WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. – White Plains’ night life, parks and trails, and proximity to Manhattan make it an ideal city to live in for 30-year resident Gerri Napolitano, as well as CNNMoney Magazine, which ranked it No. 44 in its annual list of the top 100 small cities in America.
The magazine ranks American cities for its September issue each year based on job opportunities, fiscal strength, quality of schools, safety, good health care, cultural and outdoor activities, and even nice weather. White Plains didn't make the top 100 in 2011, but was ranked 53rd in 2010.
Napolitano and her friend Patricia Meller, a five-year resident, dined at Pranzi in the White Plains City Center, a short walk from their downtown apartments.
“It’s very walkable,” said Meller, who added she likes walking her dog in Saxon Woods Park. “You have city and suburbia.”
In White Plains, 7.7 percent of the 57,500 residents walk or bike to work, compared to the average of the 99 other small cities of 3.2 percent, according to Money Magazine. It also listed White Plains as having higher-than-average diversity and education, with its students scoring 65.1 percent and 57.8 percent above the state average in reading and math, respectively. The average among the other top 100 cities was 28.2 and 29.2.
Napolitano also likes the city, as well as Westchester County’s efforts in recent years to make it more appealing for young people, combatting a trend that has seen many leave the area after finishing school. While there are 26 colleges, universities and professional schools within 20 miles of White Plains, according to Money Magazine the city had 4.27 percent job growth between 2000 and 2011, compared to 25.01 percent among the other top 100 cities.
Another caveat for both Money Magazine and Napolitano is the high taxes and cost of living.
Weighing the positives and negatives, Meller agreed with Napolitano, who said, "It should be ranked higher."