Re: The Juiciest Apple


Where do such people live in the New York area?

First of all, know that "the New York area" is really not a meaningful equivalent to "New York." I gather you're an L.A. kind of person, where you can live in Santa Monica, Venice, West Hollywood, whatever, and it's all still kind of L.A. Not New York. Either you live in Manhattan or you don't. Wistful people will say, what about the first few subway stops in Brooklyn? No, still doesn't count. Sorry.

"Such people" live on the Upper West Side, if they're stinkin' rich, and in the Village if they're stinkin' hippies. Or Brooklyn, if they wish they were normal middle-class Americans.

How does a young couple without family around raise a kid there?

Scads, scads, scads of dough. Register for pre-school now. NOW! And make lots of friends.

Posted by: slolernr | Link to this comment | 06-21-05 9:47 PM
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That's why I said "New York area," so that people wouldn't think I just meant Manhattan.

Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 06-21-05 9:48 PM
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As far as B&T's go, Connecticut is probably a little easier than New Jersey or Long Island. You get to come into Grand Central Terminal. There are more housing options. Median home prices are insane, but there are still more or less median homes.

If you go out to the Island, it's always seemed to me you got a choice between either ticky-tackies or Locust Valley.

If you go to New Jersey, the trains aren't as reliable as Connecticut, but -- if you can get over the "I live in New Jersey" part -- there are lots of nice little towns.

But all the commutes are pretty serious headaches.

Posted by: slolernr | Link to this comment | 06-21-05 9:56 PM
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Brooklyn is exactly where they should live. Park Slope or thereabouts is a good place to start looking. It's a beautiful, self-contained neighborhood worthy of the title. Lots of young couples with kids. Very family-oriented. And Prospect Park is better than Central Park in many ways.

It's getting a little pricier these days, but not nearly as pricey as a decent neighborhood in Manhattan.

Posted by: Joe Drymala | Link to this comment | 06-21-05 9:58 PM
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A lot depends, I think, on where in New York they'll work. Even an intra-Manhattan commute can take an hour on the subway.

Posted by: slolernr | Link to this comment | 06-21-05 10:02 PM
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Sounds like Brooklyn. I know lots of people raising families in Park Slope and Fort Greene. Park Slope is where you can no longer walk down the street without bumping into strollers, but it's started to get quite expensive so young families are being pushed into the surrounding neighborhoods. Windsor Terrace would be a nearby neighborhood they could check out if they can't afford the Slope. In either case they would near Prospect Park, which is nice for kids.

I would prefer to live in Fort Greene, myself, as a single person. Or the Boerum Hill/Smith Street area.

Posted by: ac | Link to this comment | 06-21-05 10:04 PM
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They're consultants. They'll likely be working in a different place each month, or even week.

Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 06-21-05 10:04 PM
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True. And Park Slope is limited in its subway options (pretty much just the F). But if we're talking about Long Island and Connecticut, we're clearly talking about hourlong commutes, at least.

Ft. Greene is also nice. But even more subway-limited.

Posted by: Joe Drymala | Link to this comment | 06-21-05 10:04 PM
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Consultants might do well to live on Long Island -- near the airports. Which could include Brooklyn.

Posted by: slolernr | Link to this comment | 06-21-05 10:06 PM
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Also, what ac said.

Just as long as they never, ever live in Detroit.

Posted by: Joe Drymala | Link to this comment | 06-21-05 10:06 PM
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Can you say a little more about why you'd prefer those places, ac?

Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 06-21-05 10:06 PM
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Younger, more happening bar/restaurant scene in Fort Greene or Smith Street.

Posted by: ac | Link to this comment | 06-21-05 10:08 PM
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Got it, thanks.

Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 06-21-05 10:09 PM
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They're all perfectly doable as commutes. Though Fort Greene is the closest to Manhattan, with the most subway lines.

Posted by: ac | Link to this comment | 06-21-05 10:11 PM
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Long time lurker, first time commenter.

I live in Ft. Greene, Brooklyn and go to law school in Manhattan. Park Slope in Brooklyn is widely known as the place where professionals in New York go to have children. And the density of stollers on 5th Ave. in Brooklyn certainly attests to it. But I wouldn't discount other neighborhoods in Brooklyn like Cobble Hill, Boerum Hill, or--chauvinistically--Ft. Greene. All are quick commutes downtown and 30/40 minutes to midtown, while retaining a residential feel (with some of the best restaraunts you can imagine). My door-to-door from Ft. Greene to the West Village is 20 minutes and I can't imagine living anywhere else.

Posted by: Doug | Link to this comment | 06-21-05 10:11 PM
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Huh. I thought that Ft. Greene was limited mostly to the G, but maybe I'm just thinking of one part of Ft. Greene.

Are they going to be renting, or looking to buy?

Posted by: Joe Drymala | Link to this comment | 06-21-05 10:12 PM
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Welcome, Doug.

Posted by: Joe Drymala | Link to this comment | 06-21-05 10:12 PM
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Funny, I wrote my post above after comment 2.

Posted by: Doug | Link to this comment | 06-21-05 10:13 PM
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If you live near Flatbush Ave. in Ft. Greene (near BAM) you are close to at least 11 trains. You only get stuck on the G or A/C if you live closer to Clinton Hill.

Posted by: Doug | Link to this comment | 06-21-05 10:15 PM
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It does move quickly sometimes. But thanks for delurking.

Joe, I think they'll be looking to buy.

Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 06-21-05 10:15 PM
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I don't know why I asked. I know absolutely nothing about that market. I guess I figured it might be pertinent info for other people with opinions.

Posted by: Joe Drymala | Link to this comment | 06-21-05 10:17 PM
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Ogged, it's more the committment to be a regular more than anything else. You do have the best blog community I've read, but the frequency of the comments are, well, somewhat intimidating. You are, however, one of the pleasures of my (blog-reading) day.

Posted by: Doug | Link to this comment | 06-21-05 10:18 PM
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Thanks, Doug. The comments wear me out sometimes, so, really, I understand.

Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 06-21-05 10:20 PM
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We'd love to be able to buy a place but obviously it depends on how much a place would be. We currently live in a two bedroom apartment in Chicago but realize that we will probably have to downsize if we want to buy a place as the real estate prices are substantially higher in NY than in Chi-town (or so everyone tells me). Do you have any idea of what a one or two bedroom apartment would go for in the Park Slope area? Thanks for all the advice.

Posted by: D | Link to this comment | 06-21-05 10:24 PM
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Oh, boy. I'm so not the person to ask (see 21). I'm a renter. Hopefully others will know. I'd hate to give you bad advice for something so important.

Posted by: Joe Drymala | Link to this comment | 06-21-05 10:27 PM
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I'm a renter, too, but there is a blog devoted specifically to Brooklyn real estate. Might give you some ideas.

Posted by: ac | Link to this comment | 06-21-05 10:35 PM
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I live in upstate and its ok. Are you taking NYC or somewhere else? I wouldnt live here if I didnt have to. But it is pretty.

Posted by: MissStrizz | Link to this comment | 06-21-05 10:38 PM
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The NY Metro area, Strizz. Glad you survived the winter in the icy plains of upstate NY.

Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 06-21-05 10:41 PM
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I may be able to help . . grew up in Chicago, have lived many years in Brooklyn.

If you tell me what neighborhood in Chicago you live in (and if you want something similiar or different in Brooklyn), I can give a loose comparison.

For pricing, I haven't been looking in the market lately, but I think a 1 or 2BR in Park Slope will run you from @ $325K and up . . .

Posted by: Tim | Link to this comment | 06-21-05 10:42 PM
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I can answer part of that, until D checks in: they live, as I recall, somewhere between 600-800 W. Jackson in Chicago, and seem to like it pretty well.

Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 06-21-05 10:44 PM
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NY Magazine's 2003 report on Park Slope prices:

Studio/1BR $130K-$500K

2BR $375K-$750K

Family Apt. $500K-$1M

Townhouse $900K-$2.5M

Apparently, from a 2/05 report, prices are surging in Brooklyn faster than in Manhattan.

Me, I'd live in Connecticut. I used to live in NY: I've lived up near Columbia, down in the West Village and in Bay Ridge [Brooklyn] back when it was Norwegian and Mafia. Connecticut was easier on the brain, the purse and the lungs.

Posted by: DominEditrix | Link to this comment | 06-22-05 12:52 AM
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There's pressure to comment?

Posted by: baa | Link to this comment | 06-22-05 5:40 AM
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No, it's just difficult to keep up sometimes, when one does comment.

Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 06-22-05 7:23 AM
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My neighborhood, Inwood, is cheapish (that is, a nightmare by national standards, but cheap for New York), and very little-kid friendly; huge parks, and lots and lots of people with kids. It's a 40 min - 1hr commute to downtown Manhattan, and worse to Brooklyn, but otherwise I love it.

If not that, Astoria, in Queens, is an easy commute into Manhattan or anyplace else, and although it's not where the cool kids live it's cheapish and the ethnic restaurants are spectacular (in the formica tables but the food is great sense of spectacular).

Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-22-05 7:39 AM
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More and more cool kids are moving to Astoria, as a matter of fact.

But it's a lot less visually appealing than any of the neighborhoods listed above.

Inwood's nice. I lived up there for a spell. 20 minutes and you're in midtown, on the A.

Posted by: Joe Drymala | Link to this comment | 06-22-05 7:45 AM
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20 min of actual on the subway time -- the 40 minutes is ten minutes of travel to and from the subway on each side.

Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-22-05 8:01 AM
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Ah, true. I lived across the street from the Dyckman stop, though, so I lucked out.

Posted by: Joe Drymala | Link to this comment | 06-22-05 8:03 AM
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That's where I get on the subway every morning after dropping Sally off at school. I'm a little further north, though, up by the Columbia football stadium.

Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-22-05 8:06 AM
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Some friends of mine are actually considering Washington Heights - they need to stay in Manhattan because of their job locations (she works in midtown, he works all the way up on 101st street and west end). It's pretty far up, but also incredibly cheap compared to the rest of manhattan - they're looking at 2 bedrooms for under $400K. And it's still accessible by subway, which the 'burbs can't say.

Having grown up in the suburbs, I have to agree with the poster who said that taking metro north is way preferable to the LIRR. I'd look at the northern burbs, Connecticut, Westchester, Rockland.

Of course, if they move somewhere like Hoboken, it's only a PATH Ride, which is super cheap and runs all night.

Posted by: sam | Link to this comment | 06-22-05 8:40 AM
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Bay Ridge has some good points. I understand that to the extent that its less Norwegian and Mafia now its more Middle Eastern. You can take an express bus to manhattan if you can't take the R/N/B. And the parks at the Narrows at least used to be very cool.

I've always been amazed by the little yuppie children I see at Two boots in the East Village in Manhattan, but still don't see it as the place to raise kids.

Park Slope real estate is getting Manhattanish, and the Heights are getting totally out of hand. But man are they gorgeous places to live. Boerum Hill, the neighborhood near BAM, Cobble Hill etc all also rate very high.

Don't rule out Queens. Astoria, Sunnyside, etc are all places worth looking into. And depending on how well paid the consultants are, there is Nassau. Port Washington, Manhasset, etc are nice and a quick ride in on the Long Island Rail Road. And for a true bridge and tunnel experience there are some places in Jersey like Weehawken that might be worth a look. The drive in is crazy, but the PATH (Port Authority Trains) are a good deal.

Posted by: benton | Link to this comment | 06-22-05 9:05 AM
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Washington Heights all the way! Inwood is nice, but it is further up. I live on 181st street, and I can't recommend the area from 181st to 194th enough. Fort Tryon Park is the park where the Cloisters are located, and is one of the loveliest places in the city. The neighborhood is a mix of Dominican, Orthodox Jewish and yuppie influx, with some pockets claiming a high quotient of classical and broadway musicians. There are lots of families and lots of kids, and I have always found it to be extremely safe. My old roommate used to walk her dog after being out in the clubs in the middle of the night. I bought last summer and there are nice sized two bedrooms for under $400K and niced sized 1 bedrooms for under $300K. Property values are said to be rising steadily, so you can't lose on the investment. The commute downtown to the westside is pretty good 25-40 minutes depending, but to the East Side can take up to an hour. I can recommend many realtors if you are interested, would be happy to show you around. There are not as many restaurants and bars as in Park Slope, but in the past year we have gained a sushi place and a vegan place. Still not Thai, much to my dismay.

Posted by: Claudia | Link to this comment | 06-22-05 9:36 AM
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Grew up in the northern suburbs, currently living in Manhattan and racking up the student debt. Having never lived in Brooklyn, I still think everyone telling you to move there is probably right. I also know someone looking to buy in Harlem who claims there are good values there, and it's certainly far safer than it used to have a rep. for being. It might make sense to rent first for a little while in some area to see if you like it before just going all the way to buying. Oh and my grandmother lives in Washington Heights, I keep hearing it's a nice place to live now, but I don't have the best associations with it.

Posted by: washerdreyer | Link to this comment | 06-22-05 9:47 AM
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Yeah, when I looked in Washington Heights it was pretty rough, but that was several years ago.

Posted by: Joe Drymala | Link to this comment | 06-22-05 9:51 AM
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No, it's just difficult to keep up sometimes, when one does comment.

Here's a quick tip - open the comments link in a new browser window. Then do Edit-Find and search for "Tripp."

You'll skip right to the good parts.

I'm just saying.

Posted by: Tripp | Link to this comment | 06-22-05 9:52 AM
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Thanks, Tripp. That never would have occurred to me.

Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 06-22-05 9:53 AM
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You're welcome. No need to put yourself down about it. A few years ago someone mentioned something new to me, too.

Posted by: Tripp | Link to this comment | 06-22-05 10:20 AM
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Ah yes, Uncle Tripp's "When we got indoor plumbing" story.

Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 06-22-05 10:23 AM
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NB: When people say "New York" or "the city", they usually mean Manhattan. Even more appallingly, they usually mean Manhattan south of 96th Street on the East side and south of wherever the hell the Upper West Side ends nowadays. I say this because it can be a little confusing when a you're standing in a Brooklyn apartment and someone says, "it's only 15 minutes from the city!"

This is helpful to get a sense of real estate prices by neighborhood:

Here is a map of all NYC neighborhoods, so your friends understand what people are referring to when they say "Park Slope". NB: Neighborhood borders in NYC are porous and ever-changing, and the character of a neighborhood can vary dramatically from block to block (don't believe me? Stand on Park and 96th and look south. Then turn around and look north. It's mind boggling). Furthermore, realtors frequently attempt to expand these borders, which is why you occasionally hear New Jersey referred to as "Manhattan's Far West Side."

In general, if you're looking in the 5 boroughs it's a good idea to look at subway maps to get a sense of what's do-able. Look at how many subway lines service a given neighborhood, keep an eye on those fabulous express trains and remember--the further out on the a line you go, the less frequent the service and the more affected you are by downstream service disruptions (like closing tracks for repairs on weekends).

In all this, I'm going to assume that they don't need schools. Needing a decent school changes everything in the calculation.

One thing that makes NYC special is that it has a very high number of large ethnic neighborhoods. I'd recommend at least thinking of living in one of these--they tend to be very affordable and it's a unique opportunity to learn. But as a practical matter it can be really hard to find out about listings if you don't speak the language, because often they're only listed in non-Engligh newspapers--you'll have to wander around, hit the pavement, and learn how to say "Apartment for rent?" in Russian. And also, moving to NY alone is enough of a cultural adjustment to overwhelm most people!

Transportation options: MTA subways and buses; NJ transit; metro North; LIRR. Maps on their websites.

Misc. Advice: Check listings online as opposed to in print; by the time the paper's printed, they're often out of date. Craigslist is great, and so are the online llistings in teh Village Voice. Occasionally there's listings in local neighborhood newspapers--definitely worth picking up. Look out for scams--do not pay money to get a list of apartments no matter how good the deals sound. These apartments do not exist. Realtors can find you good stuff, but they're very expensive--I'd recomend spending some time looking yourself; even if you resort to a realtor, you'll have a better sense of what the true market value is and what you want.


Manhattan: Per square foot, the most expensive real estate in the US. And there's no parking. East Harlem has lots of affordable opportunities, but varies dramatically block by block, so definitely look before you leap. The East Village is almost all tapped out, but waaaay east (where there's no pulic transportation) you can still get some deals. Washington Heights is wicked far from everything, but wicked cheap and full of families (mostly Orthodox and hispanic), and you can park there. Lower Manhattan is a ghost town after 5pm, but it's got great transportation and if there's still some 9/11 subsidies, you may be able to find a great deal, especially in Battery Park City. On the Upper East side, if you go very far east away from the park and subway (near 1st & 2nd aves) you can find reasonable prices (and lots of college kids in their first apartment ever!) Upper West is nice, pretty expensive and growing every day--generally, the farther north you go up towards Harlem, the cheaper it is.


Park Slope is a cheaper alternative to Manhattan and it's full of yuppie families, lucky granola-types who bought a brownstone 20 years ago (Park Slope has got the biggest grocery store co-op in the nation), and lesbian couples with babies, but you're not going to find any great deals there anymore--it's VERY popular. Cobble Hill and Boerum hill are, at least in my experience, still pretty expensive. Parking is not easy, but doable if you can figure out alternate side of the street parking rules (only slightly less complex and counterintuitive than quantum mechanics). Some up and coming Brooklyn neighborhoods are Bed-Stuy (Bedford-Stuyvesant), Red Hook (they'd need a car), Ft. Greene, and Windsor Terrace. Some folks swear by Williamsburg, but I'm hearing it's tapped. Maybe the surrounding indisutrial neighborhoods are a possibility. I maintain that Sunset Park and Boro Park are a great deal--the express train takes no time at all. They're fascinating neighborhoods, too--lots of Hasidim and immigrants.

Queens: Jackson Heights has good access via express subway to the city, and is close to both LGA and JFK. And I think there are native speakers of every language on Earth (with the possible exception of Manx) living there. Have heard good things about Sunnyside for years, but it's got a suburban feel to it. Downside of Queens: the street naming is incomprehensible, and you will be constantly lost. Seriously, there is a 23rd Street, 23rd Road, 23rd Ave, 23rd Terrace, and 23rd Drive--they're all within a couple of blocks of each other, and it's mind-bogglingly insane.


Riverdale is gourgeous, but super pricey and very far from everything. I'm hearing about some up and coming stuff in some neighborhoods of the South Bronx, but I don't know the neighborhoods well enough to comment. I recommend doing some homework on the Bronx--it's got a VERY tough reputation, which means lots of people write it off, which means there's probably gems to be found that you won't find in Queens or Brooklyn. On the other hand, really do your homework because when places have a tough reputation, there's often a reason why...

Outta the city:

If you're commuting into NYC, it's critical to figure out how long the commute will be--don't trust the realtor and talk to many neighbors and get their exact commute route, and test run it yourself at rush hour (BOTH WAYS!) to see how long it takes before you commit. As a general rule, commutes with commuter trains/subways are good, buses are decent and cars suck ass. An hourlong weekend drive from Connecticut can easily take 5 hours in rush hour traffic. I'm not exaggerating.

Sorry to harp on this, but nothing will sap your will to live like a bad commute.


Staten Island:

Supposedly a borough of NYC. Whatever. There's a free, fast, and popular passenger ferry to Manhattan, as well as a bridge to Brooklyn (which is not fast except at 3AM on Christmas Day when there's no traffic). It's got a reputation for sterile suburban culture, which may be unfair and may make for more competitive prices in interesting neighborhoods. I have no idea what these neighborhoods might be.

NJ for real this time:

Hoboken is tapped out. Jersey City is gentrifying, and you might find some stuff there. I'm hearing good rumors about Newark--there's beginning to be some . All these places have parking, easy public transport into the city (PATH trains), and are near Newark international airport.

There's a number of true suburban NJ towns that are very nice: Teaneck and Montclair are two faves of mine b/c there's lots of diversity. I've heard nice things about NJ towns with colleges (Princeton is supposedly gourgeous, but far and a little precious; the satellite campuses of Rutgers have some nice towns that grew up around them).

Long Island:

If they're beach people, there's a lot to be said for Long Island. I am not a beach person. Personally, I find the constant traffic intolerable, especially in the summer (though the LIRR has got excellent commuter trains and is probably an easier commute than much of NJ). Parts of it are absolutely beautiful (check out Huntington Beach). It tends to be more expensive for what you get than Jersey is, and cost of living is higher b/c it's an island and everything has to go through NY to get there. In general, phenomenal public schools, which is part of the reason for the expense.

Westchester and Points North:

Westchester is regarded as the suburb of NY where wealthy folks live; this is true (check out bloomberg's estate), but there are affordable towns as well. Metro North is the train system; check to make sure you're near a stop with good coverage (some stations get skipped a lot). Westchester tends to have pretty high denisty for a suburb, though, and significant traffic (the cross-westchester is perpetually clogged)--you may find there's not enough green to justify the inconvenience.

Once you leave Westchester, you enter the wilderness known as "upstate." There's a lot of really great and amazingly beautiful country here, working farms, etc. Small cities like Poughkeepsie have a lot going for them. Cost of living is far, far, far cheaper. But the economies of many upstate towns are depressed, and that can be...depressing. More importantly, it's damned inconvenient and if you have to go into the city a lot, there's really no option other than driving (amtrak is a possibility, but not a cheap possibility and it's not very many places). And remember: you have to go through the city to reach La Guardia and JFK (Newark is easier, but still VERY far with a lot of traffic to get through).


Like Westchester, Connecticut is regarded as the suburb of NY where wealthy folks live--but the commute is at least an hour to the city, so it's where masochists (did I mention hourlong commute minimum?), infrequent visitors (part-time or 4-day week workers) live, or where superwealthy execs who come in on helicopter live. It tends to be quite expensive, but I'm sure there are affordable towns. Metro North is the train service.

Posted by: theorajones | Link to this comment | 06-22-05 10:24 AM
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Wow, theora, that's very helpful. Thanks!

Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 06-22-05 10:28 AM
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Thanks alot to everyone for helping! I can't tell you how helpful all this information is. My wife and I are grateful.

Posted by: D | Link to this comment | 06-22-05 11:00 AM
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D is a guy?

Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 06-22-05 11:00 AM
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Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 06-22-05 11:03 AM
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Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 06-22-05 11:06 AM
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Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 06-22-05 11:07 AM
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We moved to central Queens (Kew Gardens) about 10 years ago and fortunately bought before prices went insane. (Just to put my biases up front: I am not a native New Yorker and though I work in Manhattan and often venture in for culture etc., I think it takes *a lot* of money to raise a family comfortably in Manhattan.) We love our neighborhood - very diverse, good public schools, good access to public transportation (both subway and LIRR), big park nearby, and both LaGuardia and JFK airports are nearby (lots of airline personnel base here). I strongly recommend checking for the lowdown on local public schools in whatever area is of interest - even if you opt for parochial/private school (tuition from $3K for parochial to $10K+++ for private) school quality is often used as a proxy for desirability of neighborhood (in fact, some real estate listings will tout the school district). In terms of childcare, be warned - in Queens most people seem to rely on Grandma. There are plenty of ads in papers like the Irish Echo for nannies and there are employment agencies that specialize in childcare, but expect to pay at least $10/hour + employment taxes over the table. There are a *few* childcare centers that take infants, and we were thrilled with the one we used for our two boys, but paid about $800/month *per child*, and friends with infants in daycare now tell me they're paying $1000/month.

I guess it boils down to - do they want an urban or suburban kind of neighborhood? If urban, then in Queens Astoria/Sunnyside and Forest Hills might be interesting. If more suburban, then places like Bayside and Bellerose are supposedly very nice (on the Queens/Nassau county border, no direct subway connection to Manhattan but LIRR service, good school districts).



Posted by: Edith | Link to this comment | 06-22-05 11:08 AM
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Ah yes, Uncle Tripp's "When we got indoor plumbing" story.

Nice one. Well played.

And if "D" is the person trying to get D's wife knocked up wouldn't one think that D is a guy?

Which reminds me of a couple Father's day jokes.

Male: Honey, am I the first guy you ever slept with?

Female: Why does everybody ask me that?!

Husband: Honey, I was looking at our eight kids and I got to wondering - this is a tough question to ask but little Timmy looks so different. Does he have a different father?

Wife: Yes.

Husband: Who is it?

Wife: You.

Posted by: Tripp | Link to this comment | 06-22-05 11:25 AM
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Partner and I are 33-34, and we moved from Andersonville in Chicago to Upper West in NYC last year. Rent went from $1600 for a 2-br with 2 spaces for car, to $2400 for a 1-br and no car. Quality of life in Upper West Side is quite high, not "cool" but lots of restaurants, shops, etc. Be forewarned that, despite the fact that it sounds (and is) absurd, New Yorkers tend to stay in their neighborhood. To Laguardia is 40 minutes by cab, JFK is 1 1/4 hour by subway, Newark is about the same by subway/bus.

West End is about as good as it gets, aside from Central Park West, which borders Central Park. The advantage of West End is no commercial traffic allowed. Buying a place in the neighborhood is absurd, with a small 1-br in a nice building going for $500,000+, and 2-br's going for up to $1M easy.

If you do decide to be Manhattan-ites, pick a place near an express stop (72nd or 96th) if possible for the main westside subway line, or else near ACE (closer to the park). And look to be near a grocery store that you can live with. That becomes pretty important when you have no car.

Oh yeah, get rid of your car(s). We used to have 2, and we miss it not at all.

Good luck, and don't be afraid to ask what seems to be inappropriate questions about prices and real estate. People in NYC talk about this stuff non-stop, and it's not quite as rude as you might imagine, particularly if you are good Midwesterners.

Posted by: P (not D) | Link to this comment | 06-22-05 12:10 PM
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it's not quite as rude as you might imagine, particularly if you are good Midwesterners.

To a New Yorker, not rude at all. Everyone talks about real estate, with exact dollar figures, constantly.

Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-22-05 2:20 PM
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One more voice for Inwood. We lived there (Seaman Ave just off Dyckman) before moving to DC. The local public school was fairly bad in those days, but there's a big parochial school around 204th St. that everyone seemed to go to (including our babysitter).

When we lived there, we had no difficulty running a car. Worst came to worst we could always park it along the stretch of Dyckman St. running down to the Hudson. From Inwood it's easy to get either to Harlem River Drive or the West Side Highway (when retaining walls don't fall on it).

Stores aren't too good. We used to drive up into Riverdale to stock up at a decent supermarket.

One warning. Most apartments you can buy in NY are coops. You own shares in a company that owns the building which gives you the right to occupy one of the apartments. The company that owns the building is an independent financial actor. It can borrow against the security of the building (e.g. take out an underlying mortgage). That means you need to check into the coop's financials before you buy in order to avoid nasty surprises down the road. Make sure you have a good real estate lawyer.

Posted by: jim | Link to this comment | 06-22-05 3:07 PM
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The local public school was fairly bad in those days

It's gotten better (IMO).

Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-22-05 3:35 PM
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This is an amazing thread, folks. Thanks again.

So why can't I get advice this detailed about dating? Now pull up your socks, ogged...yes, grasp them by the top and pull gently. Good. Do you remember where we told you to take her? Have you printed out directions? Remember, the valet's name is George and if you tell him that Bill sent you, he'll park your car in an accessible spot...

Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 06-22-05 4:07 PM
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They should try Astoria. Affordable (well, by NYC standards, affordable) housing, good schools, easy commute to Manhattan. Admittedly, it's not Park Slope (eg, none of those wonderful brownstone Brooklyn rowhouses, the prices of which now approach Manhattan madness). But it's a nice place with a real mix of people. And as a bonus, some genuinely chowhoundish places to eat.

Posted by: mcm | Link to this comment | 06-22-05 8:17 PM
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Here's a thing about the South Bronx in today's Times:

And yeah, listen to the posters above. It's really not rude to ask someone what their apartment cost. If you feel coy, you can say, "this is a great building/neighborhood/apartment. What's the range of what apartments go for here?" But if the person has had their apartment for more than 2 or 3 years, I can guarantee they'll say, "well, I got my 1br for 550, but now studios are going for 6!"

This is what urbanites do instead of hunting and fishing. They stalk real estate, bag it in a great deal and then brag about how it's appreciated in value (now it's thiiiiis big!)!

Posted by: theorajones | Link to this comment | 06-24-05 8:39 AM
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My sister has been living with kids around Brooklyn's Smith St. (at both ends, Cobble Hill and Carrol(?) gardens). It is a really fun area, with good parks, pre-schools, public and parochial schools that they'd consider sending their kids to, and great food. Reasonable commute to some parts of Manhattan, a fairly quick trip to Laguardia. I can't comment on cheap because New York looks outlandish to me, but they've watched brownstones skyrocket over the last 8 years while they've lived there.

She's moving to Minneapolis, and I'll miss seeing Brooklyn when I visit.

Posted by: cw | Link to this comment | 06-24-05 8:45 AM
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Posted by: furniture | Link to this comment | 01- 4-06 10:36 PM
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