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Old 03-18-2009, 07:01 AM
 
105 posts, read 302,969 times
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We just moved to Summit a month ago from Ann Arbor, Michigan. We found a nice rental within walking distance to the train in a very nice neighborhood. (Thanks to many on the forum that help us on this search previously!) DH works at WTC and while the train commute is great in the morning, 60-70 min door-to-door, it's almost twice as long at times on the way home. He has found that there are less express trains running at night, and because of the time he leaves (8-9pm), the trains run less frequently, and stop at every town. We've have found the people of Summit to be friendly and neighborly, the schools decent (though we were disappointed to find out that there wasn't a full day public kindergarten). While we have a year lease to take a look around, we're still not sure if Summit is the place for us to settle down with our 2 young children (ages 2 and 4). The housing prices are very high, of course and it's still not quite as diverse as we'd like. (Mixed races and nationalities)

Top Public schools are our number 1 priority, train commute second.
We've found Westfield to be a nice town (in terms of the church we attend), but wondering how it compares to Summit housing, community, schools, etc...Unfortunately, the only times I've spent walking around downtown, we came across to highly verbal arguements over parking spots all in front of police and public...Some other places besides Westfield areas are Montclair (pp here indicate it's similar to Ann Arbor.)

And while we orginially nixed out Pelham, NY (we had liked the schools and the town) b/c the train commute from NJ is just so much nicer than the 4/5/6 out of Grand Central, we're wondering if we should look there again, and maybe even Queens (Bayside, Fresh Meadows) Brooklyn, Long Island? Any feedback on NYorkers on this? Also, we've heard from our realtor that there are many NY families moving out to NJ because you can get more "house" for your money.

Are there other towns that offer a shorter commute home from WTC, with excellent public schools, that we can consider looking at during our next year in Summit?

Last edited by minymom; 03-18-2009 at 07:22 AM.. Reason: added question for Glen Ridge, Montclair
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Old 03-18-2009, 07:49 AM
 
Location: NJ
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I think the best choice might be to remain in Summit and change the commute from NJT to driving.

Drive to Liberty State Park (in Jersey City), take the light rail to exchange, and the PATH to WTC.

In the morning it should be about the same time (or less) door to door as the train. In the evening it will be even better.
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Old 03-18-2009, 07:59 AM
 
Location: Historic Downtown Jersey City
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xmonger is right. If you're mass transit portion of the commute is based around the PATH, you're all set. It runs 24 hours, and frequently.

An alternative to xmonger's plan would be to drive to Harrison, and take the Path train from there to WTC. That's probably a 30 minute drive to Harrison, then a 20-minute Path ride to WTC. Same thing coming home at night.
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Old 03-18-2009, 08:16 AM
 
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Commuting to NYC stinks, there's no two ways about it. You're about as close as you're going to get. My husband despised the commute (I never did it because by the time we were living in NJ I was home with the kids.) We lived in Maplewood which was fantastic because you could walk easily to the train station and we loved our house and neighborhood. But you still had to deal with Penn Station going home at night which is a terrible grind.

Bronxville is the closest top-tier suburb in Westchester, but it's major bucks.

It's going to be tough to find a really great public middle school in Brooklyn. I'm not sure about Queens. And Long Island is another country, you should post on that board!
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Old 03-18-2009, 09:41 AM
 
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I'd consider Maplewood if you like more diversity. It's closer than Summit commute wise, more diverse but still nice. Check the school ratings though.

You might also like Montclair -- but get some input on the schools -- they use a lottery system (or something like that) for their public schools and cross-district bussing. I think it's a stressful system and residents often do not get their neighborhood school.
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Old 03-18-2009, 12:43 PM
 
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I don't think Montclair's train line is very convenient. But I don't know for sure.
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Old 03-18-2009, 12:50 PM
 
Location: Hoboken
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Hoboken is pretty close...
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Old 03-18-2009, 12:56 PM
 
105 posts, read 302,969 times
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Well, thank you for solidifying what we suspected...=) While we will probably still rent the year after next, the housing prices here are still so high, we can stay renting in the north side of Summit, but to purchase a house, we'd have to move south. Not that there's anything bad about the south side..but we find the elementary school on the north side has better class offerings than others.

What about the possibility of driving to Newark/Broad St? Or Hoboken then taking the PATH into WTC? What are the benefits of driving to Liberty State Park or Harrison? We're not familiar with either..is it the parking, accessibility those points, etc..

For those that mentioned Maplewood, can you recommend one of the better elementary schools, or neighborhoods?

And wondering still if anyone has experience with communting to WTC from Montclair/Glen Ridge....Parking issues, walking to the station, or if it's better to do the drive and park then take the PATH into WTC...?
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Old 03-18-2009, 01:17 PM
 
1,552 posts, read 4,374,461 times
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Maplewood, Montclair, South Orange, Millburn ... these towns might save you 5 or 10 minutes on the train, but the unfortunate fact is that any commute to Wall St. from a typically "nice suburban" town in NJ is going to run about 75 to 90 minutes, door-to-door.

It is true that if your husband works off-hours (or tends to work late into the evenings) that he might want to consider driving to Jersey City to take the PATH from there (Exchange Place, perhaps? I've never done that commute but know of people who have). I think some people also drive to Port Liberty and take the ferry. He won't save any time in the morning, and will quite possibly have a slightly longer and/or more stressful morning commute because of the traffic, but he will have a much easier commute going home late at night.

But the bottom line is that a commute from suburban NJ to Wall St. basically sucks, and it's just a sacrifice you (or he) will need to decide if it's worth it.

BTW: How much can the class offerings differ among elementary schools in these towns? Can you give an example of what the elementary school on the north side of Summit has that the elementary school on the south side doesn't have? The reason I'm curious is because those schools are all paid for with tax money from the same pot (i.e., the town as a whole) and I would be surprised to see that certain sections of town are getting more for their tax dollars than other sections.
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Old 03-18-2009, 01:20 PM
 
1,552 posts, read 4,374,461 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by minymom View Post
And while we orginially nixed out Pelham, NY (we had liked the schools and the town) b/c the train commute from NJ is just so much nicer than the 4/5/6 out of Grand Central, we're wondering if we should look there again, and maybe even Queens (Bayside, Fresh Meadows) Brooklyn, Long Island? Any feedback on NYorkers on this? Also, we've heard from our realtor that there are many NY families moving out to NJ because you can get more "house" for your money.
Sorry - forgot to ask about this in my earlier post.

Do you mean you actually think the commute from Penn Station NYC down to Wall St. is easier? Or has your husband been commuting to Hoboken and then taking the PATH from there to WTC?

Between the two of them, I actually prefer the commute into Grand Central and then 4/5/6 downtown -- I find NYC Penn Station to be a horrible station to commute into/out of (and there's nothing particularily great about the 2/3 subway either).

Just curious what your perspective was for disliking the Grand Central 4/5/6 commute ...
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