Clarkstown, making its top 10 debut this year, is a collection of eight hamlets less than 30 miles from New York City, each with a distinct personality. New City has a quaint bricked main street lined with mom-and-pop shops, while Nanuet is known for its upscale outdoor shopping area. Then there’s West Nyack, where you can walk in the sculpture park or see a show at the Rockland Center for the Arts. So what pushed Clarkstown up the list? Consider the place’s affordability given its stellar location. New York City is an hour or so commute, and the job hubs of Bergen County, N.J., and Westchester County, N.Y., are both 20-minute drives. Yet the real estate market is reasonable; homes cost about 40% of what you’d pay in Westchester. A replacement of the Tappan Zee Bridge is underway across the Hudson River, though so far residents report few disruptions.