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Old 01-12-2012, 11:47 AM
 
22 posts, read 41,127 times
Reputation: 11

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Hi,

We are the first home buyers with a budget of 600-750k (800k with a stretch). I am working in mid-town(52nd st/6th ave) and work hours normally are 7:30-5:30. We are a young Indian family with 1 kid (turning 3 in april) and looking for following in priority:

1. Excellent schools (pre-school/elementary to high school)
2. Reasonable commute to mid-town (75-80 min using public transport). I love Summit for the train frequency it offers early morning!
3. Family friendly neghbourhood- young families/lots of kids.

Currently we are renting in summit and really like it here-walking distance to train, pre-school, ymca, down town etc. But feel that it is quite an affluent area and we might not get the best bang for our buck. Looking for atleast 3 bed and 2 baths with some yard (ideally 0.2-0.4 acres), if possible in this budget. Or is that unrealistic?

Personally I like millburn for the reputation it holds and has lot to offer in terms of academics and extra-curricular activities for kids, has a decent downtown. The worrying factor, though not so much, is the snob factor I have heard couple of times and kids getting their own club determined by the house they live in, cars their parents drive etc etc. Is that something we should worry about? I havent personally felt it in Summit so far in last 8 months, but definitely it gets noticed on what you wear/drive/live etc.

On the other hand livingston seems to offer lot more space/value for money we are ready to spend, has good schools (maybe a notch lower!) but lacks a real downtown, need to drive around everywhere! Also dont have much information on pre-school (public ones especially).

No much idea about chatham/new providence in terms of pre-school or elementary education, though their high schools are really good from the rankings I have seen.

Any advice/insights from people living here or have lived here on the place in subject would be really really appreciated.

Also would like to know if some (or more) of these towns are considered relatively homogeneous and not having much diversity factor. Is that going to really matter in the longer run. We plan to stay in the place atleast for 10 years!

Is there any other town we should add to the list, given the critera above?

Thanks!

Nitin
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Old 01-12-2012, 12:20 PM
 
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I was born and raised in Summit went through the entire school system and lived in the general vicinity for 35 years. Both Summit and Milburn are quite affluent. Both have great school systems. And you are right that both have a rich/non-rich clique especially in the school system. Chatham is a also a nice town, still upscale but less prententious. Another town with good commutes and a decent down town would be Madison. On the Raritan valley line you have Westfield that is also nice. You could also look at towns along the Gladstone line like New Providence.
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Old 01-12-2012, 12:39 PM
 
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Thanks vacoder. We thought of Westfield but the need to change train has put this town low in the list, though it is there. Are there good pre-schools and elementary schools in NP?
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Old 01-12-2012, 12:46 PM
 
6,242 posts, read 2,165,125 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nitin_shams View Post
Thanks vacoder. We thought of Westfield but the need to change train has put this town low in the list, though it is there. Are there good pre-schools and elementary schools in NP?
Yes. From what I have heard. My wife's brother lives in NP and they were always possitive about the school system. Both of there children went on to very good colleges.

And you are right about the switch train thing. I lived for 7 years on the Raritan line and I did not like to have to switch in Newark.
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Old 01-12-2012, 07:00 PM
 
Location: NJ/NY
9,598 posts, read 9,467,492 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nitin_shams View Post


On the other hand livingston seems to offer lot more space/value for money we are ready to spend, has good schools (maybe a notch lower!) but lacks a real downtown, need to drive around everywhere! Also dont have much information on pre-school (public ones especially).
I'm just wondering how you came to this conclusion. Depending on the year, Livingston often ranks higher than Summit and New Providence. And even years when it doesn't, these towns are always so close that the difference is statistically insignificant. Or were you just comparing to Milburn? In which case most schools rank at least "a notch lower". But even then, my children's Short Hills friends don't seem any more advanced than other kids their age from decent school systems.
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Old 01-12-2012, 07:28 PM
 
22 posts, read 41,127 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AnesthesiaMD View Post
I'm just wondering how you came to this conclusion. Depending on the year, Livingston often ranks higher than Summit and New Providence. And even years when it doesn't, these towns are always so close that the difference is statistically insignificant. Or were you just comparing to Milburn? In which case most schools rank at least "a notch lower". But even then, my children's Short Hills friends don't seem any more advanced than other kids their age from decent school systems.
I was looking relative and w.r.t. Millburn. Motivated kids and parents would do just as good anywhere. But wanted to hear parent views first hand if some of the concerns we have really matter?
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Old 01-13-2012, 01:07 PM
 
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Have you considered Ridgewood and Tenafly? 70-80 min door to door is doable from both towns.
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Old 10-02-2014, 10:38 AM
 
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Hi:

It seems like I would like to continue this thread. It seems like my case is just like Nitins, who must have settled down by now I am guessing. Nitin, please write in to share updates/ experiences.

My name is Radha and are currently based in Jersey City. Hav eone 7 year old and we are looking to buy a home and settle down in the suburbs.

I am finally trying to chose between New Providence and Livingston. Would love to get feedback on which town would be better to raise your child form every resoect.

Thanks,
Radha
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Old 10-02-2014, 12:53 PM
 
1,449 posts, read 2,643,690 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rsrs View Post
Hi:

It seems like I would like to continue this thread. It seems like my case is just like Nitins, who must have settled down by now I am guessing. Nitin, please write in to share updates/ experiences.

My name is Radha and are currently based in Jersey City. Hav eone 7 year old and we are looking to buy a home and settle down in the suburbs.

I am finally trying to chose between New Providence and Livingston. Would love to get feedback on which town would be better to raise your child form every resoect.

Thanks,
Radha
Radha

While both towns have good schools there are significant differences in the towns. Firstly, Livingston's taxes are significantly higher than New Providence's. Secondly, Livingston does not have a train station, while NP has two, one named New Providence and another Murray Hill (an area within NP). If you are planning on using mass transit to commute to work, this makes a major difference in your commute time and options. In Livingston you can take a shuttle from the mall, (& where you can park for free), for a fee to take you to the S. Orange train station. Using the shuttle will add significantly to your commute time as you will have to drive to the mall, park your car, wait for the shuttle, which then takes ~20 mins to reach the station. I am not sure if you are working in JC or Manhattan, but either way, it def. makes quite a difference on your commute time. Esp since IIRC, the NP trains are on a midtown direct line, into BYC Penn, and you can also get an express train from Summit (in case you work in JC) to Hoboken and transfer to light rail to JC.

While Livingston's schools have been considered good for longer than NP, though as of late they have been considered not as good as NP. But we are talking the difference between a Mercedes and a BMW. Livingston also has a reputation for being aggressively competitive. (students and parents) While some kids may thrive in that type of atmosphere, not all do. NP does not have that kind of reputation.

Another notable difference is Livingston is more crowded and suburban, NP is much more rural and spread out.

KoalaNJ
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Old 10-02-2014, 01:44 PM
 
Location: NJ/NY
9,598 posts, read 9,467,492 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KoalaNJ View Post
Radha

While both towns have good schools there are significant differences in the towns. Firstly, Livingston's taxes are significantly higher than New Providence's. Secondly, Livingston does not have a train station, while NP has two, one named New Providence and another Murray Hill (an area within NP). If you are planning on using mass transit to commute to work, this makes a major difference in your commute time and options. In Livingston you can take a shuttle from the mall, (& where you can park for free), for a fee to take you to the S. Orange train station. Using the shuttle will add significantly to your commute time as you will have to drive to the mall, park your car, wait for the shuttle, which then takes ~20 mins to reach the station. I am not sure if you are working in JC or Manhattan, but either way, it def. makes quite a difference on your commute time. Esp since IIRC, the NP trains are on a midtown direct line, into BYC Penn, and you can also get an express train from Summit (in case you work in JC) to Hoboken and transfer to light rail to JC.

While Livingston's schools have been considered good for longer than NP, though as of late they have been considered not as good as NP. But we are talking the difference between a Mercedes and a BMW. Livingston also has a reputation for being aggressively competitive. (students and parents) While some kids may thrive in that type of atmosphere, not all do. NP does not have that kind of reputation.

Another notable difference is Livingston is more crowded and suburban, NP is much more rural and spread out.

KoalaNJ
For some reason, I can only imagine why, Koala doesn't seem to like Livingston. She never misses an opportunity to steer people away, even if it means giving false information. She even told a poster once that it is a far commute from Livingston to Florham Park. Florham Park is the next town over from Livingston. I can dig up that thread if need be.

Here are some of the falsehoods she is telling you in this thread, and I will add some links to prove she is misleading you:

Falsehood #1. "Livingston's taxes are significantly higher than New Providence's"

Reality: New Providence's taxes are higher than Livingston's taxes.

Here is a chart of the tax rates for all towns in NJ. New Jersey 2013 Property Tax Rates | NJ Town Property Taxes

Falsehood #2. "Livingston is more crowded and suburban, NP is much more rural and spread out."

Reality: New Providence is more crowded and suburban, Livingston is much more spread out. Neither is rural. NP has 12,385 people packed into only 3.665 square miles. Livingston has 27,391 people in 14 square miles. Simple math will tell you which is more crowded.
https://www.google.com/search?client...F-8&gws_rd=ssl
https://www.google.com/search?client...F-8&gws_rd=ssl

Falsehood #3. "While Livingston's schools have been considered good for longer than NP, though as of late they have been considered not as good as NP."

Reality: NP is only ranked higher by 1 source, NJ Monthly. Livingston is ranked higher by several others. Livingston's test scores are higher (AND for a much higher population I might add) New Jersey's Top Performing Public High Schools for Academics & the Arts in 2014 | NJ.com, AND US News and World Reports gives Livingston slightly higher numbers than New Providence as well.

By the way, I think both towns are fine. You can't go wrong with either one.

Last edited by AnesthesiaMD; 10-02-2014 at 02:04 PM..
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