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More Homebuyers Make a Landing in Dobbs Ferry

From The Wall Street Journal, Saturday August 3, 2013, Page A18 Today the ferry is long gone, but the quaint community of nearly 11,000 is still characterized by its waterfront location and the ease of accessnow to New York City, which can be reached via MetroNorth express trains in little more than half an hour. "I think most people are looking for a short commute to Manhattan, they're looking for a house for less than $1 million, and they're looking for some level of charm," says Scott Rosasco, who grew up in Dobbs Ferry and is now a broker with Better Homes and Gardens Rand Realty. "There's a nice laid-back lifestyle." The riverfront village, part of the town of Greenburgh and situated about 25 miles from New York City, has a small downtown, spread mostly along Main and Cedar streets. Its burgeoning restaurant scene, with a growing number of eateries, attracts residents as well as diners from neighboring towns. "Good things are happening in the downtown," Mr. Rosasco says. "As soon as you turn around, a new restaurant is opening up." Another village feature is its Waterfront Park, a grassy area along the Hudson with views of the Palisades. It hosts a variety of community events, from July Fourth fireworks to summertime jazz concerts. The park is currently undergoing a $6 million renovation that includes stabilizing its shoreline and upgrading paths and other features. Several institutions are based in Dobbs Ferry, including the main campus of Mercy College, a four-year school with a total enrollment of 10,000 students. There is also the 180-acre campus of the Children's Village, a nonprofit dedicated to helping struggling youths and their families, and an 8-acre property of St. Christopher's, which helps disadvantaged teens. St. John's Riverside Hospital Dobbs Ferry Pavilion is on Ashford Avenue. Single-family houses range in price from around $400,000 for starter homes in need of renovation to well over $1 million. Houses may be older Victorians or postwar split-levels and ranches, brokers say. Other real-estate offerings include co-ops, condos and townhouse communities. "There's a variety in style of house and diversity of people," says Michael Criscuolo, a broker with Houlihan Lawrence who has lived in Dobbs Ferry for 38 yearsfirst in a rental, then in a co-op, then in a house. Now that his children are grown, he and his wife have downsized back to a co-op. In the past, he says, the community had a lower profile than many other Westchester towns, but he believes that is changing. "I think it's hitting the map now because we do have an influx of people coming up from the city," Mr. Criscuolo says. One claim to fame in recent years is that Dobbs Ferry is the former home of Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg. The village's board of trustees recently approved plans for a 17-acre, $150 million project known as Rivertowns Square. It calls for redeveloping a long-vacant industrial area into rental

apartments, restaurants, a four-star hotel and a Sundance Cinema movie theater. Some locals fret about increased traffic caused by growth, but: "We need to have a good mix," says Dobbs Ferry Mayor Hartley Connett. "We don't want to overdevelop the townit has unique qualities that we want to maintain but you do have to grow, and you do have to do things that allow the community to sustain itself." Parks: In addition to Waterfront Park, which has picnic and play areas, Gould Park has ball fields and the village pool, with paid memberships available to village residents. The 76-acre Juhring Estate nature preserve is a passive wooded park with several hiking trails. Schools: The Dobbs Ferry Union Free School District has about 1,450 students in an elementary, middle and high school. According to state data, 92% of students in the district who entered high school in 2008 met or exceeded state standards for proficiency in English Language Arts four years later, compared with 82% statewide. In math, 93% of the 2008 group met or exceeded proficiency standards in 2010-11, compared with 82% statewide, the data show. Local private schools include the Masters School, a day and boarding school on a 96-acre campus with boys and girls in grades five through 12. Dining: The Cookery is an Italian restaurant on Chestnut Street. Harper's, on Main Street, emphasizes locally grown produce in its New American cuisine. Sushi Mike's is a Japanese restaurant on Main Street. Half Moon, on High Street, serves steak and seafood in a waterfront setting. Shopping: Basic shops and services can be found in Dobbs Ferry's downtown. Fiamor, a clothing and jewelry boutique, is on Cedar Street. Affordables is a children's and maternity consignment shop on Main Street. A seasonal farmers' market is held on Fridays. A version of this article appeared August 3, 2013, on page A18 in the U.S. edition of The Wall Street Journal, with the headline: More Buyers Make Landing in Dobbs Ferry.

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