A place to live between Queens and White Plains
November 6, 2011 5:48 AM   Subscribe

Since Summer 2012 I will work in Flushing, Queens, while my children will attend a school in White Plains: Where is advisable to live in order to commute easily to both destinations?

I never lived in New York, but looking at the maps Harlem looks to be in a convenient area for our needs. Do anybody have an experience of living in Harlem or would you suggest other neighborhoods?
posted by teebay to Home & Garden (18 answers total)
Inwood or Washington Heights, but it depends on how your kids will be GETTING to school in White Plains. That's pretty far from Manhattan, and REALLY far from Flushing.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 6:00 AM on November 6, 2011

More information is needed to answer this question. A few key questions:
- How old are the children?
- Will you be taking them to school, will your wife/SO take them or do you expect them to go themselves?

Things to consider: While it appears easy to drive to both locations from Harlem, in fact driving in the city is a nightmare and you are much better off thinking about public transit options. Secondly, I would be ... ambivalent... about living in Harlem. Parts of it are really gritty (poor, crime ridden, dangerous), other parts are up and coming. Doesn't make it safe. I'm not sure I would want my kids wandering the streets on their own up there. Both White Plains and Flushing are probably better for families.
posted by zia at 6:01 AM on November 6, 2011

One last question: How do you expect to get to work? Driving? Subway? Bus?
posted by zia at 6:02 AM on November 6, 2011

The drive from white plains to flushing would be a million times easier than the drive from anywhere in Manhattan to either place. If White Plains is too pricey there are parts of the east bronx that would be quite convenient for that commute as well.

Harlem, Inwood, Wash Heights are actually IMHO not very good ideas purely from a transportation perspective.

If you are taking public transport and so are the kids you would want to be on the east side so they can get metro-north.

The White Plains - Flushing commute won't be too bad. Its not exactly a reverse commute, more of a peripheral one. (and distance wise Flushing - White Plains is pretty much the exact same as Harlem-White Plains)
posted by JPD at 6:17 AM on November 6, 2011

This answer won't address the geographic question, but: Where will your children's classmates be living - in White Plains? In that case, live in White Plains and commute to Queens. I think it's important to provide children with the EASY opportunity to have social time with their classmates outside of school. For a few years, our oldest daughter went to the school where my husband taught (in a neighboring county). Arranging play dates and such was a huge hassle, even though it was only 25 minutes away, and she never quite acclimated socially because she did couldn't participate in those impromptu, stopping by to play after school moments. YMMV depending on the school, but something to consider. I also think it's beneficial for both kids and parents, whenever possible, to give kids the shortest commute between home and school.
posted by Sweetie Darling at 6:20 AM on November 6, 2011 [5 favorites]

No, Harlem isn't a good choice: driving into and out of Manhattan will suck. I'd probably recommend somewhere near the bridges in northern Queens, like Whitestone, Bay Terrace or Astoria.

A side note: if you're driving, I'd recommend taking the Bronx River up to White Plains. Don't take the Deegan; it's always - and I do mean always - miserable in terms of traffic.
posted by gchucky at 6:21 AM on November 6, 2011

Seconding the suggestion to live in WPs and drive to Flushing.

Besides the Bronx River Pkwy the Hutchinson is also typically not bad. You'll have a 5-10 minute backup to cross the Whitestone most days and that will get better when/if the construction ever ends and gives us the lane back, but otherwise it's a good way to go.

More bang for your housing buck in WPs as well. It's a pretty diverse place, culturally and economically, and NYC is a 30-40 minute express train away anytime you want.
posted by gazole at 7:23 AM on November 6, 2011

The suggestion to live in Washington Heights/Inwood doesn't make sense. I live in Washington Heights and there are few places more inconvenient to get to from here than both White Plains and Flushing.

The people suggesting the east side of Manhattan or northern Queens are correct.

Therefore, the answer to your question comes down to what your budget is. Manhattan rental prices are much higher than Queens rental prices.
posted by dfriedman at 8:37 AM on November 6, 2011

Thank you all for your pieces of advice. My children will be 14 and 12 at the time and I think they could reach the German School in White Plains with the Harlem Line (from GCT or 125th st. station) themselves or accompanied by my wife, who is the fourth member of the family. I will also use public transport in order to go to work (Queens College, Kissena Blvd.). Nothing against living in Astoria or Long Island City, however I wonder how difficult/long could it be for my children to get to the Metro-north. Maybe look for a place not far from Lexington Ave.?
posted by teebay at 8:39 AM on November 6, 2011

Did you check out the "directions" pages at the websites for Queens College and the German School? The QC site says that you'd need to take a subway or commuter rail and then a bus, and that it takes 60 minutes to midtown Manhattan. The German School makes no mention of a public transportation option at all. Do they run a bus from the White Plains station? In any case, Grand Central to White Plains would be a 30 minute express train or a 45 minute local train. If you lived in, say, the Murray Hill neighborhood of Manhattan, you and your kids would commute an hour, between getting to Grand Central and then switching to a bus to your final destination.
posted by xo at 11:15 AM on November 6, 2011

FYI: I live in White Plains and am familiar with the German School as I have lectured there before.

Commuting to the German School via public transportation while possible is difficult. If your children were to take the Metro North to White Plains they will still need to get from the train station to the school on a daily basis. It is a 3.3 mile walk which is likely too long (definitely too long in the cold of winter). There is no direct bus route, so the only option would be a cab which will get pretty expensive on a daily basis. If you're willing to take on this expense, then I suggest you live in Manhattan. Grand Central to White Plains is approximately 35 minutes and Manhattan to Queens is approximately 35 minutes giving you and your kids equal commutes.

If you choose to live somewhere north of Manhattan, it is probably best for you to live somewhere in or near White Plains. However, this option still makes it difficult for your children to get to school without either you or your wife having a car (cab is only option) and living in White Plains without a car is not advisable. Also, it is a long commute via train to Queens (Metro North to subway is likely 1 1/2 hours each way). Bottom line -- you need a car if you are going to live in White Plains (this would also make the commute to Queens a lot easier).

Before you look into any of this you should contact the school. The last time I was there I spoke with the principal at length and he explained that his students often commuted from pretty far distances and he was used to having parents in temporary employment positions. It is likely they have a lot of advice to offer concerning different transportation options.

Good luck and welcome to New York.
posted by Mr. X at 11:31 AM on November 6, 2011 [1 favorite]

Also, as others have alluded to Queens College by public transport is not a great trip even from Manhattan, or really anywhere outside of that area of Queens.

Really you should consider buying a car or consider a different schooling option. My wife who went to the magnet high school on the QC campus and grew up in Queens suggests at rush hour its probably 75 from midtown manhattan - Subway to an Express Bus.
posted by JPD at 11:39 AM on November 6, 2011

Mr. X writes that there is no direct bus route, so the only option would be a cab. I am rather surprised, since according to the trip planner of http://www.511ny.org/tripplanner/default.aspx, if you leave from GCT at 7:15 am you arrive at White Plains at 7:55 am and then at 8.10 you can go to White Plains Transcenter, Lane C and board on the I-Bus Line/Stamford Express, arriving at Main & S Broadway at 8:14 am. Is WP Transcenter far from the station and Main & S Broadway far from the school?
posted by teebay at 1:28 PM on November 6, 2011

You don't want your daily commute to be reliant on Suburban buses. This is not Germany in many ways, public transportation is one of them.

the monthly passes alone on Metro-North will be $230 for your wife, and I think there is some discount on that for your kids, but not huge as best I can tell. So figure $600/month for that . Then another sum for the bus. I think it can be stapled onto your ticket, but I'm not sure how much it is.

Seriously though - that commute would be terrible. Don't forget you'd need to add on the commute from your apartment to 125th or GCT. Probably 20-25 minutes minimum.
posted by JPD at 2:09 PM on November 6, 2011 [1 favorite]

Mr. X writes that there is no direct bus route, so the only option would be a cab. I am rather surprised, since according to the trip planner of http://www.511ny.org/tripplanner/default.aspx, if you leave from GCT at 7:15 am you arrive at White Plains at 7:55 am and then at 8.10 you can go to White Plains Transcenter, Lane C and board on the I-Bus Line/Stamford Express, arriving at Main & S Broadway at 8:14 am. Is WP Transcenter far from the station and Main & S Broadway far from the school?

I also live in White Plains, and that plan does not make a lot of sense. The Transcenter is right next to the train station, so that's not an issue. But, Main and S Broadway is less than a mile from the train station, so you could walk there faster than taking a bus. And then you're still a couple of miles from the German School, so what next? I really don't think the buses are going to be your answer - in this area, they tend to be more for moving people around a fairly large, diffuse suburban area, rather than moving people short distances within cities and towns.

The school's website seems to suggest the use of private bus lines, which are used frequently in this area to transport students. It's not entirely clear, but it looks like there may be a private bus that serves NYC students. I second Mr. X's suggestion that you speak with someone at the school regarding transportation before you make any decisions about where to live. JPD also makes good points. If it were me, I'd probably live in White Plains and get a car to commute to Queens.
posted by hovizette at 5:06 PM on November 6, 2011

I live in Riverdale/Kingsbridge (northwest Bronx) and commute by car to White Plains daily. Lovely neighborhood if you prefer to live close to the city. Drive is 30 to 40 minutes to WP and similar drive time to Flushing. GSNY is not close to the White Plains city center. Ask the school about carpooling.
posted by harlan at 5:11 PM on November 6, 2011

One more living near White Plains.

I would live in White Plains itself and travel to my workplace on Metro North. Each and every family member traveling to workplace doesn't make sense. if you live in White Plains, you could take express Metro North and be at Grand Central in 35 minutes (local trains takes 45 minutes)

Don't even consider driving from White Plains. The traffic to the city is simply mad.

Go with Mr.X and hovizette's recommendation.
posted by zaxour at 6:22 AM on November 7, 2011

OPs job is in Flushing tho.
posted by JPD at 6:25 AM on November 7, 2011

« Older I'll pass on that role in the Days of Wine and...   |   Dealing with Unruly Youth Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.