How's Poughkeepsie living?
January 21, 2016 5:30 PM   Subscribe

What's it like living in Poughkeepsie, NY? Things to do? Nightlife? Meet- up groups? Cost of living?

I may be moving to Poughkeepsie, NY for a new job (from NJ). I'm enthusiastic about the job itself, the boss, etc but the location is giving me pause. I'm worried a bit about weather but mostly meeting people (romantic and platonic) as a late twenties (hetero) woman. I know with Marist and Vassar there must be some nightlife (I'm not looking for clubs, but hopefully people aren't all in bed by 7pm) but I also don't want to share every bar with undergrad students. (This sounds bar focused- but I'm actually just interested in my ability to meet people and make friends)

What's the cost of living like? A reasonable price for a one bedroom (or studio) apartment?

I'll be checking out the area in person in the coming weeks, so recommendations of things to do while I'm there for the day are also welcome.
posted by raccoon409 to Grab Bag (15 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I long-distance dated a dude who went to Marist for a year and stayed with him basically every other weekend and most holidays. As I remember, there was very little to do, nightlife-wise, that wasn't parties on/near campus, though there were a few bars that other people seemed to like (I didn't hate them, I just had very little opinion about them at all.)

The weather was absolutely dreadful, early sunsets and frigidly cold with a needle-like wind for the bulk of the year, though this is coming from someone who had no access to a car most of the time and had to walk almost everywhere. If you have a car I suppose it's a lot less painful, but know that you will need to do a LOT of driving. It is not a walkable place.

There's some nice outdoorsy stuff for the few nice days a year that exist, and the river area is quite pretty in the fall.

If you must exist in an area with such a horrendous climate, the New Paltz area is a lot more fun.
posted by gloriouslyincandescent at 6:13 PM on January 21, 2016 [1 favorite]

Best answer: My experience is dated, but I taught at Vassar for a few years in the early 2000's. I was a single, hetero female.

It was a complete void of everything. I left BECAUSE the town was so horrid, even though the academic climate was okay, though no with no grad students, the level of academics is different from most institutions.

The Culinary Institute is close by, and a great place to visit. The Hudson Valley is gorgeous - there is a reason there is a Hudson Valley school of painting. But the most lively scene, when I was there, were the NA/AA meetings.

I hate to be so negative, but I have lived all over the U.S. and I could not force myself to stay in Poughkeepsie. I spent most of my free time on the train to Manhattan.
posted by Punctual at 6:21 PM on January 21, 2016 [6 favorites]

Fall in the Hudson Valley is simply glorious, with the leaves changing and the slanted golden light. Really, it's stunning.

Facing a job in Poughkeepsie, I might look for a place to live in nearby Beacon, which has a fantastic museum, some great little shops and restaurants, and a livelier (yet still small town) disposition.
posted by mochapickle at 6:26 PM on January 21, 2016 [1 favorite]

Erm. I don't get the hate here. Exactly. It's been 20 years, but surely Poughkeepsie can't still be that economically depressed and devoid?

I almost reverse commuted from Manhattan because I like the train and I LOVE NEW PALTZ. Poughkeepsie and New Paltz are pretty close - like 20 minutes? Felt like nothing. Anyway, it's a quaint little town. New Paltz. I hope Poughkepsie is not so dreadful, otherwise, commute.

There is so much to do and explore in the area. The weather in the summer is spectacular. You must like mountains, though. And you can the train into Manhattan whenever. It's 2 hrs. Bring a book or kindle. My favorite wineries and camping are all within 45 minutes of Poughkepsie.

IDK. If you've never experienced it, try it. I don't think Poughkepsie proper has a lot of magic (although by now I hope it is somewhat rehabbed) but the surrounding area is one of my favorite places on Earth. And I lived in NZ years later. I still think about that area. So many adventures. So much awesome nature. It rocked if you like the outdoors *sigh*
posted by jbenben at 7:24 PM on January 21, 2016 [2 favorites]

I'm not familiar with Poughkeepsie overall but the downtown area is rundown and not very pleasant. Beacon sounds like it more closely matches your wants. It has about half the population of Poughkeepsie but there is a decent restaurant/bar scene for a town of its size, partly because it attracts lots of weekenders/daytrippers from NYC. It is about a half-hour drive from Beacon to Po'town. New Paltz might work, but note that it is west of the Hudson and half the size of Beacon. It does have a SUNY college and an outdoorsy/artsy/touristy feel to it.
posted by plastic_animals at 7:56 PM on January 21, 2016 [1 favorite]

Best answer: The Hudson Valley is one of my favorite places in the world but Poughkeepsie itself is a shithole, I'm sorry.
posted by STFUDonnie at 8:37 PM on January 21, 2016 [8 favorites]

I know a bunch of people who, in the last few years, have moved to the Hudson Valley or spent time there and love it - it's gone through a pretty serious arts/food/etc. revival recently. Maybe not Poughkeepsie, but if you don't mind commuting, you could live in a town with more going on.
posted by lunasol at 10:17 PM on January 21, 2016

The area is absolutely beautiful with four seasons of outdoor recreation, plentiful dining and entertainment opportunities and tons of interesting people to meet with whom to share an in-bed-by-10 pm kind of highlife (cafes, cultural events, dinner parties).

I'd probably reset your OKCupid or whatever to a Duchess County ZIP code and see what you find / who finds you over a couple of weeks as a dating index, but it's not a place where single date-able men in their 30s are going to be abundant. I'd argue that the train makes NYC in dating range so you can have your cake and it eat it too.

Poughkeepsie itself, despite being a college town with good transit connections, has more of the air of a struggling upstate post-industrial town than a thriving college town, but you don't have to live in town and even if you do lots of great stuff is a quick drive away.
posted by MattD at 4:37 AM on January 22, 2016

Echoing every other comment - Poughkeepsie itself is crappy (though do check out the Walkway over Hudson), but the Hudson Valley area is very nice and has a lot to do for a rural place. More so if you are into outdoorsy things, but even if you aren't lots of towns have nice little restaurants and shops and things and the region itself is just beautiful. Sadly, Poughkeepsie itself is not one of those towns.

Look at Beacon, New Paltz and Cold Spring as places to live. Beacon and Cold Spring have the advantage of being on the same side of the river as Poughkeepsie, so you won't have to pay a toll to get to work every day, and both are on the Metro-North line into NYC. The area surrounding New Paltz feels a little more rural, but the town itself is a bit bigger than Beacon or Cold Spring. You will need a car.

Where in NJ are you? Unless you are in southern NJ near Philly, you're basically going from one end of NYC's commuter zone to the other. The weather will be the same, maybe a bit colder in winter. I really don't think the Hudson Valley is going to be too much of a culture shock for a person from NJ, unless you're in Cape May or the urban parts of Hudson County, maybe. It might be more rural than you're used to, but it's not some frozen no-man's land.

Just don't live in Poughkeepsie - which shouldn't be too hard - and you'll be fine.
posted by breakin' the law at 6:04 AM on January 22, 2016

I won't pile on Poughkeepsie, but I will say Beacon's downtown has been on the upswing for a few years now. Definitely check it out when you're in the area. Another advantage of Beacon is that your train ride to NYC is a half-hour shorter. It's about a half-hour to drive between the two areas with no traffic, or twenty-five minutes by train if your workplace happens to be close to the train station. I'd probably put my bike on the train to work and then bike the 17 miles home.

Overall, I second jbenben's comments about the surrounding area being a wonderful place with plenty to explore.
posted by mikepop at 6:30 AM on January 22, 2016

Response by poster: Thanks for all the responses so far.

To address a few things that have been mentioned:

- I'm from Bergen County, NJ so I'm used to a 45-60 minute trip into NYC and crappy-ish weather
- However, I find that I rarely go into NYC anyway as I'm not that big of a fan of HUGE cities (though I do appreciate a Broadway show from time to time). I go in if I have specific reasons to- any given that I don't have that many friends in the city, I don't have that many reasons to.
- Can any one comment on cost of living for Beacon/ New Paltz? If not Poughkeepsie, Beacon is the most likely place for me to live.
- Thanks for all the responses so far
posted by raccoon409 at 8:51 AM on January 22, 2016

I went to college at Bard --- we were rivals with Marist and Vassar (inasmuch Bard had rivals back then). About the only thing Poughkeepsie had that recommended it when I was there in the early 2000s was one excellent comic book shop -- which if you're not that into won't do you any good.

The more rural areas near Bard are absolutely gorgeous. It might be too much of a drive for you to live in, say, Red Hook or or Rhinecliff. But that entire area has a lot to recommend it for restaurants, activities, and natural beauty. It's still very much rural living, but the towns in that area are lovely and worth exploring. The people who worked at my college all seemed to love their communities, so cast a broader net around Poughkeepsie for a place to live and you might find something that works well for you. The Hudson Valley is one of my favorite places still.
posted by zizzle at 9:46 AM on January 22, 2016

I'll let people with more specific local knowledge comment on cost of living differences, but here's a thought:

You could probably tolerate commuting from Bergen County to Poughkeepsie for a few months. If you drive, it would be about an hour or so each way if you took the Palisades to the Bear Mountain Bridge and Route 9, and you'd be mostly going against traffic. I wouldn't want to do it every day for years, but you could take the job, stay put for a little while, and explore the area after work and on weekends before deciding on which town to move to.
posted by breakin' the law at 9:49 AM on January 22, 2016

Just throwing Kingston into the mix. It's about 30 minutes upstate but a cool town for sure.
posted by pintapicasso at 12:23 PM on January 22, 2016

Response by poster: Hi all. A long over due follow-up. I checked out Kingston and New Paltz but I'm ended up passing on the job (though just barely) because I realized I would not be happy in the Hudson Valley. I actually ended up down south in the same position and I'm very happy that I took a risk turning down a job offer when I didn't have another lined up. Thank you for your help and honest opinions.
posted by raccoon409 at 8:17 PM on April 30, 2016

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