A first-year student’s guide to Pleasantville and the Big Apple


Ibrahim Aksoy

Governor Mario Cuomo Bridge seen from Tallman State Park in Sparkill, NY. There are several state parks in Westchester County that await Pace students to discover.

Ibrahim Aksoy

As the fall semester is right around the corner, Pace University is preparing to fully return to campus since the Coronavirus pandemic put a pause on in-person education during the spring semester of 2020. Despite Pace partially opening its campus last year, many students have not had a chance to visit the campus and the host town of Pleasantville. Luckily, for the class of 2024 and 2025, there are many great attractions to do in the Westchester area.

Located north of New York City, Westchester County is a diverse suburban area with easy connections to the nation’s largest city. Before heading down to Manhattan, you might want to discover what Pleasantville and Westchester have to offer.

Miles away from city life, Pleasantville is surrounded by forests and state parks, some of which are within walking distance. New York Route 117 separates Pace from Graham Hills Park. The park can be seen while approaching entrances 2 and 3 and students can walk there. The park covers slightly more area than Pace’s campus and it offers great hiking and biking trails, as well as picnic amenities. The park is a spot of fall foliage from mid and late October until early November and offers a great picturesque view for photography enthusiasts and nature lovers.

Rockefeller State Park is another natural wonder just a short drive away. Following NY Route 117 South for 2 miles from any exit point, students can enjoy this small but refreshing park. Short walking trails lead to Swan Lake, which will offer a grandiose view in the following months, starting late October.

There are other parks on each side of the Hudson River, though some of them are on the other side of the bridge. The Mario M. Cuomo Bridge connects Westchester and Rockland counties. Pedestrians and bikers can cross the bridge and see the amazing view of the Hudson. Rockland Lake State Park, Hook Mountain State Park, Blauvelt State Park, and Tallman Mountain State Park are located on the Hudson River and have trails for hiking and biking, as well as picnic areas for large groups.

Pleasantville is a small town but the downtown area has great attractions within a short drive. Jacob Burn Film Center is a local movie theater that is liked by the community. If you would like to grab an ice cream cone, visit Cold Stone Creamery after tasting delicious pizza at Lucio’s Pizzeria next door. Bedford Road and Wheeler Avenue have many restaurants and cafes. You can grab take-out from Playa Bowls while walking up to Pubstreet to taste local seafood.

If you want to experience city life, there are a few options to go to the Big Apple. Luckily, New York City has a great public transportation system. Pleasantville train station is located in downtown Pleasantville and is connected to New York City through the Harlem Line. Students can take the train and in one and a half hours, they will find themselves in Manhattan, avoiding traffic and congestion. Ridesharing apps are another option, though the cost and availability may differ.

From Times Square to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City is an exceptional city. With tons of museums, restaurants, and concerts, you will likely spend days discovering Manhattan. For museum enthusiasts, New York City has many to offer. It is better to check in advance before you head down to the city to avoid any closures and unexpected interruptions. Additionally, with your Pace ID card, you can get student discounts at some ticket lines.

Another weekend fun activity in the New York City area is American Dream in New Jersey. The massive entertainment complex includes DreamWorks waterpark, Nickelodeon Universe, and Big Snow ski center. Although transportation to the American Dream Mall can be challenging, train and bus services are available from Manhattan. Ridesharing apps are widely used as an alternative to public transportation. If you are planning to drive, students might consider using Mario M. Cuomo Bridge to enter New Jersey as traffic flow between Westchester and Manhattan can be time-consuming.

Whether you are living on-campus or off-campus, there are great attractions in the Westchester area. If you are a nature lover, you can find yourself on a hiking trail just outside Pace’s Pleasantville campus after a long day in a classroom. If you want to grab a cup of coffee after getting delicious pizza, Pleasantville has you covered. If you want to explore New York City, world-famous museums, restaurants, and Central Park are only a few train rides away. The city is ready to welcome you with great opportunities; it is time to take advantage of being a Pace student in the nation’s most diverse area.