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Albany area Albany - Schenectady - Troy - Saratoga Springs metro area
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Old 10-15-2010, 06:38 PM
Location: In Denial
688 posts, read 1,159,909 times
Reputation: 555


I am posting because I truly hope someone will find it helpful. Having relocated 5 X in the past 4 yrs. and another soon, I do alot of research into various communities and have found City-Data helpful; just ignore angry posters.
My husband and I moved to Albany/Capitol Reg. (Delmar/Bethlehem) 3 yrs ago. We are 50 year old professionals. Empty-Nesters; our college aged daughter lived with with us for 2 yrs when she transferred to University at Albany, she moved out this summer (more on her experience as a college student later... keep reading!)
This is our experience/advice & pros/cons:
The immediate area has bored us to tears due to our demographic. This is a place for families, 20-somethings/college students, or summering retirees. No one aged 50 would be caught dead whooping it up here; well, there is no place TO whoop it up (except Lark Tavern, thanks Tess!)
GREAT area for kayaks, canoes, skiing, hiking, rock climbing. Mtns, streams, lakes, rivers.
We LOVED the proximity to NYC- 2 hrs on Amtrak to Penn station, or catch the Metro North in PK- an hour to Grand Central. Wonderful.
WATCH OUT for NYS income taxes! We never paid addtl income tax in any state in the past; we owe NYS 6K. Installment plan. Gulp.
WATCH OUT for St. Troopers/local Police! Hubby = perfect driving rcrd; 0 tickets in 30 yrs. 3 tix in 3 yrs here, not for speeding, but for dumb things I wont get into- Me? 4 tix in 4 months. 2 for speeding, 1 for "tint" & 1 for passing on the right in dwntwn Lake Placid. Daughter was stopped and the Trooper asked for her phone number. Her friends say this is commonplace. YUK. Creeped her out. Me too. Hubby double creeped.
WATCH OUT for cars passing on your right, happens ALL the time.
Beautiful summer & fall weather!
Saratoga Springs is GREAT, we often drive the 45 minutes on Fri/Sat to walk the park and later eat, listen to music, etc- lots of good choices. The weekday commute between SS and Alb is AWFUL. Housing in SS is pricey; something comparable to our place is approx $500/month more (rent). If commute and $$ are not issues, LIVE HERE!
Unless you are a college student, DO NOT live in downtown Albany. If you are a student, or the student's parent, choose the appt. location VERY carefully or best of all choose a dorm.
Thinking about Schenectady/ Troy / Cohoes? Dirty, poor, unappealing (a few areas in Troy are OK esp. for college kids)
Glens Falls/Queensbury? Hubby's family lives in GF. I wouldn't. Very small town, long way to anywhere, not much to offer.
OK- too long- on to the college report- dau loved U of Alb. and (mostly) sidestepped the heavy parties. Helped that she lived at home and that she is not naturally inclined towards heavy parties. She says the diversity, intellectual curiosity and range of languages of fellow students was amazing. Not to mention the weekend trips to NYC that will go down in history.
Hope this is useful to at least a few peole considering the region. We are glad to be moving on, but there are those who love it here. Peace.
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Old 10-16-2010, 05:21 AM
7,444 posts, read 14,790,922 times
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Your post was interesting, especially from your point of view, and without naming the place you could have been talking about living in NJ, as our experience. We are in Saratoga and go into Albany/Schnectady for shows. In NJ we lived less than an hour from NYC and rarely enjoyed the hassle of going. Your experience living in Albany may be different from others. It all depends on what you are seeking in an area.
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Old 10-16-2010, 09:20 AM
Location: Where my bills arrive
13,463 posts, read 12,598,651 times
Reputation: 12106
A very constructive post! It's nice reading an ousiders perceptions it appears you've lived several places and can constructivley compare the areas. What did you mean by the additional taxes? Was it just the higher rate? We are considering gf/queensbury as a retirement area, seems more cost efficent than Saratoga Springs.

Good luck wherever you move next....
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Old 10-16-2010, 02:18 PM
Location: Somewhere in America
13,945 posts, read 13,028,115 times
Reputation: 24417
NY has property (town/city/village, county, school, fire, library) taxes that aren't always divulged unfortunately. I think it's because there's so many and if you don't know what to ask for, you're out of luck and stunned.

There's aslo sales tax which is around 8% in most of the state. There are many areas where it's lots higher and a handful where it's lower.

There's also income tax. It's not a low tax and not a high tax compared to other states, but all of these taxes add up quickly and you're not prepared for it, you end up in a world of hurt come April 15th!

And God help you if you're in the NYC area! They have even MORE taxes....how's that possible? Their property taxes are lower though.

Now that I live in SC, I greatly miss Upstate NY! It's amazing the things I miss. Who ever would have thought they would miss trees and grass? I didn't especially with the horrible allergies I had up there. The lack of shade is a very hard thing to adjust to.

Weather! Never thought I would miss weather! Our weathermen just copy and paste our weather. They even talk about it on the evening news. My favorite was the last cold front that moved through. It was 95 on a Sunday and the cold front was coming through for Monday and our high was going drop like a rock and be cold. I was thinking oooh 70's I'll be able to go outside! No such luck....it was 89....what kind of cold front is that?

What in the area where you looking to do? Some of those cities mentioned actually DO have nice areas. You just gotta know where they are! Albany, Schenectady, Troy, Cohoes, and Glens Falls all have areas where there are VERY nice and EXPENSIVE homes. They are cities so they do have some rough patches. That's true for every city. Even Saratoga has some less than desirable areas. Granted they aren't as bad as Arbor Hill to us common folk, but to the high society and wealthy people who've lived in Saratoga for generations, those areas are just as bad in their eyes.
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Old 10-17-2010, 07:59 AM
7,444 posts, read 14,790,922 times
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Taxes? Every state gets you one way or the other (personal tax, high insurance, military pension tax, social security tax, utility tax, etc. etc.) Most important is where you are happy. We pay property tax and school tax, but living in upstate is perfect for us. The beauty of the adirondacks and the friendly helpful people all add to a place we call home.

With all the moving you have done, 4x in the past 5 years, I wouldn't think you could have the time to really explore an area in depth. Your next stop in MD isn't a bargain either in taxes. Our son lives there and they plan on moving soon as they as a young couple don't find it meets their needs.
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Old 10-18-2010, 08:55 AM
70,616 posts, read 97,543,107 times
Reputation: 15456
The last 2 posts makes some great points in terms of taxes and city neighborhoods. What's interesting is that the cost of living in many Upstate NY area is lower than the national average. So, it all depends on what a person wants.
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Old 10-19-2010, 09:00 PM
Location: In Denial
688 posts, read 1,159,909 times
Reputation: 555
You are absolutely correct. It all depends upon your perspective. Check out the stats.
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