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Old 05-01-2007, 09:40 AM
 
2 posts, read 21,629 times
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Default City with easy commute to NYC?:NY, CT, NJ

Hi all!
My husband and I live on the Upper West Side in a beautiful rental 1 bedroom but we have a baby on the way and it is not reasonable to spend our savings on rent in a place that is going to get small soon, specially if I stop working after the baby comes. We also have an adorable doggie.

We are desperately looking to buy a nice, affordable (350K tops) 2 bedroom within easy commutable distance to NYC (we are looking at condos/townhomes.) My husband works in Times Square.

We want a good school district with a lot of mommies with strollers and places to walk our dog.

Any ideas?
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Old 05-01-2007, 10:00 AM
 
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South Orange has real nice neighborhoods. (exp though). You could also check a little further south i.e. Edison, Iselin, Woodbridge. (train rides are a little longer but not unbearable in the least)
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Old 05-04-2007, 11:13 AM
 
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I live in Roselle Park. You can walk to the train station. The downtown main road is small but has all of the basics. The local government is very involved in all of the towns activities and there is a good sense of community. The schools are great and they have a very supportive PTA group of moms. There is also easy access to the parkway and turnpike.
Homes in Roselle Park are in your price range. There are lots of open houses in May. Check it out :-)
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Old 05-04-2007, 11:14 AM
 
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We have a dog too :-) and a six year old. We love it.
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Old 05-05-2007, 09:41 AM
 
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Default Bloomfield

Bloomfield has easy commute. Can get there 20 min
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Old 05-05-2007, 11:27 AM
 
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At least you are looking for townhouses too because $350 is tough for a lot of the places near train lines... you might want to also consider towns that have bus lines to NYC.

In regards to finding places with lots of strollers... most of NJ is two incomers to pay for mortgages so the kids are usually in daycare. With that said, here are some towns that should have something under $350, above average school systems, most with downtowns and have a train/bus stop: Dunellen, Scotch Plains, Cranford (lots of babies in Westfield but finding something in that price range?), Bridgewater (be careful with the Finderne section, no downtown) and Fanwood (borrow Scotch Plains downtown, the towns share a train stop on the border), Somerville (not sure about the school system), Morristown, New Providence (borrow Summit's downtown).

have to admit that I don't know much about North Jersey.

http://www.njtransit.com/sf_tr_schedules_map.jsp (broken link)
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Old 09-11-2007, 07:01 AM
 
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Default Be careful

My husband and I moved to New Jersey (Morris County) from Hell's Kitchen (NYC) about 18 months ago. Some things to consider:

(1) THE COMMUTE: you must live in a town with a train station (forget the non-resident parking--it does not exist unless you enjoy showing up to the station at 5:30 AM) and even if you live in a town with a train station, it may take up to a year to get a parking permit. The trains run irregularly (based on some 1950's standard of the working male who clocked in at 8 and left at 4). Check out train timetables and add about 20 minutes to whatever times you see there (I have literally sat on the train as it chugged along at about 4 miles and hour for most of the commute, without any explanation). Commuting by rail is also not very civilized (people *** on their cell phones, drink alcohol out of paper bags, eat snacks and tuck their wrappers into the seat next to you...) As a New Yorker, you will have to quickly forget any comfort of catching a subway, bus or cab, and leaving your apt. at a normal time. You will be stuck on THEIR timetables (and the trains are NEVER on time!) and even if you drive (my husband now drives to Jersey City and takes the ferry) you will have to leave early to beat traffic.

Towns to consider for honestly decent commuting in NJ are South Orange, Maplewood, Montclair, Hoboken, Jersey City, Edgewater, etc.

(2) Lack of life. They are very nice out here, but mostly there is no real sign of vibrant life--people with DIFFERING interests and ideas. There is little to no diversity out here (and I am not only comparing it to NYC--I have lived in Cambridge, Mass., and Queens, NY).

Towns with signs of life and diversity (yes, mommies with strollers, mommies who like to do yoga together, mommies who understand that they still want a life for themselves in addition to being mommies): Maplewood, Montclair, South Orange, Morristown (your commute will be worse however), or stick with Jersey City, Hoboken, Edgewater).

(3) Nobody walks anywhere. You will have to drive everywhere all the time. I kid you not. Forget pushing strollers around flower-box laden town sidewalks (that is what commercials are for) UNLESS you move to some civilized place like Hoboken, Jersey City, Edgewater, etc., because even where there are sidewalks, no one does it. You may drive to a nice town (like Montclair, Maplewood, or South Orange) and then push your stroller, but otherwise you will spend your time driving mostly everywhere. Don't forget time driving adds to your regular routine (30 minutes round trip to the supermarket, 20 minutes round trip to the dry cleaners, etc.)

(4) Cost. It is not cheaper to live out here. Maybe if you move really far away to an ex-urb or the country; however, the salaries are a lot less. Do not delude yourself that you will someday work out in the suburbs. The commute will always be an issue, especially when you stop working and have to live on his salary, which, let's face it is always higher in NYC.

Bottom line: be careful and realistic. Do not get romantically attached to what you think you are gaining by moving to the suburbs (unless you grew up in a suburb and know all the realities--I grew up in NYC, and unfortunately, all this was a shock). Consider the outer boroughs of New York (Astoria is lovely, many parts of Brooklyn are affordable--you can catch a bus from Bay Ridge, I know people who live in Staten Island who love it) where there is still diversity and a truly livable commute.
I apologize if this sounds bitter, but as I said, this is strictly the viewpoint of someone from NYC living in the suburbs for the first time, and I wish someone had given me a little advice or warning.
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Old 09-11-2007, 07:19 AM
 
Location: GA
2,544 posts, read 6,232,042 times
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Cost of living in NJ is similar to NYC except housing. Rents are lower. You will not find a house in Montclair for $350 (that you will want to raise a child in). You could check Bloomfield, mid to south side. North end tends to be more expensive and not many 2br homes. There's a lot of diversity in NJ, and plenty "to do" but it comes with a price. Montclair area is great, but pricey. Many people are going to Bloomfield to live, but are still close enough to Montclair to take advantage of all it has to offer. As ace198 said, it's a pretty quick commute to NYC. If you need more info on Bloomfield, please ask.
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Old 09-11-2007, 08:04 AM
 
Location: High Bridge
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I would second Maplewood - two resident new yorkers here at my office have recently (within the past year or so) moved to Maplewood, and both are enjoying themselves there.
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Old 09-11-2007, 05:31 PM
 
29 posts, read 150,981 times
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Default City with easy commute to NYC?:NY, CT, NJ

I can see how suburban life could seem a good bit slower than life in NYC, especially Hell's Kitchen, which is very active! Personally I am very happy to leave the big city behind. I lived in Hoboken for 14 years and was always in Manhattan for events. It just started to leave me cold. Maybe because I am getting older. Now I live in the burbs and I really enjoy the peace and quiet. I like being close to more parks, having a yard, not having to deal with honking cars, parking problems, noise, and crowding. I feel I have much more privacy in the burbs--I am the transitional southern Bergen county area that I call suburban-urban, Rutherford. I will be moving to Morris county to have more peace and quiet. (I work from home so the commute issue does not apply to me now, but it might in the future. ) But the commute takes about an hour and change to NYC, vs Hoboken which nearly always took me 45 to 60 minutes by bus. Rutherford took an hour by bus. And we had rude cell phoners on the bus too.

(A total aside-I have heard that the Montclair De Camp line is ruthless in not allowing any cell phone conversations on the bus! )



I would respectfully differ with the statement that dropping off dry cleaning takes 20 minutes--it just depends on where you are. If you move to a town like Morristown or Montclair within walking distance to town it doesn't have to be a big production.

I can see how it might be a little stultifying being in the burbs after all the easy access in NYC to conveniences and a social network, but I would say give it some time, you will find some kindred spirits to hang around with. The libraries in Morristown are fantastic, the parks are fantastic, you are near some of the most beautiful areas in NJ.







Quote:
Originally Posted by lyn_T View Post
My husband and I moved to New Jersey (Morris County) from Hell's Kitchen (NYC) about 18 months ago. Some things to consider:

(1) THE COMMUTE: you must live in a town with a train station (forget the non-resident parking--it does not exist unless you enjoy showing up to the station at 5:30 AM) and even if you live in a town with a train station, it may take up to a year to get a parking permit. The trains run irregularly (based on some 1950's standard of the working male who clocked in at 8 and left at 4). Check out train timetables and add about 20 minutes to whatever times you see there (I have literally sat on the train as it chugged along at about 4 miles and hour for most of the commute, without any explanation). Commuting by rail is also not very civilized (people *** on their cell phones, drink alcohol out of paper bags, eat snacks and tuck their wrappers into the seat next to you...) As a New Yorker, you will have to quickly forget any comfort of catching a subway, bus or cab, and leaving your apt. at a normal time. You will be stuck on THEIR timetables (and the trains are NEVER on time!) and even if you drive (my husband now drives to Jersey City and takes the ferry) you will have to leave early to beat traffic.

Towns to consider for honestly decent commuting in NJ are South Orange, Maplewood, Montclair, Hoboken, Jersey City, Edgewater, etc.

(2) Lack of life. They are very nice out here, but mostly there is no real sign of vibrant life--people with DIFFERING interests and ideas. There is little to no diversity out here (and I am not only comparing it to NYC--I have lived in Cambridge, Mass., and Queens, NY).

Towns with signs of life and diversity (yes, mommies with strollers, mommies who like to do yoga together, mommies who understand that they still want a life for themselves in addition to being mommies): Maplewood, Montclair, South Orange, Morristown (your commute will be worse however), or stick with Jersey City, Hoboken, Edgewater).

(3) Nobody walks anywhere. You will have to drive everywhere all the time. I kid you not. Forget pushing strollers around flower-box laden town sidewalks (that is what commercials are for) UNLESS you move to some civilized place like Hoboken, Jersey City, Edgewater, etc., because even where there are sidewalks, no one does it. You may drive to a nice town (like Montclair, Maplewood, or South Orange) and then push your stroller, but otherwise you will spend your time driving mostly everywhere. Don't forget time driving adds to your regular routine (30 minutes round trip to the supermarket, 20 minutes round trip to the dry cleaners, etc.)

(4) Cost. It is not cheaper to live out here. Maybe if you move really far away to an ex-urb or the country; however, the salaries are a lot less. Do not delude yourself that you will someday work out in the suburbs. The commute will always be an issue, especially when you stop working and have to live on his salary, which, let's face it is always higher in NYC.

Bottom line: be careful and realistic. Do not get romantically attached to what you think you are gaining by moving to the suburbs (unless you grew up in a suburb and know all the realities--I grew up in NYC, and unfortunately, all this was a shock). Consider the outer boroughs of New York (Astoria is lovely, many parts of Brooklyn are affordable--you can catch a bus from Bay Ridge, I know people who live in Staten Island who love it) where there is still diversity and a truly livable commute.
I apologize if this sounds bitter, but as I said, this is strictly the viewpoint of someone from NYC living in the suburbs for the first time, and I wish someone had given me a little advice or warning.
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