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Small-Town Living in the Village of Rye Brook
From the Wall Street Journal of Fri, 05 Dec 2014 22:54:17 EST
A sign at the entrance to Pine Ridge Park in Rye Brook, N.Y.
A sign at the entrance to Pine Ridge Park in Rye Brook, N.Y. Claudio Papapietro for The Wall Street Journal

The village of Rye Brook, incorporated in 1982, may be Westchester’s newest municipality, but residents say its small-town feel recalls an earlier era.

“When you live in a small place like Rye Brook everybody looks out for each other,” says the village’s mayor, Paul Rosenberg, who moved to the village from Manhattan about 15 years ago. “It’s a very close-knit community where if you need [help] the neighborhood is going to overwhelm you with its generosity.”

Rye Brook, part of the town of Rye, has a population of about 9,400 and covers 3.5 square miles. It borders Connecticut some 25 miles from Manhattan, and while there isn’t a train station within the village, Metro-North trains from the nearby Rye or Port Chester stations travel to Grand Central Terminal in around 40 minutes.

The village lacks a central downtown, but many residents say the Rye Ridge Shopping Center, on South Ridge Road, functions as a sort of community gathering spot, with its restaurants, cafes, fitness centers and upscale shops.

Neighbors also come together at events, including outdoor jazz concerts on Sunday nights in the summer and a Christmas tree and menorah lighting this week in Pine Ridge Park.

“I like the level of community involvement,” says Caren Manne, a broker with Julia B. Fee Sotheby’s International Realty and a resident since 1989. “You kind of know everybody, and it’s a nice feeling.”

Residents voted 32 years ago to form their own village, rather than remain part of the unincorporated section of the town of Rye, so they could have more say over local government and services. Today, the village provides almost all of its own services, the mayor says, from police and fire to snow removal.

Around two-thirds of the village is zoned for the Blind Brook-Rye public schools, with about a third, in the southern section, zoned for Port Chester schools. Brokers say houses are generally pricier in the Blind Brook section.

Most houses in Rye Brook are single-families, with some townhouse and condominium communities. BelleFair, a private community of some 260 newer houses, has its own pools, meeting house and fitness center, among other amenities.

Prices for all housing in the village tend to range from around $400,000 in the section of the village zoned for Port Chester schools to upward of $2 million for a large house in the sought-after Hillendale section, where properties may be around an acre. The median listing price in Rye Brook in October was $810,000, says

Once home to large corporations such as Kraft Foods and International Business Machines, today the village includes offices for some smaller companies, the mayor says. There are nearly 1,000 rooms in the village’s two hotels, the Hilton Westchester and the Doral Arrowwood, a hotel and golf course.

Susan Handelman, a broker with Houlihan Lawrence who has lived in Rye Brook since 2000, says the village offers popular amenities such as well-regarded public schools and a relatively easy commute, but with a “lower-key vibe” than some communities nearby.

Rye Ridge Deli in the Rye Ridge Shopping Center in Rye Brook, N.Y.
Rye Ridge Deli in the Rye Ridge Shopping Center in Rye Brook, N.Y. Claudio Papapietro for The Wall Street Journal

It’s a town with an incredible sense of community,” says Ms. Handelman. “I met my best friend with our babies by the swings in the park…. It has that wonderful close-knit feel to it, and that’s probably the reason people come here.”

Parks: The five main village parks include Pine Ridge Park, which has ball fields, tennis and basketball courts and playgrounds, and where village events are held. There are also two passive green spaces, Magnolia and Rich Manor parks. Residents have access to Town of Rye facilities, including the 62-acre Rye Town Park and Beach, on the Long Island Sound.

Schools: Around two-thirds of the village is zoned for the Blind Brook-Rye Union Free School District, with the rest zoned for Port Chester schools.

According to state data, all students who entered high school in Blind Brook in 2009 met or exceeded state standards for proficiency in English language arts and math four years later, compared with statewide results of 81% and 84% for English and math, respectively. In Port Chester, 81% of the 2009 group met or exceeded standards in English and 85% did so in math.

Dining: Restaurants in the Rye Ridge Shopping Center include Buddha Asian Bistro & Hibachi, which serves Asian fusion cuisine, sushi and hibachi. The Villa Rustica Pizzeria & Trattoria is in the Washington Park Plaza, on South Ridge Street. A branch of Fortina, an Italian restaurant in Armonk, is expected to open in the Rye Ridge complex in January.

Shopping: Stores in the Rye Ridge Shopping Center include a D’Agostino’s supermarket. Additional shopping is available in surrounding communities.

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