by JEFFREY STEELE
Greenwich A Place Forever Synonymous With Luxury Lifestyle
In Greenwich, Conn., A-list celebrity residents are in no short supply. But there exists an irony to their presence in this town on Connecticut’s southwest edge. Despite the noise and attention that buzz around well-known people, Greenwich appeals to residents for precisely the opposite reason. That is a degree of quiet exclusivity found irresistible by families seeking the serenity of America’s “Number One Safest City,” and Wall Street executives in search of peaceful weekends nicely removed from Lower Manhattan.
Nearly 380 years after its founding, Greenwich remains a place forever synonymous with luxury lifestyle. Its 67 square miles – a sprawling geography larger than that of Manhattan — are home to luxurious residential estates, exquisite restaurants and posh boutiques. The satisfaction those distinctions engender extends to local pride. Six distinct ZIP codes are further divided into a number of unofficial enclaves, all passionately championed and regarded as superior by their respective denizens.
Unknown to many outsiders, Greenwich owns the distinction of being one of the world’s top centers of money management. The town is headquarters for more than 400 private investment funds, together managing more than $750 billion in assets. Across the face of the globe, only London and New York City oversee greater sums of money. Though it takes Wall Street execs just 40 minutes to travel by train to Manhattan’s Grand Central Station, many fund managers choose to work close to their Greenwich homes.
“Greenwich is the perfect place to live for anyone in the financial service industry because it is an oasis,” says Bruce McGuire, president of the Connecticut Hedge Fund Association. “With its picturesque New England waterfront and large green tracts provides that perfect place to recharge batteries for the next day on the trading desk.”
If you’re betting Greenwich residents never settle for anything but being best in everything, you’re right. A list of the town’s outsized attributes could take hours to read.
A capsule summary might include the following. Greenwich is the crown jewel of Connecticut’s Gold Coast and among America’s richest communities. The town is virtually alone in bucking the cooling real estate market trend across the tri-state area, its lake house properties, country estates, 26-room mansions and 17-paddock properties continuing to fetch top prices from buyers demanding Greenwich addresses.
When it comes to value, few places command such a blend of upsides. One would assume the top-performing preschools, elementary, middle and high schools of Greenwich would necessarily be tied to commensurately high property taxes. Instead, residential home taxes are half and often one-third those of nearby towns. In an area so choc-a-bloc with other towns in the heavily developed New York City metro, one might assume a dearth of natural wonders. Not so in Greenwich, where 32 miles of coastline and 1,500 acres of parkland ensure abundant opportunities to commune with nature.
Greenwich is a year-round cultural and artistic hub as well, its residents actively supporting drama, music, dance, literature and fine arts. The Bruce Museum, Greenwich Symphony Orchestra and yearly “Art to the Avenue” festival along Greenwich Avenue are all testament to the reverence with which local patrons view culture and the arts.
Don’t forget, adds Peter Tesei, Greenwich’s First Selectman, “the Greenwich Town Party that brings together more than 6,000 residents for a one-day music festival.”
To the state
The vision that’s placed Greenwich among the most highly-sought communities now is being called upon to benefit its home state. Residents David Lehman of Goldman Sachs and retired PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi have been tabbed by Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont to spearhead the state’s economic development endeavors. Some see that as a way to put Greenwich’s success strategy to work on behalf of the state as a whole.
For resident Corrine Bentzen, the appeal of Greenwich can be succinctly summarized. The town feels, she says, “like a small, friendly and yet very diverse large village . . . the best large village within an hour from New York City.”