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Thread: Nice metro area communities

  1. #1

    Default Nice metro area communities

    Hi everyone!

    I've been accepted at Columbia University for my PhD. We are excited to make this move, but do not want to live in NYC directly.
    I've been confused by the distances. For example: Stony Brook has advertised the University as 12 stops from NYC on rail transport...but apparently it isn't twelve close stops....
    We'd like to live somewhere where it would take me an hour, or less to get into Manhatten. Can work in either place, would prefer somewhere with a Level One Trauma Center, but again, if it is an easy commute- we can both find suitable jobs.
    Can someone give me some idea of where we can live that is a nice community- preferably near some sort of water (River/Ocean don't care).
    Initially we would be renting, but we might want to buy a townhome or something similar as time goes by...
    Any suggestions??? Thanks.

  2. #2


    You are so gonna get flamed for the "do not want to live in NYC" comment! But since this is your first post, I think we should be nice and help with your question.

    One area to look at is Bergen county in New Jersey. I know little about the place, whether it's a "nice community" or not, but there are towns on and near the Hudson River, and your commute would be over the George Washington Bridge and then a short drive down to Columbia (via highway on the Manhattan side). I'll presume you'll be driving, and I'll ASSume that you don't want to ride the subway.

    Not as convenient, you could investigate the towns along the Hudson (green) line of the MTA Metro-North Railroad These towns are also on and near the Hudson River. Your commute from 125th Station in Mahattan to Columbia will be fairly quick - using a public bus.

    I did a lazy Google search and found a L1TC at Harlem Hospital Center You'll have to do more research depending on where you plan to live.

  3. #3
    Chief Antagonist Ninjahedge's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2003


    In NJ:

    Jersey City (certain areas)
    Union City
    Fort Lee
    West NY

    I believe all of these places are pretty close by bus or PATH train to NYC.

    If it is columbia, you can look for Yonkers, the Bronx, Pelham and areas just north of Manhattan (Columbia is mostly on the north end of the island). I would also reccomend places like Fort Lee over some of the others for this reason as well (it is right by the GWB).

    Most of the areas in Bergen County are OK, but the suburbs may be a little far away for your tastes.

  4. #4
    Moderator NYatKNIGHT's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Manhattan - South Village


    Ridgewood, Westwood, and Hackensack have big hospitals, and all three are on NJ Transit lines. Ridgewood, Westwood, and the towns that surround them are very nice. I have friends who commute to midtown from north Bergen County so your commute would be easier if anything.

  5. #5
    Banned Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Park Slope, Brooklyn, NY


    Definitely Long Beach, NY. Atlantic Ocean beach community. Beach front rentals, condos, coops. A decent downtown with shopping, restaurants, pubs. Good schools for kids. You take the LIRR from Long Beach (The Long Beach Line). It is 40 minutes from LB to Midtown. Long Beach has a great public transportation system as well, so if you adverse to owning a car - this is a nice alternative. A very outdoorsy kind of community. A great boardwalk. I's put the Long Beach neaches up against anything on the east coast. They are excellent, clean, maintained for recreational use, and offer lots of active pursuits.

    Huntington is another lovely town althought it is on the North Shore of Long Island, so you have Long Island Sound (much calmer than the Atlantic Ocean) a big sailing community. The best restaurant scene on Long Island and a downtown that is hip. happening and lively. One of the best book stores on the east coast, a decent art museum and a performing arts space that attracts top name performers.

    Both Long Beach and Huntington are served by Long Island Railroad into Manhattan. Nassau County Medical Center is a Trauma Center. North Shore University Hospital I believe is a trauma center as well. Plus, you have the hospitals in Manhattan, including St.Likes/Roosevelt next to Columbia.

  6. #6


    Quote Originally Posted by Azazello
    I'll presume you'll be driving, and I'll ASSume that you don't want to ride the subway.

    Actually, I'd like to use LIRR or NJ transit and MTA as much as possible. The express trains make the commute from Penn sta. so fast and I don't have to worry about my car- getting into an accident, or parking in the wrong place, or paying for parking.

    I love NYC alot, but several things which would consitute TMI, make the Metro Area a better choice for us.

    Long Beach and Huntington sound Great (We love to eat out) as does Yonkers! I've also been intersted in Jersey City- after reading several of the posts here. I'd just have to get licensed in another state to work there...more $ paid out.

    True there are TONS of hospitals in NYC area. It's a little mindboggling. Usually there are three systems to choose from, now it's more like 30!!!!
    So little time, so much to do!


  7. #7


    New Jersey and Long Island would be tremendous commutes to Columbia.

    You state that you'd prefer to live outside of NYC proper, but I'd suggest you look into Riverdale in the Bronx. It's a very suburban area and is on the same train line as Columbia, which would make for a 20 or so minute commute.,_Bronx,_New_York

  8. #8


    P.S. Riverdale is on the Hudson River.

    P.P.S. ManhattAn, not Manhatten.

  9. #9


    I don't get the "must be outside of NYC" part. There are urban parts of NYC and suburban parts of NYC. Similarly, there are urban suburbs and regular suburban suburbs. Are you saying you want a typcial American-style suburban environment (read: tract homes, strip malls, auto-oriented, etc.) or am I missing something?

    If you want a hard-core suburban environment and will be commuting to Columbia Presby perhaps you could live in Jersey and taking an express bus from outer Bergen County to the GW Bridge Bus Terminal. From the terminal you can walk to Columbia Presby. The inner Jersey suburbs are pretty urban so if the urbanity of NYC is not to your taste the close-in suburbs will be unappealing. You should look at suburbs at least 20+ miles out from the GW Bridge. Almost every Bergen County town has buses to the GW Bridge Bus Terminal.

    You could also live in Westchester County, NY but it is more expensive and the really suburban parts are probably even further out from NYC. From Westchester you would probably take the Metro North train in, though you woud then have to transfer to the subway to Columbia. If you lived on the Metro North Hudson line you could transfer at Marble Hill in the West Bronx for the 1 subway train, which would bring you right to Columbia Presby.

    Westchester is more liberal and "cutesy" than Bergen. You should visit both counties to see which you prefer. Also, as Schadenfrau mentioned, there are suburban-style communities in the West Bronx (especially Riverdale) that are virtually indistinguishable from Westchester except that taxes are lower. If you have children, the public schools in Riverdale through 8th grade are excellent. There are also tons of private schools.

  10. #10
    Forum Veteran
    Join Date
    Sep 2004


    Quote Originally Posted by ASchwarz
    I don't get the "must be outside of NYC" part. There are urban parts of NYC and suburban parts of NYC. Similarly, there are urban suburbs and regular suburban suburbs. Are you saying you want a typcial American-style suburban environment (read: tract homes, strip malls, auto-oriented, etc.) or am I missing something?
    To each their own Schwarz. I think Brooklyn is the ideal spot to live, but not everyone wants what I want or needs what I need.

    Ditto Schadenfrau & Schwarz's advice - Columbia's going to be a drag of a commute via LIRR, Metro North or PATH. Each of those trains are better for a Midtown commute. Assuming you have the means, I would suggest doing whatever possible to get a one train commute - especially if you plan to drive to the starting station. Ugh.

    Why don't you look into Yale? You could live in a condo on the beach and have a 20 minute commute. Princeton's nothing but suburbs. Cornell & Dartmouth are in the country. Usually the selling point for Columbia is its Manhattan campus.

  11. #11
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    NYC - Downtown


    Quote Originally Posted by ryan
    Princeton's nothing but suburbs.
    Although it is being suburbanized quickly, there are still beautiful rural areas very close to Princeton. And downtown Princeton is pretty darned nice. (Either way it'll take you many buckets of cash to afford living there).

  12. #12


    Westchester County is pretty nice, depending on which part you want to live in. The southern towns near the Bronx are almost urban in character (and some, are pretty shitty and have most of the crime that you get in the five boroughs), then was you get farther north things become more rural-like (I say rural-like because Northern Westchester has a lot of old money estates with a lot of acres and old horse farms that have been converted for affulent residents....yet Starbucks and Metro North and yuppies with Wi-Fi are common so it is not rural in any real way). Yonkers and White Plains are cities, and are doing much better now economically and great for singles.

  13. #13
    Forum Veteran
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Garden City, LI


    As far as Long Island, anywhere in Nassau county will be less than 1 hr to midtown. Getting into Suffolk, there's Huntington and not much else.

    The North Shore of LI is more moneyed for the most part and often times has a more "country" feel. It also costs more to live there. The South Shore may tend to be more blue collar, but this is not always the case.

    As far as nice towns, you have to talk about money. Towns like Great Neck, Manhasset, and Pt. Washington are on a great LIRR train line and you could be in NYC in about 1/3 hr or so. They are pricey, though. Other nice towns that maybe 45-1 hr to NYC b/c they are up North - Oyster Bay, Glen Head, Sea Cliff, Locust Valley, Jericho, Syosset, and Woodbury. Of course, there are a number of estate-type areas all around where homes are on 1-2 or more acres...Old Westbury, Muttontown, Old Brookeville, Lattingtown, etc.

    In my humble opinion, I love Garden City the most in Nassau, then Manhasset. It has a nice main street area, is minutes from the shopping hub of Long Island, has about 5 LIRR stops that get into the city in 35-45 minutes, and has a number of excellent village amenities. The prices are kinda high, but you get what you pay for. The only's not by the water, but is central on LI. Rockville Centre is also nice.

    As far as Suffolk, Huntington is about 55 min to NYC and has a GREAT "downtown." The towns around it take longer to get into NYC and are Centerport, Northport, Cold Spring Harbor, E. Northport, Melville, and Dix Hills. These are all nice. You get more house and more land in Suffolk typically (1/4-1/2 acre is standard while 60x100 plots is the norm in Nassau).

    That's the brief rundown on LI within 1 hr. of NYC. There are also a number of lovely towns in Westchester like Scarsdale, Larchmont, Rye, etc. Also, be sure to check out Fairfield County in SW Connecticut (Greenwich, Stamford, Darien, etc.). Very nice, but a lot of places are also very pricey. Not sure about towns, but Northern NJ (Bergen County) is supposed to be nice as well.

  14. #14
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    New Jersey


    Hoboken (Hudson County), PATH, NJ Transit, ferries.
    Westfield (Union County), NJ Transit
    Red Bank (Monmouth County) NJ Transit
    Ridgewood (Bergen County) NJ Transit
    Milbourne/Short Hills (Essex County) NJ Transit

  15. #15
    Chief Antagonist Ninjahedge's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2003


    Ridgewood is awesome as well, and the station is right there.

    But the problem is, if you will be going to Columbia UNIVERSITY (not presbyterian AS), I would also look into bus routes, since no train line runs uptown directly.

    Also, areas like Pelham and the like up north might also be more your liking since you might be able to have a more direct commute on your way INTO midtown (they may have a stop near where you want to go, I am not sure on this though).

    Most of the other communities mentioned are very nice, but you pay for it. So the choice is yours.

    All you have to do is figure what you will be doing most. If your time is more valuable than your money, live closer. But just realize there is a balance point. What is the point of having plenty of time with no money to spend, or enough money, but no time to enjoy it?

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