Welcome to City-Data.com Forum!
U.S. CitiesCity-Data Forum Index
Go Back   City-Data Forum > U.S. Forums > Massachusetts
 [Register]
Please register to participate in our discussions with 2 million other members - it's free and quick! Some forums can only be seen by registered members. After you create your account, you'll be able to customize options and access all our 15,000 new posts/day with fewer ads.
View detailed profile (Advanced) or search
site with Google Custom Search

Search Forums  (Advanced)
 
Old 01-31-2013, 12:47 PM
 
2 posts, read 8,329 times
Reputation: 10

Advertisements

My wife, son (toddler) and I are in the process of moving to the Boston area and wanted to get suggestions on areas which fit the following criteria:

1) Good public school system
2) Easy commute into Boston South Station area (desire 35 minute max on train or drive)
3) Town has diversity, particularly some % of Asians
4) Walkable to children's activities, parks, restaurants etc.

We have a budget of ~$1.5M for a home/condo.

The towns we have started looking at include Wellesley, Needham, Newton and Brookline. Are there any particular areas in these towns (Newton and Brookline being the hardest to understand) which are better for my criteria? Any issues with getting into public schools in these areas?

Thanks in advance for your help!
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message

 
Old 01-31-2013, 01:18 PM
 
288 posts, read 632,052 times
Reputation: 550
If you are more concerned about diversity than commute, you can also look into Sharon, Acton, Lexington, Wayland, and Belmont.

For Asian diversity:
2012 Enrollment By Race/Gender Report (DISTRICT) - Massachusetts Directory Profiles

Needham is not as diverse compared to the other ones you listed. But it's a well educated town, so you won't have issues with fitting in. I had an Asian American friend he went to school there and he was fine. It's much more white suburbia than the other towns you mentioned. Brookline will be the most diverse of the bunch, having more Hispanic, Asian, and African American students, but you might not get as much house for your money.

As an Asian American myself with a husband that works near South Station, if I had your budget, I would love to live in Wellesley or Newton (with a leaning toward Newton). Both are beautiful areas. Newton will have more economic diversity though. If I were a stay at home mom with a small child, I would want to live in Newton. Most of my friends and co-workers live in Boston, and when they think Wellesley or Needham, they think they are far away towns( though the commute is only about 10-15 minutes more with better parking). With Newton or Brookline, you may entice more of the city folk to come out and visit you and you'll feel more in touch with the city, though technically the commuter rail is as fast as parts of the Green Line.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 01-31-2013, 03:15 PM
 
19 posts, read 52,668 times
Reputation: 12
Your focus should be Newton (e.g., Newton Centre, Newton Highlands, West Newton). It meets all your criteria. Look at Brookline and Wellesley for comparison, but I think Newton would be ideal from what you've described.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 01-31-2013, 06:04 PM
 
392 posts, read 915,195 times
Reputation: 335
Brookline, Coolidge corner area. Check out Brookline schools, Baker school has Korean language program, Driscoll has Mandarin Chinese, and Lincoln Japanese language program.
Walkable, family friendly, quiet and diverse area. Easy public transportation commute to South station. Green line will take you to work. It may be easier and cheaper to take train to work, but you may keep one car for other things. Very nice condos in your budget, perhaps houses as well.
Brookline would be number one choice IMHO.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 01-31-2013, 09:15 PM
 
Location: Needham, MA
8,529 posts, read 13,931,119 times
Reputation: 7913
I think the towns you mentioned for the most part tick all the boxes you mention. One question you could answer which would help everyone to point you in the right direction is what kind of environment are you looking for? Newton seems to be getting a lot of votes in this thread, but Newton is made up of 13 different villages and each of them have their own distinct "character" for lack of a better word. Some villages are a little more urban and dense and some are extremely suburban. Some have a village center and some do not. Some areas of Newton have better access to the T (Boston's subway system) while other areas have commuter rail service or "express" bus service. So, what kind of environment appeals to you? If you like where you live now maybe you could share the name of your current town so that people familiar with it could compare/contrast it with some of the towns on your list.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 02-01-2013, 07:54 AM
 
2 posts, read 8,329 times
Reputation: 10
Default More Information

Thank you all for your quick and great responses!

I am trying to get a grasp of the areas in Newton and Brookline so that I can know which areas of those towns to focus on. My understanding is that Wellesley and Needham are a little bit more consistent throughout so it doesn't matter a whole lot which part of town you live in. Some of the suggestions for other areas I think make commuting to Boston more difficult than I would like.

I am moving from NYC Manhattan for a frame of reference; We lived in the city because my wife and I wanted shorter commutes to work and when we moved there we had not yet had a child. We enjoyed the walkability and convenience aspects of it the most; we felt comfortable with our nanny being able to take our child to the park or activities since they were just a few blocks away. In moving to Boston though, we would definitely maintain a car, hopefully for non-commuting activities. I did enjoy being able to take the subway as opposed to the commuter rail which ended up making my schedule more flexible.

Some areas mentioned thus far include:
1) Coolidge Corner area in Brookline
2) Newton Centre
3) Newton Highlands
4) West Newton

Can someone compare and contrast which of these areas would have the most diversity, best schools and ability to walk to train, parks, playgrounds, town center etc.? Is there any challenge to getting into the elementary/middle schools in these areas? If there is a great concentration in a particular ethnic group that would be good to know as well, since we would not like to feel left out of the community (we are Indian for frame of reference). I think we would enjoy living in a town with a village center so that my child can be taken there as necessary without need of a car.

Also, has anyone had any negative experiences with condos in these areas? I am fairly certain that if we go that route we would want a multi-unit place rather than just a couple neighbors where it becomes a crapshoot.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 02-01-2013, 10:56 AM
 
Location: Needham, MA
8,529 posts, read 13,931,119 times
Reputation: 7913
I would definitely advise that if you're going condo to not end up in a developement of only 2 units. The fewer the units in the development, the more risk you take on as an owner essentially. If one neighbor out of 8 is a kook or loses their job and has no money to pay for anything it's less of an issue than it would be if they were your only neighbor. Most larger condo associations in Brookline are single floor units and in that case you won't get any yard for your kid to play in if that's a priority for you. There are plenty of parks and playgrounds in Brookline, but there's something to be said for the convenience of having a yard vs having to walk a distance or drive to a playground. Also, a single family in Brookline in your price range will likely have not much of yard as well. Brookline from a public transportation and walkability aspect is awesome though.

Newton Center and Newton Highlands are fairly similar. Both are on the south side of town and therefore feed into Newton South High which usually is ranked higher in school rankings than Newton North. Plus, both have nice village centers and both have green line T stops. The one downside to riding the T from Newton Center and Newton Highlands is that there is not a ton of parking near the stops. So, ideally you want to get dropped off or walk to the stop. Both are very suburban and while the village centers are great to walk around you may need to drive to get to the village center from where your home is located. I lived in Newton Center for 10 years and really enjoyed it.

West Newton is very different from Newton Center and Newton Highlands. Parts of it are much more dense and while there's a large commercial area in W. Newton with tons of great ammenities it's not quite the same as a village center. W. Newton is a bit more walkable than Newton Center or Newton Highlands. The T stops nearest to West Newton are Woodland and Riverside. They're pretty much at the end of the line so it does lengthen the commute a bit, but you have a greater chance of getting a seat on the train.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 02-02-2013, 12:13 PM
 
71 posts, read 170,772 times
Reputation: 104
Quote:
Originally Posted by mdk22 View Post
Some areas mentioned thus far include:
1) Coolidge Corner area in Brookline
2) Newton Centre
3) Newton Highlands
4) West Newton

Can someone compare and contrast which of these areas would have the most diversity, best schools and ability to walk to train, parks, playgrounds, town center etc.? Is there any challenge to getting into the elementary/middle schools in these areas? If there is a great concentration in a particular ethnic group that would be good to know as well, since we would not like to feel left out of the community (we are Indian for frame of reference). I think we would enjoy living in a town with a village center so that my child can be taken there as necessary without need of a car.

Also, has anyone had any negative experiences with condos in these areas? I am fairly certain that if we go that route we would want a multi-unit place rather than just a couple neighbors where it becomes a crapshoot.
I think that with a child, either Newton Centre or Newton Highlands. Coolidge Corner is most like where you are coming from, as it is very densely developed.

If I were in your shoes I would look at Google maps and zoom in on the village centers, sort of fly around the areas. If you can find a home where you are in walking distance to the centers, this is what you will find:

Newton Centre: most stores, more restaurants, on MBTA (green line), parks, wider geographic area, so maybe close to outdoors things depending on where you live.

Newton Highlands: quaint center, fewer restaurants and shops, on MBTA (green line) walk to Crystal Lake and hiking trails, Hyde Community Center (lots of child-friendly activities; look it up).

Both are within .5 miles of Whole Foods and parks/playgrounds
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 02-03-2013, 09:19 AM
 
925 posts, read 2,734,528 times
Reputation: 432
Dana Hall is one of my favorite Wellesley neighborhoods that's walkable to everything: the library, town center, train, great shops, cafes, restaurants, and parks. The Wellesley Free Library is quite wonderful, with hundreds of children's programs throughout the year. You're also nearby to the trails at Elm Bank and the sweet Wheesie's children's garden.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Please register to post and access all features of our very popular forum. It is free and quick. Over $68,000 in prizes has already been given out to active posters on our forum. Additional giveaways are planned.

Detailed information about all U.S. cities, counties, and zip codes on our site: City-data.com.


Reply
Please update this thread with any new information or opinions. This open thread is still read by thousands of people, so we encourage all additional points of view.

Quick Reply
Message:


Settings
X
Data:
Loading data...
Based on 2000-2020 data
Loading data...

123
Hide US histogram


Over $104,000 in prizes was already given out to active posters on our forum and additional giveaways are planned!

Go Back   City-Data Forum > U.S. Forums > Massachusetts

All times are GMT -6.

© 2005-2024, Advameg, Inc. · Please obey Forum Rules · Terms of Use and Privacy Policy · Bug Bounty

City-Data.com - Contact Us - Archive 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37 - Top