A city that is popularly known as Moneyearnin' Mount Vernon can't really be cheap or even affordable in terms of home prices and standard of living. Median home sale prices and apartment rentals are remarkably higher than the national average; in fact, they are even higher than the average in New York. So, make sure you won't be living in self-imposed poverty towards the end of every month before you decide to move to Mount Vernon.
Finding apartments in any place within a 25-mile radius of New York City can't be easy. Don't expect to waltz into the city and find the house of your dreams in no time. To save yourself physical and mental fatigue, make a list of your priorities before you start your daily rounds of apartment hunting. Whatever your other priorities might be, remember to take traffic conditions into account. Ideally, you don't want to be more than 30 minutes away from your workplace (remember, distances are measured in minutes not miles. A stretch of a few miles could take you hours depending on the traffic situation). Also, remember to ask your landlord about air conditioning options since not all buildings here have central cooling. But again, you will only need it for a few months a year, so, it's not a deal breaker. When you start reaching a stage when your head feels dizzy and every apartment starts looking the same (that can happen!), take a break.
When it comes to neighborhoods in Mount Vernon, you choose the neighborhood as much as the neighborhood chooses you. In simpler terms, some areas come with a fancy price tag, and some of us might have to sell an arm and a leg to afford that.
White Plains: Known for its luxury condos and and all bills paid apartments, it is also among the most expensive areas in the city. But living here has its perks. For starters, the best malls in the areas including The Westchester are located in this neighborhood, which means that you have the best options in terms of shopping and eateries. $$$$
Fleetwood Fleetwood is a pleasant surprise for any home buyer in Mount Vernon. Not only does it have historical houses boasting of Tudor and Mediterranean style architecture, the prices are more affordable than others. Besides apartment homes, first time homeowners or renters can also find basic co-op 2 bedroom apartments for rent quite easily. Most importantly, you won't have to drive to a more fancy part of the city to have your weekend outings - you can walk along along the bustling Gramatan Avenue and grab a bite at the famous Bayou Restaurant. $$$
New Rochelle: The apartments in New Rochelle won't be over-the-top fancy but they will be cozy, comfortable and cheaper.Before you start freaking out at the very thought of living in the suburbs, rest assured that these neighborhoods are only a short drive away. In fact, it will be just like living in the city and you won't be able to tell the difference. $$$
Bronxville: Bronxville is the other end of the spectrum, at least in terms of prices. When people say it's an affluent suburban village, they mean every word of it. But again, you will get your money's worth here - the houses boast of Victorian and Tudor style architecture, it has many posh boutiques and cafes, and the school system here is among the best in the state. $$$$$
Pelham: Pelham has the least in common with Bronxville although it does have an excellent school system. Otherwise, Pelham is more affordable and less glamorous than Bronxville. It is a quiet suburban town where people know each other and the spirit of community is supreme, or at least it used to be. Things are beginning to change now but it still retains some of its old-world charm. $$$
Mount Vernon is a unique city in many ways - it is situated in New York, it borders the Bronx, it has houses dating back to the 1920s and it also has a notorious reputation for being the 'hoodest' city in the state. Quite a mix, isn't it! If you chose to live here, you weren't exactly looking for a quiet, suburban lifestyle. On the contrary, you were hoping to be in the thick of things and luckily, you won't be disappointed. Something is always happening either in or around Mount Vernon. The city hosts the Art on the Third Street Festival and Summer Breeze Concert Series among others. Besides this, you can look forward to many live concerts, food festivals, science fairs and everything you can think of. Not to forget that the Bronx is only half an hour away.
Commuting in Mount Vernon will be no cakewalk. Once you start living here, you will get a basic idea of the kind of traffic to expect during rush hour. If the thought of spending a better part of your day in your car exasperates you, Metro North could well be your savior. Mount Vernon is served by the New Haven and Harlem branch of the metro with stops at Mount Vernon East, Mount Vernon West and Fleetwood. If you are living in one of these areas, your commute time to the office might be just about half an hour, which is delightfully low for this part of the country.
Clearly, Mount Vernon has a lot to offer to its residents, including its key location. When you find yourself longing for more, head over to one of the many neighboring suburbs. Mount Vernon is different things to different people, so, start exploring it as soon as you are done with your house hunting. Good luck!