It's no surprise to Mayor Tom Roach and others living or working in and around White Plains that the hip-hop city and Westchester County's seat of government made the latest Top 100 ranking of best places to live in the United States.
The up-and-coming metropolis -- best known for its shopping, major corporate presence (Heineken USA is headquartered there), downtown farmer's market, fine arts and annual New Year's celebrations -- continues to boom.
A major new bus/train transit hub is in the planning stages, top-notch hotels continue to relocate there and its shopping districts have always thrived.
Mayor Roach was not immediately available for reaction. (He was likely at a new restaurant opening or other ceremony.)
The birthplace of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, White Plains is an affluent New York community where many residents commute 30 minutes by express train to work in Manhattan. White Plains enjoys a strong economy of its own, as evidenced by its skyline of 10 buildings that are 17 stories or higher and a daytime weekday population estimated at 250,000.
The city features 35 distinct neighborhoods, and livability amenities include a high-ranking White Plains Public School system, five college campuses and White Plains Hospital. Many Broadway acts and shows are staged at White Plains Performing Arts Center, and its residents are passionate about getting involved in social causes.
As the county seat since 1757, White Plains was first incorporated in 1683. Residents of nearby Rye bought 4,435 acres of land from the Weckquaeskeck Indians. They dubbed their purchase “White Plains," translating the Indian “Quarropas” or white marshes or plains. Eighteen settlers were granted a patent to White Plains from King George II in 1721. At that time, homes, churches and businesses had already sprung up along the “Village Street," now known as Broadway.
In the first courthouse, built in 1758, the members of the Fourth Provincial Congress of New York assembled on July 9, 1776, and there received a copy of the Declaration of Independence sent to them by the Continental Congress, then sitting in Philadelphia.
The document was referred to a committee of five, chaired by John Jay. This committee reported back favorably that same day, whereupon the Provincial Congress immediately approved the document, and instructions were sent to New York's delegates in Philadelphia to sign the Declaration.
That day the Congress also "Resolved and Ordered that the style or title of this house be changed from that of 'The Provincial Congress of the Colony of New York' to that of 'The Convention of Representatives of the STATE of New York.'"
On July 11, 1776, Judge John Thomas of Purchase stood on the steps of the courthouse in White Plains and read the Declaration of Independence to the public for the first time in New York.
Several months later, on Oct. 28, 1776, General George Washington and his troops fought British and Hessian troops in the famous Revolutionary War "Battle of White Plains." This battle took place largely on today’s Battle Hill and on nearby Dusenbury Hill. American soldiers were forced to retreat, but this important battle blocked the British campaign into Westchester County.
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