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White Plains, NY

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White Plains, NY

White Plains, New York

The White Plains skyline
Official seal of White Plains, New York
Nickname(s): Dubset, WP, The Birthplace of New York State
Motto: Semper Fidelis
White Plains
White Plains
Location in the state of New York

Coordinates: 41°2′24″N 73°46′43″W / 41.04000°N 73.77861°W / 41.04000; -73.77861Coordinates: 41°2′24″N 73°46′43″W / 41.04000°N 73.77861°W / 41.04000; -73.77861

Country United States
State New York
County Westchester
 • Type Mayor-Council
 • Mayor Tom Roach (D)
 • Common Council
 • Total 9.9 sq mi (25.6 km2)
 • Land 9.8 sq mi (25.3 km2)
 • Water 0.1 sq mi (0.3 km2)
Elevation 213 ft (65 m)
Population (2010)
 • Total 56,853
 • Density 5,820/sq mi (2,247.2/km2)
Time zone Eastern (UTC-5)
 • Summer (DST) Eastern (UTC-4)
ZIP codes 10600-10699
Area code(s) 914
FIPS code 36-81677[1]
GNIS feature ID 0977432[2]

White Plains is a U.S. city in the state of New York. It is the commercial hub and the seat of Westchester County, an affluent suburban county that is home to almost one million people, just north of New York City. White Plains is located in south-central Westchester, with its downtown about 7 miles (11 km) east of the Hudson River and 7 miles (11 km) northwest of Long Island Sound. It is bordered to the north by the town of North Castle, to the north and east by the town/village of Harrison, to the south by the town/village of Scarsdale, and to the west by the town of Greenburgh.

As of 2011, the city's total population was estimated to be 57,258, up from 56,853 at the 2010 census.[3] According to the city government, the daytime weekday population is estimated at 250,000.[4]


Early history

At the time of the Dutch settlement of Manhattan in the early 17th century, the region had been used as farmland by the Weckquaeskeck tribe, members of the Mohican nation and was called "Quarropas".[5] To early traders it was known as "the White Plains", either from the groves of white balsam which are said to have covered it,[6] or from the heavy mist that local tradition suggests hovered over the swamplands near the Bronx River.[7] The first non-native settlement came in November 1683, when a party of Connecticut Puritans moved westward from an earlier settlement in Rye and bought about 4,400 acres (18 km2), presumably from the Weckquaeskeck.[5] However, John Richbell of Mamaroneck claimed to have earlier title to much of the territory through his purchase of a far larger plot extending 20 miles (32 km) inland, perhaps from a different tribe.[7] The matter wasn't settled until 1721, when a Royal Patent for White Plains was granted by King George II.[7]

In 1758, White Plains became the seat of Westchester County when the colonial government for the county left West Chester, which was located in what is now the northern part of the borough of the Bronx, in New York City. The unincorporated village remained part of the Town of Rye until 1788, when the Town of White Plains was created.[7]

On July 9, 1776, a copy of the Declaration of Independence was delivered to the New York Provincial Congress, which was meeting in the county courthouse. The delegates quickly adopted a resolution approving the Declaration, thus declaring both the colony's independence and the formation of the State of New York. The Declaration itself was first publicly read from the steps of the courthouse on July 11.[7]

During September and October 1776, troops led by George Washington took up positions in the hills of the village, hotly pursued by the British under General Sir William Howe, who attacked on October 28.[7] The Battle of White Plains took place primarily on Chatterton Hill, (later known as "Battle Hill," and located just west of what was then a swamp but is now the downtown area) and the Bronx River. Howe's force of 4,000–6,000 British and Hessian soldiers required three attacks before the Continentals, numbering about 1,600 under the command of Generals Alexander McDougall and Israel Putnam, retreated, joining Washington's main force, which did not take part in the battle. Howe's forces had suffered 250 casualties, a severe loss, and he made no attempt to pursue the Continentals, whose casualties were about 125 dead and wounded. Three days after the battle Washington withdrew north of the village, this was then occupied by Howe's forces. But after several inconclusive skirmishes over the next week Howe withdrew on November 5, leaving White Plains to the Continentals.[7] Ironically, one of Washington's subordinates, Major John Austin, who was probably drunk after having celebrated the enemy's withdrawal, reentered the village with his detachment and proceeded to burn it down. Although he was court-martialed and convicted for this action, he escaped punishment.[7]

The first United States Census, conducted in 1790, listed the White Plains population at 505, of whom 46 were slaves.[7] (New York City's population at that time was about 33,000.) By 1800, the population stood at 575 and in 1830, 830.[7] By 1870, 26 years after the arrival of the New York Central Railroad, it had swollen to 2,630[7] and by 1890 to 4,508. In the decades that followed the count grew to 7,899 (1900) and 26,425 (1910).[6] White Plains was incorporated as a village in 1866 and as a city in 1916.

Modern history

Early in the 20th century, White Plains' downtown area developed into a dominant suburban shopping district and featured branch stores of many famous New York-based department and specialty stores. Some of these retail locations were the first large-scale suburban stores built in the United States, and ushered in the eventual post-World War II building boom. With the construction of the parkways and expressways in the 1940s and 1960s, White Plains' role as a destination retail location was only enhanced. With a city opening ceremony Macy's launched a grand White Plains store on Main Street across from City Hall in 1949. As the mayor said at the time, this was a significant event in the life of White Plains. Other stores later followed such as B. Altman & Co., Rogers Peet, Saks Fifth Avenue, Alexander's, Wallach's and a short-lived branch of Bergdorf Goodman, which was later converted to sister chain, Neiman Marcus, in 1981. White Plains is still a huge retail destination in the area with Bloomingdale's, Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, Nordstrom Rack, Macy's, Sears, Burlington Coat Factory, and over 1000 other small and mid-size stores in four malls.

During the late 1960s, the city of White Plains developed an extensive urban renewal plan for residential, commercial and mixed-use redevelopment that effectively called for the demolition of its entire central business district from the Bronx River Parkway east to Mamaroneck Avenue. By 1978, the urban renewal program centered around the construction of the Westchester County Courthouse (1974), the Westchester One office building (1975), the Galleria at White Plains mall (1978), and a number of other office towers, retail centers and smaller commercial buildings.

At the time of its construction, the Westchester One building was the largest office building between New York City and Albany, and east to Hartford.

Beginning in the 1950s, many major corporations based in New York City relocated operations to White Plains and other nearby locations. These included General Foods, PepsiCo, Hitachi USA, IBM, Nestlé, Snapple and Heineken USA. At the height of the 1980s, at least 50 Fortune 500 corporations called Westchester County and nearby Fairfield County, CT, home, but with the corporate mergers and downsizing of the 1990s many of these companies either reduced their operations in White Plains or left the area completely.

White Plains continues to attract regional and national business as well as international headquarters within it boundaries such as Nine West Group, Allegiance Financial, ITT Corporation, Nokia, Heineken USA, Alliance Bernstein, AT&T and Verizon.

White Plains is also home to the Arts Exchange Building, which serves as the headquarters of the Westchester Arts Council. Since March 1999, visual and performing artists, emerging cultural organizations and new creative businesses have studios and offices in the building. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The construction of the Galleria at White Plains mall in the 1970s ushered in a new era of downtown retail and office development, but by the early 1990s, economic development had stagnated, hampered by a deep recession and the overbuilding of the commercial real estate markets. For a time, White Plains had the dubious distinction of having one of the highest office vacancy rates in the Northeast. Consolidation within the retail industry led to the closing of many of downtown's original department and specialty stores as well. After its bankruptcy, the B. Altman store closed in 1989 and was eventually demolished to make way for the massive upscale retail mall, The Westchester, which opened in 1995 with anchors Nordstrom and Neiman Marcus. A freestanding branch of Macy's, one of downtown's original retail anchor stores, was relocated two blocks away to The Galleria mall by its parent company, Federated Department Stores, replacing the location of sister retailer, Abraham & Straus when these two store divisions were merged in 1995.

In early 2002, the Saks Fifth Avenue location was also closed and demolished; it was replaced in 2004 with the large retail complex called The Source at White Plains, featuring the upscale restaurants Morton's of Chicago, The Cheesecake Factory, and the gourmet supermarket chain Whole Foods Markets. Note: As of July 20, 2009, the Fortunoff and Mayrock families re-acquired the Fortunoff brand and intellectual property; all Fortunoff stores are currently closed.

Other major projects were completed in the late 1990s and early 2000s that have further altered the urban character of downtown White Plains. A new courthouse for the Southern District of New York was opened in 1998 and several large-scale office properties in and near downtown, including the former General Foods headquarters building, were retrofitted and leased to accommodate smaller businesses.[8] The Macy's store on Main Street remained vacant for several years until it was also later demolished to make way for the massive City Center White Plains complex.[9] This large mixed-use development features two 35-story apartment and condominium towers, 600,000-square-foot (60,000 m2) of retail, restaurant and entertainment space and new parking facilities. Aside from the Arts Exchange building (which used to be a bank), another bank next to the City Center was renovated to become Zanaro's, a family-style Italian restaurant. In 2010, Zanaros closed and was replaced by Buffalo Wild Wings.[10] City Center's opening in 2003 marked the beginning of a new downtown development renaissance, and with the improving economy and healthy office leasing activity, White Plains entered the new millennium as the leading retail and office center in Westchester County.

In 2005, construction began on a second large parcel in the downtown area. The project, known as Renaissance Square, features two residential and hotel towers, each 40 stories tall, features a luxury Ritz-Carlton hotel and more than 400 condominium units. The Ritz-Carlton Westchester is one of the tallest buildings between New York City and Boston, exceeded only by City Place in Hartford.

Beginning in 2000, the city's permanent population experienced a growth spurt as additional apartment buildings were constructed. The city's relatively moderate housing costs and close commuting distance to midtown Manhattan (31 minutes by express train[11]) have also attracted a lot of people who commute to New York City for work. However, in large part because of its proximity to New York, the cost of living in White Plains, although lower than that of New York City itself, is by some measures among the highest in the world.[12]

Geography and cityscape

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, White Plains has a land area of 9.77 square miles (25.3 km2), and a population density of 5,820.3 inhabitants per square mile (2,247.2 /km2).[13]


White Plains has a humid continental climate, with four distinct seasons. Winter is cold and moderately snowy, with an average January temperature of 29.1 °F (−1.6 °C), and summer is warm and humid, with a mean July temperature of 73.5 °F (23.1 °C). In spring and fall, temperatures can fluctuate widely, but are usually mild and comfortable. Precipitation is plentiful and evenly spread out through the year, with measurable rain and/or snow falling on just under one-third of days. The city receives approximately 234 clear or partly cloudy days per annum,[14] with October typically being the sunniest month, averaging more than 70 percent of possible sunshine.[15]

The lowest temperature ever recorded in White Plains since record-keeping began was −14 °F (−25.6 °C), and the highest ever was 102 °F (38.9 °C). The mean date of the first freeze is October 26, and the mean date of the last freeze is April 17.[16] Over the course of a typical year, there are 25 days where the temperature fails to rise above freezing and one subzero (≤ 0 °F (−18 °C) night. On the other side of the spectrum, there are nine days of at least 90 °F (32 °C).[16]

White Plains
Climate chart (explanation)
Average max. and min. temperatures in °F
Precipitation totals in inches
Climate data for White Plains (Westchester County Airport), 1981–2010
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 73
Average high °F (°C) 36
Average low °F (°C) 22
Record low °F (°C) −10
Precipitation inches (mm) 3.57
Snowfall inches (cm) 8.9
Avg. precipitation days 9.5 8.3 10.1 10.2 10.8 10.1 9.1 9.6 8.6 9.1 9.8 10.3 115.4
Avg. snowy days 3.6 2.7 2.0 .3 0 0 0 0 0 0 .3 2.3 11.2
Source #1: NOAA[17]
Source #2: Intellicast (extreme temps)[18]

Tallest buildings

Rank Building Height Floors Built
1 The Residences at the Ritz Carlton, Westchester – North Tower 492 feet (150 m) 44 2009 [19]
2 The Residences at the Ritz-Carlton, Westchester – South Tower 454 feet (138 m) 44 2008 [20]
3 (tie) One City Place 354 feet (108 m) 35 2004 [21]
3 (tie) Trump Tower at City Center 354 feet (108 m) 35 2005 [21]
5 Westchester County Courthouse 271 feet (83 m) 19 1974 [21]
6 Gateway Building 250 feet (76 m) 18 1985 [22]
7 25 Bank Street 227 feet (69 m) 22 2003 [23]
8 15 Bank Street 217 feet (66 m) 21 2003 [24]
9 Clarence D. Rappleyea Building 210 feet (64 m) 17 1981 [21]
10 Westchester One 202 feet (62 m) 21 1976 [21]


White Plains has about 35 neighborhoods:

  • Battle Hill
  • Bryant Gardens
  • Carhart
  • Colonial Corners
  • Downtown White Plains
  • East White Plains
  • Eastview
  • Ferris Avenue
  • Fisher Hill
  • Fulton Street
  • Gedney Farms
  • Gedney Manor
  • Gedney Meadows
  • Gedney Park
  • Green Acres
  • Haviland Manor
  • Highlands
  • Holbrooke
  • Idle Forest
  • North Broadway
  • North Street
  • North White Plains
  • Dekalb
  • Old Mamaroneck Road
  • Prospect Park
  • Reynal Park
  • Ridgeway
  • Rocky Dell
  • Rosedale
  • Saxon Woods
  • Secor Gardens
  • Silver Lake
  • Soundview
  • Westminster Ridge
  • Winbrook
  • Woodcrest Heights

Parks and recreation

  • Ebersole Ice Rink
  • Maple Moor Golf Course
  • golf course, and the largest swimming pool in Westchester.
  • Silver Lake Preserve
  • Westchester Golf Range


The economy of White Plains revolves around large companies that have relocated to the city such as ITT, Xylem, Bunge and Combe. Other companies based in White Plains include Alliance Bernstein, Dannon, Fifth Street Finance Corp., the New York Power Authority, New York-Presbyterian Hospital, Krasdale Foods (which supplies products for the C-Town supermarket chain), Nine West, Acadia Realty Trust and AboveNet, as well as the US headquarters of Heineken. At the turn of the second millennium, there was a boom in commercial businesses and residential living and as a result the city's infrastructure grew substantially with two double towers being 40 plus stories and both being high-end apartments.

At one time Prodigy had its headquarters in White Plains Plaza in White Plains.[25] In 2000 the company announced that it would move its headquarters to Austin, Texas.[26]

Nonprofits based in White Plains include the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and the March of Dimes.

Fire Department

The City of White Plains is protected by the 140 paid firefighters of the city of White Plains Fire Department(WPFD). The department is currently the 7th largest fire department in the state of New York and operates out of 5 Fire Stations, located throughout the city, under the command of a Deputy Chief per shift. The WPFD operates a fire apparatus fleet of 5 Engines, 3 Ladders, 1 Rescue, 1 Squad(Cross-staffed), 1 Squad Support Unit, 1 Mini-Attack Parking Garage Unit, and numerous other special, support, and reserve units. The WPFD responds to, on average, approximately 7,000 emergency calls annually. Also, the WPFD has been recently labeled as an ISO Class 1 fire department, making it one of only 5 of its kind in the Northeastern United States. Being a Class 1 fire department means that the WPFD provides the maximum amount of fire protection to the area it serves, thus lowering property, home and commercial insurance rates for the city's residents and business owners.


Public schools

The White Plains Public School System, with a 2006 enrollment of over 6,000 pupils, maintains five elementary schools (grades K-5), two middle schools (6–8) and one high school (9–12), as well as auxiliary facilities including a pre-kindergarten program,[27] a community school (grades 7–12),[28] adult and continuing education,[29] and a program[30] for school-age patients at New York-Presbyterian Hospital,[31] which campus is located in the city.

Since 1988 the district has operated under a Controlled Parents' Choice Program,[32] whereby the parents of elementary and middle school children can select the school which their child attends based on factors other than proximity to the school.

The five elementary schools, and to a lesser extent, the two middle schools, in addition to teaching core competencies, have different educational focuses including science & technology, communication arts and global understanding. The primary distinction between the two middle schools is the number of pupils enrolled. The smaller "Eastview" Campus has about 1/3 the number of students as the "Highlands" campus. There are about 1100 students at Highlands and only about 400 at Eastview.

White Plains Senior High School, built in the late 1950s on a 72-acre (29 ha) campus, serves all public school students in grades 9–12.[33] The school has a swimming pool that overlooks a small valley which included the track and football field. The White Plains Recreation Department worked in cooperation with the schools to offer many programs.

The district is governed by a seven-member Board of Education, elected at-large for staggered three-year terms. A school superintendent reports to the Board.

Parochial and/or private schools

  • Archbishop Stepinac High School on Mamaroneck Avenue in the Gedney area
  • Academy of Our Lady of Good Counsel on North Broadway, adjacent to the Pace University campus
  • Good Counsel Academy Elementary School on North Broadway
  • Our Lady of Sorrows Elementary School in the Gedney area
  • German School New York on Partridge Road
  • Solomon Schechter School of Westchester Lower School (Grades K-5)

Colleges and universities


Historical population
Census Pop.
2011 estimate

As of the census[1] of 2000, there were 53,077 people, 20,921 households, and 12,704 families residing in the city. The population density was 5,415.5 people per square mile (2,091.1/km²). There were 21,576 housing units at an average density of 2,201.4 per square mile (850.1/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 64.93% White, 15.91% African American, 4.50% Asian, 0.34% Native American, 0.07% Pacific Islander, 10.37% from other races, and 3.88% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 23.51% of the population. In 2010, Businessweek Magazine named White Plains one of America's fastest growing cities.[36]

There were 20,921 households out of which 26.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 45.7% were married couples living together, 11.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 39.3% were non-families. 33.4% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.47 and the average family size was 3.14.

In the city the population was spread out with 21.2% under the age of 18, 7.5% from 18 to 24, 32.5% from 25 to 44, 23.6% from 45 to 64, and 15.2% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females there were 89.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 85.7 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $58,545, and the median income for a family was $71,891 (these figures had risen to $73,744 and $92,215 respectively as of a 2007 estimate[37]). Males had a median income of $47,742 versus $36,917 for females. The per capita income for the city was $33,825. About 9.2% of families and 12.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 12.2% of those under age 18 and 7.2% of those age 65 or over.

2010 demographics are as follows:[38][39] 48.9% Non-Hispanic White 29.6% 13.2% Black or African-American 0.1% American Indian 6.3% Asian 0.0% Native Hawaiian 0.3% Some Other Race 1.5% Two or More Races


Performing Arts


White Plains is home to the Westchester Philharmonic, the sole professional symphony orchestra in Westchester County.[40] The Philharmonic performs at SUNY Purchase's Performing Arts Center.[41][42]


The White Plains Farmers' Market operates year-round in the city, setting up Downtown at 255 Main Street from May to November, and in the Westchester County Center the rest of the year. In addition to the various food products sold, there is often also live music at the Market.[43]



The Cross-Westchester Expressway, or I-287, runs east to Rye where it meets I-95, the major route along the East Coast, and west across the Hudson River via the Tappan Zee Bridge, linking White Plains to Rockland County, points upstate, and parts of northern New Jersey. Current highway works include pedestrian walkways over the highway, an extra lane on either side, and on/off ramps to help motor traffic and pedestrians. Vegetation removals have upset some in the community but it is reported that the area will be fixed and trees will be replanted when work on the highway comes to an end.[44] The Bronx River Parkway, which runs north-south through White Plains, provides access to New York City and areas in northern Westchester, such as Chappaqua and Yorktown Heights.


Westchester County Airport is located in Harrison, about 7 miles (11 km) northeast of Downtown White Plains. Often the airlines and traveling public refer to Westchester County Airport as "White Plains." It serves as a minor hub for JetBlue Airways, which offer regularly scheduled flights to several destinations in Florida. In addition, JetBlue began service from Westchester to Nassau, Bahamas in November 2011. Many people instead opt to fly out of one of New York City's three major airports, two of which are located within an hour's drive of White Plains.


Two Metro-North Railroad stations – the White Plains station, located downtown at Main Street and the Bronx River, and the North White Plains station, provide daily train service to Grand Central Terminal in Midtown Manhattan. Both stations are on the Harlem Line.


Bee Line is Westchester County's public bus system and several routes pass through White Plains offering local service to many surrounding communities. A few routes serve the Bronx and connect with the New York City subway. The main Bee Line hub in White Plains is the Trans-Center, adjacent to the Metro-North station. Other regional bus services that serve White Plains include the Tappan-Zee Express to Rockland County; Leprechaun Lines to Poughkeepsie, CT Transit's I-Bus to Stamford, CT as well as Greyhound, Trailways and Coach USA service to upstate New York and Long Island.


The Journal News, the major daily newspaper for the Lower Hudson Valley region, is based in White Plains. The current paper, owned by the Gannett Company, was formed in 1998 by the merger of eleven local papers in Westchester and Rockland counties.

Historic sites

  • Jacob Purdy House - The Jacob Purdy House was used as General George Washington's headquarters in 1778 and possibly in 1776 during the Battle of White Plains in the American Revolutionary War. Originally constructed by Samuel Horton, it was purchased by Jacob Purdy's father, Samuel Purdy in 1730 and came into Jacob's possession in the aftermath of the war when some of the family had fled as United Empire Loyalists. In the 1960s it was repaired and restored, and in 1973 the structure was moved to its present location.[45] A further renovation was conducted around 1980, involving both professional craftsmen and local teenagers in an apprentice program.[46] The Jacob Purdy House is now the headquarters of the White Plains Historical Society.[47] A National Register of Historic Places plaque commemorates the dates of George Washington's occupancy.[48] The house came into the possession of Jacob Purdy about 1785.[47] (See also Washington's Headquarters for other locations used by George Washington as headquarters).
  • White Plains Armory[49] (1910) - erected on the site of the first Westchester County Courthouse. A monument in front of the building commemorates the first public reading in New York of the Declaration of Independence, on July 11, 1776.
  • White Plains Rural Cemetery[50] - (incorporated 1854, although in use as a cemetery from 1797). The cemetery office occupies the structure that was the first Methodist Church in White Plains (1795, rebuilt in 1797 after a fire on the day of its original dedication).
  • Percy Grainger Home and Studio,[51] - occupied by the composer from 1921 until his death in 1961, and by his widow, Ella Ström-Brandelius, until her death in 1979. It is now maintained as a museum by the International Percy Grainger Society.[52]
  • In addition to the above and the Purdy House, the Bar Building, Good Counsel Complex, Leo Friedlander Studio, Mapleton, Peoples National Bank and Trust Company Building, Soundview Manor, and Woman's Club of White Plains are also listed on the National Register of Historic Places.[53] The Presbyterian Rest for Convalescents was added in 2011.[54]

Notable residents

(b) denotes that the person was born there.


External links

  • White Plains official website
  • White Plains Downtown Residents Assoc.
  • White Plains Public Library
  • White Plains Public Schools
  • White Plains Times
  • White Plains Historical Society
  • White Plains On Line A searchable collection of White Plains public agency meeting agendas, minutes, budgets, and charters.
  • Portal for information about White Plains.
  • Information about White Plains
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