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Old 01-05-2012, 04:02 PM
 
115 posts, read 173,143 times
Reputation: 112
Default New Jersey's lack of cool college towns

A friend complained to me recently how so many of his peers went out of NJ for college, citing the excellence of schools like Rutgers, TCNJ, etc.

I said to him that many middle-to-high income college families want their kid to get the "college campus town experience" and that's an important priority. Many kids visit these towns, fall in love with them and enroll. Now these socioeconomic groups do not define what is a good college town. Or do they? Do many states, counties and municipalities invest in these towns to attract out-of-state and international students? Yes sir/ m'am.

The hard truth is that NJ can't compare to New England or Upstate New York's many quaint/ cool towns. PA has a good amount too.

Then the question on whether NJ is just "too small" came up . . and as a result suitcase schools are inevitable. But then we thought of Delaware (UD - Newark), Rhode Island (URI - Kingston), etc. we kind of stopped in our tracks.

The economy has slowed the flow out as many NJ students are choosing state colleges & universities (and community colleges) in bigger numbers and Christie is on record saying he wanted more NJ kids going to NJ higher ed schools.

But when you look at our college towns, it's not too impressive when you've got options:

Princeton - Out of reach for many, Nassau St & Palmer Square are pretty much it. Has so many chain shopping stores that resemble say, Summit or Millburn.

New Brunswick - I actually like the momentum that's been happening here, but it couldn't hold a candle to Bloomington, In., State College or Ann Arbor.

Pitman/ Glassboro - Pitman has a cool old theater and the area is trying, but Rowan's towns have a long way to go. That light rail project may help.

Pomona - Stockton is in the woods and there is no real town there. Students are better off living in Brigantine or Margate, scattered around.

West Long Branch - Long Branch itself has seen some recent positives, but isn't really a college town.

Ewing - The disconnect between this town that has so much potential and the state's premiere college could not be greater. Really started a couple decades back with the change of the "Trenton State" name.

Madison - Has Drew & FDU Florham. A cool single street with a train station, but not a cool town.

South Orange - Seton Hall's town also has one cool street, but this is still a bigger bedroom community for Manhattan workers.

Teaneck/ Hackensack - Meh

Mahwah - Double Meh

Camden - Nope

Union - Kean's college has some nice new condos/ apts. & an awesome coffee shop by the train station, but you can't walk anywhere. It's that bad.

Newark - A good amounts of colleges here, but Newark has a long way to go. It will never be a "college town" but it could be a really awesome city.

Hoboken - If you're an engineer, Stevens' campus is excellent and you're in Hoboken where many other workers are close to your age and likely in their 20s too. This town IMHO represents a great, attractive town for a NJ student to go to. But it's not a college town. I lived there for years and never even met a Stevens student. I did see a couple Stevens sweatshirts though.

Montclair - This is the most attractive place and one that I see as a natural winner to invest in. However, the college is toward the north part of town, far enough away from the downtown for their to be a big disconnect. A bike path could change that. I would love to see Montclair to become known as a cool college town, maybe on par with some New England schools. It already has the Wellmont Theatre.

It's really sad. Recently I visited Willamsport, PA which (I found out has Lycoming College) and it was bigger and nicer than many of our college towns. It's like they combined Lambertville with Morristown, which was a pretty good result.

What do you think could be done?

Last edited by Cherno; 01-05-2012 at 04:14 PM..
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Old 01-05-2012, 04:27 PM
 
Location: On the Rails in Northern NJ
12,336 posts, read 13,260,435 times
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-Glassboro / Rowan are working on building something that would surround the LRT line

-Camden is doing the same , but the economy slowed that...

-Whats wrong with New Brunswick , it has the clubs , cafes and bars , and other social things? Thats not enough?

-Princeton could be better , but the Univ is the one who is holding things up...

-Ewing will be better once the LRT and Regional Rail extensions are built although for a ton of redevelopment

-Mahwah , theres nothing you can do....Ramapo is a very isolated campus....and in bad location...

-Newark will never be a college town but University Heights will be like Phillys University City in 15 years so it won't be that bad

-Theres not much you can do about South Orange or Madison , but nearby Morristown draws alot of my FDU/Drew friends. Its a 20min walk from Campus...

-MSU is not in Montclair its in Little Falls and closer to Little Falls town center...

-The FDU Campus in Teaneck sucks and is part of the problem , its too old and caters to the auto era....

-Union is a disaster , the train station wasn't always there either , you can build more around it...
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Old 01-05-2012, 04:29 PM
 
20,293 posts, read 15,462,370 times
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I love Princeton (my college town) and New Brunswick.
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Old 01-05-2012, 04:35 PM
 
115 posts, read 173,143 times
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Quote:
-Whats wrong with New Brunswick , it has the clubs , cafes and bars , and other social things? Thats not enough?
Like I said, it's not bad. But it's not Asheville, NC or Athens, GA or Burlington, VT. It's not bad either. But it could be more . . .
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Old 01-05-2012, 04:46 PM
 
5,263 posts, read 4,686,705 times
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Here's a little bit of trivia for you.
Back in the 1920s, John D. Rockefeller developed an interest in restoring an old Colonial town that had deteriorated, using some of the millions of dollars that he had available for this type of expensive project. The two finalists were...Williamsburg, VA and New Brunswick, NJ.

Obviously he chose to finance the reconstruction of Williamsburg.

Just imagine how different things would have been in NJ if he had chosen New Brunswick!
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Old 01-05-2012, 05:41 PM
 
Location: NJ
11,642 posts, read 20,825,680 times
Reputation: 4429
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nexis4Jersey View Post
-Glassboro / Rowan are working on building something that would surround the LRT line

-Camden is doing the same , but the economy slowed that...

-Whats wrong with New Brunswick , it has the clubs , cafes and bars , and other social things? Thats not enough?

-Princeton could be better , but the Univ is the one who is holding things up...

-Ewing will be better once the LRT and Regional Rail extensions are built although for a ton of redevelopment

-Mahwah , theres nothing you can do....Ramapo is a very isolated campus....and in bad location...

-Newark will never be a college town but University Heights will be like Phillys University City in 15 years so it won't be that bad

-Theres not much you can do about South Orange or Madison , but nearby Morristown draws alot of my FDU/Drew friends. Its a 20min walk from Campus...

-MSU is not in Montclair its in Little Falls and closer to Little Falls town center...

-The FDU Campus in Teaneck sucks and is part of the problem , its too old and caters to the auto era....

-Union is a disaster , the train station wasn't always there either , you can build more around it...
MSU is in upper montclair and little falls.
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Old 01-05-2012, 06:26 PM
 
214 posts, read 212,904 times
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I went to TCNJ ( they changed the name there my sophomore year I believe in 1996). Ewing/Trenton
Area definitely wasn't the best but I did get a good education and have no regrets going there. In terms of being close to Trenton, there were some places (clubs/frat houses on state street in Trenton) that I would never venture to now. Not sure much could be done though - it is Trenton after all. My husband went to Florida State - a few years ago we went to a Florida/fsu football game and it was amazing and fun to see a huge college town atmosphere.
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Old 01-05-2012, 06:26 PM
 
115 posts, read 173,143 times
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Quote:
-Theres not much you can do about South Orange or Madison , but nearby Morristown draws alot of my FDU/Drew friends. Its a 20min walk from Campus...
You must be running. Google maps says an hour.
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Old 01-05-2012, 06:38 PM
 
Location: On the Rails in Northern NJ
12,336 posts, read 13,260,435 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cherno View Post
You must be running. Google maps says an hour.
I did that walk from Convent Station to Morristown back in Nov , took between 20-30mins...
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Old 01-05-2012, 11:01 PM
 
85 posts, read 100,180 times
Reputation: 15
The coffee shop at the union train station IS great.
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