The city is serviced by the Metro-North and the Westchester County's Bee-Line bus service. Parking is available for the train at the White Plains and North White Plains stations.
Local highways include the Hutchinson River Parkway "a.k.a. the Hutch", the Saw Mill River Parkway, the Bronx River Parkway, the Taconic Parkway, The Sprain Brook Parkway, I-287, I-684 and also I-95 is not that far away.
At the time of the Dutch settlement of Manhattan in the early 17th century, the region had been used as farmland by the Weckquaeskeck tribe, members of the Mohican nation and was called "Quarropas". However, one John Richbell of Mamaroneck, NY, claimed to have earlier title to much of the territory, he also having purchased a far larger plot extending 20 miles (32 km) inland, perhaps from a different tribe. The matter wasn't settled until 1721, when a Royal Patent for White Plains was granted by King George II.
In 1758, White Plains became the seat of Westchester County when the colonial government for the county left West Chester, which was located in what is now the northern part of the borough of the Bronx, in New York City. The unincorporated village remained part of the Town of Rye until 1788, when the Town of White Plains was created.
The first United States Census, in 1790, listed the White Plains population at 505, of whom 46 were slaves. (New York City's population at that time was about 33,000.) By 1800, the population stood at 575 and in 1830, 830. By 1870, 26 years after the arrival of the New York Central Railroad, it had swelled to 2,630 and by 1890 to 4,508. In the decades that followed the count grew to 7,899 (1900) and 26,425 (1910). White Plains was incorporated as a village in 1866 and as a city in 1916.
The construction of the Galleria at White Plains mall in the 1970s ushered in a new era of downtown retail and office development, but by the early 1990s, economic development had stagnated, hampered by a deep recession and the overbuilding of the commercial real estate markets. For a time, White Plains had the dubious distinction of having one of the highest office vacancy rates in the Northeast. Consolidation within the retail industry led to the closing of many of downtown's original department and specialty stores as well. After its bankruptcy, the B. Altman store closed in 1989 and was eventually demolished to make way for the massive upscale retail mall, The Westchester, which opened in 1995 with anchors Nordstrom and Neiman Marcus. A freestanding branch of Macy's, one of downtown's original retail anchors, was relocated two blocks away to The Galleria mall by its parent company, Federated Department Stores, replacing the location of sister retailer, Abraham & Straus when these two store divisions were merged in 1995. In early 2002, the Saks Fifth Avenue location was also closed and demolished; it was replaced in 2004 with the large retail complex called The Source at White Plains, featuring the high-end jewelery and home goods store Fortunoff's, and local outlets of the upscale restaurants Morton's of Chicago, The Cheescake Factory, and the gourmet supermarket chain Whole Foods Markets.
In 2005, construction began on a second large parcel in the downtown area. The project, dubbed Renaissance Square, will feature two residential and hotel towers, each 40 stories tall, featuring a luxury Ritz-Carlton hotel and more than 400 condominium units. The expected opening date of the first tower is early 2008, at which time White Plains will once again boast the highest building between both New York City and Albany. (This title is currently held by the under-construction 39-story Trump Plaza in nearby New Rochelle, which in 2006 surpassed White Plains' 35-story Trump Tower, which was completed in 2005.)
Beginning in 2000, the city's permanent population experienced a growth spurt as additional apartment buildings were constructed. An infusion of urban professionals, drawn by the city's relatively moderate housing costs and close commuting distance to midtown Manhattan (35 minutes by express train) gave the city a cosmopolitan atmosphere. However, in large part because of its proximity to New York, the cost of living in White Plains, although lower than that of New York City itself, is by some measures among the highest in the nation.
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