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Old 01-07-2009, 03:25 PM
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My husband and I are being transferred to NYC. We are wondering if anyone can recommend great places to live in New Jersey. My husband would be working in West 55th in manhattan, so we are interested in a commute that is about 45 minutes to hour max. We currently live in Sydney Australia in a place were we can literally leave the doors unlocked all the time, and would love to move somewhere just as safe? We have 2 children aged 3 and 2, so would like and area that has good pre schools. Look forward to hearing from you.

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Old 01-07-2009, 03:42 PM
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There are many nice suburban towns in NJ that might just barely skate by at an hour commute to West 55th St. for your husband, but more likely it will be closer to 75 minutes door to door.

Best thing you can do first is to check out the New Jersey Transit website, and locate towns that are within roughly 30 to 40 minutes one-way travel time to New York Penn Station (located at 34th St. in Manhattan). You'd be hard pressed to find any traditionally "nice" towns (especially if you're used to leaving your doors open) with "good" schools anywhere closer than a 30 minute train ride.

Consider that, with a best case scenario of a 30 minute train ride (e.g. Maplewood) you're husband will still need to get from home to the train station with some cushion (this will mean leaving the house probably 15 minutes before the train) and that once he's at Penn Station NYC he'll need to either walk or take the subway up to 55th St. (probably another 15 minutes). You're already at an hour without even factoring in inevitable delays. So the sooner you start adjusting your expectations for a 75 minute one way commute, the better your options will look.

Also you'll want to consider whether your husband will work standard 9 to 5 hours, or will often need to work later into the evenings, as some towns have more frequent train service than others. Some towns also don't have direct connections to Manhattan and require transfers, so that would obviously be a factor for total commute time as well as increasing the hassle factor for anyone traveling outside of narrow rush-hour windows when schedule are fairly well coordinated with frequent connections.

Some towns that come to mind right off the bat are: Maplewood, South Orange, Montclair, Millburn, Short Hills, Metuchen, Montclair, Glen Ridge, and some others with longer commutes like Westfield, Cranford, Fanwood, etc. There are many others.

You've got a lot to choose from within a 75 minute commute, but of course, price range will help you narrow down your options.

If you're open to a more urban environment, Hoboken or Jersey City are options to consider, although I don't think most people who can afford to do otherwise send their kids to public school there.

I'd also recommend looking at Westchester county, NY as another option, and Long Island as well. I don't know those areas as well, but they are the three usual suspects for suburban NYC commuters.

Good luck!
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Old 01-07-2009, 03:57 PM
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Its absolutely doable but it wont be easy or cheap. You will want to stay near the "commuter train lines" and be no more than 30-40 miles from NYC. Get a map, draw a circle. Even at that distance towns will be pretty densely populated. If you like "city" life then Northern Jersey, if you want more of a suburban feel then you need to start heading more west and south but I would not venture past Edison area. Monthly train pass fees depend on how far you are from the city and range from $150 to about $300/month. My wife used to work on 48th&5th and then 42nd$7th and her commute from Edison, door to door, was about 75 minutes. While we can, and have, left doors unlocked with no problems I would not ever recommend it anywhere but the most rural parts of the state.

Rent will start anywhere from $1300-1500 up for a 3 bedroom apt $350-$400k for a house. Of course there will be tons more available for more $$ but I think thats a decent starting point. PreSchool will run about $400-$1000 week. DayCare (glorified baby sitting) is typically cheaper. If you will buy a car you will need to do alot of shppoing around for insurance. NJ has some of the most expensive ins in the country.

After all that, if you survive and are not bankrupt, lol, welcome to the area! IMO its one of the most exciting and diverse places on earth with every recreation imaginable within 1-2 hours drive. Yes its expensive but I couldnt imagine living anywhere else in the world. Once you start narrowing in on specific areas of the state or have some towns in mind we can give more detailed info. In NJ, 2 towns only 3-4 miles away from each other can have a completely different vibe/feel to them.
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Old 01-07-2009, 04:28 PM
Location: Northern NJ
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Hi Toots,

An hour commute is possible, but you have to look at communities literally on the Hudson River.

Englewood Cliffs, Fort Lee, Edgewater, North Bergen, Cliffside Park, Weehawken, Union City, Hoboken, Jersey City.

If you are within an hour commute, you will NOT be in an area where you can leave your doors open. EVER.

NYC is a very densely populated metropolis, and you have to travel about 90 minutes to 2 hours to get to areas where you could leave your door open and still have a chance of watching TV that evening.

Lusitan mentioned some of the nicer communities in NJ, so I won't repeat them. But 75-90 minutes is going to be your husband's commute time if you want to live in a nice suburban community. New York City is a devilish place to get into and out of. Too many people, and not enough things that enable people to move.

If you decide to live truly close to NY City, your best option for a safe and buffered lifestyle is a high rise condominium. They have 24-hour doormen and decent security.

If you decide to accept 75-90 minutes, there are lots of options to be explored, and many communities have excellent pre-schools.

Good luck with your impending transfer. At least the language stays the same. Your Aussie accent (hope you have one) will make you a minor celebrity here!

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Old 01-07-2009, 04:59 PM
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Forgot to include the website link to New Jersey transit:


A map of the rail system is available here: http://www.njtransit.com/pdf/rail/Rail_System_Map.pdf

And you check the trip duration and schedules here: New Jersey Transit
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Old 01-07-2009, 05:02 PM
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I second Rob's comment about renting: if I were relocating from so far away, I would definitely recommend renting (perhaps in Hoboken) for at least a year so that I could look around and get to know the area at my leisure. Not to mention, home prices are collapsing in the USA right now, so you'll probably do yourself a double favor by waiting to buy: you'll have a much better feel for the area and you'll also save yourself some money.
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Old 01-07-2009, 05:30 PM
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Hi Toots!

Welcome to the USA!!! If you are looking for small town charm, I would suggest Cranford or Westfield. Both have a train station where you would take the train into Newark and then switch to go NYC. I highly suggest Rainbow Academy for your children's full day program. I used to work in one of their centers and they are excellent. You can do a virtual tour at Rainbow Academy A Family of Child Care Centers

Metuchen is a little further away but a direct train to NYC so no switching trains.

All of these towns are safe but please know you should lock your doors on your home and in your car here b/c no where is an absolutely safe neighborhood in NJ.

Again, welcome. I hope you will be very happy here.
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Old 01-07-2009, 09:49 PM
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If you want your husband to see his kids and not get burned out from a 75-90 minute each way commute, then I'd highly recommend you look into Long Island towns of Great Neck, Manhasset, Roslyn.
Great town, excellent public school and door-door commute about 30'.
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