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??

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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.

Let’s Talk about Connecticut, Baby

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My husband and I never looked at houses in Connecticut. Why? A combination of proximity to NYC and, I guess, the (mostly) irrational fear of what it would mean to leave New York. But I now have two sets of friends who have left Dobbs Ferry for the Constitution State. Why? Taxes, baby. Taxes.

In Dobbs Ferry, and most of Westchester, you can expect to pay somewhere around $30,000/year in property taxes for an $800,000 house of approximately 3,500 sq. ft. In comparably desirable areas of Connecticut, like Darien, New Canaan, and Greenwich, you can expect to pay more like $7,000. That means you can afford more for less in Connecticut.

Why are the taxes so much in Westchester?? I’m no tax expert, but for the little I understand about it, there are a few reasons: many of the towns in Westchester don’t have a lot of commercial taxpayers paying the big taxes. For example, in Dobbs Ferry alone, Walgreens and Stop & Shop are two of the few big businesses in town. That means the property owners have to pick up the slack. It’s possible that Connecticut towns have more commercial taxpayers to alleviate a lot of the responsibility from the residential taxpayers. Secondly, a lot of the villages in Westchester have their own mini governments, fire departments, police departments, school districts, etc. That means little Dobbs Ferry has to pay for all of that on its own. And for whatever this means, 70% of our property taxes are for the school tax. Does that mean our schools are better? Or that there are more school-aged children in Dobbs than in Greenwich? I don’t know. But our schools are awesome. 😉  And Westchester spends more per student than towns in Connecticut…

So why look at Westchester at all if you can save so much on property taxes in Connecticut? Is it the distance? The average on-peak train ride from Greenwich (one of the closest towns in CT to NYC) to Grand Central is 52minutes, whereas the same ride from Hastings-on-Hudson (one of the closest towns in NY to NYC) is 40minutes. Hmm. 12 minutes seems worth saving thousands of dollars every year, does it not?

Hopefully, I’ll be able to do some Connecticut research for my little blog sometime soon. Until then, happy hunting!