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Old 03-27-2013, 04:54 PM
1 posts, read 1,078 times
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The reason I need help is that we're expecting a child in December, if all goes well. This means we need a bigger place, and we need to start thinking about education & community.

My wife is a doctor working in the city (near Union Square). I'm mostly working from home, doing IT consulting. I just moved to the US, and I can't say I know this area very much.

My wife is sick of dealing with the subway system, the high population density, and the incredibly high rental costs that give you a shoebox to live in. And since we're going to be a family of 3 soon enough, we are looking to move out of the city to lower our cost of living. The plan is to rent for a year, and to eventually buy a house in the same city if we like the area / community / schools, etc.

I started looking at Zillow and Hotpads, as well as New Jersey Transit maps, PATH maps, etc, to try and zoom in on the interesting areas. but I'm still having a hard time finding places. The main challenge is knowing what the community is like, which is impossible to guess from a map and from city-data that shows you income levels.

So I'm wondering if any of you are dealing with the same issue of having to raise a family in a nice neighborhood, while commuting to the city on a daily basis, hopefully not more than 2 hours of cumulative commuting.

In other words: What area great cities to live in, around New York City, for small / young families, that are easy in terms of commute, low crime rates, good education system?
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Old 03-27-2013, 05:12 PM
Location: Brooklyn, NY
1,271 posts, read 3,232,762 times
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Well, under an hour each way to Union Square (which I think is what you mean) is a somewhat hard criteria to meet. Also, without a price range, it's difficult to give solid recommendations (though I assume a doctor-IT worker couple could afford all but the most exclusive towns).

In New Jersey, there are a few options. Montclair is a classic answer and is a very popular relocation city for young NYC families with children. It has a decent school system and many beautiful Victorian homes and is a diversity, vibrant community. Similar to Montclair are West Orange, South Orange and Maplewood, as well as Bloomfield and Glen Ridge. In any of those towns, you're at the edge of a one-hour commute, but they're generally the shortest-commute "leafy" towns in New Jersey, which is why they're popular. Also worth considering in New Jersey are Westfield, Millburn and Summit, which have slightly longer commutes (1:15 to 1:30) but even stronger school systems. For a shorter commute, Hoboken is the classic example, but it doesn't sound like it quite fits what you're looking for--Hoboken is very much urban and densely built and not easily distinguishable from Manhattan by appearance.

On Long Island, the usual example of a leafy, shorter commute would be the Great Neck and Port Washington areas. This area is less vibrant than the areas I named above (fewer young families), but it still has a solid school systems, nice community and a decent commute. If you look into this area, also consider the Little Neck and Douglaston neighborhoods in Queens, directly adjacent. Your money will go quite far there (farther than in Great Neck/Port Washington, I think), and the schools in that part of Queens are very good.

You didn't mention Westchester, but it's also an option and offers probably the shortest commute other than Hoboken. The priciest choice there is Scarsdale, which is a very sought-after town and the most expensive place on this post, but there are other solid choices such as Larchmont and Hastings-on-Hudson (and many more).
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