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Old 01-26-2009, 05:35 PM
 
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Just starting to do my research, and wondering about these towns. Background is that my family is all in Bronx/Westchester, husband's is in South Jersey, he works near the Meadowlands and I may be working in Perth Amboy. So, everyone will have a commute But these all seem like lovely towns, so feedback is appreciated. I know a bit (seems like more older, Victorian homes in Maplewood, no train in Livingston, larger Jewish population in Livingston, more townhome developments in Montclair and Livingston, and some other facts I know). I'm interested in where I will find newer as opposed to older homes in the $650K - $900K range, where property taxes tend to be lower/higher, mix of the community, what (if any) downtown/walkable town there is in each, you know, the usual.

Also, if anyone wants to suggest other areas that would be reasonable considering my location considerations (family, work) have low crime, decent school options (inc. private school in neighboring towns, a 15-20 minute drive would not be unreasonable), homes in the range I stated above, and a nice, diverse mix in the community (i.e., I'm not looking for an all-white, all-rich town), feel free to suggest. I'm admittedly a NYC girl, born and raised, and never thought I'd be looking across the river

Thanks!!
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Old 01-26-2009, 06:14 PM
 
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Well you'll get more for your money in towns without a train station, and in your case you don't need one because you're both commuting to jobs in NJ. So out of the bunch Livingston is probably the best bet. You're close enough to a train station for the times you want to head into the city on the train.

The other towns are cool too, Montclair is probably the nicest of the rest you mentioned, but Maplewood/South Orange have tons of ex-pat NYers and an artsy/progressive vibe so you would probably feel at home culturally there more so than Livingston. I think Montclair is sort of like Maplewood in that respect as well.
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Old 01-26-2009, 07:11 PM
 
Location: Pennsylvania & New Jersey
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Default No change!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nattie23NYC View Post
Just starting to do my research, and wondering about these towns. Background is that my family is all in Bronx/Westchester, husband's is in South Jersey, he works near the Meadowlands and I may be working in Perth Amboy. So, everyone will have a commute But these all seem like lovely towns, so feedback is appreciated. I know a bit (seems like more older, Victorian homes in Maplewood, no train in Livingston, larger Jewish population in Livingston, more townhome developments in Montclair and Livingston, and some other facts I know). I'm interested in where I will find newer as opposed to older homes in the $650K - $900K range, where property taxes tend to be lower/higher, mix of the community, what (if any) downtown/walkable town there is in each, you know, the usual. Also, if anyone wants to suggest other areas that would be reasonable considering my location considerations (family, work) have low crime, decent school options (inc. private school in neighboring towns, a 15-20 minute drive would not be unreasonable), homes in the range I stated above, and a nice, diverse mix in the community (i.e., I'm not looking for an all-white, all-rich town), feel free to suggest. I'm admittedly a NYC girl, born and raised, and never thought I'd be looking across the river Thanks!!
With regard to this and your subsequent thread, this is still a no-brainer... and still Livingston!

Alternatives?

Close runners-up:
Millburn, Maplewood (but the latter is a little close to the fire for me)

Also rans:
Fair Lawn, West Orange (stronger fire concerns with W.O.)

... but none of them have what you're looking for as much as Livingston does.
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Old 01-26-2009, 08:13 PM
 
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I've lived in Livingston for over 25 years...the majority of my life.

You'll find homes in the $500,000 to multi-million dollar range in Livingston. Property taxes are exorbitant. Low crime, but it's mostly white and all rich, which you say you don't want. It's really not diverse at all. We have different races and religions, but they're all the same kind of upper-middle to upper-upper class suburban cookie cutter people, and as a self proclaimed NYC girl, you might not find that very stimulating or interesting.

Except for the idiotic McMansions, most of the homes in Livingston are old---built in the 1950s and 60s. The newish ones were built in the 80s and 90s (or are the 1950s ones, remodeled). Again, property taxes are ridiculous, and the town and school budgets are a circus.

Schools are good here, and we do have private schools, both in town, and in surrounding towns, but...after bleeding a quarter of your anual salary to property taxes, why would you spend extra money to send your kids to private school?

As far as downtowns go, Livingston has had a field day trumping its "new" and "revitalized" downtown. It's NOT a downtown. I don't know why they keep calling it that. It's a McMansionized minimall that's nothing more than an extension of the monstruous townhouse complex right on the same grounds. It's located on a busy intersection where people don't know how to proceed through a traffic light and car-to-car and car-to-pedestrian accidents occur regularly.

The majority of streets here are poorly lit, sidewalks and streets are uneven and full of cracks and potholes (I'm speaking as a runner now), and people drive very aggressively, either out of straight up aggression, or because they are bad and/or nervous drivers.

Livingston is also a very commuter unfriendly town. If you ever plan on commuting regularly to Manhattan, your life will be full of misery. You're looking at an 8.5 or 9 hour work day being stretched to 12.5 to 13 hours because of the commute. If you're commuting to the Meadowlands or Perth Amboy, you won't have to worry about a public transportation commute because you'll be driving, but here's the thing with that...Route 280 is Livingston's main artery to the NJ Turnpike and the Garden State Parkway. Route 280 can often be a nightmare, and there's always a bottleneck at the Stickel Bridge.
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Old 01-27-2009, 01:05 PM
 
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You're going to have a hard time finding a town with both a walkable downtown and newer homes. I would vote for Maplewood, South Orange and Montclair because they are very popular with reluctant suburbanites. However, the homes are older and the taxes are very high.

Livingston is much more of a typical suburb.

West Orange I'm not as familiar with, but it is a very pleasant town.

A poster above keeps talking about "fires" in Maplewood, South Orange, Montclair and West Orange and I don't know what they mean. These towns are unusual in that they are racially integrated. They also border cities with high crime rates. I don't know where fire comes in. Maybe they are talking about the riots in the 60s?
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Old 01-27-2009, 01:23 PM
 
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Why not Glen Ridge? It is right next to Montclair with the great downtown(s), has top notch schools and it has train access. Sure, the taxes are killer because it is so small, but it has a lot of stuff going for it.

Granted, it isn't the most diverse town in the area, but you have access to the Montclair vibe along Bloomfield and the smaller, more family friendly upper Montclair section. Another place you might want to consider is Verona, although its location in terms of distance to down Montclair and train stations is farther than Glen Ridge.
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Old 01-27-2009, 03:08 PM
 
Location: South Orange, NJ
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Livingston is the nicest town out of all the ones mentioned in the title of this thread

"Maplewood, Livingston, Montclair, Oranges"

West Orange has some decent parts, i like it there though. There's not much going for East Orange or Orange. South Orange and Maplewood are very similar. I've heard both good and bad things though. Montclair is nice but has a huge population. I believe its around 35,000. Its a nice area though.
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Old 01-27-2009, 08:45 PM
 
Location: a warmer place
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I have always felt that Livingston was a pretty ugly town. There is no architechtural integrity in the home styles and no real downtown. To me it really has absolutely no charm. I am sure there are good things about Livingston but it was never my cup of tea. I spent a lot of time there growing up and some time there as an adult. Other towns have more to offer for you high tax dollars.
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Old 01-30-2009, 12:41 PM
 
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Ditto. But you get a lot more for your money there and lower taxes than South Orange and Maplewood, plus a good school system.
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Old 01-30-2009, 12:57 PM
 
Location: a warmer place
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Originally Posted by clevedark View Post
Ditto. But you get a lot more for your money there and lower taxes than South Orange and Maplewood, plus a good school system.
Many don't agree with me but Maplewood and South Orange do have a very good school system. The elementary schools test scores have improved dramactically over the past few years and it has crept into the middle schools as well. If you break down the high school scores and factor out those with English as a second language, you have some pretty high scores (see greatschools.net and the breakdowns in the scores at all three levels).

Before the Mid town direct these towns had begun to go downhill. The populations were falling, the downtowns had become a ghost towns. With the new direct trains and growing knowledge of the beautiful homes both towns beagn to attract young families again with parents committed to education. The schools really began to change.

I think you get a lot more with these two towns. Diversity, very commited community members, walkable downtowns, jitney service to Mid town direct trains etc.

Livingston by no means is a bad place to live. It is a very nice community and homes there do cost less. Plus the YMCA there is my old stomping ground (used to have an awesome swim program don't know anymore). But as I said before there isn't a lot of charm.
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