Nobody better articulates the defining nuance of neighborhoods than our "family" of 1,200 agents, who spend every day matchmaking our clients with aligning lifestyles by leveraging their intimate knowledge of their respective communities. This week, we caught up with broker Aaron C. Velez at our White Plains office for an insider's view at the city he knows best.
Give us a glimpse into the White Plains lifestyle. Why would somebody want to move here?
Many say that White Plains is the closest thing to being in NYC other than NYC and I would definitely agree with that assessment. White Plains is the most developed, walkable, cosmopolitan, historic, and centralized city in Westchester County. Surrounding this great city is a landscape dotted with charming neighborhoods, elegant homes, parks, and golf courses. It is a busy, fun and accessible city that blends chic and corporate with comfort and style.
What makes White Plains different from other cities in Westchester?
White Plains is unlike any other city in Westchester. It is home to a culturally diverse and growing population. It’s positioned a short 35 minute train ride to Grand Central Station. It maintains 3 major malls with luxury shopping, has fabulous high end restaurants, a wonderful performing arts center, a significant financial and corporate presence, and is the political hub of the county. Add to that golfing, ice skating, miniature golf, swimming, parks, and museums and White Plains is far and away the most exciting city in Westchester. Granted, excitement is not for everyone, but it is for most!
Tell us about some of your favorite places and neighborhoods in town.
I frequent Brazen Fox and Westchester Burger Company for my burger and beer fix. Not to be outdone, Sports Page has the amazing “Hangover Burger” with an egg over easy on top! If you like sushi and sashimi, Haiku has the best lunch special in town. The White Plains Diner is always a good choice for breakfast anytime of the day (who doesn’t love omelets in the afternoon?). For an elegant meal with my better half, 42 at the Ritz-Carlton or some Argentinian Cuisine at Gaucho Grill is in order. There are so many great options, it is hard to pick a favorite.
Being a more urban community, is living in White Plains an easy transition for Manhattan expats?
Absolutely. There is a real and palpable vibe in White Plains that is very similar to NYC that Manhattanites can quickly connect with. White Plains has the Manhattan adage of “anything at anytime”.
Who are some notable people that call White Plains home?
Aside from many of my awesome clients, White Plains was and is home to many other notable citizens like Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook fame, Yankees Strength & Conditioning Coach Dana Cavalea and many sports stars like Raymond Felton, Steve Novak, Marcus Camby, and Rasheed Wallace. All have called White Plains home given that the Knicks practice facility is nearby (granted, now that Phil Jackson is the in charge, none of these players may be here as of this printing!) As a Houlihan Lawrence Realtor, I have had the pleasure of meeting many smart, wealthy and notable people who will of course remain nameless.
We hear there's a nightlife...
As Ray Charles sang, “Nighttime is the right time…” and White Plains is the place where everyone else in the county comes to party! You may start with a dinner at one our many great restaurants, then catch a show or concert at the County Center, or perhaps a movie at City Center, then grab a nightcap and late night snack at one of the many bars along Mamaroneck. Either way, you are bound to have a good time.
A beautiful summer Saturday with no work is a rare occurrence for me, however my perfect (work-less) day would include a few games of one-wall handball in the morning, followed by lunch at one of my favorite eateries. An afternoon nap would be followed by cocktails with friends at Sunset Cove in Tarrytown. In the evening, I would take a trip to NYC for a concert with the wonderful Salome Chamber Orchestra (if you haven’t heard them, YouTube them). Before returning home, a late night snack and two fingers of 18-year-old Oban Scotch (neat) is the perfect way to end the day.
Where do the locals go to eat?
Mamaroneck Avenue is the place where regulars go. There are so many options from the top of Mamaroneck to the bottom like Haiku, Iron Tomatoe, Butterfield 8, Melt, and any of the bars along Mamaroneck. On Main Street, 5 Guys is usually busy. I think Vintage has really good food as well.
If you could summarize White Plains in one word, what would it be?
Think your broker has impressive hyper-local knowledge? Let us know!