Decent (yet affordable!) places/area to move to in the West New York area? (Hoboken, Jersey City, Weehawken)
July 18, 2012 11:34 AM   Subscribe

Decent (yet affordable!) places/area to move to in the West New York area? (Hoboken, Jersey City, Weehawken)

Ok so, I'm looking to move into a 2-bedroom apartment with a roommate in one of the aforementioned areas, hopefully within the next couple of months. (We're both in our lower 20's). The reasons for moving around there are a change of pace, being close to the city, and living in a younger neighborhood. I work in central NJ, so I believe my commute would be about the same regardless of whether I lived in Hoboken, JC, or Weehawken. We don't know too too much about any of the areas, so the help I'm really looking for is which area would be best, and if there are any neighborhoods within those areas that would be most suitable. Here's a list of the criteria we're shooting for:

-Rent (pretty important, obviously): Something in the 1400-2000 range, but really, not a dollar over 2000 a month. I'm making a new teacher's salary, so I'm not broke by any means, but not taking baths in cash either. Hopefully this would include some or all of the heat/utilities per month.

-Safety: We don't need to live in an area Romney would reside in, but we'd rather not live anywhere we'd need to be too concerned with being outside at 2am in on a weekend night and getting mugged.

-Neighborhood: Neither of us are party animals, but it would be nice to live in an area with a younger crowd, as opposed to older families. This is definitely a want, but not a must.

-Proximity to an easy way to getting to NYC: I'm thinking a PATH train or something similar, basically a means that doesn't involve driving. Again, this is a strong want, but not a must.

Also, do most of the residential buildings have parking, or would I need to find a garage and pay a couple hundred a month for parking? Any and all advice would be incredibly appreciated. Thanks in advance!
posted by rogoke to Travel & Transportation (6 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Rent (pretty important, obviously): Something in the 1400-2000 range, but really, not a dollar over 2000 a month.

For the entire place, or per person?
posted by showbiz_liz at 12:03 PM on July 18, 2012

The thing that makes me sad about NYC-area rent is that I was paying under $700/mo. for a room in a share down the street from Romney's house, last year. But, yeah, you don't probably don't want to live where Mitt does in your early 20s.
posted by akgerber at 12:07 PM on July 18, 2012

You probably will not want to choose Weehawken if you want convenient transportation to NYC. Both of the other options are better.
posted by mlle valentine at 1:02 PM on July 18, 2012

The areas around the Grove St PATH are traditional favorites (Hamilton Park, Van Vorst Park), and are pretty nice. Haven't looked at prices in a few years but I feel like you could hit your budget if you shop around -- I could be wrong. Buildings there are mostly old brownstones and walk-ups, so parking is, uh... unlikely. Probably you'd have to rent a garage (a non-trivial task). Beautiful area.

Are you going to be a car commuter or train/bus commuter? Your money will go much further in the western part of Jersey City Heights (e.g., the area off Kennedy Blvd north of the Pulaski Skyway, sloping down toward Tonnele Ave), but you're really in car country. There are dollar vans on Kennedy to Port Authority for nightlife purposes.

The eastern part of the heights is also pretty cheap, and accessible by light rail (the 9th-Congress station) but that only gets you to PATH, not to NYC. NJT buses abound, however. I considered moving here when I was a student, but decided not to -- it's not without its charms, but it's really not that great either.

In general the Heights are OK, and reasonably safe, but it's hard to imagine getting excited about them. Good Indian food though.

In JC, I personally would not live south of Journal Square; it gets scary quickly.

Hoboken is probably not in your price range.

I know nothing of Weehawken. (Nor does anyone else, probably.)

There's also the Ironbound in Newark, which is PATH-accessible (with a bit of walking) and supposedly a pretty interesting neighborhood. There is some sort of a scene here but it's pretty down around the edges.

Or St George in Staten Island... not terribly exciting but close enough to the city that you don't feel as isolated.
posted by zvs at 1:03 PM on July 18, 2012

I think you should definitely be able to make it happen in Jersey City for less than $2000 for a decent place; I lived about a 10 minute walk from the Grove Street PATH with two roommates a few years ago, and our combined rent was slightly over that limit (minus utils, though). This was in between the Grove Street and Hamilton Park areas and was pretty nice overall (though less so than Van Vorst). A cursory Craigslist search tells me prices haven't escalated too much since then.

If you don't own a car, I think the Grove Street area, as others have suggested, is your best bet. If you do own a car, here's my circa-2009 parking rundown. Not sure if/how parking laws have changed, but basically, aside from garage parking, I had two choices at the time: either go to the JC Parking Authority and pay for a permit (they're apparently my roommates paid wildly different prices for their street permits) or find streets that don't require permits. Caveat: the streets that didn't require residential permits, as least around where I lived, were subject to weekly (alternating day) sweeps (Mon.-Wed., Tues.-Thurs.) and tickets appeared to slapped with gusto on unmoved vehicles (...including mine once, on a Wednesday, even though the signage stated otherwise. Apparently it was a municipal rule).

Anywhoo, parking weirdtrons aside, downtown JC has a lot going on, and seemingly more so now than when I was there--this website exists now. Plus, the PATH, when you want to go into NYC, is fast and cheaper than the MTA (though it doesn't run as frequently at night--after 11pm or so). Okay, best of luck with your search!
posted by freeform at 1:45 PM on July 18, 2012

"For the entire place, or per person?"

Sorry, to clarify, I meant 1400-2000 per month total for the apartment!
posted by rogoke at 1:57 PM on July 18, 2012

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