When two people meet for the first time, ‘Where do you live?” is one of the first questions they pose to each other. It does not offend anyone can answer and, if you know someone from that place, you have something to keep the conversation from fizzling for a few seconds. This summer, while working for my county executive’s reelection campaign, I had a life-altering revelation: for 21 years I answered this question incorrectly.
Allow me to explain. I live in a village, Hartsdale, in New York, zip code 10530. Hartsdale is part of the town of Greenburgh. From this point on, I recommend that you have a pen, paper and lawyer at hand. This will blow your mind.
Six villages constitute the Town of Greenburgh: Ardsley, Dobbs Ferry, Elmsford, Hastings, Irvington and Tarrytown. Now, I said that I live in Hartsdale, a village in the Town of Greenburgh, so why does this list exclude it? The United States Postal Service recognizes Hartsdale, N.Y. 10530 and we even have a nice wooden sign that says, ‘Welcome to the Village of Hartsdale.” It is because Hartsdale is not a real place.
There is a more governmental name for where I live: Unincorporated Greenburgh. This name is rarely mentioned, not because of shame, but because many people simply do not understand it. I thought I did a little, and I was wrong. What, then, is Unincorporated Greenburgh? Where do I live?
Unincorporated Greenburgh is an amorphous region that makes little to no sense. Part of it is even called ‘White Plains” for mailing purposes. But be sure not to confuse White Plains, Unincorporated Greenburgh, with the City of White Plains, a real city just down the road.
Edgemont is a complex example of a place in Greenburgh that does not really exist. In case you meet a UR student from ‘Edgemont,” know this: Edgemont is only a school district that covers part of Unincorporated Greenburgh. Further, Edgemont schools are in Scarsdale, not Greenburgh.
With that said, let me add to my mess: I attended the Ardsley Union Free School District. So, to more precisely answer the million-dollar question, I live in the Hartsdale area of Unincorporated Greenburgh, in the Ardsley school district. My classmates in the Ardsley school system came mainly from Ardsley, with substantial numbers from Hartsdale, White Plains (Greenburgh) and Dobbs Ferry. I even had some classmates from Scarsdale, Hastings and Yonkers. Where I live, we like to draw arbitrary lines that complicate everything.
If I have not lost you already, get ready for another layer of stupidity: access to the Greenburgh town pool. Since I live in Hartsdale, in Unincorporated Greenburgh, I can go to the town pool. My friends in Ardsley, who live closer to the pool than I do, cannot. Ardsleyans have deplored this shameless display of Greenburgh imperialism for years.
Though the Greenburgh town pool is on one of Ardsley’s main roads and across the street from the Ardsley Little League fields, it is off limits to most Ardsleyans. Why?
Because of a serpentine line that makes its way through backyards at random.
In conclusion, I live in Hartsdale, Unincorporated Greenburgh, 10530, in the Ardsley school district, with access to the Greenburgh town pool. You might ask yourself, ‘Why do I care?” That’s a good question.
Fleming is a member of
the class of 2010.