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Old 01-31-2013, 12:10 PM
 
34 posts, read 50,838 times
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Hi all... I hope no one who patrols the Boston and Nashville forums thinks I'm trolling... I'm not! Just trying to get a feel of some different cities that I'm strongly considering moving to.

Quick background... Wife and I are early 30's, lived in the NYC area our whole life. Both in the medical field, and I'm looking to start residency training this year. I've interviewed at some awesome programs around the country, and it's decision time. Chicago is up there as one of my favorites.

We have made 2 recent trips there to look around and get a feel for the city, and we loved it. Our favorite areas were Lincoln Park and Old Town. We'd really like to be in an area with a good neighborhoody/walkable feel. We were also told to check out South Loop (good commute for me to Hyde Park), and West Loop, but they seemed kinda quiet to us, not much foot traffic. For our presumed budget, it seems like we could be comfortable in either of those places, and still manage to hang onto one or two cars.

My questions for you guys, if you please...

1. Anyone on here live in the NYC/metro area and move out to Chicago? How did you find the transition? We live in Westchester now, but would be happy to try an actual city for a few years.

2. We're also strongly considering Boston, which has a real appeal because it's driveable to our families in NY, and we have more friends in that area. Other than that though, Boston seems a lot more difficult than Boston. It looks more expensive to me, harder to get around, harder to keep a car, harder to have a big dog in (which we do)... Generally... harder. I'm still trying to work that out on the Boston forum. Does anyone have any good life experiences with both cities and can make a comparison?

3. The cold sucks, but I think we could deal with it. Not much I need to clarify on that.

4. Is the gang violence thing a problem in the more "civilized" areas of the city? It really makes me nervous hearing about the myriad shooting deaths in the city. I need my wife to be safe while I'm working odd hours.

5. On a similar note, I see Chicago lifted the ban on guns, and I'm kinda interested. This is just a curiosity. Is it feasible/straightforward to get a concealed carry permit? For example, in NYC, it's technically legal, but you'd have to be sleeping with the mayor to actually get one.

Thanks all... I welcome any other thoughts on your city! I really did like it a lot while I was there, and the program was easily one of my favorites!
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Old 01-31-2013, 12:21 PM
 
2,426 posts, read 3,935,216 times
Reputation: 1461
Quote:
Originally Posted by medicalguy30 View Post
Hi all... I hope no one who patrols the Boston and Nashville forums thinks I'm trolling... I'm not! Just trying to get a feel of some different cities that I'm strongly considering moving to.

Quick background... Wife and I are early 30's, lived in the NYC area our whole life. Both in the medical field, and I'm looking to start residency training this year. I've interviewed at some awesome programs around the country, and it's decision time. Chicago is up there as one of my favorites.

We have made 2 recent trips there to look around and get a feel for the city, and we loved it. Our favorite areas were Lincoln Park and Old Town. We'd really like to be in an area with a good neighborhoody/walkable feel. We were also told to check out South Loop (good commute for me to Hyde Park), and West Loop, but they seemed kinda quiet to us, not much foot traffic. For our presumed budget, it seems like we could be comfortable in either of those places, and still manage to hang onto one or two cars.

My questions for you guys, if you please...

1. Anyone on here live in the NYC/metro area and move out to Chicago? How did you find the transition? We live in Westchester now, but would be happy to try an actual city for a few years.

2. We're also strongly considering Boston, which has a real appeal because it's driveable to our families in NY, and we have more friends in that area. Other than that though, Boston seems a lot more difficult than Boston. It looks more expensive to me, harder to get around, harder to keep a car, harder to have a big dog in (which we do)... Generally... harder. I'm still trying to work that out on the Boston forum. Does anyone have any good life experiences with both cities and can make a comparison?

3. The cold sucks, but I think we could deal with it. Not much I need to clarify on that.

4. Is the gang violence thing a problem in the more "civilized" areas of the city? It really makes me nervous hearing about the myriad shooting deaths in the city. I need my wife to be safe while I'm working odd hours.

5. On a similar note, I see Chicago lifted the ban on guns, and I'm kinda interested. This is just a curiosity. Is it feasible/straightforward to get a concealed carry permit? For example, in NYC, it's technically legal, but you'd have to be sleeping with the mayor to actually get one.

Thanks all... I welcome any other thoughts on your city! I really did like it a lot while I was there, and the program was easily one of my favorites!
To answer your questions:

1. Doesn't apply to me.

2. The only comparison is that your money will take you much farther in Chicago than Boston. You can get a lot more for your buck here. One pro with Boston is that you said you have a lot friends there. Chicago can be a little "cliquey" but nothing that one can't overcome. I feel a lot of people are immigrants/of immigrant descent or are from other parts of the Midwest. Now there are certainly a ton of people as well from other parts of the country but those two groups dominate the most. However, I am sure Boston is similar in that dynamic. It's not hard to make friends here, but just be aware that it can be "cliquey" especially if you don't try.

3. You will survive. I think what's harder to deal with is how undpredicatable the weather is.

4. Gang violence really only occurs in the poor/dangerous neighborhoods. Living in places like Lincoln Park you are perfectly safe. Actually almost all of the northside is very safe and you have nothing to worry about. Chicago's deadly crime really only occurs in specific areas which I highly doubt you will be in on a regualr basis. Yes Chicago's dangerous parts are dangerous, but as long as you are not in those areas you will be fine.
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Old 01-31-2013, 12:24 PM
 
34 posts, read 50,838 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chicagoist123 View Post
To answer your questions:

1. Doesn't apply to me.

2. The only comparison is that your money will take you much farther in Chicago than Boston. You can get a lot more for your buck here. One pro with Boston is that you said you have a lot friends there. Chicago can be a little "cliquey" but nothing that one can't overcome. I feel a lot of people are immigrants/of immigrant descent or are from other parts of the Midwest. Now there are certainly a ton of people as well from other parts of the country but those two groups dominate the most. However, I am sure Boston is similar in that dynamic. It's not hard to make friends here, but just be aware that it can be "cliquey" especially if you don't try.

3. You will survive. I think what's harder to deal with is how undpredicatable the weather is.

4. Gang violence really only occurs in the poor/dangerous neighborhoods. Living in places like Lincoln Park you are perfectly safe. Actually almost all of the northside is very safe and you have nothing to worry about. Chicago's deadly crime really only occurs in specific areas which I highly doubt you will be in on a regualr basis. Yes Chicago's dangerous parts are dangerous, but as long as you are not in those areas you will be fine.
Thanks! Re: the cliquey-ness... It should help that I will be joining a residency program, in which the classes are generally pretty tight. So kinda like a built in automatic friend group. Should help!
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Old 01-31-2013, 12:50 PM
 
Location: Oak Park, IL
5,523 posts, read 12,990,270 times
Reputation: 3872
Boston and Chicago are both great places to train as a physician (I've done both). On the one hand, assuming you're at one of the big Harvard-affiliated hospitals, there's probably no finer place to train. You will be exposed to some of the best minds in medicine and science. Furthermore, the Boston metro area is pleasant, with a nice mix of city-living with nearby nature. On the other hand, cost of living is very high, and if you decide to stay in Boston after your training, you will have to fight to find a decent job due to the oversupply of physicians in the area.

In all honesty, I would have preferred to stay in Boston (friends and family there), but the lower cost of living in Chicago and better professional opportunity made the decision fairly easy for me. University of Chicago is obviously a quite excellent institution itself, and will open plenty of doors for you, especially if you wish to stay in the Chicago area afterwards.

The weather is equally bad in both areas, but parking is easier to come by in Chicago which helps on those frigid, snowy winter days.

Regarding violent crime, while Chicago has a much higher rate than Boston, if you don't join a street gang, don't partake in the illegal drug trade, and don't live in the neighborhoods where 90% of the violence occurs (this is easy enough for middle-class professionals), then you really don't have much to worry about.

While the gun ban is gone, it still very difficult to legally acquire a gun in Chicago.
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Old 01-31-2013, 12:54 PM
 
483 posts, read 764,565 times
Reputation: 493
1) I've lived in all 3 places you mentioned. I went New York-->Boston-->Chicago, so I can't speak for the direct transition, but it was more of a shock to go from New York to Boston than Boston to Chicago. This was probably because I lived in Manhattan and Boston felt like the suburbs for me at the time. But then going to Chicago felt like a big step up in terms of urbanness. Either way, Westchester to Old Town would be a big shift, but an opposite one since Old Town is far more like NYC than Westchester is. So the change would be getting used to real urban living, in addition to getting used to the cold.

2) Boston is more expensive real estate-wise. They're about the same tax-wise, but Chicago might be a bit worse due to sales tax. Boston is much harder for owning a car and does have slightly inferior mass transit. But I wouldn't say it is harder to get around. In my experience, Chicago has much more significant traffic. Plus it is bigger and more spread out, so distances are greater. I reverse commuted by car in both places. My Chicago commute is 80% of the distance but 150% of the time compared to Boston. I have a big dog in Chicago and it kind of sucks in terms of getting an apartment. I didn't have a dog in Boston, so I can't really compare. They are about equal in terms of dog friendliness otherwise, assuming relatively equivalent living locations (e.g. proximity to parks).

3) Chicago weather is worse than Boston in my opinion. Generally colder in winter, but less snow (I kind of prefer more snow). Summers are what really get me. I hate Chicago's humid summers. Boston was much more pleasant.

4) I don't think there is a very big difference in crime in the safe parts of Chicago versus the nice parts of Boston. Technically there might be, but it doesn't feel that way. I felt Boston had more San Francisco-style crazy bums than Chicago. Also, you are incredibly unlikely to go to Chicago's sketchier parts. They are fairly far away from the areas you're interested in (although Old Town's Cabrini-Green parts due seem a bit sketch at times). In Boston, the sketchy areas are more likely to border or be integrated into nice areas. I can count on one hand my exposure to Chicago's really sketchy areas in the almost 4 years I've been here.

5) I have no clue.

Four other things I would note:
A) Boston has more convenient and accessible nice areas in close proximity to the city than Chicago, in my opinion. I prefer Maine and New Hampshire to Wisconsin and Michigan (although Michigan is pretty freaking sweet). Plus they tend to be easier to get to in summer compared to Chicagoland's choked up expressways.

B) Bostonians generally kind of suck. Almost everyone I know (or, like) that live(d) in Boston will get out/got out as soon as it made sense to (man that was an ugly sentence). I clearly prefer Chicagoans.

C) Boston under-delivers when it comes to what I care most about in cities: abundance of bars and restaurants. Chicago excels in this regard.

D) Old Town blows.
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Old 01-31-2013, 01:03 PM
 
34 posts, read 50,838 times
Reputation: 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by oakparkdude View Post
Boston and Chicago are both great places to train as a physician (I've done both). On the one hand, assuming you're at one of the big Harvard-affiliated hospitals, there's probably no finer place to train. You will be exposed to some of the best minds in medicine and science. Furthermore, the Boston metro area is pleasant, with a nice mix of city-living with nearby nature. On the other hand, cost of living is very high, and if you decide to stay in Boston after your training, you will have to fight to find a decent job due to the oversupply of physicians in the area.

In all honesty, I would have preferred to stay in Boston (friends and family there), but the lower cost of living in Chicago and better professional opportunity made the decision fairly easy for me. University of Chicago is obviously a quite excellent institution itself, and will open plenty of doors for you, especially if you wish to stay in the Chicago area afterwards.

The weather is equally bad in both areas, but parking is easier to come by in Chicago which helps on those frigid, snowy winter days.

Regarding violent crime, while Chicago has a much higher rate than Boston, if you don't join a street gang, don't partake in the illegal drug trade, and don't live in the neighborhoods where 90% of the violence occurs (this is easy enough for middle-class professionals), then you really don't have much to worry about.

While the gun ban is gone, it still very difficult to legally acquire a gun in Chicago.
Thanks for your opinions... ugh, this is such a tough decision!
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Old 01-31-2013, 01:07 PM
 
34 posts, read 50,838 times
Reputation: 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by rca215 View Post
1) I've lived in all 3 places you mentioned. I went New York-->Boston-->Chicago, so I can't speak for the direct transition, but it was more of a shock to go from New York to Boston than Boston to Chicago. This was probably because I lived in Manhattan and Boston felt like the suburbs for me at the time. But then going to Chicago felt like a big step up in terms of urbanness. Either way, Westchester to Old Town would be a big shift, but an opposite one since Old Town is far more like NYC than Westchester is. So the change would be getting used to real urban living, in addition to getting used to the cold.
Yeah, I think the urban adjustment would be interesting, but that's ok by us...
Quote:
Originally Posted by rca215 View Post
2) Boston is more expensive real estate-wise. They're about the same tax-wise, but Chicago might be a bit worse due to sales tax. Boston is much harder for owning a car and does have slightly inferior mass transit. But I wouldn't say it is harder to get around. In my experience, Chicago has much more significant traffic. Plus it is bigger and more spread out, so distances are greater. I reverse commuted by car in both places. My Chicago commute is 80% of the distance but 150% of the time compared to Boston. I have a big dog in Chicago and it kind of sucks in terms of getting an apartment. I didn't have a dog in Boston, so I can't really compare. They are about equal in terms of dog friendliness otherwise, assuming relatively equivalent living locations (e.g. proximity to parks).
Fair enough. Why is it tough to have a big dog, landlords don't allow them in the places? I'm afraid we might end up having to buy a place in either city thanks to our canine.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rca215 View Post
3) Chicago weather is worse than Boston in my opinion. Generally colder in winter, but less snow (I kind of prefer more snow). Summers are what really get me. I hate Chicago's humid summers. Boston was much more pleasant.

4) I don't think there is a very big difference in crime in the safe parts of Chicago versus the nice parts of Boston. Technically there might be, but it doesn't feel that way. I felt Boston had more San Francisco-style crazy bums than Chicago. Also, you are incredibly unlikely to go to Chicago's sketchier parts. They are fairly far away from the areas you're interested in (although Old Town's Cabrini-Green parts due seem a bit sketch at times). In Boston, the sketchy areas are more likely to border or be integrated into nice areas. I can count on one hand my exposure to Chicago's really sketchy areas in the almost 4 years I've been here.

5) I have no clue.

Four other things I would note:
A) Boston has more convenient and accessible nice areas in close proximity to the city than Chicago, in my opinion. I prefer Maine and New Hampshire to Wisconsin and Michigan (although Michigan is pretty freaking sweet). Plus they tend to be easier to get to in summer compared to Chicagoland's choked up expressways.

B) Bostonians generally kind of suck. Almost everyone I know (or, like) that live(d) in Boston will get out/got out as soon as it made sense to (man that was an ugly sentence). I clearly prefer Chicagoans.

C) Boston under-delivers when it comes to what I care most about in cities: abundance of bars and restaurants. Chicago excels in this regard.

D) Old Town blows.
Thanks for your opinions! Why does Old Town blow?
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Old 01-31-2013, 01:11 PM
 
Location: Portland, Oregon
46,038 posts, read 32,460,486 times
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I personally have a long standing love affair with Chicago, it is the best when it comes to wanting a city that feels like a big city, but manageable like a small city with a chance to actually be able to own something.

Gang violence is only in limited neighborhoods that you will probably never go to the entire time you are there for any reason.

Definitely plenty of good advice already being posted for you about Chicago.
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Old 01-31-2013, 01:18 PM
 
483 posts, read 764,565 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by medicalguy30 View Post
Fair enough. Why is it tough to have a big dog, landlords don't allow them in the places? I'm afraid we might end up having to buy a place in either city thanks to our canine.

Thanks for your opinions! Why does Old Town blow?
If I had to guess, I would say that only 15-20% of apartments allow dogs and then maybe 30-40% of those only allow dogs under ~30 pounds. You can definitely find a place, but it might just take longer and be more competitive.

In my opinion, Old Town has very few decent restaurants and a great abundance of horrible bars that seem to proliferate annually. Other than the occasional Adobo dinner, I almost never hang out there by choice.
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Old 01-31-2013, 01:19 PM
 
34 posts, read 50,838 times
Reputation: 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by rca215 View Post
If I had to guess, I would say that only 15-20% of apartments allow dogs and then maybe 30-40% of those only allow dogs under ~30 pounds. You can definitely find a place, but it might just take longer and be more competitive.

In my opinion, Old Town has very few decent restaurants and a great abundance of horrible bars that seem to proliferate annually. Other than the occasional Adobo dinner, I almost never hang out there by choice.
Understood, thanks. Sounds like the usual city garbage. Having a big dog is so freaking limiting!
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