Chappaqua, despite the influx of well-to-do Upper West Siders and Brooklynites in the last two decades, has retained a small-town rural feeling. Even though public figures like Bill and Hillary Rodham Clinton, as well as a number of entertainment personalities, live in Chappaqua, people describe it as a down-to-earth, family-oriented community.
Buyers are attracted to tidy little homes in walking distance to the Metro-North Railroad station and the shops in Chappaquas small business district. Others opt for the developments that were built during the late 1900s or newer supersized homes on larger lots.
As of 2010, according to revised census data, the hamlet encompassed 0.45 square miles and had a population of 1,436, though the school district draws from a wider area. Part of the 23.4-square-mile town of New Castle, Chappaqua is 35 miles north of Midtown Manhattan.
On a 120-acre site encompassing the former campus of Reader’s Digest, the developer Summit/Greenfield wants to build 120,000 square feet of retail space, including a Whole Foods Market, and 111 residential units, in addition to 680,000 square feet of existing office space. But many residents worry about increased traffic and possible changes in the hamlet’s laid-back tone.
The New Castle Town Board approved the rezone of a 19-acre portion of the former Reader’s Digest property that will allow up to 120,000 square feet of retail space at the site. A 40,000-square-foot Whole Foods supermarket is slated to be the anchor tenant along with a 25,000-square-foot fitness facility, restaurants, a bank and other retail shops.
The median household income is $105,439, with 26.3 percent of the households at $200,000 or above, according to the most recent census data. The median for Westchester is $81,093.
The quaint downtown is home to mostly small shops, restaurants, a Starbucks, a gazebo where summer concerts are held and a ball field. Radiating out from the business hub are side streets with homes on lots as small as 0.10 acres. As one travels outward, houses sit on bigger lots, and increasingly the hills are dotted with large homes.
Among local restaurants, Crabtree’s Kittle House on Kittle Road is set in a former barn dating to 1790; another popular place is Le Jardin du Roi, a French bistro on King Street.
The trip on Metro-North’s Harlem Line from Chappaqua to Grand Central Terminal ranges from about 50 to 60 minutes. Round-trip tickets cost $26 at rush hours; monthly commutation runs $289. New Castle residents can apply for a parking space at the Metro-North station, which costs $450 a year, according to Mary Deems, the town clerk.
The Chappaqua Central School District has about 4,000 students in three elementary schools (kindergarten through Grade 4), two middle schools (Grades 5 through 8) and a high school.
Of the 300 students who graduated from Horace Greeley High School in June, more than 97 percent went on to higher education. The most recent average SAT scores at the high school were 618 for critical reading, 641 for math and 634 for writing; statewide averages were 485, 501 and 477, according to the College Board, the organization that administers the tests. Buyers should check with the school registrar before purchasing a home to make sure it is within the district they are seeking.