewalks, so if it's elbow-to-elbow inside, if the music sucks, or if you just like to smoke while you drink, they're not a bad option.

Warning: If you go into the White Plains Diner anytime after 11 p.m. on a Thursday, Friday or Saturday, full "college rules" will be in effect -- the service will suck horribly, everyone will be drunk and obnoxious, and the bathrooms will be pretty much unusable.

If your brother does end up having a car while he lives and works in White Plains, Port Chester is just a 5 to 10-minute drive on 287, and it's a hell of a lot more fun. You can go to a Brazilian place like Pantanal and drink caipirinhas on the back deck, and it's surrounded by Latin dance clubs and more laid back places. Then, if you get the munchies, you can go to the greatest late night food place of all time: The Hubba.
posted by Alexandros at 7:37 PM on June 12, 2006

It depends on your brother's personality. For me, living in Westchester would be a non-starter. Live in NYC. If he has a car all the better, then the outerboroughs aren't as daunting a commute.

There is a huge contingent of people his age doing the reverse commute to Stamford, Greenwich, Rye, White Plains, etc. from NYC. Indeed the Fairfield Line trains run peak prices both directions in the AM and it is not unheard of to stand to Greenwich. I did it myself for three 1/2 years right out of undergrad. Stamford everyday. Its liveable, and by the time it stops being bearable he will have figured out who has a car.

Not everyone in the firm my age did the commute. A fair # of them had grown up in Fairfield County and lived up there. Was pretty cool, had friends, family. They seemed ok. Then there were the non-locals who chose to live up there. There was also a group of anti-social people who either hated people, had some bizarre personality defect, or had something that completely dominated their non-work life - usually church. They could have lived anywhere and it wouldn't have mattered. I spent a lot of time wondering how they made it through the interviewing process.

Everyone else? They moved to NYC the day their leases ended. It was kind of funny. Every year we'd warn the new comers to think about commuting, every year a few wouldn't listen. And the following year they'd all move.

Seriously its Suburbia. Unless you are from there its a hard place to live if you are 23 and unattached.
posted by JPD at 3:19 AM on June 13, 2006

And to be honest. I am from the NY suburbs, indeed if I had a job in the area I grew up, I probably would have lived out there right out of school. I plan on moving out to the 'burbs when I get older. I am not an anti-suburbs guy.
posted by JPD at 3:24 AM on June 13, 2006

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