UPDATE: Clarkstown Makes CNN's Top 100 Places to Live

Town is one of four New York areas that made the list; CNN/Money ranking puts the town at No. 35 in the U.S.

Think Clarkstown is a great place to live? CNN Money thinks so.

A new ranking has confirmed that the  is a top region to call home; CNNMoney listed Clarkstown in its 2012 Top 100 Places to Live. The Rockland town comes in at No. 35 -- one of only four New York municipalities to make the cut.

RankCityPopulation 35 Clarkstown 85,800 44 White Plains 57,500 48 Amherst 122,900 59 Ramapo 130,000

The neighboring Town of Ramapo comes in on the list at No. 59. Clarkstown also made the list in 2008 and . Nanuet was No. 24 on CNNMoney's 2007 Top 100 Places to Live and made the list again. Pearl River came close in 2011 at No. 78. 

“We are so proud of this wonderful honor,” said Supervisor Alex Gromack.  “Clarkstown has various recreational and social opportunities for children and families, excellent schools, an active 'Open Space' program, and a host of community and civic organizations that work to keep our Town one of the best places to live.”

(Where is the No. 1 place to live? The CNN/Money.com rankings say that's Carmel, IN.)

Clarkstown gets credit for its low crime rate, "numerous parks, lakes, and trails and... proximity to the Hudson River. New York City is an hour away, but there are ample leisure offerings nearby. Residents can catch a show at Nyack's Elmwood Playhouse, attend a Little League game in Zukor Park, or hit the largest mall in the tristate area, West Nyack's Palisades Mall," according to L.G. of CNNMoney.

Money Magazine created the list using statistics from data provider OnBoard Informatics.  The list includes cities that have populations of 50,000 to 300,000 and ranked based on job growth, income increases, cost of living, housing affordability, school quality, arts and leisure options, safety, health care, and diversity.   

“I am also proud of the cooperation that exists between our residents and our town government,” said Supervisor Gromack.  “By working together we have built a community where families flourish and where people and ideas come together in a constructive partnership.”

Clarkstown has also consistently been rated among the top ‘safest’ communities in the United States (CQ Press).

Wondering how Clarkstown compares to the average city on this top 100 list? Here are some interesting comparisons (For the full list, go to CNNMoney):

City statsBest places avg. Median family income
(per year) $118,887 $96,825 State sales tax 4.00% 5.57% Job growth %
(2000-2011)* -3.39% 25.01% Median home price $409,516 $269,768 Colleges, universities and
professional schools (within 30 miles) 27 8 Test scores reading
(% above/below state average) 34.1% 28.2% Test scores math
(% above/below average) 35.1% 29.2% Personal crime incidents (per 1,000) 13 2 Property crime incidents (per 1,000) 173 20 % population with commute
45 mins. or longer 31.4% 14.9% % population walk or bike to work 1.9% 3.2% Movie theaters
(within 15 miles) 61 33 Restaurants
(within 15 miles) 6,136 3,134 Bars
(within 15 miles) 310 199 Public golf courses
(within 30 miles) 383 169 Libraries
(within 15 miles) 170 70 Museums (accredited by AAM;
within 30 miles) 34 10 Ski resorts (within 100 miles) 22 6
Maureen August 21, 2012 at 11:18 AM
This sounds like a bunch of bureaucrats sitting at their computers and playing simulation games. Have they visited Ramapo? Have they heard about the problems in its school system? The fact that Ramapo is even on this list is a mystery. Have they looked at the Rockland County demographics? Have they looked at the taxes (Clarkstown is in the top five)? Have they looked at the liabilities for future pension costs (police)? Have they looked at the fact that our debt is over $90 MM in Clarkstown and growing? Have the looked at the fact that Clarkstown has a AAA bond rating but the same taxpayers are on the hook for the County's near junk status rating? What is MY bond rating as a taxpayer? Am I Triple A or Junk status? Sure we are close to golf courses - those in Orangetown are operating at over $1 MM in annual losses made up by the Orangetown taxpayers. Sure we have restaurants, theatres, ski resorts etc but if our seniors have to take in renters to their homes to afford the taxes here I for one am not impressed by this study. New City looks gorgeous - all those plants and flowers to be paid for by my taxes. As a senior I find it difficult to put more that a couple of flats of flowers around my own home. And Clarkstown's school system? The buildings are falling apart. The school budget is in crisis about these facilities. And I have said nothing yet about the dire water situation caused by uncontrolled growth by one portion of the population.
Elaine August 21, 2012 at 11:24 AM
Mike Hirsch August 21, 2012 at 11:49 AM
What a joke. Ramapo is one of the best places to live? Ask the parents of the kids in public school if they think so. Also, the median FAMILY INCOME in Clarkstown is about $100,000. The AVERAGE policeman's pay is around $150,000 plus free healthcare for life. Why do we continue to pay our EMPLOYEES more than we make?
maybe because someone on maple ave parks his "white exspensive Porche along the building in line with all the fire inspectoer officlals!!! amazing that on many days whenI drive past it i see the car ..must wonder who on maple likes to drive to work like that!!then again with what we donate to employees it no wonder!!! and if it isnt a clarksclown employee why doesnt that person park on main street??
Michael N. Hull August 21, 2012 at 12:30 PM
Assume you are on a fixed income, have a small savings account, and 2 credit cards one of which is maxed out and the other has a hugh debt on it but you can meet the monthly minimum payment.  You have a great credit rating but you live in a big mansion on which you feel compelled to redecorate, not modestly, but lavishly.  Your home help says she will take a 2.5% raise for the next 5 years but only because she got a 5% raise from your neighbor.  You think that's a great 'savings' and instead of telling her to "Go to Hell" you get out your unmaxed credit card.  You think you will get by if you take in a boarder.  That's the story of Clarkstown.  The Town is running at a loss. Once the savings account is depleted (it will be over $5M this year and a couple of years will finish it), Clarkstown will be in the same mess as Ramapo and the County.  The unfunded retirement and health insurance benefits of the Town are $135M and rising.  The County maxed out one credit card - the town has $90MM+ on the other.  Both credit cards are to be paid off by the same taxpayers.   The highest paid police force in the USA got a 2.5% increase and we were told that was a 'savings' over what Ramapo paid. But on the positive side I do have an empty bedroom that I could rent so I will go to tonight's Board meeting to learn about accessory apartments. http://newcity.patch.com/articles/accessory-apartments-resolution-returned-to-committee
Will McAvoy August 21, 2012 at 12:43 PM
By seeing what statistics they used there the wrong ones based on how close to the city we are and other cities. Of course income will be higher than average and more schools around rockland. There's more to look at than the ones they used. Look at the road conditions and liberal school system. It convenient to live in clarkstown but isn't that great. Some people in this county have to realize there is a world out there with better living, better scenic views, and much nicer people and of course better drivers that follow the traffic laws. And most of us aren't raining on your parade we're giving our own opinion of the article it's a free county at least it really was until Obama the Great took office.
Maureen August 21, 2012 at 12:47 PM
Lester - I like it here too - this IS my home! Don't feel bad for me. Feel bad for the citizens of this County to whom I deliver Meals On Wheels. Feel bad for the people living in cardboard boxes under some bridges in this County. Do you know the state of poverty of some children attending the Clarkstown schools? Talk to your school board members. Then take a look at the new bathrooms that were installed in the Town Hall at your expense. Magnificent? Taj Mahalish! So enjoy your flowers and fancy stone walls being put up in New City and join one of the volunteer organizations. Life is not so great for those who look up - you appear to be looking down.
Robin Traum (Editor) August 21, 2012 at 01:16 PM
The CNN/Money survey looks at the bigger picture - not just the community of Clarkstown itself but the amenities surrounding it. Certainly the proximity to NYC has a lot to do with it such as the higher salaries, nearby museums and colleges. Robin
Carrie brentwood August 21, 2012 at 01:33 PM
Are you serious ? Talk about a hater ! I drive a car that costs more than most people make in a year..so what ? I also work for the town. I get paid for services provided and how I spend the money I earn is MY business. Maybe I can pick up a clunker to drive to work so that you will feel better !
Michael.. you are so correct!!!! what the townies who sit on maple ave dont get..or dont understand..is the word "UNSUSTAINABLE" A MR Richard Ravitch who helped NYC get out of a near bankruptcy in the 70's has said most cities today are going down the path of destruction financially..rockland is a classic example....they just raised clarksclowns school tax an average of 165.00 per house..so on 5 years each homeowner will lay out another 1,000 or more..so many older homeowners cant diall 1-800 goverment and ask for more from SS...so typical of the selfishness of those in charge...all it does is lower home values...no one is manning up to run their budgets with a spine...typical townie mentality...sad so sad..look around people many many houses for sale and unkempt lawns....many many empty stores.. THAT IS REALITY..and to the headmaster in clowntown...WHY WONT YOU ENFORCE THE REFUSE STICKER LAWS????AMAZING I AN GIVING YOU ADVICE ON HOW TO GET ADDITIONAL REVENUE..YET YOU IGNORE WHEN A TAXPAYER GIVES YOU HELPFUL ADVICE...65.00 A CONTAINER ADDS UP TO MORE MONEY...
Deejay August 21, 2012 at 02:03 PM
That's the catch 22. You have to earn more to live in this high cost area. But one of the big reasons it's a high cost area- is because we pay more to our public sector employees, who have to make more to live in this high cost area.
Will McAvoy August 21, 2012 at 02:12 PM
It was slightly paraphrased.
Maureen August 21, 2012 at 02:49 PM
Deejay; What about MY catch 22? As Hirsh pointed out above the average income of those paying the taxes is $100K yet the average income of the police is 50% higher. I too have 'to make more to live in this high cost area'. Why do I have to pay the police 50% more? Why are they the number #1 highest police force in the USA? Why do they earn more than the cops living in NY City where the cost of living is even higher. This is about equity for those that pay taxes and those that are paid by our taxes. AND the police budget is over 30% of the town's budget? WHY? WHY? WHY?
a comparison......in NYC the NYPD has to protect many incredible buildings..Train stations...Wall Street ...Un..Empire State building... the Airports...bridges ..all visable and all need the best in protection...also many wealthy residents....hospitals... and ready many millions of residents!! and they do it all for a LOT LESS than Clowntown Employees...so why the differential for less work??? to protect a mall that looks like a prison? wow protecting malls is hard work...its like paying 25.00 for a carton of milk..or 15.00 for a bottle of soda...or paying 60,000 for a new compact car..all cars use the same roads...so there is a injustice in regards to outlandish over spening for a 140 person police force that cant compare in many peoples eyes to NYC police who get a lot less to do a LOT MORE...
Deejay August 21, 2012 at 03:50 PM
That's what I was trying to say. The unions try to justify their requests for higher salaries by saying it costs so much to live in Rockland, but one large reason it costs so much to live in Rockland is due to the high costs of public sector salaries.
Joe Shedlawski August 21, 2012 at 03:54 PM
With its proximity to so many cultural activities and its absence of high density housing, just imagine what a great place Clarkstown COULD be to live, in reality, if the taxes were not insanely high and the debt was not an issue.
Michael N. Hull August 21, 2012 at 04:06 PM
As a mathematician I look at data: http://money.cnn.com/magazines/moneymag/bplive/2011/top100/index2.html The rankings are   2012 Ramapo 59 2011 No appearance of Ramapo  2010 Ramapo 88 2009 No appearance of Ramapo 2008 No appearance of Ramapo Of Ramapo, Money says: “Families rejoice: You will never be at a loss for what to do in this Rockland County town. Residents have their pick of camps and sports lessons, family movie nights and festivals, and the use of lots of public facilities. The city’s summer concert series draws big names like Colbie Caillat, Gavin DeGraw, and Smash Mouth. About a quarter of the city’s residents brave the hourlong commute to New York City for work, but most locals clearly prefer the tranquil life; Ramapo is over 50% parkland.” So how do we read this data?  Apparently in 3 years Ramapo has moved from not even on the list to being 88th in 2010 and 59th in 2012.    Sounds a bit like heaven - with a trend line like this Ramapo will make it to #1 in three more years. It must be something in the water! The parkland may be gone but Halleluiah families can rejoice!
INTHEKNOW August 21, 2012 at 05:10 PM
What are these unfunded retirement benefits you speak of?
Coleen Crowe August 21, 2012 at 05:40 PM
first off Nyack Elmwood Playhouse is in the Town of Orangetown not Clarkstown, and no way that the Town of Ramapo is a better place to live compared to the the Town of Orangetown, which aparantly didn't make the list, this list is a joke! And last i checked NYC wasn't an hour away from the Town of Clarkstown. And if you say the reason being is whats in close proximity, NYC is a lot closer to the Town of Orangetown vs. the Town of Ramapo, CNN needs to do some better research.
Michael N. Hull August 21, 2012 at 07:19 PM
INTHEKNOW: The 2011 Audit Report is on the Town Website.  Go to the Town Clerk section and one of the scroll downs will take you to the audit reports.  The unfunded retirement and health insurance benefits are in the audit reports. Here is the one for 2011 http://www.town.clarkstown.ny.us/PDF/TOC%20Audit%202011.pdf Go to page 50 (pdf 58 of 116) the number for 2011 is $157 Million.  In 2009 the number was $133 Million.  Read it and weep or are you coming around to my point of view? We have a problem!
Coleen.. you are so right on!!! your township has piermont..snedens landing the majestic palisades....I do beleive parts of Nyack too...2 incredible river towns that so many Nj people flock to each day and on weekends!!and CNN left out something of contrast..so many bikers pedal to those river towns...the survey is so full of holes and not even close to being real....
Rob August 22, 2012 at 03:34 AM
These survey's "Best places to live" have been going on for years. I personally find it to be a bunch of crap. Are you telling me some writer and his staff are going to speak for an entire town when they never even been to these towns ? The best places to live is such a subjective opinion. Many people from Cuba end up living in Union City NJ. It's certainly not a place I would want to live because I would have little in common with the majority of the residences. However, for those from Cuba, Union City is the best place to live in the US. I honestly had to laugh about the comment regarding the Palisades Center. Yea...I really feel at home especially when you go on a Friday or Saturday night.(Which I never do). And the Schools in Ramapo...What a joke...I agree....How did that make the list....I also love that large Maple tree on Maple Ave....Opps..sorry....I think that was a Money Tree...It requires much more water.
Rob August 22, 2012 at 03:40 AM
I think Mr. St Lawrence has a friend who works for CNN.
steve smith October 01, 2012 at 08:35 PM
if these people went into the fertilizer business, our troubles would be over.


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