Best location for an apartment to host dinner parties
May 11, 2014 9:01 AM   Subscribe

I just moved to a new city (where I know few people) and I'm now deciding where to live. One of my criteria is to choose a location that is great for hosting frequent dinner parties for my friends, since in my last city I did this and got a lot of enjoyment from it. I know location is important, since when I get invited to parties, certain factors about the location sometimes discourage me from attending. But then again I have my own biases/quirks, so I am posing the following question to you: Purely in terms of location (assume "everything else equal", i.e. same host, guests, apartment unit/building, etc.), which of the below listed reasons are most likely to discourage you from attending a dinner party? Or which are minor/non-issues?

(1) Long subway ride

(2) Having to transfer subway lines

(3) Having to walk in the cold/rain to get to the apartment (vs. an apartment that is right next to the subway exit)

(4) Having to walk a longer distance indoors (e.g. through an underground mall)

(4) A neighborhood that's more run down or less interesting (but not unsafe)

(5) Other factors I left out?

Another thing I've found important is to be close to where people will go after the party, especially on weekends.

Note: This is a big city and most of my social group (young adults) gets around by subway.
posted by ElEmigrante to Home & Garden (12 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I would say that total time to get there would be my main concern.
posted by snoogles at 9:24 AM on May 11, 2014 [2 favorites]

Most of my decisions about places to go revolve around how close they are to the subway, but people tell me I'm lazier than most.
posted by bleep at 9:27 AM on May 11, 2014

I bike everywhere, so really the only question for me is "how far is it to get there from my house?" It's about if you're in the same (or adjacent) neighborhood as everyone else, not the transportation between the neighborhoods.
posted by Juliet Banana at 9:34 AM on May 11, 2014

Not sure if this is helpful, but everywhere I've lived there's been a kind of psychological divide among certain neighborhoods, across which people are reluctant to travel. It seems like you're trying to reverse-engineer this by picking apart the different factors that contribute to it, but I wonder if it might be simpler just to ask your friends?

Like, here in Cambridge, if one of my friends was considering moving to Jamaica Plain, I could immediately tell her not to if she wanted us all to hang out on the regular - people just hate going back and forth between those two places, not for any one reason but because of some magical combination of factors you just mentioned. People in my friends-group never go to JP, even though it takes as long to get to some places in Somerville, where we go all the time. It's not entirely logical, and you'll be frustrated if you pick a location that ought to work, and find your friends dragging their feet anyway, because it just "feels" far to cross some imaginary border.
posted by pretentious illiterate at 9:42 AM on May 11, 2014 [7 favorites]

What city do you live in, out of curiosity?
posted by three_red_balloons at 10:12 AM on May 11, 2014 [2 favorites]

I live somewhere where public transport is excellent. And I (female) am quite happy to use it late at night, travelling alone and I've never felt unsafe. But one of my main considerations is how easy it is to get back home at the end of the night. What I mean is frequency and reliability of connections and ease of reaching the station. Not so much total travel time or number of changes although shorter journey and fewer connections is of course better. I'd probably not want to take much longer than half an hr to get home on public transport unless it was a very special occasion. Strangely I'd be happy to drive for longer.
posted by koahiatamadl at 10:55 AM on May 11, 2014 [1 favorite]

When I was living in San Francisco, attending parties and playing hostess, ease of transit and safety were my primary concerns. If I could get to a party easily - taking one train or bus, or having a short transfer, with a short walk from the train/bus through a safe or at least safe-ish neighborhood - I was more likely to attend.

If the trip involved multiple transfers, or taking a bus or train that ran once an hour, or the neighborhood was such that I really had to take a cab or get a ride from someone with a car, I was less likely to attend that party.

tl;dr: Safety and good transportation were my main concerns.
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 11:03 AM on May 11, 2014 [1 favorite]

I think it really depends more on your friends than your location. Some of my friends are up for everything and some I can't even get to travel 20 minutes from their place on one subway line. That having been said, I personally find a long walk from transit--especially in bad or cold weather--to be the most disincentivizing. Assuming you're somewhere near public transit I'm up for a long trip.
posted by mlle valentine at 11:21 AM on May 11, 2014

For me, proximity to transit is key. I'd much rather spend 20min extra on transit than walk even 5-10min in crappy weather. If I have to walk and it's gross out, I'm more likely to not bother. But I'm a wuss like that. Also, almost as bad as walking is having to wait for a transit transfer standing outside in the cold.
posted by cgg at 11:48 AM on May 11, 2014 [1 favorite]

Safety and transit -- I have friends who live by transit but in sketchytown and I'm less likely to visit them than friends who live a bit further away from transit but in a nicer area. And I'm more likely to visit both of those categories of people than I am to visit people who live far away from any transit, OR on a transit line but in a boring place that I wouldn't visit unless it was only to see them. This changes a bit depending on the weather (if it's warm out and stays light late, I'll just bike there).
posted by rogerrogerwhatsyourrvectorvicto at 2:00 PM on May 11, 2014

For me, based on living in New York and Los Angeles, the factors are thus:

Convenience/practicality of neighborhood in general. I'm much more likely to go to a party in Silverlake, Echo Park, Hollywood, or Los Feliz than I am likely to go to a party in Van Nuys.

Public transit wise (from my experience in New York), I think there are three equally important factors.

Firstly, overall length of trip. Number of transfers doesn't bother me, but if I'm going to be on the R train going local through all of Brooklyn to get to your place out in Bay Ridge, ugh.

Secondly, weird train lines. In NYC living on the G or the J/M lines is automatically a turnoff in terms of getting people to come to your party. This is probably less of an issue in a smaller city with a simpler public transit system, but find out if your transit line is the universally acknowledged annoying one.

And then you've got distance from the subway, period. Usually this is only a real dealbreaker if the walk is through a bad neighborhood or it's an "all of the above" type situation where I had to transfer three times to get to the G train and then walk for 20 minutes.
posted by Sara C. at 3:59 PM on May 11, 2014

I live in New York and have lived in Chicago. When I lived in Chicago I preferred to bike most places, now I prefer to walk. So for me, living within walking distance/a safe walk is the biggest thing. But if I have to take the train, I care most about having fewer transfers and more reliable + frequent trains (and in a way that's related, because a bunch of transfers between very reliable/frequent trains is way better than transferring once between two bad trains) . I don't mind walking through rundown neighborhoods, but I think an underground mall might creep me out a little bit.

It's also a big incentive for me if the place I'm going is in a neighborhood where there are other things I enjoy, e.g. if the party ends early, or we want to go to a bar afterward, I want to know that there are bars I like, or, if we're going out to lunch, I want to know that I'll have fun walking around afterward.

And as Sara C. says, weird train lines are a huge thing. I actually live off the G (and it's not as bad as it used to be!) but I also live off another line which I trust vastly more. Even as someone who uses the G regularly, I prefer to go places where I'm not relying on it.

Most importantly, though, figure out where people like you tend to live! I have several friends who live in Williamsburg and love it; I grumble whenever I have to go there (G train, general ugh, I don't know). This means that I see those friends less frequently than I do my friends who live in other parts of the city, even those that technically live further away.
posted by dizziest at 6:30 AM on May 12, 2014

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