Leaving Manhattan for Less Congestion, More Nature and Wide Open Spaces | Tracy's New York Life | A New York City Lifestyle + Travel Blog Tracy's New York Life | Best Lifestyle, Culture, and Travel Blog in NYC

Leaving Manhattan for Less Congestion, More Nature and Wide Open Spaces

by Tracy Kaler                                                                                                       ***SPONSORED 

The hustle and bustle of the city isn't for everyone.--by casperrmoller via Flickr
  You may find that life in Manhattan is expensive, crowded, and at times, stressful. Even if you love New York and all the city has to offer, you may have the desire for more space, larger public parks, and lower rent. It's okay if you prefer NYC in smaller doses instead of living in the thick of it on a daily basis.

  If you work in Manhattan, it’s important to be able to get in and out of the city quickly and painlessly. Plenty of alternatives exist outside of NYC where elbowroom and green space are abundant, and commutes are   manageable. Heading north a few miles could be exactly what you’re looking for, providing peace, quiet, and   space, without the headache of a stressful commute.

  We’re featuring three neighbors of Manhattan, and any could be the welcome change you need from life in the boroughs. If you’re a newbie and moving to the New York area and not up for inner-city life or the suburbs, you might want to start looking in this northern direction to find your new home.


  Just two miles from the closest point of Northern Manhattan, Yonkers is an ideal option if you’re searching for more space at a fraction of the price. With more than $1 billion invested along the waterfront recently, the town’s diversity and revitalization efforts make it a viable option if you prefer the feeling of a small city rather than that of a suburban sprawl. Located in South Westchester on the Hudson River and only a 30-minute commute on Metro North to Grand Central Station, the area is attractive and convenient if you work in Midtown Manhattan.

  At the center of Yonkers' waterfront renewal are the pastel colored towers of the Hudson Park apartments, whose construction allowed for the opening up of new green space along the river. Built in the last decade, these luxury apartments provide unobstructed views of the Hudson for less than you would pay for a sliver of a view in Manhattan. In addition to the surrounding scenery and adjacent Yonkers Station, Manhattan professionals will also enjoy the area's new upscale restaurants, nightlife, and shopping.
A view of the rebuilt Yonkers waterfront with the Hudson Park apartments in the foreground
   Along with rebuilding the waterfront, the Saw Mill River Daylighting project is another positive force in the rehabilitation of Yonkers. The first part of the Saw Mill River has been “daylighted” this year. Hidden for nearly a hundred years under concrete, the ongoing project has aided the growth and prosperity of Yonkers during recent tough economic times. Once completed, the six-block section of the Saw Mill River will flow through downtown Yonkers.

  New Rochelle

 Just east of Yonkers and two miles north of the New York City border is New Rochelle. Also part of South Westchester but smaller in size than Yonkers, the ride on Metro North from New Rochelle to Grand Central Station is approximately 35-40 minutes.

 This small city is also diverse with both affordable apartments and expensive estates. Voted one of the most walkable downtowns in America by Walk Score in 2011, the central part of New Rochelle is the largest designated Historic District in Westchester. New high-rise condos, live/work lofts, early 1900s apartment buildings, and single-family homes populate the downtown, while one-of-a-kind homes line the Long Island Sound.
Lively downtown New Rochelle--photo by walking geek, courtesy of Flickr
 Like Yonkers, New Rochelle has it’s own revitalization efforts. Planning of the new waterfront development in the Echo Bay area of town is in the works. When finished, the East End will be complete with residences, shops, restaurants and a boardwalk.

 Especially known for its green space, I recommend taking a weekend trip to New Rochelle to explore the area even if you don’t plan on living there. With more than 200 acres of public park, and more than 100 acres of inland waters, this section of Lower West Chester has plenty to offer a nature-lover.

Three miles south of Yonkers is this northernmost section of New York City. Technically in the Bronx, but parts appearing to be more like West Chester County, Riverdale is known for its proximity to Manhattan. The commute from Riverdale to Columbus Circle (59th Street) is about 20-25 minutes via Metro North from the Spuyten Duyvil station.

Feeling almost suburban but not quite, Riverdale has become a permanent destination for families craving more space than what's available in other city locations along with access to some of the best public schools in the city. Made up of several neighborhoods in a strip of the Bronx stretching from the Harlem River to Westchester, housing in Riverdale ranges from apartment buildings to architecturally significant mansions. Most of the high-rise apartments are luxury and staffed with doormen. Although more affordable than Manhattan, Riverdale is the priciest section of the Bronx, with the median residence value just under $2 million.

Located in the Hudson Hill section of Riverdale, Wave Hill is one of the city's finest public gardens and cultural centers. The 28-acre estate offers spectacular views of the Hudson and the Palisades.
Kerlin Overlook at Wave Hill--view of the Palisades--photo courtesy of wavehill.org
Just to the east, the Bronx boasts the 1146-acre Van Cortlandt Park, widely known for it’s rolling hills, horse stables and cross-country running course. Much less touristy than Central Park, Van Cortlandt will give you the opportunity to reconnect with the great outdoors on a whole new level.

If you’re an outsider, don’t fear the stigma of a Bronx address. This fifth borough proudly claims Yankee Stadium, the Botanical Gardens, Fordham University, and City Island, a coastal community that's more like a quaint New England fishing village than any part of New York City. 

This post was brought to you by Hudson Park.
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