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Old 02-07-2009, 08:42 AM
 
20 posts, read 40,844 times
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We're a couple approaching 30 looking for a neighborhood in NJ to settle in. I got a job in Bloomfield NJ and relocating from Ann Arbor Michigan. All our life we have stayed in Ann Arbor Michigan - a beautiful town! We know a little about NJ, and we are planning a trip in third wk of Feb to explore some areas. Here are the basics of what we're looking for.

Neighborhood - We love nature, lots of trees, friendly, quiet streets, privacy. Prefer some distance between houses, but could be houses closer together in the right setting. Close to train/grocery would be nice. We're fairly cosmopolitan, and like reasonable access to art and culture (a town away is ok though). A down to earth neighborhood is key; don't like glitzy /auspicious neighborhoods but also we prefer a decent one. We're ok with a mix of people. Low crime rate is extremely important.

Renting an apt or a condo - 1-2 bedroom apt. or town home upto $2000

Kids - plan to have 2, and prefer public schools over private

Commute - I will join a company in Bloomfield NJ. My wife would be home spending her time with her classical dancing and cultural activities. I prefer reasonable commute upto 30 min. is okay. Not more than that.

In all an art-cultural town with nature (we appreciate nature very much), very safe (as my wife would be home all the time) and a decent neighborhood – much like Ann Arbor, Michigan.

I read through various magazines, websites like CNN Money best places to live 2008 or NJ monthly magazine best place to live 2008. Straight from those Chatham/Summit/Mountain Lakes looks interesting! Honestly, I have just read it from internet.

We are planning a house hunting trip in 3rd week of Feb to explore Bloomfield vicinity.

Please let us know if you have any advice or suggestions on towns we might consider, we’re now in learning mode, so the more comments the better! Thanks in advance.
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Old 02-07-2009, 09:37 AM
 
866 posts, read 4,021,351 times
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I am actually from Michigan, but am very familar with the North Jersey area.

It really depends on what you can afford and what you are looking for. As you probably know already, the cost of living in New Jersey is way higher than SE Michigan. A starter home costs anywhere from $300k-400k. Much different from Ann Arbor.

I would look into the areas surrounding Bloomfield...
>The Caldwell communities (North, West, and just Caldwell)
>Fairfield, NJ (just west of the Caldwells, and most of the houses are spread out)
>The Essex Fells area is very nice, but it kind be kind of expensive
>Livingston is also a nice city

The cities that I have included have very good public schools, so you don't need to worry about them. The only thing that I woukld look into is how far you want to drive everyday. NJ traffic is a killer and you can go crazy sitting in traffic if you pick a location to far from your work.
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Old 02-07-2009, 06:29 PM
 
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Default Try Montclair

Next town over, VERY Expensive, but the downtown will remind you of Ann Arbor. Westfield is alittle further, but nice downtown like Ann Arbor, cheaper than Montclair
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Old 02-07-2009, 07:25 PM
 
Location: Teaneck, NJ
1,576 posts, read 5,405,596 times
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I would suggest Verona and Glen Ridge. Safe cute towns really close to Bloomfield that doesnt have that same conjustion as Bloomfield (close houses, less nature etc)

Also check out Nutley. I know they have a beautiful park there that you would probably like. It has that close house feature to it though. But some parts of town dont. Schools are Excelent
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Old 02-07-2009, 10:06 PM
 
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I am also from Michigan originally and went to school in Ann Arbor. Bloomfield is a pretty urban town, you will see that immediately. It is very diverse though, and it will be a decent place to work. The Garden State Parkway was built in the 50s and it bisects Bloomfield, kind of cutting it in half.

For convenience, I also would suggest Montclair. To me, it most closely resembles A2. It is a diverse population and there are tons of things to do there. Montclair is very close to NYC and is in the heart of Northern NJ, right off Route 3 which is a major artery to NYC. Glen Ridge is right next to Bloomfield. It has a reputation for being a little more conservative and snobby, but I have known many very wonderful people from Glen Ridge. That is just its reputation. Someone else suggested Westfield and that is a lovely town too, but it is a little more keep up with the Joneses kind of atmosphere from what I have been told from people who live there. It is really nice though. A great downtown and beautiful houses throughout. Also a decent commute to Bloomfield.
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Old 02-08-2009, 09:20 AM
 
3,269 posts, read 9,423,960 times
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I would agree with Montclair. You don't have kids yet and will be renting so I wouldn't worry about schools yet. When you have kids you can move out to the sleepy communities of Summit, Chatham or Mountain Lakes. Right now - have fun.
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Old 02-08-2009, 09:38 AM
 
20 posts, read 40,844 times
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Default Essex County - Which areas? Ranking?

Thank you all for your suggestions.

We will be coming to NJ in third wk of Feb to explore areas. We have decided to rent -the budget is upto $2000. Is it enough for renting for two people? Can we get a nice area? We are looking for very spacious, nice view, and with amenities, security and easy access (drivable distance is fine) to groceries shops, malls, movie theaters, restaurants etc.

It looks like we will be exploring Essex County first.

The candidates are:

(a)Verona (NJ monthly magazine 2008 # 3)
(b)Cedar Grove (NJ monthly magazine 2008 # 17)
(c)Essex Fells (NJ monthly magazine 2008 # 10)
(d)North Caldwell (NJ monthly magazine 2008 # 25)
(e)West Caldwell (NJ monthly magazine 2008 # 30)
(f)Montclair (not found in the list! although many suggested it is as a very nice town?)
(g)Nutley (NJ monthly magazine 2008 # 38)
(h)Glen Ridge (not found in the list!)
(i)West field (not found in the list!)

  • These magazine rankings – please comment on those. Is anyone from the list overrated or underrated?
  • How do you rate these towns: safety/crime rate wise, schools, commute time, cost, neighborhood, art/cultural activities, community (is any town with dense population of any particular community?). Please let us know your rankings or preferences.
  • Also, which of the above have good renting areas?

As I mentioned earlier we’re in learning mode, so the more suggestions the better!
Thanks in advance.
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Old 02-08-2009, 11:34 AM
EB2
 
Location: Florida
1,925 posts, read 5,858,299 times
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I'm also from Ypsi/Ann Arbor. Honestly, much of Montclair reminds me of A2. I'd say checking out that area.
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Old 02-08-2009, 11:37 AM
 
2,312 posts, read 7,087,860 times
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Montclair.
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Old 02-08-2009, 12:07 PM
 
Location: Teaneck, NJ
1,576 posts, read 5,405,596 times
Reputation: 685
Quote:
Originally Posted by RJMJ1980 View Post
Thank you all for your suggestions.

We will be coming to NJ in third wk of Feb to explore areas. We have decided to rent -the budget is upto $2000. Is it enough for renting for two people? Can we get a nice area? We are looking for very spacious, nice view, and with amenities, security and easy access (drivable distance is fine) to groceries shops, malls, movie theaters, restaurants etc.

It looks like we will be exploring Essex County first.

The candidates are:

(a)Verona (NJ monthly magazine 2008 # 3)
(b)Cedar Grove (NJ monthly magazine 2008 # 17)
(c)Essex Fells (NJ monthly magazine 2008 # 10)
(d)North Caldwell (NJ monthly magazine 2008 # 25)
(e)West Caldwell (NJ monthly magazine 2008 # 30)
(f)Montclair (not found in the list! although many suggested it is as a very nice town?)
(g)Nutley (NJ monthly magazine 2008 # 38)
(h)Glen Ridge (not found in the list!)
(i)West field (not found in the list!)

  • These magazine rankings – please comment on those. Is anyone from the list overrated or underrated?
  • How do you rate these towns: safety/crime rate wise, schools, commute time, cost, neighborhood, art/cultural activities, community (is any town with dense population of any particular community?). Please let us know your rankings or preferences.
  • Also, which of the above have good renting areas?
As I mentioned earlier we’re in learning mode, so the more suggestions the better!
Thanks in advance.

Well don't i feel good i said Verona, haha

Yes but you said you wanted to be close to movies, groceries, malls etc.. Well, you found a good location because North East jersey is close to everything!

I think you're going to like it here

Other suggestions might be Bogota, Hasbrouck Heights, and Maplewood
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