Greenwich is recognized as the best town in Connecticut and one of the best places to live and raise your family in the United States. If you are looking for a beautiful town with safety, amenities, top-rated public and private schools, convenient access to New York City (29 miles) and a home that will be a great investment – you will love Greenwich.
At a Glance
- Land Area48 sq. mil
- Median Age43
- Median Family Income$127,201
- Languages Spoken at High School38
- Median Price - Home Sales$1,425,700
- Average Price - Single Family Home Sales$2,248,900
- Acres of Public Parks1,500
- Houses of Worship40
- Public Schools1 High, 3 Middle, 11 Elementary
- Private and Parochial Schools10
- Assessed Value of Residential Property$24.4 bil
- Rank in Robb Report's 10-Best Places to Live in the US1
- Private Clubs9 Yacht Clubs, 10 Country Clubs, 15 Garden Clubs
- Historic Districts on National Register7
- Town Budget380.2 million
- Tax Rate in Mills (Thousand of a Dollar)10.675
- Tax Rate increase from last year2.75%
Time and again, Greenwich keeps being rated as Connecticut's Number One place to live.
Connecticut Magazine rates towns based on Education, Economy, Leisure, Crime and Cost of living. Greenwich was rated The Best. "Although Greenwich has grown into a city of 58,000, the classic suburban town retains much of its cachet. If you can afford the price of admission, it outclasses the other cities as the best place to live in Connecticut."
The Robb Report rated Greenwich as number one in its list of the top 10 communities in the United State. "Greenwich, Conn., might be the country’s biggest small town. It offers all the conveniences of a city without sacrificing the quaintness of a New England hamlet... It has superior shopping, dining, cultural attractions, and health-care facilities, yet Greenwich still manages to maintain a small-town atmosphere... Some of society’s most influential members, including writers, artists, financial wizards, and top-level corporate executives, call this bucolic town home."
Art & Antiques Magazine said "Art is intrinsic to Greenwich Connecticut, the premier Connecticut Gold Coast community...Here sculpture gardens enhance public parks, private buildings and residential compounds."
Time after time, Greenwich is named the premier town along what is called the Connecticut Gold Coast. The town’s unique beauty has been preserved, not only with art, but by very careful town planning and zoning. Like Beverly Hills, Greenwich has the rare distinction of being one of those recognizable names. But unlike Beverly Hills, which is a 5.7 square mile enclave, Greenwich extends over 48 square miles with rolling hills, woodlands, meadows and 32 miles of gorgeous shoreline bordering the Long Island Sound. Greenwich is not an isolated enclave, it is a real community and a wonderful place to raise a family.
Although Greenwich conjures up thoughts of stately country homes and waterfront estates reserved for the select few, Greenwich is much, much more. As you will discover, Greenwich offers a wealth of diversity, not only in real estate and architecture but also in residents. Greenwich is home not only to a cosmopolitan group of executives, but to a great variety of professionals, artists, writers, diplomats, and world class athletes.
In addition to being rated number one in safety and education, Greenwich is rated the number one city in Connecticut for quality of life. Greenwich has a vast wealth of attractions. Whether you look at the picturesque shopping area, the personal service provided by its mix of elegant shops, its fantastic library (the most used public library in Connecticut), its ultra-modern hospital or its 50 fabulous restaurants, Greenwich has it all. Connecticut’s Best Dining Guide, which covers the entire state, gave 19 of Greenwich’s restaurants top honors. Of the 20 best restaurants in the state, four were located in Greenwich. The New York Times recently declared that "Greenwich has more Very Good and Excellent restaurants per capita than any other community in Connecticut."
Among the many unique things about Greenwich, one can find police officers directing traffic on Greenwich Avenue between the hours of 9:00 and 5:30. Many people feel that having these officers, rather than traffic lights, helps to preserve the feeling of a small town and, of course, it also helps to preserve the town's low crime rate.
Why People Want to Live Here
Greenwich is in the southwest corner of Connecticut and is in the ideal location to provide residents with the convenience of being close to a big city, while living in the comfort and security of the country. Greenwich is surrounded by areas that are being developed more intensively.
Greenwich is in the largest metropolitan area of the United States. Greenwich is fortunate in its location, natural features, and historic development. As a result, within the New York Metropolitan area, Greenwich is one of the most desirable places to live and the migration of business and jobs from New York City to White Plains, Greenwich and Stamford has increased the demand for housing here.
Greenwich has an excellent transportation system, and is just minutes from Westchester Airport, making trips to nearby cities such as Boston or Washington easy.
Greenwich is only 29 miles from Times Square (43 minutes by one of the 78 trains that operate daily between New York City and Greenwich). There are four train stations conveniently located throughout the town. U.S. Route 1, the historic Post Road, is the main commercial artery. Locally it is named Putnam Avenue. In addition, Interstate 95 and the Merritt Parkway traverse Greenwich, giving it excellent regional accessibility. It takes about 10 minutes to drive to Stamford, about 60 minutes to Danbury and approximately 15 minutes to White Plains. The Connecticut Limousine provides easy and quick access to NYC’s international airports; La Guardia Airport is about a 45-minute drive and JFK is about a 60 minute drive. The Merritt Parkway, built in 1935 for cars only, was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1993.
Greenwich is rated the safest community in Connecticut and one of the safest in the country and it's no wonder with 14 police cars on the road at all times, traffic downtown directed by police officers and with a force of 158 police officers, the average response time to a call is less than four minutes.
Greenwich operates on a "pay as you go" basis and carries almost no debt. This allows Greenwich to keep property taxes low while maintaining a budget of over $183,000,000. Real Estate taxes are based on assessments limited by statute to 70% of market value. The tax rate is presently 11.51 cents + sewer .58 cents per thousand of assessed value (mill rate). The town policy is for the mill rate to increase no more than 3.5% a year, while maintaining $20,000,000 a year in capital improvements. There are no separate school taxes. There is a personal property tax on cars equal to the mil rate. There is no town income tax. The state has an income tax of 0.044 (4.4%).
A Great InvestmentGreenwich real estate just keeps increasing in value. And why not, this community offers more and just keeps getting better. Although real estate here is not completely recession-proof, it is certainly recession-resistant. Our charts, illustrate what every resident knows. Few have made an investment that was better than their Greenwich real estate. And, you get to live in this investment too.
Greenwich is still 25% green. It has 32 miles of coastline, with its main beaches at Greenwich Point (147 acres), Byram Beach and the two city-owned islands (Captains Island & Island Beach). Greenwich has 8,000 acres of protected land; over 1,000 acres of town parks; 35 town tennis courts (not including the YWCA courts); several community centers; an indoor ice rink (open only to residents); 14 public marinas and a 158 acre, 18-hole golf course (open only to residents). The town's Department of Parks and Recreation maintains a very active program of events, from its supervised skate park, to teams such as baseball, football and soccer, to tennis and golf lessons. They also maintain a large number of well-run summer camps.
In addition to the wealth of town facilities, Greenwich has 10 private country clubs and 9 Yacht clubs.
Music lovers enjoy the Greenwich Philharmonic and the frequent summer town concerts as well as the opportunity to attend the many nearby theater productions. And, as stated by Art & Antiques Magazine, art in Greenwich is everywhere, not just in the eight exceptional art galleries of Greenwich. The Art Societies are also very active and the sidewalk art shows are always popular events.
The Bruce Museum appeals to everyone and is rated one of the best museums in Connecticut. The Bruce Museum attracted over 100,000 visitors last year to their 8,000 square feet of gallery space and 18 exciting exhibitions, making the Bruce the second most popular museum in Connecticut. No wonder the museum is placed in the top 10% of U.S. museums.
The Greenwich Library is a special treasure. It recently received a $30,000,000 gift from a Greenwich resident that was used, with the help of architect Cesar Pelli, to re-design the library and add 31,000 additional square feet. Greenwich residents must indeed be well-read. The main branch, together with its two town branches and the independent Perrot Library in Old Greenwich, lent more than 1.5 million items last year, making it the second most used public library system in New England. The library not only has a very capable and helpful staff, but it provides superior internet capability as well. Not only can you look up and check out books, you can research the town using the extensive "Community Answers" web site. Anyone with a library card can have access from their home to a wealth of independent research data bases. It is no wonder the library has been rated the best in the country.
Keeping Greenwich beautiful, is not only important to the town’s Department of Parks, it is almost the full time preoccupation of the town’s eight garden clubs, Greenwich Green & Clean, The Land Trust, the Historical Society and many, many other town groups and organizations.
Excellent EducationGreenwich Public Schools (10 elementary, 3 middle and 1 high school) are rated first or second in Connecticutof the graduates go to the "Most Competitive Colleges." The school budget is $70 million. The average class size is 20 students and over 90% of the teachers have masters degrees. SAT scores had a mean of 1125 (571 in math and 554 in verbal). Eighty-one percent of the students scored at the Mastery Level set by the State of Connecticut.
In addition, Greenwich has 30 independent pre-schools and nine excellent private and parochial day schools.
The Greenwich Continuing Education courses serve some 7,000 adults annually. The course catalog lists about 400 offerings. Prices are very reasonable, and the courses cover a very wide spectrum of interests.
Sophisticated Medical Services
Greenwich hospital is truly amazing. The 296-bed Greenwich Hospital is an affiliate of Yale University School of Medicine. It is a state-of-the-art hospital, beautifully decorated to look more like a Hyatt hotel than a typical hospital. As a testament to its excellent health care, patients from all over Fairfield and Westchester seek treatment at Greenwich Hospital. Last year 28% of the admissions were from New York State residents. Greenwich Hospital is carefully gearing up for the 21st Century. The hospital built a state of the art cancer center (Bendheim) and is currently undertaking a $129,000,000 expansion to make it a high-tech diagnostic and healing center without all of the normal delays and "red-tape" often associated with hospitals. For the third consecutive year it has ranked in the top percentile in patient satisfaction, nationwide. The Greenwich environment together with the hospital’s state of the art facilities and reputation for excellence has attracted many of the country’s best
A SHORT HISTORY OF GREENWICH
Greenwich is the 10th oldest town in Connecticut. Named after Greenwich, England, the town began as a temporary trading post founded by Captain Adrian Block in 1614. Greenwich was established in 1640 when the area now known as Old Greenwich was purchased from the Indians as part of the New Haven Colony. At that time the town’s allegiance was to England. The settlers grew restless under the Puritan influence, and in 1642 the settlers withdrew their allegiance to England and transferred it to the more liberal Dutch. At this time, the Cos Cob section of Greenwich was occupied by the Siwanoy Indians and a toll gate was set up between them and the central part of Greenwich, called Horseneck. In about 10 years the town was forced back under the domination of the New Haven Colony. In 1672, the Horseneck portion of Greenwich was purchased from the Siwanoy. It was called Horseneck because the neck of land now known as "Field Point" was commonly used as a horse pasture. Greenwich supported the British during the French and Indian war; however, during the Revolution, the town was sacked several times by the King’s troops. The advent of the New Haven Railroad in 1848 began the transformation of Greenwich into a residential community. This period saw many wealthy New Yorkers, including Boss Tweed, building summer homes. In the twenties the town began to grow rapidly and land values began to soar. By 1928, Greenwich led the nation in per capita wealth. Although the population growth has abated (primarily because of the scarcity of buildable land), the property values have continued to climb.
A Brief Introduction to the Town's Government
Anyone who wonders how it is possible for Greenwich to have such low taxes and such fine services, need only check out the organization of the town’s government.
Unlike many towns and cities, there is a great feeling of community here. Greenwich is run primarily by volunteers, not politicians. The town is governed by a Board of Selectmen (one full time and two part time) who are elected every two years. Although town departments are staffed by paid professionals, except for the Selectmen, all town boards (such as the Board of Estimate and Taxation, which serves as the town’s comptroller) and the Representative Town Meeting (the town’s legislative arm) are made up of unpaid citizen volunteers. This volunteer network supports and supplements the work of town departments and gives the town its unique cultural and social values. Because many of these citizen volunteers are often quite successful in business and other careers, the town is run efficiently, honestly, conservatively and in the interest of its citizens. How many towns can you say this about?
Much of what a citizen would want to know about Greenwich is available on the excellent town web site, www.GreenwichCT.org.
The main components of the town’s decentralized government are: Board of Selectmen, Board of Estimate and Taxation, the Independent Boards and the Representative Town Meeting.
The Board of Selectmen (one of which is a woman) is composed of a full time First Selectman and two part time Selectmen. They are elected to serve for a term of two years. No more than two of the selectmen can be from the same party. The Fire, Police, Public Works, Purchasing, Parks & Recreation, Law Department and Human Relations report to the First Selectman. It is interesting to note that the staff of the Finance Department is hired by and reports to the Board of Estimate and Taxation and not the First Selectman.
- Board of Estimate and Taxation
Known as the BET, this group of 12 members, who are volunteers elected for a two year term, holds the town’s purse strings. They are responsible for the oversight of the town’s financial affairs; they prepare the town annual budget (now $294,000,000); and, subject to the approval of the RTM, they set the tax rate. The Town Committee of each party nominates a slate of six candidates. It is the policy of the BET to spend approximately $20,000,000 a year on capital improvements, not to borrow money and to allow real estate taxes to rise no more than 3% per year.
- Representative Town Meeting
Greenwich, like many New England towns, began by managing its affairs through a Town Meeting of all electors. The first recorded Town Meeting was held on February 5, 1664. By 1933, the town had grown so large that it had to abandon open town meetings and adopted the Representative Town Meeting (RTM),in which one person represented 100 voters. As the town grew, so did the RTM, whose size was eventually capped at 230 members, making it the largest legislature in the state.
The members of the RTM are elected every two years by the voters in each of the town’s 12 districts. Any registered voter in town may run as a candidate in his or her district. The RTM is non-partisan. Candidates run without party identification and serve without compensation. As a result, the composition of the RTM is very egalitarian.
Each RTM district elects a member as a delegate and an alternate to one of the standing committees, which oversee the operations of town’s departments. Delegates report the result of the meetings they attend at their district’s monthly meeting and then after a full discussion, the members vote at the monthly RTM meeting.
These meetings are open to the public and can be addressed by anyone who wishes to share their opinion. The RTM’s agenda, "The Call", is online. Any citizen who wishes to put an item on the "Call" can do so by giving the town clerk a petition signed by 20-voters.
The RTM reviews appointments to all of the appointed boards, all interim appropriations, labor contracts, municipal improvements, gifts to the town and, of course, the BET and Board of Education budgets.
- Independent Boards
There are a number of independent boards and commissions, which are completely volunteer and have great power in how the town runs: Alarm Appeals, Architectural Review, Board of Ethics, Board of Health, Building Code Board of Standards & Appeals, Commission on Aging, Condemnation Board, Conservation, Flood & Erosion Control, Historic District, Housing Authority, Inland Wetlands & Water Courses Agency, Nathaniel Witherell, Parks & Recreation, Planning & Zoning, Planning & Zoning Appeals and Social Services. Candidates are nominated by the Board of Selectmen, interviewed by the RTM Appointments Committee and one or more of the other standing RTM committees, and then voted on by the RTM during its monthly meeting.
The population of Greenwich grew until about 1970. Since 1970, the resident population has been stable or declining slightly. This relatively stable population has been accompanied by the construction or conversion of more dwellings to house the same number of people. In 1950, the population of 40,835 lived in 10,524 households with an average of 3.9 persons in each. In 1990, the population of 58,441 persons lived in 23,515 households with an average of 2.6 persons. Two-thirds of Greenwich homes are for single families, mostly detached, one to a lot. The town’s residential zones provide a wide variety of housing types, from small condominiums to single-family homes of more than 10,000 square feet on four acres or more. Greenwich is divided into several strictly enforced zoning areas. In or near town, the density is high as a result of condominiums and apartments. Further from the center of town the zoning changes to one acre per family, then to two acres per family and north of the Merritt Parkway it is a minimum of 4 acres per family. The population of the town continues to be diverse. One-sixth of all public school students, with 38 different first languages, are learning English as a second language.
Jobs and Income
Greenwich is a job center where 33,093 people are employed. More people now come to work in Greenwich than go to work elsewhere. As a result of the many offices moving to the suburbs, Greenwich has become a net provider of jobs during the past 25 years.
"What is the best area of town?" This a frequent question from buyers. When we tell them there is no one best part, but a great many best parts depending on your perspective, many just don't believe it until they see for themselves. Yet, nothing could be more true. Greenwich is almost uniformly beautiful, but it is a town composed of a number of small communities and neighborhoods each with it own character and charm. It is the special features of each of these areas that make it more or less attractive to different buyers.
As you can see from the Map, Greenwich is divided into 12 voting districts, encompassing approximately 50 square miles. Some of these 12 districts have their own zip codes, such as the villages of Cos Cob, Riverside and Old Greenwich. For the rest of Greenwich, the western part uses 06831 and the Eastern part 06830. In addition, Byram, Cos Cob, Glenville, Old Greenwich and Riverside have distinct shopping centers separate from the main downtown area in the central part of town. There is also a small shopping center in the Banksville section of northwest Greenwich. The villages of Byram, Cos Cob and Old Greenwich have their own libraries. All parts of Greenwich share the same government, school system, property tax rate and access to public facilities.
The largest neighborhood areas are: Byram, Banksville, Back Country Greenwich, Chickahominy, Cos Cob, Central Greenwich, Central Greenwich Waterfront, Mianus, Mid-Country Greenwich, Old Greenwich, Glenville and Riverside.
Read more about Greenwich Connecticut Neighborhoods