Our dear neighbor to the north Pleasantville was the subject of the most recent “Living In” profile in the NY Times Real Estate section. The writer, Elsa Brenner, does a nice job of looking beyond the idyllic village name and cute downtown–attributes that helped Pleasantville grab Trainjotting’s illustrious “Best Commuter Town” honor back in 2008, voted as such by you, dear readers. (Come to think of it, we didn’t do BCT in 2009.)
To be sure, Brenner discusses what’s pleasant about Pleasantville:
AN outpost 30 miles from the city where children walk to school on sidewalks lined with trees; where lovingly refurbished Victorians have old-fashioned front porches; where shopkeepers greet longtime customers by name: The 1.8-square-mile village of Pleasantville pretty much lives up to the qualities implied by its name.
But she–and I’m assuming Elsa is a she–digs a bit deeper and injects a bit of menace into the story. The Rockwellian lifestyle might not be in place for the long haul, she suggests.
Amenities that the 7,200 residents of this affluent and overwhelmingly white village take for granted, like twice-weekly backyard garbage pickups, may have to be scaled back, said Peter Scherer, the mayor. “The time has come to rethink the way some services are delivered,” he said recently. “It’s a matter we’re very, very deeply focused on.”
Residents might also need to reconsider their traditional resistance to new development in light of the pressing need to generate more revenue, Mr. Scherer said, citing the long-opposed idea of building a multilevel parking garage downtown. “We want to make sure the lack of parking doesn’t thwart business development,” he said. “We need the tax dollars.”
You’ll see Brenner describes Pleasantville–referred to as Priusville by snide bloggers, or at least by me, for its lefty mindset and abundance of Priuses on its streets–is “overwhelmingly white.” If Pleasantville, with a few pockets of affordable housing, is overwhelmingly white, then Hawthorne must be “shockingly white.”
It is clear why some residents have fought to preserve the status quo. But others are now asking, at what price?