White Plains, New York facts for kids

Kids Encyclopedia Facts
White Plains, New York
City
City of White Plains
The White Plains skyline
The White Plains skyline
Official seal of White Plains, New York
Seal
Nickname(s): The Birthplace of New York State
Motto: Semper Fidelis
Location of White Plains in New York
Location of White Plains in New York
Country United States
State New York
County Westchester
Area
 • 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 (2013)
 • Total 57,866
 • 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
GNIS feature ID 0977432
Website www.cityofwhiteplains.com

White Plains is a city in Westchester County, New York, United States. It is the county seat and commercial hub of Westchester, an affluent suburban county just north of New York City that is home to almost one million people. White Plains is located in south-central Westchester, with its downtown (Mamaroneck Avenue) 25 miles (40 km) north of Midtown Manhattan.

As of 2013, the city's total population was estimated to be 57,866, up from 56,853 at the 2010 census. According to the city government, the daytime weekday population is estimated at 250,000. The city was ranked third in the top 10 places to live in New York for 2014, according to national online real estate brokerage Movoto.

History

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". To early traders it was known as "the White Plains", either from the groves of white balsam which are said to have covered it, or from the heavy mist that local tradition suggests hovered over the swamplands near the Bronx River. 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. 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. The matter wasn't settled until 1721, when a Royal Patent for White Plains was granted by King George II.

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.

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.

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. 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. 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.

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

Modern history

Main Street in the City of White Plains
Main Street in White Plains

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.

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 suburban 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.

New York Power Authority and Main Street in White Plains
New York Power Authority and Main Street

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.

City Center in the City of White Plains
City Center on Mamaroneck Avenue

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. 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 at White Plains complex. 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. 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 2007, construction was completed on Renaissance Square, a downtown parcel that includes the luxury Ritz-Carlton hotel.

Beginning in 2000, the city's permanent population experienced a growth spurt as additional apartment buildings were constructed. The city's close commuting distance to midtown Manhattan (31 minutes by express train) 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 City, 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.

Geography and cityscape

White Plains 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. The city is about 7 miles (11 km) east of the Hudson River and 7 miles (11 km) northwest of the Long Island Sound. 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).

Climate

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, with October typically being the sunniest month, averaging more than 70 percent of possible sunshine. White Plains is within USDA hardiness zone 7a.

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. 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).

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
(22.8)
75
(23.9)
82
(27.8)
94
(34.4)
97
(36.1)
100
(37.8)
102
(38.9)
101
(38.3)
102
(38.9)
90
(32.2)
84
(28.9)
70
(21.1)
102
(38.9)
Average high °F (°C) 36
(2.2)
40
(4.4)
48
(8.9)
59
(15)
69
(20.6)
78
(25.6)
82
(27.8)
81
(27.2)
73
(22.8)
62
(16.7)
52
(11.1)
41
(5)
60.1
(15.6)
Average low °F (°C) 22
(-5.6)
24
(-4.4)
30
(-1.1)
40
(4.4)
50
(10)
59
(15)
65
(18.3)
64
(17.8)
56
(13.3)
45
(7.2)
37
(2.8)
27
(-2.8)
43.3
(6.25)
Record low °F (°C) −10
(-23.3)
−14
(-25.6)
−3
(-19.4)
18
(-7.8)
30
(-1.1)
38
(3.3)
46
(7.8)
39
(3.9)
30
(-1.1)
21
(-6.1)
12
(-11.1)
−5
(-20.6)
−14
(-25.6)
Precipitation inches (mm) 3.57
(90.7)
2.76
(70.1)
4.15
(105.4)
4.50
(114.3)
4.19
(106.4)
4.29
(109)
3.70
(94)
4.00
(101.6)
4.56
(115.8)
4.43
(112.5)
4.01
(101.9)
4.08
(103.6)
48.24
(1,225.3)
Snowfall inches (cm) 8.9
(22.6)
8.8
(22.4)
5.4
(13.7)
1.0
(2.5)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
.3
(0.8)
5.5
(14)
29.9
(75.9)
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
Source #2: Intellicast (extreme temps)

Tallest buildings

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

Neighborhoods

White Plains has 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
  • Soundview
  • Westminster Ridge
  • Winbrook
  • Woodcrest Heights

Parks and recreation

  • Ebersole Ice Rink
  • Maple Moor Golf Course
  • Saxon Woods Park provides a range of recreational amenities, including trails, a standard and miniature golf course, and the largest swimming pool in Westchester.
  • Silver Lake Preserve
  • Westchester Golf Range

Demographics

Historical population
Census Pop.
1880 2,381
1890 4,042 69.8%
1900 7,899 95.4%
1910 15,045 90.5%
1920 21,031 39.8%
1930 35,830 70.4%
1940 40,327 12.6%
1950 43,366 7.5%
1960 50,485 16.4%
1970 50,346 −0.3%
1980 46,999 −6.6%
1990 48,718 3.7%
2000 53,077 8.9%
2010 56,853 7.1%
Est. 2015 58,459 2.8%
U.S. Decennial Census
2013 Estimate

As of the 2010 United States Census, there were 56,853 people residing in the city. The racial makeup of the city was 48.9% White, 13.2% Black, 0.1% Native American, 6.3% Asian, <0.1% Pacific Islander, 0.3% from some other race and 1.5% from two or more races. 29.6% were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

As of the census 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 the fastest growing cities in the United States.

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). 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: 48.9% Non-Hispanic White, 29.6% Hispanic, 13.2% Black or African-American, 6.3% Asian, 0.1% American Indian, 0.3% Some Other Race, 1.5% Two or More Races.

Culture

Film

Several popular films and TV series have been filmed in White Plains, including The Departed and Across The Universe. White Plains was also selected as the original filming destination for Larry Charles' Borat, but Sacha Baron Cohen insisted the film be shot in New York City instead.

Performing Arts

The White Plains Performing Arts Center, which can seat up to 410 people, serves as a venue for a variety of events, such as Broadway theatre and concerts.

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

Tourism

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.

Sport

Westchester County Center is home to the Westchester Knicks of the National Basketball Association Development League. They began play in the 2014-2015 season.

The city is also home to USA Rugby League franchise the White Plains Wombats.

Historic sites

Jacob purdy historic house 080105
Jacob Purdy House
  • Jacob Purdy House (1721), used as General George Washington's headquarters in 1778 and possibly in 1776 during the Battle of White Plains in the American Revolutionary War. In the 1960s it was repaired and restored, and in 1973 the structure was moved to its present location. A further renovation was conducted around 1980, involving both professional craftsmen and local teenagers in an apprentice program.
  • Elijah Miller House (1738), is a historic home in North White Plains, Westchester County, New York. The house is an 18th-century Rhode Island-style farmhouse that was occupied by General George Washington on three occasions, most notably as a headquarters command post during the Battle of White Plains. In 2010 the county legislature passed a $1.2 million bond issue to finance its restoration. County executive Robert Astorino, who had supported preserving the building five years earlier as a member of the legislature, vetoed the measure, saying it should be supported by private funds.
  • White Plains Armory (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, 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, 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.
  • In addition to the above, the Bar Building, Good Counsel Complex, Leo Friedlander Studio, Mapleton, Peoples National Bank and Trust Company Building, Presbyterian Rest for Convalescents, Soundview Manor, and Woman's Club of White Plains are also listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Images for kids


White Plains, New York Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.