PORT CHESTER, N.Y. – Brett Fairbrother believes the Capitol Theatre woke people up to Port Chester and, in turn, is a big reason why the village was ranked Monday as the third-most exciting place in New York by a real estate blog.
Movoto ranked places with a population greater than 25,000 – 62 in all – using census data and business listings to quantify, per capita, night life, arts and entertainment, outdoor activities, and dining options.
Port Chester scored best in population density and its large young demographic. Twenty-eight percent of its residents are between the ages of 18 and 34, according to Movoto. It scored even better in non-fast food restaurants - the more non-fast food restaurants the better.
The blog cites Mario Batali's Tarry Lodge, but Fairbrother, who helps manage the Capitol Theatre and Garcia’s, said the combination of authentic Latin food and big name bands that play the Theater makes Port Chester unique.
“I don’t think you’re going to find that anywhere else in the country,” he said.
Like Fairbrother, recent Port Chester High School graduate Erik Montaleza said he likes the diversity of people and cuisine options. He said he's noticed more traffic at those small restaurants since the Capitol Theatre re-opened in 2012.
He added that it has also attracted bigger companies, like Whole Foods.
Heartland Brewing Company opened a beer garden at the train station in June.
“There’s a lot more people that come up here to Port Chester to visit the stores,” Montaleza said.
Montaleza especially likes Taqueria La Picardia, one block down from the Capitol Theatre. His friends Flor and Maritza Rumipulla and Michael Ruiz raved about the village’s many Peruvian restaurants.
Carlos Mamanrique, who was born in Peru, said all the Peruvian restaurants make him feel at home.
Ty Francis, who works on Westchester Avenue, said he doesn’t think of Port Chester as an exciting place.
“I mean it’s alright,” he said. “It’s ok. It’s very quaint, very quiet. People are friendly, people are nice. But, third most exciting place to live?”
Erica Mfenmy, of Greenwich, said Bar Taco is an exciting bar. Stamford's Stefanie May said her employer, the Capitol, and high-end restaurants like Tarry Lodge make Port Chester exciting.
“There’s a lot to do,” Montaleza said. “There’s parks; there’s soccer; there’s tacos at Taqueria La Picardia.”
The Movoto rankings also lists White Plains at 11, Ossining at 15, New Rochelle at 22, Harrison at 30, Mount Vernon at 35 and Yonkers at 37.