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Old 04-16-2010, 09:09 AM
 
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Hello All,

We will relocate to NYC area in July and are considering living in Hastings-on-Hudson. We would need help with two issues:

-- We have a child and would like to rent a two-bedroom apartment or small (multi-family) house, preferably with a little access to a backyard and close to the elementary school and train station (I need to commute to the 168th street). Are such places available? What would the rent be? How can we rent such a place? I could not find much on craigslit or other websites we have used in the past. Does anyone have contact info for realtors?

--my husband would need to commute to Princeton. how bad would the commute be? is it better by train or driving?

thank you very much
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Old 04-16-2010, 10:07 AM
 
Location: Toronto
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Princeton, as in New Jersey? I don't understand why you are looking in Westchester... Is there a specific reason? The commute by train would take hours and it's a very long drive. I would definitely focus my search on New Jersey.
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Old 04-16-2010, 10:46 AM
 
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Thank you for the reply.

We have the constrains:

--good public elementary school for our son
- relatively short commute (< one hour; preferably 45 minutes) for me to the 168th Street (Columbia Medical Center) by PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION (I do not drive)
--there may be the budget constrains, but we hope to be able to rent a 2 bedroom apartment or small house.

map quest gives 1 hour and 35 minutes for driving to Princeton, NJ. How realistic is this?

We have just started looking. Do you have other suggestions for locations that would satisfy our constrains?

How different would it be living in Riverdale, especially in terms of public schools?

Thank you
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Old 04-16-2010, 11:55 AM
 
Location: Toronto
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There are plenty of good school districts in New Jersey, and the trains will take you into Penn Station or Hoboken, which are easy commutes up to Columbia.

The drive from Hastings to Princeton at peak hours would probably take closer to 2 hours.

I can't comment on the public schools in Riverdale, and it would be an easy commute for you from Riverdale, but then your husband would have to deal with the George Washington Bridge everyday. Ugh.

I think you would be crazy to live in Westchester and in my opinion you should do some research on towns in NJ that have what you need. I guess I just can't for the life of me understand why when you work in Manhattan and NJ you would want to pay the astronomical taxes in Westchester and subject one of you to a God-awful commute. I don't get it.

By the way, where are you moving from?
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Old 04-16-2010, 12:19 PM
 
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We are moving from Philadelphia (where we have moved two years ago from LA; so we do not know much about the area). My husband is now commuting to Princeton--1.5 hours each way (but, fortunately, he is able to work from home about 2 days/week).

How close are the good school districts in NJ to Penn Station? Would I still be within one hour commute?

If living in Hastings, would my husband have to take George Washington Bridge every day?

We did not know about the taxes. In fact, it was my understanding that the taxes are higher in NJ. Do you refer to property tax? We will just be renting for now.

Thank you.
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Old 04-16-2010, 09:41 PM
 
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Commute would be fairly easy to Columbia Presbyterian. I think you get off at Marble Hill and take the subway. According to wikipedia a lot of people do that.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marble_...-North_station)

Commute to Princeton would probably be 2 - 2 1/2 hours each way.

Renting in Hastings is hit or miss. I rented there for 10 years -- first went through a broker and found a hellhole. Then found an ad in the Pennysaver for part of a house. Great neighborhood and schools.

Bergen County NJ may be an alternative. There are buses that go to the George Washington Bridge station -- feet from Columbia in under an hour. Lok for an express bus from Bergen Mall to GWB.

New Jersey Transit

I'm not sure where to rent but most of the school districts are pretty good. The high schools are big regional high schools though -- a negative in my mind. The commute from Bergen County to Princeton is probably a half hour to an hour less.

But Bergen County is tough to live in for a nondriver. Hastings is very walkable.
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Old 04-17-2010, 01:08 AM
 
Location: Washington, DC & New York
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Hastings is a good choice for the Columbia commute. Schools in Riverdale are actually pretty good. Check the ratings on InsideSchools.org for ratings.

The difference between Riverdale and Hastings is negligible, only a few minutes each way, so I might not be inclined to recommend looking at Riverdale because you would have to pay city resident income tax; however, Riverdale is not a bad location to be a non-driver.

The problem with Northern New Jersey for a non-driver is that the areas tend to get suburban quickly, or they have schools that do not perform well. Summit or South Orange can work for a non-driver, but via public transportation, you're going to be over an hour and half to Columbia, because you have to take the train to Penn and then the subway uptown; or, the train to Newark Penn and the bus to the George Washignton Bridge Bus Station.

Outbound, your hubsand would be looking at about an hour and a half or so from Hastings, and perhaps 10-15 minutes less from Riverdale to Princeton. It's the inbound traffic that can be the problem in the evening, as traffic can be awful with both tunnels, which, in turn, backs up the George Washington Bridge, and if there's a Yankees game, well...he'll be getting home late. He could, however, divert to the Tappan Zee Bridge when coming back to Westchester from Princeton. That would add about 20 minutes to the trip, via the Garden State Parkway.

Now, an option, if he didn't want to drive the entire way, would be to take the car to Newark Penn Station, and catch the train(s) to Princeton. He would take the NJTransit train to Princeton Junction, and then transfer if he needed to be near the university. That would be a 35-40 minute drive, from Hastings. And, the total commute might be closer to two hours, but the majority of that time would be on the train.

Another place to consider, which is walkable in places, is Englewood Cliffs, NJ. It would be a 30-40 minute commute for you via bus to Columbia. And, it would save crossing the Hudson for your husband. Englewood Cliffs is across the river from Riverdale, so it would still take him about an hour and fifteen minutes to get to Princeton, but he would not have to deal with the GWB. And, if there were days when he wanted to drive to Newark Penn and take the train, he could do so in about 20-25 minutes. The only problem is that it's very suburban, not as dense an area as Fort Lee or Englewood, though the schools are not going to be on par with a smaller district like Hastings in those areas, save for Englewood Cliffs which has good schools.

Hastings, however, is a great place for a family, and is workable if your husband does not mind an hour and a half in the car, knowing that some days will be brutal with traffic, or might take longer. I know some people don't mind driving, whereas others want to get out of the car as quickly as possible. If he has flex time, and can structure his work day to leave early some days, and I see in your earlier post that he can work from home too. That makes a huge difference, and if he can structure the days he does work to try to beat traffic, or drive to Newark Penn and take the train at least one of the days he's in the office, it can save some grief. I am probably the worst person to ask about that, though, since to me an hour and a half is about the same as driving around the corner.

ETA: If you do look at Englewood Cliffs, look for something in the vicinity of Sylvan Avenue & Palisade (or a couple of blocks) for some walkable areas, including the grocery store, some restaurants, the bus stop, and a drug store, IIRC.
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All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players: they have their exits and their entrances; and one man in his time plays many parts, his acts being seven ages.
~William Shakespeare
(As You Like It Act II, Scene VII)

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Last edited by bmwguydc; 04-17-2010 at 01:21 AM..
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Old 04-17-2010, 11:09 AM
 
11 posts, read 86,913 times
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Thank you so much for the information and suggestions! It helps a lot!

Regarding Hastings, I am concerned about renting, as we have not found much online. As I have said, we hope to be able to rent a two bedroom apartment or small house. Do you know how we can do a better search?

Englewood Cliffs sounds better in terms of my husband's commute, but I am concerned about me commuting by bus, which may depend on traffic.

thank you again!
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Old 04-17-2010, 11:37 AM
 
Location: Washington, DC & New York
10,830 posts, read 26,410,486 times
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The bus can have some traffic fluctuation, but you're just a short way over the bridge, and Columbia is right near the bus station. So, while there will be some variance, it's not going to be too awful. The bridge and its approach is where you would encounter the most traffic. Fort Lee is closer, and has decent schools, but they're not as small a district as Hastings or Englewood Cliffs. And, the area has many large apartment towers, some with great views and luxury features, but they're definitely an extension of the city. There are two-family houses in Fort Lee, but I'd go to Riverdale first, if I were looking for that type of housing, since the neighborhood is a little nicer, IMO, and has more green space. Off the main roads in Riverdale, the streets are also quieter and less congested.

For rentals, you can also search via the Westchester MLS, and if you expanded your search to neighboring Dobbs Ferry, also with good schools, you might find something more in line with what you're seeking. In Riverdale, you can find some listings in the Riverdale Press, and the New York Times, but many brokers have exclusives in the neighborhood, hence local advertising, or on their own sites.

Riverdale Press

Westchester MLS - wpar.org -- I have found this site works better with Internet Explorer, as it can give fits with Opera, and sometimes is slow with Mozilla.
__________________
All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players: they have their exits and their entrances; and one man in his time plays many parts, his acts being seven ages.
~William Shakespeare
(As You Like It Act II, Scene VII)

City-Data Terms of Service
City-Data FAQs
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Old 04-17-2010, 08:58 PM
 
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Thank you!
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