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Living in New York(11 Posts)
It is looking likely that we (my husband and I, plus our two children aged 2 and 6 months) will be moving to New York later this year. The question is: whereabouts? We're thinking Manhattan initially, then perhaps somewhere further out (e.g. Connecticut) later on. We're envisaging being in the US for two years.
Can anyone offer any advice on family-friendly places to live in Manhattan? Just looking for general areas right now. Somewhere where there will be plenty to do for my children, where they can make friends and I can get to know other mums with young children.
Upper West Side around Riverside Park area is popular with families I know.
Did you have any luck with this, as I might be doing the same thing?
ask the NYC moms on urbanbaby.com. Most areas have their plus and minuses, Tribeca is also v. popular. At least you don't have to worry about proximity to schools.
I wouldn't live exclusively in Manhattan with children. You need to get a weekend home either in the Hamptons, the Catskills or down the Jersey Shore. Also, if you live in Manhattan you pay city tax.
I would consider New Jersey and towns such as Hoboken, South Orange, Maplewood, Milburn, Chatham and Summit. Hoboken is across the water from Manhattan. It is urban and great for little ones but if you want more space then Milburn, Summit and Chatham would top my list in that order (trains into Manhattan take 40mins, 50mins and 45mins respectively). South Orange and Maplewood (30mins to midtown, 45mins to downtown and add 5 mins if maplewood) are also fantastic towns. There are tones of English people in these towns. In Hoboken you have Mulligans which shows all the football and rugby, and even if the game starts at 7am they serve a fantastic fry up.
If you do decide to go up to CT, Greenwich, Cos Cob, Riverdale and parts of Stamford are nice (avoid parts of Byram in Greenwich). I lived in Greenwich and it wasn't for me. I found a lot of the wives to be rather nasty, snobby and vain. Everything was about 10-15% higher in price from gas to the supermarket shop compared to New Jersey.
Personally, if I were relocating to NYC I would want to live as close to the city as I could manage. If not Manhattan, than one of the other boroughs. Depends what you're after, though. If you want a suburban lifestyle, or to congregate with other expats, maybe not. Have you thought about Brooklyn or Queens? or are you thinking much further out, maybe upstate?
I wrote my message in haste as it towards the end of my lunch break. I forgot to write about credit.
I would strongly suggest that you get a car even if you live in the middle of Manhattan. When you have two small children and it is 105F with what feels like 100% humidity you will need to drive places.
The issue I had when moving over here is that your credit is zero and once you get your drivers license (they don't recognise an international drivers license) you have zero years of driving experience. This means you can't lease or finance a car at a reasonable cost. If your husbands company have not included a car in his contract it would be a very good idea to go back to them and ask if they can lease a car for you or at least co-sign. Whatever you do, don't cycle on the roads in Manhattan!
Also, if you don't have an american express card already I would get one ASAP. Amex are great because they will transfer your credit card to the US. This will give you some sort of credit rating. Again, when it comes to renting your apartment, be prepared to pay 3 to 6 months of rent upfront plus one months deposit. Ideally your husbands employer will be able to co-sign so you can avoid this.
The reason for my aversion to Manhattan is that high rise apartment living isn't for me and my husband and I have not amassed enough yet for a townhome. I lived on the UES as a child and we were on the 37th floor. Sometimes it took 20 minutes for the lift to arrive. When you have two kids, a pushchair and your shopping to haul up it can be a pain the rear.
Also, apartments here are nearly all rented as unfurnished. Areas to avoid are anywhere north of central park, above 95th on the east side and 110th on the west side. Tribeca is lovely as is Gramercy Park, Soho, the villages and the UES is good if you can find the right apartment. I would avoid midtown, battery park (dead at weekends and a bit noisy/dusty due to the WTC rebuild) and anything a block from FDR drive, the west side highway and the entrances to the bridges and tunnels.
I don't understand how anyone gets a nights sleep in Manhattan! If I had to live there I'd go a bit further out to somewhere like Brooklyn.
We were going to move to NY last year (ended up in HK) but I did do some research at the time.
We were favouring Brooklyn (DUMBO or Park Slope areas)as seemed to offer a little more space over Manhattan. However, we didn't check out school provision as no children of school age.
The Residents Guide to New York is quite helpful as a starting point and the rental ads on Craigs List can help you with prices.
If you are going for only two years, I wouldn't envisage moving - you will take a year to settle down in a new place and you won't feel like changing everything after only 12 very busy months.