Suburban Jungle Realty’s Alison Bernstein says privacy and the laid-back lifestyle are attractions for celebs like Cruise, Blake Lively and Ben Stiller, all of whom have recently moved into the area
By Andrew Klappholz, firstname.lastname@example.org
Westchester, Rockland and Putnam counties have always been desirable locations for the homes of the rich and famous, with stars such as Bill Murray, Glenn Close and Richard Gere owning homes here. Ben Stiller recently bought a place in Chappaqua, while Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds have settled down in Bedford.
Then just a couple weeks ago, all hell broke loose when Tom Cruise was rumored to be looking for a house up here. Various reports have him looking in Greenwich, Conn., northern Westchester, as well as a 13,500 square foot mansion in Sneden’s Landing.
So what is it about the Lower Hudson Valley that allures celebrities?
Photo Credit: The Associated Press
“Obviously, it’s the privacy,” says Alison Bernstein, founder of Suburban Jungle Realty, which specializes in relocating high-end homeowners from New York City to the calm seclusion of the suburbs.
“It’s also the feeling of unwinding,” Bernstein says. “It’s the feeling of you’re neither here nor there.”
She says many of her clients feel the best area for them is northern Westchester because it’s still close to the city, where they work, and everything is spread out enough that it creates a sense of tranquility. And privacy.
“Northern Westchester is gorgeous,” she says. “To be there and not have to deal with the paparazzi, it’s the feeling of having your life back.”
Many celebrities seek out homes in gated communities, often with a full-time security detail.
Even in the sleepy suburbs, though, it can be tough for a celebrity to stay under the radar — especially when buying a multimillion-dollar estate. Some will try to remain anonymous by doing all the real estate leg work — building applications, mortgage taxes, deed transfers, etc. — under the name of their lawyer. However, that anonymity usually doesn’t last very long.
Still, the Lower Hudson Valley offers much more of a “normal” life than most celebrities are accustomed to living in Manhattan or Hollywood.
“It’s a more laid back lifestyle,” Bernstein says. “They love it because it’s like the ‘unHamptons-Hamptons.’ There’s no scene. It’s a very sophisticated vibe, but very low key.”
“It’s a more laid back lifestyle,” Bernstein says.