I first met Erin O’Keefe at an influencer luncheon hosted by Penny Goffman. Erin has such an interesting background, having lived in Asia and being a world traveler. Plus I love her sense of style (she is a fashion stylist)! When I found out she lives in White Plains, I decided to ask her if she would be interested in doing an interview. Here is our interview with Erin- she talks about what it’s like to live in White Plains, NY.
Tell me about your journey back to White Plains?
I am a 3rd generation White Plains resident. This was the first city my grandmother moved to when she immigrated from Italy. My father was born in White Plains. He grew up here and I grew up here as well. I left to go to college, lived in Shanghai, China for a while and settled in New York City for a number of years. When my husband and I had our son, we decided that moving to be close to our parents was important to us (we had previously convinced his mother to move from Ohio to White Plains!). We were also thinking of New Rochelle and Pelham. Diversity was very important to us and we realized White Plains had the most to offer!
What is it like moving back to White Plains?
It’s kind of funny moving back to where you grew up. You know everyone and no one at the same time. I think that since we live in a suburb of New York City, a lot of people from the area stay. Why leave a place with such fantastic resources?! A lot of my friends are still in the city so it was definitely on me to make friends, but I do bump into people I know everywhere I go. I took tennis lessons and my coach turned out to be a classmate of mine from high school. However, I have made the most friends through my son. Since he goes to school, I have become friends with a lot of his classmate’s parents. I always say if you want to make friends- have a kid. You are always making connections through music class, play dates, etc. There’s also a really nice fashion community in Westchester that has allowed me to branch out and meet new people from all walks of life.
Can you describe your social life?
I’d say my social life is pretty active for a mother of a four-year-old. There are so many options for things to do in Westchester and I aim to experience them all! I love meeting friends for dinner, brunch and drinks. I probably have a meet-up with a friend about once a week.
How would you describe White Plains residents?
White Plains residents are a pretty loyal group. Most people who grow up here end up either coming back and staying here. There are just so many resources and events going on in this city. Plus, White Plains has some of the cheapest property taxes in Westchester County! I’d say people that live in White Plains are family oriented and like to be close to the action.
How old is your son? What do you like to do with him in Westchester?
My son is four years old. There are a few playgrounds within walking distance so we definitely hit those up. My favorite thing to do is to take him to Lyndhurst Mansion. It’s a neo-gothic style mansion on the riverfront in Tarrytown, NY. The grounds are vast and we love going for walks and checking out the old architecture. Also, one of my favorite things to do is to take him to Rye Playland. They have special pricing on weeknights so I’ll pick him up from school a little early and take him there as a special treat. Of course, we can’t go to Rye without stopping at Longford’s Ice Cream after.
What are your favorite restaurants in White Plains or in the area?
My favorite spot for décor, service
What are your go-to places in White Plains or in the area?
There are a few nature trails that I like to take advantage of, but I find that I am often drawn to water so we end up spending a lot of time at Pierson Park in Tarrytown or walking along the boardwalk in Rye.
What are some things you don’t like about White Plains?
Are you a member of a country club/beach club/yacht club?
I am not, but would really like to join a tennis, boat or yacht club one day. My husband and I plan on buying a boat one day.
What has your experience been with White Plains schools?
I absolutely love the White Plains school district. We just toured the five elementary schools in White Plains. Three of them offer dual language programs. All of the schools had so many resources and programs to offer, it was a hard decision deciding which one we liked best. We don’t have any experience with private schools because we love the diversity and options open to us through public schools.
Do you or your spouse take the train to New York City? What has your experience been with the commute?
I work in White Plains and my husband takes the train into the city. One of the main reasons we moved to White Plains was because of the frequency of trains that stop here. We get more trains to New York City at the White Plains train station than some of the other Westchester Metro-North stations that are closer to Manhattan! I signed up for a spot on the waitlist for parking at the White Plains train station when we first moved here and received one a few months later. However, I had just started my job in White Plains and no longer needed the parking spot to commute into the city. We live one mile from both the White Plains and Hartsdale train stations and my husband just rides his motorcycle to take the train. It’s easier to park with a bike!
Any tips/advice you wished someone had given you when you were looking to move to the suburbs?
I wish they had told me how much I would love it! We moved from the city which was cramped, we had to travel to experience nature and I was lugging a stroller up and down subway stairs. Our quality of
You are a stylist. Tell me more about it?
I am the style director for a local accessories company named SAACHI where I help them with branding and art directing and styling photoshoots for their e-commerce and seasonal campaigns. I also freelance by styling for local boutiques in Westchester and work on set styling for a content creation company in the city by doing their clothing and set styling. I basically love to create visuals for anything! I am hyper-sensitive to the way everything in the world looks so I love to have control over optics.
About Erin O’Keefe
Erin O’Keefe is a fashion editor and clothing stylist who has styled photo shoots for multiple domestic and international publications. She has experience styling celebrities for red carpet appearances and has worked on ad campaigns for multiple Fortune 500 brands. In her free time, Erin enjoys piano, tennis, figure skating and dance. Website: www.erinokeefestyle.com Instagram: @erinokeefe5