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Can a country mouse become a city mouse?
May 5, 2011 1:13 PM   Subscribe

It looks like I will get a job offer at NYU. I am not a city person. Please help me figure out whether this is a good idea and where I might like to live in the NYC area.

I have looked at previous questions on where to live in New York but I have slightly different desires.

I currently am very happy living in Boulder, Colorado. It looks like I may have an amazing professional opportunity at NYU. I have lived in NYC in the past and visited extensively, and the thought of living in Manhattan makes me want to cry. So can you tell me things about the New York area that might make it sound better as a place to live?

Then, I need to figure out where I might be able to live and be happy in the NYC area. My ideal place to live would include, as top priorities:
- a 30 minute or shorter commute, door-to-door, to NYU, that doesn't require driving. 20 minutes or less would be even better.
- a quiet, peaceful neighborhood.
- an area with houses or townhouses. I would like a yard/garden (small is OK) and no strangers living above me.

Lower priorities that would also be nice are
- parks or green space nearby.
- dog park nearby.
- reasonable schools for hypothetical future children.
- services like shops and restaurants within walking distance.
- a small town/neighborhood/community feel.

So far people have suggested Brooklyn and Hoboken. Are these good options? Can you give more information or other good places to look?
posted by betterton to Home & Garden (58 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
 
What's your budget?
posted by hermitosis at 1:17 PM on May 5, 2011


Those are fine options. Also, Manhattan != Midtown. I live in Manhattan and have a back yard with a pond.
posted by Obscure Reference at 1:17 PM on May 5, 2011


We need to know how much money you have to throw at this. Because if you're relatively wealthy, this is probably doable. If you're making 30k, there's no way you're going to get a house with a yard with a 30 minute commute to NYU. So, what's your budget?
posted by decathecting at 1:18 PM on May 5, 2011


A rough budget estimate would be $2K-4K per month for rent, or $300K-$600K for purchase. There may be housing assistance available.
posted by betterton at 1:21 PM on May 5, 2011


On that budget, I think you might have to rule out Brooklyn too, especially with regards to "no strangers living above me."

You might want to check out Queens - commute can be longer, but prices are still affordable and it's closer to a suburban experience (lawns, neighborhood feel). Riverdale in the Bronx is also very nice and still affordable.
posted by Mchelly at 1:24 PM on May 5, 2011


*thinks*

How about New Jersey, near the PATH train? There are stops on the PATH that take you within a block or two of NYU. Jersey City and Bayonne seem like possibilities.

Some neighborhoods in Brooklyn may also suit -- although, you may have to cope with a slightly longer commute. But many places in Brooklyn have green spaces nearby, and some even have houses. Check out Dyker Heights, Ditmas Park, Prospect-Lefforts Gardens, and some parts of Windsor Terrace. (Windsor Terrace puts you within a few blocks of Prospect Park, which is gorgeous.)
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:33 PM on May 5, 2011


So can you tell me things about the New York area that might make it sound better as a place to live?

The variety of parks here is awesome. There is way more to love than just central park! I spend most summer days reading in Fort Tryon Park which is a 5 minute walk from my apartment. It's one of the best, but there are hidden gems all over the city.

Related: getting everyone a park w/in ten minutes of their house is one of the mayor's stated goals. And it's happening!.
posted by milestogo at 1:33 PM on May 5, 2011


(here is the correct link for 'stated')
posted by milestogo at 1:35 PM on May 5, 2011


Oh, and Hoboken would also work (I can attest to the commute -- when I was a student at NYU I know people who lived in Hoboken and commuted from there rather than staying in the dorms).
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:35 PM on May 5, 2011


Definitely check out NJ near the Path train (there are some really pleasant neighborhoods in Jersey City), or in Weehauken or any of the towns near it on the river north of the Lincoln tunnel.

I'll second some of the neighborhoods that EmpressCallipygos mentioned.

NYC has great parks, amazing summer performances, loads of waterfront, some great state parks (go down to Jamaica Bay. Hell, just look at it on a map and start dreaming).

You can also take a commuter train to a tiny station on the Appalachian Trail.
posted by entropone at 1:39 PM on May 5, 2011


I have lived in NYC in the past and visited extensively, and the thought of living in Manhattan makes me want to cry. So can you tell me things about the New York area that might make it sound better as a place to live?

No really, no, unless you are content with a longer commute, like from the outer edges of Queens, or perhaps taking NJ Transit, the LI Railroad, or Metro North in from a more distant suburb, which are big violations of your requirements. However, I think you should consider having a longer commute time in order to get what you want. You can always read and sleep on the train.

So far people have suggested Brooklyn and Hoboken. Are these good options?

Not for what you're looking for: Brooklyn and Hoboken are cities. Brooklyn used to be its own city before merging with Manhattan and the other boroughs. More distant parts of Brooklyn like Bay Ridge might be your speed, but that's not what people are thinking of when they suggest "Brooklyn" to you.
posted by deanc at 1:41 PM on May 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


deanc, I think Ditmas Park in Brooklyn may actually indeed be do-able. Some parts felt very suburban, and it's about an hour to Midtown -- which means it's rather closer for someone who's only going to NYU. Plus it's also a short-ish walk to Prospect Park.

I was also going to suggest Red Hook in Brooklyn for the "feels like a small town" feel, but it's kind of an annoying commute and that'd be more about my own Red Hook fixation anyway.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:45 PM on May 5, 2011


Jersey! Raritan Valley train line will take you a bit longer to commute than you were hoping for (maybe 40 minutes?) but otherwise fits the bill perfectly. Look up Dunellen, Scotch Plains, Westfield (might be a bit on the high end from your price range), Cranford, etc. Or you can go for a slightly longer Jersey commute and look into a Western North Jersey town like Denville, which is insanely walkable and will give you everything you want.

I have lived in NYC in the past and visited extensively, and the thought of living in Manhattan makes me want to cry. So can you tell me things about the New York area that might make it sound better as a place to live?

You've lived in NYC and the thought of moving there again makes you cry. This is what the burbs were invented for.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 1:48 PM on May 5, 2011


I came to second/third extending commute to 40 mins and looking to rent in Summit, Chatham or Madison. Beautiful towns with walkable train stations and tons of parks etc.
posted by Busmick at 1:52 PM on May 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


Soryy all of those are in New Jersey.
posted by Busmick at 1:53 PM on May 5, 2011


Yeah, I think on that budget, you're going to have to compromise at least one of your top three criteria. The easiest thing would be to accept a longer commute, but you could probably get the shorter commute if you're willing to live in an apartment or in a more city-like area.

I grew up on the Raritan Valley line in the area that PhoBWan is talking about. My father worked at Penn Station. It took him about 75 minutes, door-to-door, to get to work. It will take you about 90 to get to NYU because you'll have to get on the subway when you get into the city.
posted by decathecting at 1:53 PM on May 5, 2011


Nah, you don't need to take the subway. The PATH goes right to 9th and 14th.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 1:54 PM on May 5, 2011


You can definitely get a yard in Cobble Hill/Boerum Hill/Carroll Gardens but someone will be living above you.
posted by the young rope-rider at 1:56 PM on May 5, 2011


The PATH from Newark (where the Raritan Valley line stops) only goes to WTC, not to 9th or 14th. So you either need to take three trains (RV plus 2 PATH), or you need to get on the subway from WTC to NYU.
posted by decathecting at 2:01 PM on May 5, 2011


I'm from upstate NY. Ok it's not Colorado, but we lived on a farm, we were surrounded by mountains, our "town" probably had a population of 200 at the very most... Super rural.

I've lived in Greenpoint, Brooklyn for 7 years now. I wouldn't live anywhere else in NYC. I live in the downstairs apartment of a house. I have a backyard and when I'm out there, I forget I'm even in NYC. I'm near two great parks, with dog runs. There's lots of stuff to do and it totally feels like a neighborhood. I can get into the city easily (although... your commute may be more like 30-45 minutes). But seriously, I hardly ever go into Manhattan other than for work. Everything I need is here! A slightly longer commute is well worth it, in my opinion. (may not be for you... but at least consider it!)

It's more expensive than other parts of Brooklyn, but I pay less than your budget, and I live alone in a 2 bedroom with a backyard. You can find something for under 2k, dont worry. Seriously, Greenpoint. It's fabulous.
posted by silverstatue at 2:02 PM on May 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


The PATH from Newark (where the Raritan Valley line stops) only goes to WTC, not to 9th or 14th. So you either need to take three trains (RV plus 2 PATH), or you need to get on the subway from WTC to NYU.

Whoops, sorry, you're right. I haven't taken the PATH on a weekday since the WTC's been up and running again.

(still, it's fairly trivial to switch trains; might just be a bit crowded on weekdays; still think the westfield area is probably perfect for what you're looking for if you're willing to compromise on length of commute.)
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 2:03 PM on May 5, 2011


Bay Ridge, Bklyn. It's a little further out than you're looking for, but it's amazing. If I didn't live in Manhattan, I'd live in Bay Ridge.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 2:12 PM on May 5, 2011


I think you can definitely find something that will make you happy. I live in Brooklyn and I think it has lots of the kind of character you're talking about. It is a little louder and a little more chaotic than you're probably used to, but nowhere near Manhattan levels.

This: On that budget, I think you might have to rule out Brooklyn too, especially with regards to "no strangers living above me" strikes me as bizarre. $4,000 a month in rent? Brooklyn is your oyster. Purchasing may be a little harder to swing, but still.

You are probably going to have to pick one of "nobody living above me" and "access to a garden." However, one or the other is very doable, in an apartment in a brownstone or rowhouse or walk-up building in Park Slope, Carroll Gardens, Boerum Hill, or Cobble Hill. Often, tenants on the garden level will have access to the backyard. And, someone is living on the top floor of each of these buildings.

Honestly, I think Park Slope is pretty much made for you. It's got a big cult following for a reason. Good schools, quiet, beautiful, lots of amenities, right next to the park, and within your commute and budgetary requirements. Anywhere between 7th Avenue and Prospect Park West and say, Union Street and 9th Street is going to be pretty damn peaceful, by NYC standards, at least.
posted by dixiecupdrinking at 2:16 PM on May 5, 2011


Oh, yes, also Ditmas Park is worth a look. Some fantastic Victorian houses out there and it's relatively cheaper. The commute will be a shade over the half-hour mark, but on weekdays the B train goes straight to Broadway-Lafayette and West 4th, and the Q goes to Union Square, so between those you've got a transfer-free ride to all of NYU land, basically.
posted by dixiecupdrinking at 2:19 PM on May 5, 2011


These answers are already amazingly helpful. You rock!

I do understand that I may not be able to get everything I want, so it's helpful to explain the trade-offs (shorter commute vs. no upstairs neighbors) so I can start weighing the options.
posted by betterton at 2:20 PM on May 5, 2011


CT is not a far commute, lots of people do that train ride in and out.

We lived in Stamford, but really anything off 95 north of the city you'd probably enjoy(with the exception of the commute - Stamford does have an express that i believe was 30-45min??). This way your "in" the city for work but when it's time to leave you're really leaving Manhattan behind you.
posted by doorsfan at 2:39 PM on May 5, 2011


3-4k a month is totally possible for a one bed in the west village. nice short walk to work. Have to get lucky with the backyard part - but you will def need to have neighbors above you.

WRT to areas further out in the boroughs - I think that's crazy talk given your own desires - you are already looking at >30 minutes from non-brownstone Brooklyn to West 4th St. and you still won't get everything you want in your price range.

Better to suck it up on the commute, add 20 minutes to it and go full suburban. You'll have everything you want, except the short commute. LI or NJ will be better from a commuting perspective. I think you can get rural in NJ faster than LI.

Also I don't know what your role at NYU will be, but def look into their housing benefits - they can be pretty plush assuming you are an academic.
posted by JPD at 2:43 PM on May 5, 2011


Look, take it from me: a long commute will kill your life. It will make dating harder. It will make going to shows or going out to dinner or getting the late movie harder. It will make you dependent on stupid train schedules that leave you waiting for 40 minutes because you missed a train. It will leave you unable to say "fuck it, I'm taking a cab home". It will suck hours out of your day, days out of your year. There's no point to it.

Seriously, though, it makes dating and enjoying the good things about NYC much harder and yet you still will spend a good chunk of your day in Manhattan or stuffed with hundreds of other people on a train.

The commute is the one thing I absolutely wouldn't budge past 30 minutes.
posted by the young rope-rider at 3:32 PM on May 5, 2011 [4 favorites]


As a New Yorker, I would just like to warn you to listen to your own instincts. You seem to know NYC well enough to know you won't be happy. I see this a lot - some people are just not cut out for this town but they stay for stupid reasons and it just ruins their life. Don't make yourself miserable unless the job is really that amazing.
posted by CunningLinguist at 3:46 PM on May 5, 2011 [5 favorites]


A longer commute than you are looking for, but you may want to check out Hastings-on-Hudson, NY, which is accessible via Metro North, Hastings line, trains to Grand Central.
posted by gudrun at 4:49 PM on May 5, 2011


You can buy a brownstone in Bedford Stuyvesant for under $600,000.
posted by brina at 5:40 PM on May 5, 2011


I have no idea why people are saying you can't afford Brooklyn. At $2K-4K/month, you can get a fine place in Brooklyn in a good neighborhood. Even your desire to not have people living above you- that's really not that big a deal, though it shouldn't be a deal-breaker if you find an otherwise good place. In my last apartment I was on the top floor, so I didn't have any strangers living above me.
posted by wondermouse at 6:37 PM on May 5, 2011


I'm originally from Boulder, and when I moved to New York I started out in Astoria. I had an apartment with a backyard, but with your budget you could probably get a whole house if you wanted to. You can get to NYU in about 30 minutes via subway, no problem. It's also one of the easier areas to keep a car. The Ditmars area of Astoria, at the end of the N/Q line would be a place you'd want to consider.
posted by Fuego at 7:02 PM on May 5, 2011


I don't think anyone is saying she can't afford prime brooklyn on her budget. Rather Brooklyn fulfills very few of her requirements. Her budget is enough to make the west village an option - which means a walk to work, but it isn't enough for a full brownstone in bk (which is what she needs for yard + no upstairs neighbors). She has to give on something, and in that case Brooklyn is sub optimal in every way - commute is too long and not the correct living arrangement.
posted by JPD at 7:10 PM on May 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


Out of left field suggestions that compromise on culture: staten island, Roosevelt island, or for a way longer commute, city island.
posted by slateyness at 7:35 PM on May 5, 2011


Okay, I'm going to take a different tack, here.

Are you really a country mouse? Because if you are, you are never going to be happy in a city.

I would cry if I had to live in NYC, too. Any metro area, really. I've tried it, I lived in Paris for God's sake, one the most beautiful cities in the world, but I'll take a homely mountain over a gorgeous city any day of the week.
posted by Leta at 7:58 PM on May 5, 2011


an area with houses or townhouses. I would like a yard/garden (small is OK) and no strangers living above me.

This is not going to happen within 20 minutes of NYU, unless you are seriously wealthy.

For all your other criteria, you want Fort Greene, Cobble Hill, Park Slope, or the like in Brooklyn. Ideally near either the A, C, B, D, F or R train.

For what it's worth, really your choices are either a backyard or no upstairs neighbors. You don't have to live in a concrete jungle, it's just that single family homes are basically nonexistent unless you can spend a couple or three million on a brownstone.

If having your own private house is really important, you might look at parts of New Jersey accessible from the PATH train, though I don't know the landscape well enough to know whether the housing stock in those areas is more single family or apartment.

I have lived in NYC in the past and visited extensively, and the thought of living in Manhattan makes me want to cry.

If you are serious about this and not hyperbolizing, decline the offer and continue in your country mouse ways. If you don't even like the idea of living in New York, the reality is going to be miserable. I love living here and found it an easy place to adjust to, but I fantasized about living in New York pretty much from the time that I first heard of the place.

Also, for all the crowing about how great it is to live in Brooklyn, Queens, and New Jersey (I live in Brooklyn and love it, don't get me wrong), keep in mind that, yes, it is still living in New York City. Most of the frustrations of living in Manhattan - as compared to any other part of the USA - are still here, with more added. It's not like you hop over the river and suddenly it's Tuscon.
posted by Sara C. at 8:30 PM on May 5, 2011


I don't think you should move here. You don't sound like you will be happy in the city and even if you find the imaginary apartment you are looking for or settle for the ones people are telling you about, you will still be fully surrounded by city and commute and all that jazz every day when you go to NYU.

Green space is limited and not at all like green space in Colorado. A friend from Jackson Hole moved here and we took him to Prospect Park and he flipped out because he was so upset that even our nicest parks had paved paths and fences and cars. He had an awesome job making literally 15x what he used to, but left within the year because he really likes the outdoors and was going crazy.

Brooklyn within 30-40 min of NYU is a city and NJ is suburbs, and neither of them feel anything like a cute country neighborhood with parks.

If you are good enough to get a job at NYU, you are good enough to get great jobs elsewhere.
Some people would trip over themselves running to NYC for this opportunity and you are not one of them. Wouldn't it be nice and fitting to say no to this job and let one of them have it?
posted by rmless at 9:04 PM on May 5, 2011


I would also go with Bay Ridge in Brooklyn, somewhere close to the 59th St stop. The N runs express straight to the 8th St - NYU stop in Manhattan, which would probably put you at about 40 minutes door-to-door. With your budget, you'd be able to get a ton of space (by NYC standards) and live alone, perhaps with a garden, street parking, etc. You'd also be close enough so that getting a cab back after a particularly long day at work wouldn't be out of the question. There are also enough restaurants, bars, and grocery stores so that you wouldn't have any pressing needs to leave the neighborhood on weekends.
posted by msk1985 at 9:08 PM on May 5, 2011


Brooklyn within 30-40 min of NYU is a city and NJ is suburbs, and neither of them feel anything like a cute country neighborhood with parks.

I don't think you know NJ really well. Places like Hoboken are going to feel cityish, but Summit, Chatham, and Madison (mentioned by another poster upthread) are all really very very green/at best suburban. In fact, Chatham or Madison might fit the bill perfectly, though they're pricey with a longish (~1 hour) commute.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 9:31 PM on May 5, 2011


I'm not a New Yorker. I can attest that there are parts of Brooklyn that are very nice and don't have the claustrophobic feeling of Manhattan. (Have you visited that type of area?) The parks are indeed lovely, and there are great restaurants and coffeeshops and free performances and all kinds of neat things like that. And the old classy buildings of Brooklyn are gorgeous and a lot of streets have mature trees all along the street, and feel very human-scale. There are a lot of young people (20s and 30s) there so the dating scene is probably more populous than many places, for those ages. (And hell, for any age.) It is really energetic and can be really exciting.

But you will spend a lot of time walking in places with lots of other people and with a lot of cement, and comparatively little greenery compared to areas with big lawns, and you will spend a LOT of time on the subway, learning its schedules, learning trying to decide which of six ways to get from point A to point B.

I understand that NYU is rolling in cash. In my discipline they basically built a new PhD program from scratch in a few years to be one of the most prestigious departments in the world - because a lot of people want to live there, and NYU laid down a hell of a lot of cash. So I'm guessing you are maybe getting a sniff of that - and it's probably true that the resources they would offer you would be ones that few institutions could match. I wonder if it would make sense (depending where you are in your career) to take it and stay for a few years and use those resources to build publications etc that would take you to an institution in a place of your choice.
posted by LobsterMitten at 10:10 PM on May 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


Are there places in Manhattan (and hell, below 80th) where you can have a (small/tiny?) yard and no one living above you? I'm just curious. It strikes me as wildly out of place.
posted by !Jim at 10:46 PM on May 5, 2011


The only thing I'd add is that you should conservatively estimate the commute time. You say you want 20-30 min door-to-door. When most people in NYC says to you, "I live in xyz and my commute is 30 minutes," they really mean the subway ride itself is 25-30 minutes.

Add walking out of your house/apartment, walking to the station, waiting for the train, getting off the train, walking to your office, and swiping yourself in all the way through to the point you get to your office or cubicle. Not to mention, esp. during non-rush hours, the periodic service interruptions or delays... Those 30 minutes commuting in from the outerboroughs can easily mean 45-60 minutes in absolute door-to-door commute.

Go to hopstop.com or a site like that, and add 5 minutes for waiting for the train.

For a few years, I had a one-stop commute on an express train line within Manhattan, and walked no more than a total of six street (not avenue) blocks in my entire commute. I walked faster than most New Yorkers, and my commute was still fully 15 minutes door-to-door. Seriously, I was privileged with one of the shortest commutes of anyone in NY other than those who just walked several blocks to work without taking public transportation.

Sorry to be a buzzkill, sorry if I'm just telling you something you amply know, and sorry if I'm being rude to certain neighborhoods. You will not get <30 minutes from almost anywhere that is being suggested on this page.
posted by ccl6yl at 10:47 PM on May 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


Are there places in Manhattan (and hell, below 80th) where you can have a (small/tiny?) yard and no one living above you? I'm just curious. It strikes me as wildly out of place.

sure - but for the no one above you part the tariff starts at around 3 mil. In the nabe around NYU more like 5 mil. Just a garden isn't that difficult.
posted by JPD at 4:49 AM on May 6, 2011


It doesn't sound like you'll be happy anywhere in NY, but should certainly take a look into NJ. Chatham, Summit, Morristown, Ridgewood. The trade off would be the commute, but I know that in Morristown and Ridgewood at least, you'll be able to be within walking distance of the train and services (shops & restaurants). Definitely not Hoboken or Jersey City though, if you want small town/community feel. Those are only good options if the commute is your #1 priority. And if that's the case, then I think you likely won't be happy in NYC at all. Door to door commutes from anywhere outside of the NYU area of Manhattan are certain to be 30+ minutes. 30 minutes no upstairs neighbors in a quiet neighborhood is just not possible, sorry.
posted by Grither at 7:12 AM on May 6, 2011


"Door to door commutes from anywhere outside of the NYU area of Manhattan are certain to be 30+ minutes. "

Sorry, but this is simply untrue. You can get a 30 minute commute or less to the NYU area from numerous neighborhoods in Manhattan and Brooklyn. The F train from around the Bergen stop to West 4th street takes less than 20 minutes, less than 15 if you time it right.

My partner currently has a 30 minute commute--door to door--from Brooklyn to the NYU area. We don't even live that close to the city.
posted by the young rope-rider at 8:49 AM on May 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


I just have to drop in to mention I'm really surprised by a lot of the answers here. I don't get the impression that betterton is quite such a "country mouse" as people are assuming. Many of the requirements are really small-scale urban more than rural. Commuting without a car? Shops and restaurants within walking distance? Parks? These are things you are going to find in Brooklyn, not in the suburbs. And it doesn't have to be an overwhelming neighborhood. My block in Brooklyn is about as quiet as my parents' old house was on a busy suburban road.

I have also done the commute from Park Slope and Prospect Heights to the NYU area and promise you it can *actually* be 30 minutes, door to door (under 20 on the train); it can be more like 20-25 from certain parts of Cobble Hill, Fort Greene or Boerum Hill, especially if you happen to live right near and work right near a subway station. I find it really bizarre that people are insisting this is impossible, though I do agree that you should be conservative with your estimates of how long a commute will be.

Sorry to be such a Brooklyn booster, but I really just want to emphasize, OP, that I wouldn't get too discouraged. It might take more compromise than you're willing to make, I don't know, but I would really advise you to try to check out some of these Brooklyn neighborhoods, especially if the NYU offer is as good as you make it sound.
posted by dixiecupdrinking at 8:50 AM on May 6, 2011


Maybe it would be helpful for me to explain that I currently live in Boulder, which is a small city of 100,000 people. I'm sure there are parts of Brooklyn and New Jersey that have a similar feel. Boulder has the advantage of having amazing outdoors and wilderness nearby, though.

This thread has been incredibly helpful. Before committing to move I'm going to spend some time looking at neighborhoods and hopefully even spending a few days in some different neighborhoods to see what they are like. Thanks to this thread, I know where to look.

More suggestions are of course welcome.
posted by betterton at 8:59 AM on May 6, 2011


I just have to drop in to mention I'm really surprised by a lot of the answers here. I don't get the impression that betterton is quite such a "country mouse" as people are assuming.

When someone says, "I'm a country mouse" and "the thought of living in Manhattan makes me want to cry," I take them at their word.

Sure, there are people who talk about wanting to eat at a nice restaurant one day and go hiking or skiing the next-- this is why so many New Yorkers moved to California and Colorado.

Suburbanites who work at NYU are the sort who used to live in NYC but moved out to the suburbs for their family and more space but still liked the idea of living in NYC and having access to a large metro area.

Especially if you're single and trying to have a social life, dealing with the commute to get what you want and the regular traveling you'll probably want to do in order to engage in the outdoors and wilderness activities you have in Boulder is going to put a big cramp on things.

This just doesn't sound like something you're going to be happy with. It sounds like you're looking for a "pep talk" to convince you to get over your reservations about moving to the NYC area. A more honest answer is that working at NYU is going to be a burden you'll be trying to work around rather than an opportunity you're excited about, and that's no way to approach a job, but you should at least know what you're in for.
posted by deanc at 9:10 AM on May 6, 2011


I'm from Colorado too! There is nowhere that I know of in the NY/New Jersey area that has wilderness like Colorado and a good commute to the NYU area or I'd be living there. I have a friend who pretty much refuses to move here for that reason. I think that a lot of people think that the parks are the same, or that the suburbs are similar to being in nature, but they're really not.

Good luck, and call a meetup when you get into town! I would be happy to show you around the Cobble Hill/Boerum Hill/Carroll Gardens area. There are a lot of beautiful, peaceful streets near a really great restaurant/shop area.
posted by the young rope-rider at 9:14 AM on May 6, 2011


I'm a city mouse currently in Boulder, sigh. Wanna trade?

You've got a hard decision to make. What is it about the thought of living in NYC that makes you cry? Knowing that specifically might help.
posted by cyndigo at 10:12 AM on May 6, 2011


You can get a 30 minute commute or less to the NYU area from numerous neighborhoods in Manhattan and Brooklyn. The F train from around the Bergen stop to West 4th street takes less than 20 minutes, less than 15 if you time it right.


sure but you've got to walk to and from both stations, and you've got to wait for the trains. And Bergen is still very urban. She's not going to get a single family home there for her price. That's why Brooklyn isn't the right answer, even though on Metafilter it is evidently the "only" answer for people asking about NYC.

I could post here saying "15 mil to spend, want to be near a park, work in midtown" and someone would chime in "Cobble Hill is amazing"
posted by JPD at 10:30 AM on May 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


Look, I used to work in Cobble Hill and live in Chelsea (which is a few stops further from Brooklyn than NYU). My bosses in Cobble Hill have a small backyard and I know how much they pay for their place (certainly less than 4k.) I know what the commute is like, door-to-door.

Thinking that I was maybe huffing exhaust, I checked out google transit which agrees with me (12-18 minutes on the train).

I never said she'd have a free-standing house with a backyard. I made it very clear that it is nothing like Colorado. I don't think Prospect Park is "wilderness".

However, statements like "unless you live in the neighborhood, your commute will be more than 30 minutes" (paraphrasing) are simply wrong and should be corrected by people who know what they're talking about.
posted by the young rope-rider at 10:53 AM on May 6, 2011


Yes. Also I fail to see how "live in the West Village" is the correct response for someone who hates the idea of living in Manhattan. I don't really think that's responsive to the OP's concerns.
posted by dixiecupdrinking at 11:33 AM on May 6, 2011


These are things you are going to find in Brooklyn, not in the suburbs.

It's the >30 minute commute and the desire for a single family home, not to mention the quote "the thought of living in Manhattan makes me want to cry", which pushed me over the edge into recommending that the OP simply not bother moving here.

Because as much as I love Brooklyn, it takes 45 minutes door to door for me to get to any work-like Manhattan setting. And I have loud neighbors on all sides despite living on the top floor of my building (which is a walkup), and no backyard access, and still deal with the vast majority of concerns that most "country mice" have with urban life. Not to mention more concerns that "country mice" probably don't even know exists, like the lack of a decent supermarket nearby or the fact that my mailbox got broken into while I was out of town a couple weeks ago.

Basically, I'm of the opinion that people who don't want to live in New York shouldn't move to New York, and Brooklyn, much as I love living here, is not a cure-all for that.
posted by Sara C. at 11:54 AM on May 6, 2011


Thinking that I was maybe huffing exhaust, I checked out google transit which agrees with me (12-18 minutes on the train).

Yes and this assumes they live and work directly next to the train station, and that they don't have to wait five minutes for the train to show up. People always underestimate train time.

Also I fail to see how "live in the West Village" is the correct response for someone who hates the idea of living in Manhattan. Where did she say Manhattan? do you see Manhattan - she said NYC.

Did I say it was going to give her everything she wants? No. Its a short commute and a brownstone neighborhood. My original point was you have to give on something. Brownstone Brooklyn is very similar to the West Village in terms of appearance. Slightly wider streets so population density is a bit lower, but other than that they look the same. If she wants a single family home that's not going to happen in anything approaching a 30 minute commute. Brownstone Brooklyn givens her nothing that she wants.

But my point stands - Metafilter monoculture - Brooklyn.
posted by JPD at 5:26 PM on May 6, 2011


So can you tell me things about the New York area that might make it sound better as a place to live?

The proximity of nature. I can take a train or a bus for an hour or two and be at great beaches or hiking trails/mountains.

Look into Appalachian Mountain Club (even if you prefer to hike alone, they are a good introduction to the trails accessible by public transit). Harriman State Park. Cold Spring, NY.

Fire Island. Robert Moses Park. Jones Beach.

Spend your weekends outside of the city.
posted by valeries at 8:59 AM on May 9, 2011


Ex-nyu employee here. NYU has faculty housing at washington square village 4 mins walk from their main campus area. Subsidized rates from 4 yrs ago were ca. $1200 for a 1 bed, $1500 for 2 bed, some with balconies. If this job at NYU is a good faculty position, ask for this.

Take the remainder for your 4k and get a share in the hamptons, and escape when you're weary.
posted by lalochezia at 3:13 PM on June 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


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