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Old 07-30-2008, 04:53 PM
 
48 posts, read 163,625 times
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Hi everyone, I posted last year and received some great tips and I am hoping this time will be no different. I am currently residing in Boston and have been planning my escape for the past year almost. I was hoping to move this year but it looks like that won't be feasible, so I'm hoping to be in Chicago by next summer. As for living in Boston, I just dont really agree wtih this city. Don't get me wrong, it is a beautiful city architecturally speaking and is easy to get around in. However the social climate here is a bit "cold" for me and I don't feel like i really belong here. It's also a little too small for my taste. Its hard to explain, but I lived in NYC for 7 years before Boston and loved it, but had to leave due to the high cost of living, plus it was getting a bit too stressful for me. I believe in the "energy"of a city, and Boston just doesnt have much for me. Believe it or not I find folks in Boston to be much more rude than NYC! I had no problems making friends in NYC but here in Boston it has been a struggle. Too provincial I think. I visited Chicago last year for the first time and fell in love with it immediately, I just really got a good "vibe" from it, something I never got in Boston. I liked how Chicago was a big city like NYC, but seemed so much cleaner and less stressful. Im planning another trip to visit Chicago in October.

Anyway, my questions are as follows: First, I hear people talk about how crazy cold winters in Chicago are, can they be that different from Boston? We do get a significant amount of snow here and cold weather, so wondering if there is anyone in Chicago who used to live in Boston who could tell me what the differences/similarities in winter are. My next question is, that I would REALLY like to get rid of my car when I move to Chicago. I'm assuming most of Chicago is pretty accessible by public transportation? Do most neighborhoods have good access to the subways? I would be looking to spend between 1200-1500 a month on a 1 bedroom, and I am hoping that would be enough to get me a place that is in a safe neighborhood with good access to transportation.

I know about neighborhoods such as Lakeview and the Loop. Any other nice neighborhooods close to public T that I should consider? Oh I am a single gay male in his 30's but dont need to live in a "gay ghetto". As long as I am near the subway, close to some restaurants/cafes and shops that is cool with me. Some trees would be nice to

Thanks for reading my post and I look forward to your responses!
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Old 07-30-2008, 05:05 PM
 
Location: SE PDX
569 posts, read 1,744,595 times
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Regarding the winter differences, I believe the eastern seaboard gets considerably larger amounts of snow than we do. Alternatively we get the colder weather. It shouldn't be hard for you to acclimate to our winters coming from Boston and growing up in NY.

You are able to keep your vehicle but be prepared for parking tickets, the impossiblity that is called street parking, mysterious scratches and dents that appear out of nowhere, or dish out the $$$ for a reserved spot if available.

I have a vehicle but rarely drive it. Depending on your destination, most social hangouts are located within subway distances. With combination of busses and cabs you shouldn't have any problems. Thousands of people live here without a vehicle and get around just fine.

Besides Lakeview, I've heard that Andersonville is also LGBT friendly. It seems to be a popular destination and someone here should be able to provide some information.
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Old 07-30-2008, 05:16 PM
 
Location: SW Durham, NC
1,219 posts, read 3,151,937 times
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Count on plenty of days/nights with wind chills in double digits below zero...... It's just a fact of life. I grew up in the city and couldn't take the cold anymore so I moved down South, but I miss it terribly!
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Old 07-30-2008, 05:58 PM
 
Location: Oak Park, IL
5,523 posts, read 13,368,750 times
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I lived in Boston for 5 years (Mission Hill and Somerville). The average monthly temperatures of Chicago and Boston are surprisingly similar (within 2 or 3 degrees actually). I think Chicago has more extremes (not on the ocean like Boston), but overall its pretty similar. Definitely less snow here.

Regarding public transit, I think most neighborhoods do not have good public transit. That being said, all the desirable neighborhoods have good to excellent transit access, and since Chicago is so much bigger than Boston, that gives you a lot of neighborhoods to choose from.
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Old 07-30-2008, 07:39 PM
 
Location: Chicago
6,026 posts, read 14,753,401 times
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hey chicago_bound, I did the exact move last summer for similar reasons of Boston feeling too small for me, though I've always had no trouble w/ friendly people when I lived there (maybe cuz I'm a Boston native? I found people to be nice but very reserved, a trait I've been told here in Chicago that I have).

anyways, I had no trouble w/ the weather here, it's pretty similar other than the smaller amount of snow others have mentioned we get here (we obviously don't get nor'easters here). it's very easy to get around here, though the passes are more expensive ($75 compared to the <$60 I was paying in Boston. but given the fact you don't pay extra for express buses here and the system is very extensive here, it evens out a bit). the CTA in some parts is worse than the MBTA, but it's slowly being renovated. overall, a decent system hat thankfully runs late into the night, and many buses and 2 trains lines are 24/7!

you can definitely afford a 1 bedroom in Chicago w/ that budget. what areas in Boston did you like/dislike, maybe some of the Boston knowledgeable folks here can help compare certain areas
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Old 07-30-2008, 09:14 PM
 
48 posts, read 163,625 times
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wow thanks for the quick responses! ok so it looks like chicago winters will be somewhat colder than boston's, but probably less snow. I think I can deal with that. However in response to what hula wrote, do you guys really get lots of days/night in the double digits below zero? that hardly ever happens in Boston. I dont even think it got down to 0 degrees last winter here. -EEvee, are you happy with the move to Chicago? I should clarify that I dont really think people in Boston are unfriendly, rather that its just hard to make friends here in general, if that makes sense. Thanks for the info on the public transit, I'm pretty sure that I could find an apartment near a subway line and Im happy to hear that there are at least SOME lines that run 24 hours a day, unlike here in Boston where they all close down around 1 am or so. Im really looking forward to ditching the car, its just an added expense right now that I can do without! sukwoo - how do you like chicago? do you like it better than boston? thanks again everyone!
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Old 07-30-2008, 10:22 PM
 
Location: outer boroughs, NYC
905 posts, read 2,776,894 times
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Regarding your questions...

1) The weather. I'm not familiar with Boston winters, but I'll defer to those who have lived there. Being from NYC, I actually found that it snows more here than what I'm used to, though this past winter was my first one and it was particularly bad. Boston gets more snow than NY does, though. One difference regarding snow here in comparison to the Northeast is how it falls - back home, we'd get a few big storms per year, and that's basically it, aside from the odd dusting. Here, there's like a 40% chance of snow most days in January and you'll get a few inches a couple times a week, but maybe only one big storm. So there's constantly snow on the ground, but it falls in smaller accumulations.
Temperature-wise, it is definitely colder. I had never experienced sub-zero temperatures in my life before moving to Chicago. It happens several times every winter (though usually just at night). Of course, there's also days in the 40s, even 50s, but they tend to be cloudy. And the winters really aren't any longer than they are in the Northeast, just more extreme. It's an adjustment, but not a huge one, and you'll have an even easier time than I did, coming from Boston. It's certainly nowhere near bad enough to negate the city's many positives.

Overall, the weather here is more erratic than it is in the Northeast, though I've actually found the summer to be generally more pleasant (to my surprise, NYC is more humid).

2) Transit. You can get by without a car. I do. But I live like three blocks from a 24-hour L line. I find the L to be considerably slower than the NYC Subway, and the service is a bit less frequent. The main problem, though, is that large swaths of the city have virtually no L coverage at all. However, that should not be a problem for you - in your price range, you should be able to find a decent place in a nice 'hood close to the L, no problem. Honestly, if I were you, I'd ditch the car and sign up for Zipcar or IGo for those times when you need one. If you live within walking distance of a train line, there's really no need for one.

3) Rent. You'll be able to find an apartment. A nice one, too, in a desirable area. I pay quite a bit less than your target range for a 1BD in Andersonville/Edgewater. If you have any further questions about the neighborhood, let me know.

Seems you'd like Chicago. I've had some personal problems since arriving here, but I like the city quite a lot. The people are friendly, too, definitely more so than in the Northeast.
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Old 07-31-2008, 12:29 AM
 
Location: Palmer Square
102 posts, read 365,570 times
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I lived in the boston area for 20 years, but have been in chicago for the last 7 and I am constantly hoping I can find a way back to the northeast. Not that chicago's horrid, but it's just so average and so... american.

I will say that people are probably friendlier and more open than they are in the northeast, but I don't think that's necessarily a good thing. It's important to realize that many of chicago's younger residents are transplants from smaller, more boring midwestern cities or from the burbs/rural areas. I am utterly horrified every time someone in an elevator starts telling me their life story. It's one thing to be friendly, but much of the time there is just nothing interesting going on with people here. I find a lot of people can't relate or are horrified when I'm sarcastic or jokingingly bitter about things.

Some other annoyances: the public transit can be good to horrible, depending on where you live. In the northside, going east to west is impossible and there are huge areas that are not served by train at all (lots of buses end in the evening as well).

The city is ridiculously SPREAD OUT. Although there are few prime areas where grocery stores, public transit, bars, restaurants, galleries, etc... are all walkable, for most of the city this is not the case. I have friends who live on the southside who have to take a bus to get a gallon of milk, let alone produce. Getting from the northside of the city to the south can take hours (even by car). I personally view a car in chicago as an absolute necessity, because I like to go to out of the way neighborhoods quite a bit and occasionally make attempts at leaving the city. If you live, work, and play in a very defined area near public transit, a car will be a complete hassle and waste of money though.

There are fewer intellectual things going on compared to boston (definitely if controlling by population). There are a handful of arthouse movie theaters, for example, but they're almost always empty. There just doesn't seem to be that "edge" that NYC or parts of boston/cambridge have. I seriously considered moving to Austin, TX just because the people there are so much more interesting. It really is maddening in the midwest.

The winters are a bit colder than boston--it will drop to 0 every winter and there can be week periods in the single digits. The worst part though is the grayness that just beats you down from October to April. There is very little sun in the winter. Although it's not really weather-related, the lake is no substitute for the ocean.

Lastly, it's very difficult to escape chicago. The burbs just stretch on for miles and miles and fade into cornfields (that's not even the corn people can eat. it's pigfeed). 30 minutes out of boston, you can be in the woods, canoeing down sudbury river, enjoying beautiful little towns. With chicago it's just hideous sprawl and then flat fields.

Anyway, take it with a grain of salt, but I'd say live in boston and go to NYC every couple of weekends for excitement, before deciding to make the leap to a flyover state.

Last edited by Ramo Nash; 07-31-2008 at 01:41 AM..
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Old 07-31-2008, 12:41 AM
 
Location: Chicago
15,585 posts, read 26,021,229 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ramo Nash View Post
...Not that chicago's horrid, but it's just so average and so... american...I seriously considered moving to Austin, TX just because the people there are so much more interesting. It really is maddening in the midwest...

Awesome. Nothing wrong with being the largest "so American" city in the country.If you dont like American style move to France-please I beg of you. Austin is not as much "so American?"


The people are more "interesting" in Austin? Wow thats news to me. Austin aint on a large body of water...Hmm you seem to be contridicating yourself.

God where did you crawl out of? Yoko Ono's buttcrack?

Last edited by Avengerfire; 07-31-2008 at 12:50 AM..
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Old 07-31-2008, 12:52 AM
 
Location: Palmer Square
102 posts, read 365,570 times
Reputation: 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by Avengerfire View Post
Awesome. Nothing wrong with being the largest "so American" city in the country. If you dont like American style move to France-please I beg of you.
To you. I was just stating an opinion to try to give the OP a more nuanced picture from someone from the northeast who now lives in chicago. If you feel chicago is the best city out there, more power to you, but I disagree.

It's actually tremendously difficult to move/work abroad. Believe me I would if I could. The quality of life in France and throughout most of Europe is much better than the states. Anyway, I don't hate everything about the US, but chicago and the midwest is a concentration of a lot of what's bad about this country.

Quote:
Austin is not as much "so American?" The people are more "interesting" in Austin? Wow thats news to me. Austin aint on a large body of water...Hmm you seem to be contridicating yourself.
Yep and I said "seriously considered." There's not really a contradiction there. Have you spent much time in Austin? And Austin's bodies of water, while not as large as the lake are 10x more beautiful and 10x more usable.

Quote:
God where did you crawl out of? Yoko Ono's buttcrack?
There's that famous chicago sense of humor...
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