Distance Makes the Heart Grow Suburbaner

 

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If you leave the city and move to the suburbs, will you become a “Suburban Mom”? Will you buy a minivan and go to Target every Tuesday afternoon after pickup? (Certainly not- the school bus traffic is horrendous at that time! Go during school hours, for sure!)

If you leave the city and move to the suburbs, will you talk to your girlfriends about the best way to make a bundt cake and how to pack healthy lunches for your little ones? Will you stress over the safest BPA-free containers for said lunches? Will you take yoga with your bestie and then have a cocktail with lunch afterwards at the local Applebee’s? Will you wait for your husband to get off the 6:10 train and have dinner waiting for him on the table? (The kids will, of course, have already eaten, because they’re hungry little scoundrels and you don’t want to keep them waiting!)

If you leave the city and move to the suburbs, will you be forced to join the PTA and become a Girl Scout troop leader and work on the annual fundraising gala committee, having to solicit funds from your neighbors? Will you become a cog in the machine? Will no one ever ask you where you went to college again because it doesn’t matter anymore?

Will you become… one of them?

The answer, of course, is yes. Because the suburbs are only filled with vacant, education-less mothers who desperately look forward to mom’s nights out and spend their afternoons having sexual fantasies about the pool boy.

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But what if you work a full time job?? If you keep your job in the city, and have to commute every day, will your children forget your name and start calling you “Lady”? Will all the stay-at-home moms at your kid’s school snicker behind your back for being a bad mother for having a career? Will the PTA sneer at you for never contributing one f*cking brownie for the bake sale??

Stressed-desserts

Mothers in the city are no different and no better than mothers in the suburbs. In fact, they WERE city mothers until they up and moved. Almost every single family we know in the Rivertowns used to live in the city. So basically, you’ll move up here only to be surrounded by Upper West Siders and Brooklyn-ites, but you’ll be waving to each other from your cars, instead of on-foot.

But does living in the suburbs change you? At what point do you become a “suburbanite?” Is it when you start saying “Oh, the city is so crowded!” Or when your husband learns how to clean the gutters? (By the way, you can pay people to do that.)

Who will you be if you don’t live in the city anymore?

The answer? You will be you, but maybe a little less stressed. You will be you, but maybe you’ll enjoy going to the playground because this one overlooks the river. You will be you, but you’ll have more space.

And P.S. Target rocks. Don’t be a hater.

Hastings-On-Hudson, NY

Hastings-on-Hudson, View, Main Street, Village, Downtown, Suburbs, NYC

Hastings-on-Hudson, NY

Population: 7,904
Median home value: $621,043
Median rental price: $1,054
Median household income: $124,778
% of the adult population who are high school graduates: 95.74%
% of the adult population who are college graduates: 65.18%
% of people living below the poverty level: 3%
Racial Makeup / Most prominent races: 85% White, 9% Hispanic or Latino (of any race), 5% Black, 5% Asian
Residents would hang out with NYC folk from: Park Slope and the Upper West Side

Hastings-on-Hudson, Map, Hudson River Town

Hastings-on-Hudson is village within the town of Greenburgh on the Hudson River Metro-North train from Hastings-on-Hudson to Grand Central Station: 39 minutes By car to Grand Central Station: 20 miles, or 33 minutes

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Looking to buy a house in Hastings-on-Hudson? A 3 bed / 2 bath isn’t too hard to find in the $500K-$800K range.

With taxes, interest, and homeowner’s insurance, and 20% down, it’ll cost between $2,616 and $4,200 per month.

(Note: property taxes here do not include the local taxes, which could bring these numbers up $1K more per month. Oh yes. That’s $1,000 more. Per. Month. For exact numbers, ask your realtor.)

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Looking for schools? Here’s what GreatSchools.org has to say:

SCHOOL

GREATSCHOOLS.ORG RATING

COMMUNITY RATING

Hillside Elementary

8/10

8/10

Farragut Middle School

9/10

8/10

Hastings High School

9/10

8/10

Thank you, New York Times, for your article on the Brooklynization of Hastings-On-Hudson, or as you called it, “Hipsturbia”. This little town is really charming, and a smidge bigger than I thought it was. Sure, there are a few big name banks, like Chase et al, but the rest of the businesses all appear to be independently owned. Chelsea Dry Goods, Hastings-on-Hudson Main Street Store I checked out this adorable store that had mainly kids’ toys, kitschy gifts, and a some clothes. I wanted to see how much this town costs, compared to Manhattan prices. A bottle of bubbles for kids? $2.95. But everything seemed pretty reasonably priced, all in all. If I were doing more on this blog, say a financial chart, I would probably give Hastings-on-Hudson an average rating- it’s not Disney World prices, but it’s not Panama prices either. Hastings-on-Hudson, Main Street, The Leftovers shoot, HBO On the day I visited HoH, they happened to be shooting a new pilot for HBO, “The Leftovers”. So the quiet town was pretty much completely taken over. (Funny- after 10 years of living in Los Angeles, and the Hudson Valley is where I can’t cross the street until they yell “Cut!”) However, the filming really didn’t impinge upon my research. My darling 11 month old, strapped to my body in an Ergo carrier, joined me on the excursion. We walked up and down Main Street, after parking the car in a very affordable lot, feet from the main drag. (Coming from NYC, this is ridiculously convenient.) Aside from the woman who yelled at me for standing in the street taking a photo while holding a baby, everyone seemed really nice. Not Mayberry nice, but nice. As for comparing it to the other river towns (i.e. Irvington, Dobbs Ferry, Yonkers, Tarrytown, etc. – you know, all the towns on the river) HoH is the hilliest. This means stronger calves, more interesting topography, more exhausting walks to get the morning paper, and less of a chance that the house you’re looking at has a level yard. I, for one, want a level yard. My husband may think a house on a slope would add to his dream of a rugged and asymmetrical life, but try to have a barbeque on a 45-degree angle. For me, however, as much as I’d like a level yard, it’s not a deal-breaker. We can’t always get all the things we want… especially if we’re on a tight real estate budget. I’m looking for 3 bedrooms, plus an office, 2+ bathrooms, a basement (for my husband to build his model train set and for the kids to have a romper room), a sweet master suite with a walk-in shower and jacuzzi bath built for 2. I would love a tudor, or craftsman style, though anything that’s not that hideous 1950’s look would probably suit me just fine. (My apologies if any of you built any houses in the 1950s.) I want a yard big enough for a small gathering and a swingset for the kids. An attached 2-car garage, a guest room/house that my husband can use as a studio for his photography, a u-shaped driveway, a gorgeous garden of flowers, bay windows, Anderson windows, glass windows, you name it. Are any of these deal-breakers? No. I want a town with top notch schools for my girls. One of the reasons we want to leave Manhattan is the crazy rat race of the school system here, not to mention the fact that it’s $25K for preschool. Yep- preschool. To find out more about the schools in Hastings-On-Hudson (which are allegedly terrific) call (914) 478-6200 or visit www.Hastings.k12.ny.us. I spoke with a woman at Peter J. Riolo Real Estate, who was very helpful. I haven’t worked with her yet (only met for 25 minutes or so), but so far I’d recommend them if you’re looking for someone to talk to. In all my searching online for information about any of these towns within 60 minutes of Manhattan, I have been left feeling, well, uninformed. I could barely find any relevant images on Google, I couldn’t get a feel of the town, and NeighborhoodScout.com (which I kind of also love) still only told me that the majority of the residents are “young, upwardly mobile” people, and I don’t really know what that means. I wanted to know if a town had the kind of people I’d be friends with. I wanted to know the town’s walkability. I wanted to know if the downtown area had one of everything I needed, so I could take a stroll to the post office, drug store, gift shop, grocery store, without having to get into the car and drive to Target. NeighborhoodScout.com did tell me, however, that HoH is a “white-collar village, with fully 95.79% of the workforce employed in white-collar jobs… also a village of artists. Hastings-on-Hudson has more artists, designers and people working in media than 90% of the communities in America. This concentration of artists helps shape Hastings-on-Hudson’s character.” To get a better idea of Hastings-on-Hudson, little Phoebe and I hit the road with our map, some diapers, and a camera.

May I introduce to you… Hastings-on-Hudson!