Established in 1788, Scarsdale is a suburban village located 24 miles north of New York City. The name is a concatenation of “scar,” meaning crag, and “dale,” which is synonymous with “valley.” Since its emergence in the early 20th century as a choice abode of the city commuter, Scarsdale has prospered from its residents’ commitment to excellence in living and in education. With a population of 17,000, Scarsdale packs an array of cultural offerings into its 6.6 square miles. Its long list of famous denizens, from public and private sectors alike, is still growing.
This year, Scarsdale was ranked first in the nation among CNN Money’s “top earning towns.” While the wealth and prominence of Scarsdale residents attracts national interest and discussion, their down-to-earth demeanor and commitment to giving back are the real draws of living here. Citizens harness their intelligence and affluence to help on a local and global level: from next door neighbors to Cambodian women’s shelters, Scarsdale’s community opens its hearts and wallets to share their talents and gains with others.
The keel of Scarsdale’s community is its school system. Educators measure success by the degree to which students fulfill their potential to improve the common good. The high school’s motto is “non sibi”: not for oneself alone. Scarsdale teaches a traditional liberal arts curriculum through a progressive pedagogy that emphasizes holistic instruction. There are five elementary schools, one middle school, and one high school, through which 4,700 students pass every year. Scarsdale rivals the most elite private school in curricular depth and rigor. Language instruction is emphasized early: Spanish is offered starting in first grade and Mandarin is now offered in the high school.
The schools have recently integrated interdisciplinary studies, following some of the nation’s top universities. We have caps on class sizes in the elementary schools, and our middle and high schools stratify courses based on ability.
Residents run the professional gamut, from medicine to sports, from fine arts to finance. Through their individual commitments they form a caring, cosmopolitan community. Early 1900s architecture defines the village’s timbered Tudors, the dominant local mode. There is plenty of green space: parks, playgrounds, baseball fields, tennis courts, stables and a riding academy. A catalog of recreational programs is available to children and adults. Platform tennis, or paddle, was invented here in 1928, and the local paddle league remains active. The public pool facility has four swimming pools; lessons are offered in both swimming and diving. Sidewalks line almost every major road—you see people strolling, jogging, biking, pushing strollers on them all the time. Hoff Barthelson Music School offers top-tier music instruction and classical concerts, attracting students and attendees from across Westchester county. The downtown area in the village presents a lively assortment of delicious and diverse restaurants, delis, bakeries, and boutiques. Members of the Building Department keep a watchful eye on new construction and housing development in the Village to preserve a happy medium between consumer demands and historic character.
It is a noted trend for children raised in Scarsdale to move back as adults. Communities reshuffle and morph, but in Scarsdale, this one fact persists: it is a great place to raise your kids. My husband’s family has lived in Scarsdale since the 1920s; two of his three siblings are also raising their children here.
I have worked in real estate throughout Westchester County for seventeen years, but my primary focus has been selling homes in Scarsdale, where I live. At its heart, Scarsdale is a community of diverse individuals committed to the common good. As an agent with Julia B. Fee Sotheby’s International Realty, I often meet prospective homeowners who are curious about Scarsdale because its schools’ excellent reputation. Buyers are also attracted to the brief 30-minute commute to Grand Central in New York City. When they visit, they’re won over by the many parks, leafy environs, and vibrant international community. Schools often host events to celebrate the world cultures current residents have brought to Scarsdale, including an annual Thanksgiving luncheon that features a smorgasbord of international cuisine.
The juxtaposition of comfortable living with deep-rooted values distinguishes Scarsdale among the suburbs of New York. People come here for the schools, but they stay for the richness of spirit they discover when they see the town for themselves.