White Plains, NY
The county seat of Westchester County, White Plains is just 25 miles north of Manhattan. A community of approximately 57,000 residents, White Plains is also Westchester’s premier business market and home to the county’s largest concentration of retail activity. Nearly 250,000 people travel to White Plains each day to work, shop and visit. Beginning in the 1960s, many major corporations moved their operations to White Plains. The city continues to attract regional, national and international businesses to the area. Headquarters within its boundaries include those of the Nine West Group, Heineken USA and the ITT Corporation. The Pace University School of Law also calls White Plains home. White Plains residents enjoy the perfect blend of suburban amenities with an urban vibe. The city is divided into 34 different neighborhoods, each with a distinct, well-established personality. White Plains also serves as the gateway to both metropolitan and upstate New York, New England and other destinations in the northeast.
Restaurants & Nightlife
The bold flavors of Portugal and the Mediterranean are celebrated at 42 the Restaurant. Set atop the Ritz Carlton Hotel with sweeping, panoramic views, 42 provides an intimate dining experience in a space that only has 30 seats. The menu, crafted by chef Anthony Goncalves, focuses on locally sourced ingredients from the Hudson Valley. The menu includes favorites such as the Diamond Creek Ranch “charred” rib eye with truffled polenta and a pairing of Alaskan king crab and Florida red snapper in a tomato broth. Ranked the number one restaurant in Westchester/Hudson Valley by the Zagat Guide, Sushi Nanase provides a slice of Tokyo on Mamaroneck Avenue. Reservations are a must at this tiny, three-table gem, housed in a storefront with no identifying signage. Chef Yoshimichi Takeda, formerly of Masa and Nobu in Manhattan, crafts his own soy sauce, wasabi and sea salt and turns sushi into an art form. The omakase or chef’s choice dinner comes highly recommended and must be ordered in advance. Keep in mind that asking for a doggie bag will be frowned upon. Not your typical sandwich shop, Melt has earned a reputation as one of the best restaurants in White Plains. Opened in 2009 by a husband and wife team obsessed with sandwiches, all of the meats are cured, brined, roasted, smoked or grilled in-house. Ordering a sandwich is a three-step process: first choose your bread (short, long or flat), then select a meat, such as bbq-pulled pork, jerked chicken or aged-beef top round. The final step: picking a topping from one of the 13 combinations; some of the most popular combos are the mango (mango salsa, jalapenos and red onions) and the Philly (cheddar cheese sauce and sautéed onions). The menu at melt also includes grilled pizzas, salads and soups. Many White Plains residents take advantage of the nightlife in New York City, but there’s plenty to do right in their own city. Mamaroneck Avenue has an active bar scene. The Brazen Fox has a boisterous happy hour, weekdays from 4 to 8 pm and Ladies’ Night specials every Wednesday. The bar attracts a 20- to 30-something crowd that enjoys dancing to a live DJ, on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, and the outdoor seating area when the weather warms up. At both The Lazy Boy Saloon and Ron Blacks Beer Hall, the focus is on craft brews, while Elements Food and Spirits has live music and karaoke on Wednesdays. For something a little different, Executive Billiards has 18 Brunswick gold crown tables, five HD televisions, a full bar, and the first and only smoke-free hookah lounge in Westchester.
History & Culture
White Plains came into being when men from nearby Rye purchased 4,435 acres of land from the Weckquaeskeck Indians. On July 9, 1776, while meeting in White Plains, the New York Provincial Congress adopted a resolution approving the Declaration of Independence, proclaiming both the colony’s independence and formation of the State of New York. Two days later the Declaration was publicly read for the first time from the steps of the courthouse. The White Plains Performance Arts Center presents classical and contemporary theatre, music and dance, with a dedication to developing the next generation of theatrical artists. Based in White Plains, the Westchester Philharmonic performs at the SUNY Purchase Performing Arts Center. A world-renowned sculpture garden, with more than 45 pieces of modern 20th-century works by Rodin, Moore, Calder and Oldenburg, graces the headquarters of PepsiCo, also in Purchase. Annual events include an arts festival, parades and heritage events.
Located on Ferris Avenue, the White Plains TransCenter, acts as a major hub for both the Metro-North Rail Road and the Westchester County Bee-Line bus system. A second Metro-North station can be found on Haarlem Avenue in North White Plains. The trains operate on the Harlem Line and can take as little as 35 minutes via express train to reach New York City. The Bee-Line runs an express bus from White Plains to Manhattan (with stops in Hartsdale, Scarsdale and Yonkers). When on schedule, the commute takes an hour from White Plains to midtown. The Bee-Line also offers service to destinations throughout Westchester and the Bronx as well as to the Westchester County Airport, 7 miles away in Harrison. Other regional transit operators – including Adirondack Trailways and Coach USA – provide bus service to Stamford, Boston, Long Island, Ithaca and Albany from the TransCenter. Taxis at the TransCenter line up waiting for fares. In all likelihood, you will be sharing the ride with one or two others heading in the same general direction. Cabs are not metered and work under a “zone” system, but you may not be charged the same fare each time – it appears they utilize a price range. One should also be warned that several companies operate under multiple names, and there a quite a lot of negative reviews on the Internet for taxis serving the White Plains area. Downtown White Plains is easily accessible on foot. Some of the residential areas are within walking distance to downtown. Most White Plains residents own cars, and the city has easy access to major highways that include the Cross-Westchester Expressway (I-287), which runs east to Rye where it meets I-95, the major route along the East Coast, and west across the Hudson River via the Tappan Zee Bridge, linking White Plains to Rockland County, northern New Jersey and upstate New York. The Bronx River Parkway, running north/south through White Plains, provides access to New York City and areas in Northern Westchester County. For those who don’t own cars, Uber offers trips from Manhattan to White Plains. All the major car rental companies – Hertz, Avis, Budget and Enterprise – have outlets in White Plains, and Zipcar has cars in three locations in White Plains. Parking may often beat a premium; on-street metered spaces have a one-hour limit and are heavily monitored by meter maids. Municipal parking lots and structures, sprinkled throughout the city. The city also offers parking permits, which guarantee the holder a spot in the municipal lots and garages.
The cost of living in White Plains comes in close to 42 percent higher than in the rest of New York State and 73 percent higher than in the rest of the nation. The one-way peak fare from White Plains to Grand Central Station via the Metro North Rail Road will set you back $11.25, while an unlimited monthly ticket weighs in at $249. There are a number of apartment buildings and complexes in the city. The median rent for a one-bedroom apartment in White Plains runs $2,168 per month. Gasoline prices are 14 percent higher than the national average, while beer prices at local watering holes cost around $7 a bottle.
If you need some retail therapy, look no further than White Plains. With several shopping malls, a great downtown and many other options throughout the city, there's something for everyone. Considered the ultimate shopping experience, The Westchester features high-end shops that include Neiman-Marcus, Nordstrom, Tiffany & Co. and Louis Vuitton. The 150 shops in the mall are all national and regional chains. The Galleria at White Plains, anchored by Macy's and Sears, includes many of the chains you would expect to find in a local mall, such as Claire's, Victoria's Secret and Spencer's Gifts. Mary Jane Denzer has been a fixture in White Plains for 35 years. This ultra-chic boutique caters to a wealthy clientele who can afford pricey frocks from designers such as Oscar de la Renta, Valentino and Monique Lhuillier. Fashion is presented as works of art in this 5,000-square-foot emporium located on Renaissance Square. Cycleworks on Mamaroneck Avenue retails a superior range of road, mountain and recreational bicycles as well as indoor trainers, clothing and accessories. The welcoming owners, staff and affordable prices keep their faithful clientele coming back for more. From antique clock repair to servicing digital timepieces, the Franklin Clock Shop does it all. Fourth-generation clockmaker Jonathan Haller specializes in grandfather and cuckoo clocks and provides free consultations on- and off-site. In addition to repairs and restoration, the shop sells new clocks from the top names in the industry. When the pantry needs filling, White Plains has many food shopping options. Among the choices are ShopRite on City Place and Stop & Shop, with two locations in the neighborhood. Whole Foods on Bloomingdale Road sells a full line of natural and organic products. The city also has a wide range of ethnic markets such as Daido for Japanese foods, Kam Sen Foods for Chinese ingredients and Mariachi Loco for all things Mexican. Held every Wednesday from May through November, the White Plains International Farmers Market has vendors selling farm-fresh produce, baked goods, dairy and more.
Saxon Woods, a 700-acre park managed by Westchester County, contains an 18-hole golf course as well as a miniature golf course, the largest swimming pool in the county, a children’s aquatic playground and the county’s only playground accessible to the disabled. A trail system, popular with hikers, cross country skiers and horseback riders, links to both the Leatherstocking Trail and Colonial Greenway. Every summer, White Plains residents swim laps in the pool to raise money for cancer research as part of the national Swim Across America event. White Plains residents have access to a second public golf course at Maple Moor. The rugged topography of the 236-acre Silver Lake Preserve features trails that meander through woodlands and un-mowed fields, some small streams and old stone foundations. Cranberry Lake Preserve in North White Plains, has been a safe haven for animals and plants, including migratory birds, turtles and dragonflies, since 1967. Visitors can learn about the area’s past by following the History Trail, which leads to the remains of a 19th-century farmhouse and a 20th-century stone mining operation. The Nature Center houses a variety of interactive, educational displays and presents family-oriented programs nearly every weekend. The City of White Plains operates 20 multi-purpose parks, which are categorized as neighborhood, community or specialty parks. Many of the seven neighborhood parks, including Battle Hill Park, have ball fields, basketball courts and playgrounds, while others simply have benches and paths for enjoying nature. Community parks, such as Delfino Park, home to the outdoor Ebersole Ice Rink, offer a wider variety of amenities. The Bark Dog Park and the Baldwin Farm are examples of specialty parks.