Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Top 10 Reasons New Canaan is Unique

1. 44 miles to New York City. New Canaan has exits from the Merritt Parkway service New Canaan making it convenient to all areas of town. No other town in Fairfield County has this kind of access to the parkway which is a much better commute than I-95 because there are no trucks.

Empty Seats: The Train Starts Here
2. Next Station to Heaven. In New Canaan your seat is waiting. Metro North trains start and end in New Canaan. 66 minutes express to Grand Central versus 57 in Darien. The train is waiting in the morning with assured seating and returns you to the village at night. Truly a unique arrangement. The folks in Darien and Westport will brag that the "main line" has more trains but who cares if you can never get a seat on the train?  


3. Schools. We have the top school system in the state and New Canaan has been called by Forbes Magazine one of the top 3 in the country for towns in which the average home costs more that  $800,000. Niche Magazine rates us number 2 in Connecticut. Unlike other rankings which use AP data as the sole datapoint, Niche's methodology includes grading for academics (50%), health and safety (10%), student culture and diversity (10%), survey responses(10%), teachers, (10%) resources and facilities (5%), extracurriculars (2.5%) and sports/fitness(2.5%). This methodology appears to be a more well-rounded, holistic approach to ranking.

New Canaan graduates 98% and the average SAT is 1910
4. Taxes. Four towns distinguish themselves with low taxes: Darien ($15,350), Greenwich ($11,270), New Canaan ($15,980) and Westport ($18,260).  The numbers represent the taxes paid on a $1.428 million house in each town last year. New Canaan enjoys one of the lowest tax rates in the county yet maintains excellent services for all our residents. Compared to Wilton ($26,830), Fairfield ($24,790), Stamford ($25,430) and Ridgefield ($26,010) these four just present better value for the real estate dollar. Compared to a comparable home in Bronxville ($42,300) the New Canaan taxes are a bargain.

5. Village. The charming village is our pride and joy and clearly sets us apart from other towns which share our demographics. Our town center is free of the traffic of US-1 and so affords all the ability to walk, shop, dine and enjoy the unique ambience. School children can be seen walking down South Avenue toward town after school.

6. Restaurants. We're the destination of choice for fine dining in the county. According to Trip Advisor we have 37 ranging from Indian to Asian and from American to the Farmer's Table. We host to the #1 ranked Asian/Fusion restaurant Connecticut, Ching's Table. Because New Canaan is so centrally located in Fairfield County we can reach most restaurants in surrounding towns too, bringing about 200 choices within a five mile radius. My new favorite watering hole? The tea house at Grace Farms. You heard it here first.

7. Clubs. The Country Club of New Canaan, the Lake Club and Field Club for summer sports and paddle, The Winter Club for hockey and skating, Racquet Club for indoor tennis and the YMCA which is one of the finest in the country.

8. Waveny Park and Other Town Assets. Designed by the landscape architect Frederick Law Olmstead, renowned for designing Central Park, Waveny boasts over 250 acres of woods, meadows and running trails as well as sports fields, paddle tennis courts, Carriage Art Barn, The Powerhouse Theater, Lapham Community Center and Spencer's Run, New Canaan's off-leash dog park. Our Town Pool is only a few years old, now heated and located in Waveny and is a recent addition to our wonderful town facilities.Mead Memorial Park with baseball fields, playground, and snack bar, Kiwanis Park boasts a large swimming pond, playground and snack bar, Irwin Park has 36 acres and features a newly designed and surfaced trail for jogging/walking/biking. Some of these facilities require permits which are available at the Recreation Department in Waveny Park.

John Engel at the River Building
9. The Arts and Architecture. No other town in Fairfield County can boast having a world-class art destination and we have two. Since 2007 Philip Johnson's architectural masterpiece, The Glass House has been open to the public (with a reservation) from May through November. And now, as of last year, The River Building at Grace Farms, designed by the prestigious Japanese architecture firm SANAA, is open to the public year round. Don't take my word for it. Read the recent articles in Travel & Leisure, the New York Times and over 40 other publications raving about this building, calling it "the coolest building in Connecticut"

But its not just the presence of these two famous buildings. New Canaan was the home of the Harvard Five and other notable architects of the midcentury modern movement in architecture. Together they built about 90 distinctively modern homes in New Canaan in the 50's and 60's and those homes are an important part of our community. See the video.

School Spirit: The Annual Turkey Bowl Football Game 
10. Community Spirit. From Christmas Caroling on God's Acre to our Memorial Day Parade down Main Street, to the Ice Cream Social at the Historical Society and our spectacular 4th of July celebration complete with fireworks at Waveny Park, we above all share the guiding belief that all are welcome. While young families move in, our baby boomers and seniors seem to be staying on, making our community rich in its diversity.
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