Tell me about Ronkonkoma
June 9, 2015 7:46 PM   Subscribe

I'm moving to Suffolk County, Long Island soon, and Ronkonkoma has been suggested as a good place to live given my household's daily commuting needs (me via car to Stony Brook, my partner via LIRR to Manhattan). But we know nothing about that town or that area, and looking at other sites for info (like city-data) hasn't given us much insight. Please, tell us what you know about living in Ronkonkoma.

We're especially interested in whether it's the kind of place where we'd be able to find an apartment or house such that my partner could walk to the train station and home again, so his commute wouldn't be dependent on me and my car.

We don't have kids, so we don't care about school districts. A non-ridiculous commute is our main issue.
posted by ocherdraco to Grab Bag (15 answers total)
Ronkonkoma station seems to be a glorified parking lot, without much housing stock or a town center nearby. Perhaps somewhere like Huntington Station, which has electric train service to Manhattan and diesel to Stony Brook, and a bit of a town around the station, might be more suitable?
posted by akgerber at 8:47 PM on June 9, 2015 [1 favorite]

Whoever is suggesting Ronkonkoma to you as a mutually good location is smoking crack, or else loves you and hates your husband.

You should live MUCH farther west on the island -- like western Nassau County (Garden City, etc.) You will have an easy 45 minute reverse commute in a car; unless his office is on top of Penn Station your husband will still be at least 60 minute door to door even if you are living walking distance to the station, and will have it worse than that on days he's working late, the weather's bad, etc.

As a plus western Nassau County was built up as traditional commuter villages a century ago and there's lots of walkable-to-the-station housing. You can save BIG money living in the "bad" school districts, too -- in the suburbs of New York most of the "bad" school districts are (1) decent school districts by most standards and (2) only "bad" because of a very concentrated and isolated block of poverty housing with attendant ills, with the most of the community being entirely safe and pleasant.
posted by MattD at 10:17 PM on June 9, 2015 [5 favorites]

Near peak strong island.

MattD is right. Though prob not GC. bad commute to Stony Brook and not that much shorter of a train ride than the north shore towns in western Suffolk.

Only on days there is no congestion could do the trip to stony brook from western Nassau in less than 70 minutes.

The school is really far north from the Lie.
posted by JPD at 4:12 AM on June 10, 2015

The school is really far north from the Lie.

Yeah, I was going to come in and say this. Stony Brook seems to be at least 45 minutes from anywhere, including, sometimes, the LIE. Huntington Station, like akgerber suggested, might be a place to start looking. There's really no there there, although Huntington Village is near and nice.

(For reference, I'm in Farmingdale, a few minutes' walk from the train station. Google Maps tells me it's about a 40-45 minute drive to Stony Brook right now; it's probably more like an hour. The train to Penn Station takes about 50 minutes. We have a fair number of apartments and condos near the train station, some newly-built.)
posted by uncleozzy at 4:45 AM on June 10, 2015

I agree that you should be looking westward. Hicksville, Huntington Station... all viable options. Ronkonkoma... I don't really know anything about other than the fact that there's a lake there.
posted by gemutlichkeit at 5:11 AM on June 10, 2015

Response by poster: The problem with looking anywhere in Nassau is that I'm starting medical school, and it's really important that I have a short commute. (Like 25-30 minutes on the outer end.) Ronkonkoma seems to be one of the few places that would be within that range for me, but also have an express train for my partner.

I know my options are crappy, but I need to know more about what's actually on the table for me, and unfortunately, Huntington and points west are off the table.

Please, tell me about Ronkonkoma.
posted by ocherdraco at 5:22 AM on June 10, 2015

You probably don't want to live there.

Really you should move to St James or something and your partner just deals for the next few years.
posted by JPD at 8:25 AM on June 10, 2015

Response by poster: You probably don't want to live there.

Could you please elaborate? Why wouldn't we?
posted by ocherdraco at 9:19 AM on June 10, 2015

It is a not particularly interesting place to live that is a bad set of compromises. It isn't particularly a great place to live, it isn't a great commute to nyc at 1h 15 min , and it isn't super close to Stony Brook. It essentially solves none of your problems.

Beyond that it depends what you are looking for. Its very very suburban and very very long island. If that's ok with you, and you think that its the best set of compromises, go for it.
posted by JPD at 10:47 AM on June 10, 2015

I've lived on Long Island for the past 5 years, and for the past 15 years have been with a man who from here, so have been spending lots of time here for many many years. I know Long Island.
I don't know anyone from Ronkonkoma. I don't know of anything interesting to do there.

I sent a text to 12 of my born-and-raised-and-still-living-here family members. None of them- not a single one- had anything of substance to say. For a group of active, social women between the ages of 22-40, this is unusual. The best they could say is that they've driven past or through it and it "seemed okay". I would not count on finding any kind of community, or cute downtown, or walkability.

It may be the case that for your quality of life, your husband may need to add some time onto his commute. Perhaps that means living in one of the more interesting communities on the port Jefferson branch of the LIRR, where you can still be within 25 minutes of Stonybrook.
posted by waterisfinite at 2:15 PM on June 10, 2015

Response by poster: Thanks for these answers. That's useful information.

(Also, it's not a big deal, but several posters are assuming my partner and I are married. We're not.)
posted by ocherdraco at 2:59 PM on June 10, 2015

Whoops, sorry about that! I wasn't paying close attention when I responded. My bad.

And hey, good luck and enjoy Lawn Guylind!
posted by waterisfinite at 3:02 PM on June 10, 2015

Where is your partner working in Manhattan? It's going to take your partner a minimum of an hour and fifteen minutes just to get to Penn Station. Also, don't forget, a monthly LIRR pass is going to cost you $377--it's something to budget for when factoring in the cost of living.

Are you planning on being a one-car household?
posted by inertia at 4:17 PM on June 10, 2015

Response by poster: Yep, one car.
posted by ocherdraco at 7:27 PM on June 10, 2015

Welcome to Long Island! I am from Nassau county, but am familiar with Suffolk county.

For your purposes, Huntington Station and Ronkonkoma are your best bets. They are the most eastern stations on the electrified branches of the LIRR. Although the train ride is a bit long, there are express trains during rush hours.
I know many people who have made that commute for years - it falls into a rhythm.

I think your drive would be easier from Ronkonkoma.

Good luck with your apartment search and med school!
posted by sia516 at 7:22 PM on June 12, 2015

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