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Old 03-11-2011, 10:28 AM
2 posts, read 4,117 times
Reputation: 10


Hi all,

I am currently living in northern NJ (NYC area), and am getting a new job in Hartford, CT. I am looking to move to CT soon so my commute to work isn't so rough (plus with the price of gas increasing by the minute).

I am looking for somewhere on the coast, my initial research pointed me to Stamford, Norwalk, Bridgeport, New Haven. This allows me to be roughly an hour drive to Hartford every day (much better than 2.5 hours), but also connects to Metro North so I'm a train ride away from NYC on the weekends.

Which of these towns (or another if you have a better suggestion) is best for a mid-20's single guy? I would want a chic area with a "happening" vibe to it, but not a dangerous area.

Any suggestions are welcome, thanks!
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Old 03-11-2011, 10:36 AM
Location: Coastal Northeast
15,739 posts, read 21,986,671 times
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Since you want to be along Metro North, I'd recommend New Haven. Just be careful which neighborhoods you look at. Generally, downtown, Westville and parts of East Rock are good areas. Both Westville and East Rock are quite a drive from downtown to get to the train station, but considering you'd only be going to the city on select weekends, that should be okay.

Stamford and Norwalk are much closer to NYC but are also much more expensive, and I wouldn't want to make the commute from either of these cities to Hartford - it's far even before you factor in traffic, which can be pretty bad.

Personally I think you should really just consider West Hartford. It has a cool little vibe to it and is a few minutes from Hartford, which would make your daily commute a breeze. You don't have mass transit so you'd have to drive to Brewster, NY (Southeast station) or Bridgeport's station to get the train to the city. Just consider that you'll be going to work 5 days a week, and the city 1 day a week.
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Old 03-11-2011, 10:47 AM
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The only city of those you note within an hour's drive of Hartford is New Haven. The others are far, too far away- couple of hours at best.

The drive to Hartford to New Haven at peak commuter times is no fun- it's an hour or so with heavy traffic and with bad weather or a fender bender causing weekly delays.

Keep in mind that while we call New Haven, Hartford, etc. cities, they are small cities, populations in the 124,000- 140,000 range or thereabouts. That means only so much happening.

However, New Haven is a good place for young people, It has active and popular bar/ restaurant scene and a lively arts community.

I would really suggest you-re think the idea of being near the shore. You could make your like easier by living in Hartford or West Hartford and simply driving down to the shore on weekends in the summer. You would love West Hartford - that's what you're looking for.

Good luck
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Old 03-11-2011, 10:50 AM
1,183 posts, read 1,286,004 times
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New Haven would probably be your best bet, especially in the Downtown area. Bridgeport would be cheaper but until the commuter train is up and going (which would junction at New Haven) the ride to Hartford can be a real pain. West Hartford as others have mentioned is a good choice as well it would seem.

Best of luck!
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Old 03-11-2011, 10:59 AM
2 posts, read 4,117 times
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Thank you so much for the informative feedback!

What you guys are saying makes total sense - going to work 5 times a day is more important than the weekends. So right now it comes down I guess to New Haven for accessibility to Metro North with a decent commute, or West Hartford for an awesome commute but with less access to the MTA.

I am ok with living in a town with 130k-ish people (based on census research seems like no towns in CT are much more than that). So in terms of a social life, can someone expand on New Haven as opposed to West Hartford?

Thanks so much, this is making my life so much easier!
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Old 03-11-2011, 11:19 AM
Location: Coastal Northeast
15,739 posts, read 21,986,671 times
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No problem. The two towns are quite different, but would both suit you.

New Haven is a large city home to Yale University (and a few others) that has some grit, but many fantastic restaurants and bars/clubs. There are parts of the city that are downright dangerous (Fair Haven to name one) but if you stay away from those areas, you're fine. If you use common sense in the city, again, you will have no problem.

West Hartford is an upper middle class suburb of Hartford, but has recently become a destination for young urban professionals who work in the area. It is a pretty safe area. The downtown area is beautiful with fantastic restaurants and bars, but lacks the crowded "college-style" bar/club scene that attracts 21-22 year olds.

I'm in my upper 20's and if I were working in Hartford, I'd live in W.H. New Haven is a great city (I live near New Haven on the shore) but for commuting purposes, it can be rough.
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Old 03-11-2011, 12:55 PM
Location: Connecticut
24,566 posts, read 40,120,453 times
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I always encourage people to live as close to their jobs as possible that is why I would recommend living in the Hartford area. You will be going to work five days a week but only to NY once or twice a week. You could always drive down to New Haven and catch the train into NY when you want to or on weekends drive in since traffic is normally lighter.

As to where in the Hartford area you should live, it really depends where the job is located. I would recommend living on the side of Hartford that your job is located in to avoid having to commute through Hartford during rush hour. If your job will be downtown then you could live anywhere. West Hartford is very nice but if your job is east of downtown, I would not recommend it. Another town to consider would be Middletown. It is very convenient to Hartford and New Haven as well as Fairfield County. It has a lot of nice apartment complexes and a wonderful small downtown with great shops and restaurants. It is also home to Wesleyan University so there are activities related to it. Plus if you want a real active nightlife you could be in Hartford or New Haven in under 30 minutes. Jay
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Old 03-11-2011, 02:19 PM
Location: Jacksonville, FL
11,024 posts, read 13,362,649 times
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I agree with others that West Hartford would be ideal. I am 26, grew up in CT all my life and would recommend it to someone who is looking for a "chic and happening" place to live with plenty of young people. You've got West Hartford Center, Blue Black Square, West Farms Mall and plenty of bars within a 5-10 mile radius. Your commute would only be like 10-15 min. Gas prices are around $3.60-3.75 now up here and rising. Please don't choose New Haven. It's far less desirable, less safe and far too FAR from Hartford, for commuting purposes.

I would recommend Middletown as a secondary choice, if West Hartford doesn't work out. I think that once you become accustomed to the West Hartford lifestyle, you won't care to go to NYC as much as you thought. But even so, it's about 2.5 hours away.
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Old 03-11-2011, 03:49 PM
Location: Florida and CT
635 posts, read 1,138,711 times
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I have lived and worked in CT for my entire life. I grew up near Hartford, then moved to New Haven. If you want to have any life whatsoever, do not sign up for a long highway commute to work in CT! It's unsafe, stressful, and expensive. And it's unpredictable - every time there's an accident or snowstorm you'll be rolling into work late. From New Haven to Hartford at rush hour could easily take one and a half to two hours each way; more on a really bad day.

CT is the pass-through for the trucks coming out of New York bringing supplies up the coastline, and we also get a lot of vacation traffic from NY in the summer. There are a lot of things I love about CT, but the old, too-small highway infrastructure to me is its biggest drawback.

If I were you I'd pick West Hartford. A classy town with good restaurants and safer than New Haven. You should do better with property value appreciation if you buy there.

I lived in New Haven for 30 years because I liked a lot of things about it, like the restaurants and being close to work. But I got turned off by the impossible parking, high crime rates (your car is not safe unless garaged), panhandlers, etc. I had my share of run-ins with crime, never felt safe and this eventually forced me to leave. I now live in Branford and just go into New Haven on occasion. My friends had all fled to the suburbs beford I did.

Many cities in this country have high crime rates, unfortunately. Bridgeport is probably the worst in my opinion, and Hartford has its share of crime also. If you live right in any of these cities, pick a secure building, garaged parking and a good neighborhood.
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