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Old 05-28-2012, 08:40 PM
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I am moving to Boston to attend Northeastern in the fall from Columbus OH. I was wondering if anyone could help with finding the best neighborhood to look for apartments in? I have heard good things about Allston and JP. I am a female in my early 20's and I want an area that's safe yet affordable. Any ideas anyone?

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Old 05-28-2012, 10:44 PM
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A lot of this depends on the general character you'd prefer to have in the area where you live. Much of Allston is a student ghetto kind of area, with lots of undergrads and plenty of noisy undergrad parties. JP varies in character depending on the particular neighborhood, or even the street. I don't know JP well enough to recommend specific areas, but it is generally a mix of a little gritty in some spots, middle-class families in other neighborhoods, and young professionals (more mature than the undergrads in Allston) in other areas.

The best area also depends on such factors as: how safe you mean by "safe;" how long a commute you can handle; whether you'll have a car, so that parking and access to public transit would be issues; what you can afford for rent; whether you'd be willing to have roommates so your rent would go further.
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Old 05-29-2012, 12:11 AM
Location: Quincy, Mass. (near Boston)
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Mission Hill is closer to NU (some might call it NEU?) than the two neighborhoods you cited.

It's much better and safer now than 10-20 years ago. Lots of students from NU, MassArt and Wentworth live there, usually as roomies because a one bedroom is likely $1100 minimum.

A few streets to avoid, but check Craigslist by searching for streets like Calumet and St. Alphonsus. Parts of Parker Hill street are good as well as Fisher Ave and most of Parker St.

You'll have bus and trolley options nearby...
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Old 05-29-2012, 08:34 AM
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OGRE: I will have a car and i'd prefer a 30 min or less commute to school. I'd prefer to live alone and my price range is about 1200-1500 a month.
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Old 05-29-2012, 09:54 AM
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Check out the Fenway (Between Boyston st, and Park Dr.).. lots of studios in your price range, short walk to NEU.

Parking might be tough though, it a tiny neighborhood.

Also, parking at NEU is expensive for the semester, like $350ish
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Old 05-29-2012, 09:02 PM
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Another question would be whether even with a car you'd prefer access to public transit, also whether you would plan on commuting via public transit or auto.

As long as you realize that "safe" is a relative term in an urban setting and it's always good to exercise due prudence, Allston should work for you if you'd prefer or would not mind being surrounded by the undergraduate scene. If you'd prefer to avoid that crowd for the most part, you could find something that would work by getting some nitty-gritty info from someone who knows JP better than I do, about where the young professionals are located.

Also, check around the Oak Square neighborhood in Brighton, which has a commercial district with some basic small stores and eateries, and a population which mixes blue-collar longtime residents, young professionals, grad students, and some undergrads mixed in, but not the overwhelming presence of undergrads you'll find farther east. Really, anywhere in Brighton roughly west of Market St. would work just as a place to live, but I recommend Oak Sq. in particular because of the convenience of having commercial activity nearby, and because the population mix there would put you in the presence of others in a similar stage of life as you. Avoid Brighton east of Market St. unless you're okay with a pronounced undergrad scene. Also be aware that from areas toward the west side of Brighton public transit is by bus, if that makes a difference in preferences for transportation.

If you'd be okay with a population that has some mix but is much more heavily skewed toward families, you might look at Newton's Newton Centre neighborhood. I recommend that part of Newton in particular because of the combination of public transit service and commercial activity within walking distance from much of the neighborhood. In Newton, the positive tradeoff for a population that does not feature students or young professionals as a predominant presence is that Newton is really a very safe town, if squeaky clean safety is a high priority for you.

Speaking of areas that are very safe relatively speaking, you might want to at least take a look at the Coolidge Corner and Brookline Village sections of Brookline. There are two reasons I would not recommend putting these areas at the top of your list. One is that Brookline is expensive. You'd be looking most likely at only studios within your price range, and they'd be near the top of that range at that. The other reason is that Brookline does not allow parking on the street at night, which limits the options for housing since not all apartments will include off-street parking. The parking issue also circles back around to the cost of housing in Brookline, since arranging for parking usually will add to the cost, because you'd need to rent a parking space, or go with a place with off-street parking, which will likely mean a higher rent. Despite these detractions, Brookline is at least worth a look, because it's very close to Northeastern, with both neighborhoods I've suggested having public transit service and local commercial activity. Coolidge Corner in particular will have a demographic mix of grad students, young professionals, etc., which perhaps might appeal to a college student your age.
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