Pound Ridge, N.Y.: A Rural Different to Close by Commuter Cities

Pound Ridge, N.Y.: A Rural Alternative to Nearby Commuter Towns

To see the changes in Pound Ridge, New York, Food Truck Fridays is a good place to start.

The homes in this rural northeastern Westchester County town are generally on two to four acres, but offer plenty of privacy (a reason celebrities live here) and nature views (more than half of the land is permanent), however traditionally not much togetherness. The foodie event, which began in 2018 and takes place every week from May to September in the city's small but charming business district, Scotts Corners, reflects the desire of newer residents, many of whom have moved from the city, for greater community bonding and liveliness Trade.

"When you're on three acres, you don't really see your neighbors," said Kevin Hansan, the mayor who has lived in Pound Ridge for 25 years. “Food Truck Fridays is a chance to get out and let the kids run around. That's the whole idea of ​​creating that sense of community. Then, if you want, you can go home on your two mornings and never see anyone again. "

Rebecca Wing, who helped launch Food Truck Fridays, came to Pound Ridge in 2017 after falling in love with an antique house, "perfect picture with black shutters". Ms. Wing and her husband Robert, who rented in nearby Mount Kisco, paid a little more than the asking price of $ 525,000 for the circa 1804 home that had been remodeled by the previous owner, an architect.

That spring, after giving birth to their third child, the couple decided to move into a bigger house and considered neighboring Connecticut towns, such as New Canaan or Westport, but stayed in Pound Ridge for the community.

They sold their home to an all-cash buyer for $ 675,000 and paid just under $ 1 million for a four-bedroom home built in 1940 that requires cosmetic work but stands on three beautifully landscaped acres.

“We made friends. Our children feel very comfortable in schools, ”said Ms. Wing, a real estate developer who is on the city's planning committee. “I have a running group that meets to run on the trails. We didn't want to miss out on all of these things just to have a house with newer updates. "

Sonya O’Donnell, a real estate agent with Houlihan Lawrence and a resident of Pound Ridge, said the town was special "because you haven't heard about it – it's hidden".

In the absence of a train station, Pound Ridge does not notice nearby commuter towns like Bedford and Mount Kisco. It's also geographically dispersed, with antique farmhouses painted white and more modern houses dotted across steep, rocky hills and valleys carved by glaciers.

"It's a little more land here, it's artistic here," said Michael Kagan, who has lived in the community for much of his life and is president of the Pound Ridge Land Conservancy. "It's still very rural."

Ms. O’Donnell, who moved her husband to Pound Ridge from Brooklyn in 2010, said: “We went to great lengths to create a real stir. Because it was pretty quiet for a while. There's been a huge surge of people wanting more life and action here. I saw how things really changed during the time I lived here. "

With 19 wildlife sanctuaries managed by the Pound Ridge Land Conservancy – seven of which have trails – the best way to see the 23 square mile city is on a hike. Part of the 4,315 acre Ward Pound Ridge Reservation, a park with wetlands, ponds and two rivers, is also within the boundaries of Pound Ridge.

The area's wetlands offer plenty of opportunity for bird watchers but not home builders, Mr Kagan said, pointing out the restrictions on building within 50 feet of wetlands and the general lack of buildable land due to the terrain.

The city's business hub is Scotts Corners, which borders the New York-Connecticut border. It is more robust than the downtown areas in neighboring Bedford and Lewisboro and, according to Hansan, contains “one of everything we need”: a supermarket, a gas station, a hardware store, a dry cleaner, a bar, an Italian restaurant. And so on.

Scotts Corners has been filled with antique shops and empty shop windows for years. But in recent years the stores have gotten hippier and less functional, with spots like The Kitchen Table, Plum Plums Cheese, and Booksy Galore. Last month Jenn Streicher, a celebrity makeup artist who recently moved to Bedford from Los Angeles, opened a beauty store called Scout in Scott's Corners.

Booksys owner Susan Williamson moved to Pound Ridge from Park Slope, Brooklyn 12 years ago after one day she and her husband couldn't find parking for 10 blocks and decided they'd had enough. She dared and opened the bookstore six years ago, which became a meeting place for locals and weekenders (about a third of the city's 5,100 residents own weekend homes).

"One reason I got a bookstore here is because of the amount of people who work in New York – publishers, editors, financiers – and then they're in town on the weekends," she said. "There is a definite connection to New York."

This metropolitan sophistication is enhanced by the Inn at Pound Ridge by Jean-Georges, a restaurant owned by French chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten, and the Pound Ridge Golf Club, an 18-hole public park by Picasso by golf course designer, Pete Dye.

Pound Ridge has traditionally been a wealthy community, and the pandemic has only propelled prices up. As Houlihan Lawrence's Ms. O’Donnell put it, "$ 650,000 is your cheapest house – a small house, a total fixer."

She added, “Your typical colonial style, which was $ 850,000 two years ago, is now around $ 1 million. I find that whatever was a year and a half ago adds 20 percent. "

According to Houlihan Lawrence, the median sales price for a single-family home in Pound Ridge as of June 1 was $ 910,000, up 13.6 percent year over year. The offer has fallen by 52 percent compared to the previous year.

The architectural styles range from modern contemporary to antique houses and old farmhouses that have been renovated with a Scandinavian flair. "They go the fastest," said Ms. O & # 39; Donnell. "If they are updated, it's a surefire bidding war situation."

Recent deals include a three-bedroom, four-and-a-half bath clapboard-style home with a two-acre vegetable garden and beehives listed for $ 1.295 million; an architect-designed three-acre, five-bedroom, half-basketball court modern estate overlooking a lake, listed for $ 3.495 million; and a 7,300-square-foot colonial-style country house with a kitchen / fireplace, wood- and gas-fired Renato pizza oven, and a La Cornue range listed for $ 1.639 million.

There aren't many new builds or developments in the area due to zoning restrictions, and finding a home in less than two acres is rare, a consideration for anyone who finds landscaping a daunting task.

"Pound Ridge gives you more houses and more property than Bedford or some of the neighboring towns," said Mark Boyland, an agent for Keller Williams in Bedford, NY. “We saw people sell their house in Bedford and move to Pound Ridge. People notice: 'We actually get a little more for our money here.' "

Richard Gere, Mike Myers and Susan Sarandon are just a few of the celebrities who have lived in Pound Ridge and are drawn to the privacy of its large properties as well as the tranquility.

"If you're in Pound Ridge, you're out there," said Mr. Boyland. “People come there because they don't want a lot of commercial traffic, a lot of noise. If someone leans more outside, Pound Ridge is also a good place to settle down. "

To Mrs. Williamson, Pound Ridge feels peaceful, but not distant. "You come home and have deer, rabbits – you are in a natural environment," she said. "But I'll be in Stamford in 10 minutes and have Starbucks if I want."

Ms. Wing, the real estate developer, has a new single family home near the New Canaan border, in what she called "the remote part of Pound Ridge," near the reservoirs.

But "we do a lot of things in the neighboring towns," she said or in Scotts Corners. "People live on these large lots and are looking for ways to get together."

Pound Ridge has a public school, Pound Ridge Elementary School, which serves kindergarten through fifth grade and offers special education. But most of Pound Ridge is in the Bedford Central School District, and the kids attend Fox Lane Middle School and Fox Lane High School, both in Bedford.

The final high school graduation rate was 85 percent, compared to a national average of 83.4 percent. The mean SAT scores were 620 in the English-speaking arts, compared to 528 nationwide and 620 in math, compared to 530 nationwide.

Most residents send their children to public schools, but there is a private option in Bedford, Rippowam Cisqua School, for pre-kindergarten through ninth grade.

Pound Ridge isn't a big commuter town, but those commuting to New York can travel the 10 miles to Bedford Hills or Katonah, both of which are on the Metro-North Railroad's Harlem line. The drive to Manhattan takes about an hour and 20 minutes. Stamford, Connecticut is 12 miles away and offers 1 hour express service on Metro-North and Amtrak.

Midtown Manhattan is approximately 50 miles away; the journey can take an hour or more depending on traffic.

Pound Ridge was once known as Basket Town because it was a leading manufacturer of straw oyster baskets used by fishermen on Long Island Sound. The city was founded in 1788. It will retain its almost off-grid independence well into the 21st century, said Hansan: “We are the end of the power grid. We are used to being self-sufficient as a community. We don't even have a traffic light. "

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