Where to live in the Capital Region (upstate NY)?
August 21, 2014 1:32 PM   Subscribe

We may be moving to upstate NY, and would like advice about where to live. We're looking for an apartment right now, but would hopefully be looking for a house at some point.

We'd lived in the area years ago, but north of Albany/Troy and without any thought of buying a house, school districts, etc. My husband will be commuting to downtown Albany and would like a short drive, preferably avoiding 90. I don't have a job yet, so the easier the potential commute to a number of areas, the better.
posted by Kriesa to Home & Garden (6 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I lived in Albany and walked to work for 11 years. I got tired of the noise, litter, and petty crime in the Delaware Avenue neighborhood and moved to Selkirk (part of the Town of Bethlehem) three years ago. I have a very easy commute into downtown Albany, it takes 12-13 minutes on Route 144. The area south of Albany has much less extensive suburbia than to the north, and much less traffic. Although traffic in the Albany area is nothing compared to major metro areas, there is often congestion along the Northway (I-87 north of Albany). There are some attractive areas in the City of Albany, especially in neighborhoods that are mostly single-family homes. Most of the apartments in Albany tend to be older and not particularly well-kept, though there are some new luxury apartments and condos in and near downtown. I am guessing that if you have children you are probably not looking for a downtown location. Uptown Albany, Bethlehem (including Delmar, Glenmont, Selkirk, and Slingerlands), Colonie, and Guilderland are all possibilities with short commutes to downtown Albany. I am pretty familiar with the rental market, so feel free to hit me up with any specific questions.
posted by jkent at 3:08 PM on August 21, 2014

Selkirk is a great idea, and so would Guilderland be. Perhaps the Village of Altamont if you like that sort of thing.
posted by jgirl at 3:39 PM on August 21, 2014

A friend had a lovely townhouse near Washington park, but he moved to Delmar after his wife had a kid because of the better schools.
posted by brujita at 4:07 PM on August 21, 2014

I live in Delmar, which I like because of its quick commute options (I can easily bike or bus into downtown Albany as well as drive) and its walkability (I can walk to the library, restaurants, farmer's markets, etc.; my kids can walk to school).

I am in a fancy school district, but despite the Albany school district's bad reputation, I would not hesitate to send my kids there... I know people who do and look at the statistics, and basically kids with active involved parents do well. So if cost/ commute/ urban preference make Albany appealing, don't reject it because of the schools.
posted by metasarah at 4:27 PM on August 21, 2014

There are major traffic woes heading into Albany basically from the North and from the East from 0745 to 0900, and it seems to me leaving Albany in those directions from 1600 to 1900 is even worse. Traffic has steadily risen over the past few years and will continue to grow with the development of the Research Center and other major manufacturing going on in the area.

Are you looking for a place down town or would you prefer the surrounding suburbs? In my opinion the most central location to access the whole of the capital region is Colonie. And generally wherever you go from there you are going against traffic, which makes things pretty smooth. From Colonie, there are almost always multiple ways to get to where you're going. Also, you can find houses for rent which are relatively affordable for two people.

I've lived quite a few places in my life and by far the most frustrating parking situations/laws are in the city of Albany. I would look for a place with a driveway at all costs.

What other factors are important to you? PM me if you have any most specific questions. I grew up here...
posted by IfIShouldEverComeBack at 5:33 PM on August 21, 2014

What do you value? Are you looking for suburbia specifically? Have you thought about maybe taking the northway bus instead of driving? CDTA runs a northway bus that takes about the same time as driving, and will save you money in gasoline and bring you up to the Clifton Park area (a common living location for Albany workers). Guilderland and Bethlehem are also decent. For a more rural feel as opposed to suburban you could look into some places across the border in Scoharie county; I had a coworker who commuted to/from Elmira in about 20 minutes.

In terms of Albany proper, the whole area along New Scotland Avenue/Manning Boulevard is nice. Semi-suburban, but not more than 10-15 minutes from downtown, and easy to bike or bus. In terms of living downtown proper, I'd aim for the Lark Street area and perpendicular residential streets. That's easy walking distance to the location I'm assuming he'll be working, and you're also an easy walk, bike, drive, or bus away from the grocery store and a few neat restaurants and cafes.

There's also Troy as an option, although I don't know how the roads are during rush hour as I've never had to commute from Troy to Albany or vice versa. Troy is really starting to blossom as they continue to improve the riverfront; I don't have any specific information about living there though - I'm looking to move to Albany proper and I try to use my car as little as possible, so my search has been focused on city apartments/condos and home rentals.
posted by Urban Winter at 9:31 AM on August 22, 2014

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