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Unread 02-08-2008, 12:01 PM
 
10 posts, read 46,189 times
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Default How expensive is Boston, really?

I currently live in Brooklyn, and I want to move to a new city this fall/summer. I really love Boston, but I've learned that living in a city is so different from visiting or going to school there.

I think I'd really love the cultural end of Boston (I'm really into all things literary), but I'm worried about the cost. Living in NY, I feel like I spend way too much on rent and transportation. I know rent is high in Boston, too, unfortunately. I would ideally like to live in a studio (same as I do now) for about 800-850 a month, and I would take public transport everywhere. Also, my salary would be around 35K.

Has anyone made a move like this? I want to "escape" the high COL of New York, but does it then not make much sense to go to Boston?

Thanks!
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Unread 02-08-2008, 12:30 PM
 
Location: northeast US
739 posts, read 947,091 times
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Housing and owning a car (parking, garaging, tickets, insurance) are expensive in Boston but probably not too out of line with Brooklyn. Public transportation is pretty good and Boston is a very walkable city 8 months of the year.

I haven't been out looking but I think $800-850 isn't enough for much of a studio. What about roommates in an apartment? You can always find bargain meals, clothing, and entertainment - on $35k you would need to.

It can definitely be done and Boston/Cambridge are great places for social and cultural life. Your big challenge will be a decent place to live.
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Unread 02-08-2008, 12:55 PM
 
Location: Parkland, FL
416 posts, read 1,013,376 times
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$800 for a studio near the T will be tough. If you up your budget a few hundred dollars, you could get a decent studio in the South End for about $1100. You could always live outside the city in Malden or Quincy and be near the T, but not in the city for about $800. Cost of living in Brooklyn is similar to Boston, but there are very few good deals in Boston anymore.

If you are looking for a big city with a lower COL, I would check out Miami or Atlanta.
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Unread 02-08-2008, 03:36 PM
 
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Making $35K will make living around Boston pretty tough, but it can be done. You will really have to watch your spending though.
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Unread 02-09-2008, 08:51 PM
 
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I make less than you are expecting and am living in the city. There are studios that you can afford but you have to look for them and settle with the realization that they will not be the newly renovated. I am in the Fenway area. It is hard, but still have enough after rent and the T pass to go out and have fun. There is not the upscale dining but there are more affordable places to go out and you can save up by eating more at home if you want to go somewhere more expensive. I moved from FL so cost of living was a big shock to the system but I have managed and don't feel like I am drowning from the rent that I am paying.
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Unread 02-10-2008, 08:08 AM
 
Location: Bloomsburg, PA
537 posts, read 817,033 times
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Default Beantown blues...

I've visited and lived in both cities. New York has so much more for me, as an artist. The only really bad experience for me, was using the Green Line on the "T" system in Boston. I lived in Newton and the Commuter Rail and Trolley system was plagued with problems, especially in the winter months. And the subways shut down at night. I think 12:15 A.M. was the last trolley out. Miss it and an expensive cab ride is waiting! If you can find one. A transportation official told me that Boston has the worst system in the world, and as other major cities are improving theirs- Boston is not. That was eight years ago. Hopefully things have changed. But the Silver Line, a glorified bus line made to appear as an addition to the subway/trolley system, aggravated many citizens. The dedicated lanes were filled with double-parked cars!

I visited Boston twelve times and enjoyed each vacation. But the little inconveniences became aggravating once I lived there and had to deal with traffic and the T! I knew many people who refused to use public transportation and were consistently late for work.

I must say that New York has a great transportation system overall. 24/7 is a must for a large city. And the amount of culture in NY museums and galleries and clubs outnumbers Boston a thousand to one.

Of course, so much of an experience will depend where you live. In Boston, living near the Orange or Red subwaylines is a bit more reliable. Blue line if you want to be near water and the airport.

Have you considered Chicago? Philadelphia? Good luck and enjoy!
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Unread 02-10-2008, 02:49 PM
Status: "Busy. Busy, busy busy. Busybusybusybusy..." (set 20 days ago)
 
Location: Chicago
5,533 posts, read 7,943,384 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AmeriKenArtist View Post
I've visited and lived in both cities. New York has so much more for me, as an artist. The only really bad experience for me, was using the Green Line on the "T" system in Boston. I lived in Newton and the Commuter Rail and Trolley system was plagued with problems, especially in the winter months. And the subways shut down at night. I think 12:15 A.M. was the last trolley out. Miss it and an expensive cab ride is waiting! If you can find one. A transportation official told me that Boston has the worst system in the world, and as other major cities are improving theirs- Boston is not. That was eight years ago. Hopefully things have changed. But the Silver Line, a glorified bus line made to appear as an addition to the subway/trolley system, aggravated many citizens. The dedicated lanes were filled with double-parked cars!

I visited Boston twelve times and enjoyed each vacation. But the little inconveniences became aggravating once I lived there and had to deal with traffic and the T! I knew many people who refused to use public transportation and were consistently late for work.

I must say that New York has a great transportation system overall. 24/7 is a must for a large city. And the amount of culture in NY museums and galleries and clubs outnumbers Boston a thousand to one.

Of course, so much of an experience will depend where you live. In Boston, living near the Orange or Red subwaylines is a bit more reliable. Blue line if you want to be near water and the airport.

Have you considered Chicago? Philadelphia? Good luck and enjoy!

LOL, when I lived in Boston, I used to SWEAR everyday that the T was the worst, slowest, most expensive, most incompetent, transit system in the world!

then I moved to Chicago.

the first few months I've been here, the CTA was very prone to "Doomsday" scenarios. each Doomsday would threaten MASSIVE service cuts and layoffs. each one was barely averted and postponed. and after each postponement, the possible service cuts would double. this last one threatened to cut out nearly half the city's bus routes (including the 2 I used the most) and fire hundreds of workers. that Doomsday was averted at the VERY LAST MINUTE (I was on the verge of quiting my job b/c the commute would have been hell if the cuts had went through). the situation was bad enough that it was mentioned in a UK paper!

I love the fact that most of the CTA is 24/7 (2 of the major train lines and several buses) and it covers such a huge area, but I swear this system is just as bad, if not worse, than the MBTA. ridiculous slow zones that makes the "B" green line look like an Acela in comparison; rickety tracks, tiny platforms (nearly impossible for two grown men to walk abreast w/o one of them falling over the edge), most of the stations have no elevator/escalator (remember, most of the system is elevated), several stops are closed for construction, and of course, the "lovable" homeless people that stink up every single car (just read this morning that a dead homeless man was found on the train at the O'Hare stop. sadly not surprising).

NY is in a league of its own so it's kind of unfair to compare it's night life and transit system to that of Boston's (yes, we get it! Boston will never have the cultural influence of NY, just like Portland Maine will never have the cultural influence of Boston, so no point in constantly bringing up this point as a negative against Boston), but every city has its pros and cons. just realize no transit system is perfect (no, not even NY's) but even with the delays, it much better than nothing (and MUCH better than driving!)
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Unread 02-10-2008, 06:49 PM
 
Location: Bloomsburg, PA
537 posts, read 817,033 times
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Default Go to Apple!

When I was on an artwalk near Boston one day, I visited a rather successful Japanese artist in his basement studio. I asked what gallery represented him. I planned to take a look later that afternoon. He laughed at me and said that he mailed everything to New York City. He said "No market here! Big market there!"

Every city has it gems. I enjoyed the MFA, ICA & Gardner in Boston.
But as you said, NYC in in a league of its own. Sadly I got to know many people in Boston who were always comparing their fine city to New York. They would rationalize and somehow imagine their Boston as superior. I never saw any reason to compare. Two seperate leagues indeed. I always saw Boston and Philadelphia as "sister cities" when thinking along historical lines, venues, architecture and size.
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Unread 02-12-2008, 08:51 PM
 
29 posts, read 97,253 times
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It can be done. You will probably have to live in areas that are on the somewhat cheaper side. I would check jamaica plain, allston, brighton, the far south part of the south end and parts of cambridge would be somewhat within your price range and on the 'T'.

I would recommend roomates though. The price of a two or three bedroom apartment is not much more than a one bedroom apartment. You can live in great areas, close to the 'T' and several bus connections. Also you could include several other neighborhoods in your search. Good luck on your search.
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Unread 02-14-2008, 09:10 AM
 
Location: Newton, Mass.
2,954 posts, read 7,128,533 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eevee View Post
just realize no transit system is perfect (no, not even NY's)
NYC Transit perfect?? I have spent too many years living in NYC; the transit system makes me pine for the T. It does run 24/7 but at night the trains only come every 20-30 minutes or so, and a lot of the lines don't run at all after a certain hour. Express trains cease to exist. In the morning, from the depths of Brooklyn to midtown Manhattan, I had a ride of about an hour. That hour could easily become 2 1/2 hours late at night; you'd spend the normal transit time and then some since none of the trains were running express, and lose another hour waiting 20 minutes for each of the three trains you needed. I don't remember ever doing it after 11PM or so without seeing a few rats frolicking on the tracks and occasionally on the platform.

One time it took me over three hours because we had a stabbing on the train about 5 feet from me, and the police stopped the train a couple of stops later to look for someone in a wholly unrelated incident. Some kid was asleep with his coat over his head. The cop jostled him and told him to remove the coat, with increasing insistence, so they could see if he was their guy. The groggy kid, thinking he was being attacked, would up shoving the cop to the ground since he didn't realize it was a cop. The three other cops then pointed their guns at the kid and we sat there for another 20 minutes while that was sorted out.

Usually that kind of drama doesn't happen, but over 2 hours to get home was routine. For me, after a while, I started living as if the system shut down at 12 since I'd just get a cab anyway.

My friend, who lives in an area on Manhattan's Lower East Side where there are no trains, has a 90-minute commute just to another part of Manhattan. It literally takes almost an hour every morning for his bus to creep along 14th St. to get him to the subway.

Another note: because NYC is so large and so urban, my area an hour from Midtown was more urban than the South End. Two hours to get home and you're not in some leafy place like Wellesley at all. You're looking at $750,000 for a 1200 square foot attached brick rowhouse with an hour's commute and NYC schools. And with traffic on a summer Friday night, it could take 3 hours just to get far enough from Manhattan to see three trees in a 50 foot radius.) I've had 8-hour Greyhound rides to Boston. NYC: ugh.
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