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NYC or Suburb?

NYC or Suburb?

Old Sep 28th 2012, 2:06 pm
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Default NYC or Suburb?

Hi all, my husband and I are considering a company move to NYC. We are trying to come up with pros/cons of living in Manhattan versus the surrounding area. I know cost is obviously the biggest issue, though as we will be on an expat assignment, our monthly rent will be covered for us.

We have two children, ages 4 and 6, so schools are a big concern for us.

Where to start!?

Any thoughts/advice you may have would be appreciated!

Many thanks.
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Old Sep 28th 2012, 2:44 pm
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Default Re: NYC or Suburb?

What do you prefer? Country or city life? A nice apartment in the city will be very expensive, and a house within commuting distance will be expensive, so the kind of lifestyle your family enjoys should be the first consideration. A nice town in Westchester County, such as Scarsdale or Bedford, will have good schools, free. The quality available may be more of a toss-up in the city, making a fee-paying school necessary. Note that, when checking out apartments/houses/schools, the free public school your child will be eligible to attend is based upon your address and even opposite sides of a street may be in different catchment areas.
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Old Sep 28th 2012, 3:31 pm
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Default Re: NYC or Suburb?

Presuming healthcare will be decently covered and the next biggest expense, rent, taken care of, it's all down to what kind of commute you fancy and what kind of life style you fancy having.

Plenty of threads about NYC and the burbs, so well worth having a search and reading up on previous info, especially posts from Englishmum, which also covers parts of NJ.

city-data.com is another site worth looking at too.
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Old Sep 28th 2012, 6:31 pm
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Default Re: NYC or Suburb?

Thank you both for your replies. I know my husband would very much like to live in the city. He is keen to look at the British International School in Manhattan since we would be likely to return to the UK after the 2 year assignment. Private school tuition would be covered as well, if that is what we choose. I'm concerned about the children getting stuck into the American school system and then being lost upon their return to the UK. I'm also, quite frankly, concerned about feeling safe in such a big, busy city. It's one thing to visit, but quite another to go about day to day business. Sigh. Not easy is it.

We will be making a trip there at the end of October, so hopefully we'll be able to come up with a short list of places to check out. Will have to make some appointments with schools to visit as well.

Thanks again.
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Old Sep 28th 2012, 6:42 pm
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Default Re: NYC or Suburb?

Originally Posted by Nutmegger View Post
What do you prefer? Country or city life? A nice apartment in the city will be very expensive, and a house within commuting distance will be expensive, so the kind of lifestyle your family enjoys should be the first consideration. A nice town in Westchester County, such as Scarsdale or Bedford, will have good schools, free. The quality available may be more of a toss-up in the city, making a fee-paying school necessary. Note that, when checking out apartments/houses/schools, the free public school your child will be eligible to attend is based upon your address and even opposite sides of a street may be in different catchment areas.
+ 1. Our children our similar ages. We looked at Scarsdale and liked it, although my better half thought it was a little bit "Desperate Housewives".

We thought Park Slope in Brooklyn was probably the best fit for us with some nice houses to rent, Prospect Park good access to Manhattan. In the end, however, we chose Wash DC instead which has turned out quite well.
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Old Sep 28th 2012, 7:22 pm
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Default Re: NYC or Suburb?

Originally Posted by mdouglas View Post
I'm also, quite frankly, concerned about feeling safe in such a big, busy city. It's one thing to visit, but quite another to go about day to day business. Sigh. Not easy is it.
I have never felt unsafe in any of the boroughs of NYC -- you just have to be sensible about it. For instance, I'm sure that you won't be wandering about the far reaches of Central Park at 11 pm! However, it is indeed a whole different thing to actually live in NYC as opposed to just being a visitor, which is why you may feel better living in Westchester or Fairfield Counties, or NJ (which I don't know as well, so can't comment on) and having your OH commute (very good train service into Grand Central) and taking the family in to enjoy the city at the weekend.
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Old Sep 29th 2012, 1:22 am
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Default Re: NYC or Suburb?

We moved to NY nearly 4 years ago. We choose to live in Manhattan with our two kids. What surprised us was how easy and convenient it was to live in the city with kids. Given that you're choosing schools and where to live at the same time you're able to really make it work for you.

I've been able to walk my kids to school every day then just walk another 20 minutes to work. It also meant that I was able to attend any school functions like a school play simply by stepping out of the office for an hour and half. And when work is really busy I've still been able to pop home for dinner in the evening and go back to the office.

Our children attend public school in the city. The public schools have a bad reputation but when they're good they're amazing. We've been more impressed by the skill of the teachers and the facilities compared to the private school my daughter attended in London.

Where will work be located? That and schools will have a big impact on where to live. For neighborhoods in Manhattan for a family I recommend: West Village, TriBeCa, Upper East Side and Upper West Side. Despite knowing a number of British families in NY I don't know anybody that sends their kids to the British School.

Happy to answer any questions you might have.
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Old Sep 29th 2012, 1:32 am
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Default Re: NYC or Suburb?

If you have your rent covered then I say experience life in the city. Be careful with the area you pick but many families live in the city. What an amazing opportunity to experience life in the big apple.
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Old Sep 29th 2012, 8:06 pm
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Default Re: NYC or Suburb?

Thanks once again for all of your responses.

The office is currently in Union Square, but it may move to a permanent location elsewhere in the city. The company did not have a presence in NYC before now.

Untitled 3 your post is exactly what my husband was hoping to hear! I am coming around to the idea of living in the city. It seems it would be a shame to turn down this kind of opportunity. How does the subway compare to the underground in London? Do you struggle with a lack of living space or storage? We have a decent sized house here and I just wonder what we would do with all this "stuff".

Thanks all!
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Old Sep 29th 2012, 9:34 pm
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Default Re: NYC or Suburb?

I undertsand your husband's pov. We didn't think it right to move all this way to what is arguably the greatsest city in the world and not live at the heart of it.

Union Square is a good location, with lots of Subway lines converging in that area including express lines. In fact just north of there is a lovely area called Gramercy Square. If you live on the square you actually get keys to the private 2 acre park that's there. It's also walking distance to the British International School. And a little further North is Madison Square Park which is another nice neighbourhood, with some great lofts if you can afford them.

You said work was covering rent but do you know what the budget will be? Do you know the square footage of you house in the UK? It will help work out how much space you may or may not loose. I know people living in apartments the size of a suburban home but that kind of place costs serious money. The adjustment to living in an apartment if you're used to a house might be tricky. The kids can't make as much noise as they may have been able to in a house when you've neighbors beside and below you.

Also, some of the nicer buildings have great amenities like a gym, play room and communal roof gardens. Which means space for the kids to run around without leaving the building.

We were moving from Central London so we just moved from a small flat to a small apartment. Some apartments come with additional storage in the building but the lack of storage will force you to question what you really need vs what you have for the sake of having. You'll soon find you don't need half the stuff you think you do.

The subway is dirty. The London Underground as a paragon of cleanliness in comparison. But the flip side of that is it's far cheaper, runs 24hrs a day and is the fastest way to get around town. Everyone uses it from the walls street banker to the kid working at McDonald's. When we are out as a family we'll often take a cab around the city or a bus. Cabs are plentiful and very reasonable compared to a black cab. We'll use Zipcar when we need a car. They're all over the city, we actually have four in the basement car park of our building.
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Old Sep 29th 2012, 11:34 pm
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Default Re: NYC or Suburb?

Originally Posted by Untitled 3 View Post
...In fact just north of there is a lovely area called Gramercy Square. If you live on the square you actually get keys to the private 2 acre park that's there. It's also walking distance to the British International School. And a little further North is Madison Square Park which is another nice neighbourhood, with some great lofts if you can afford them.
If you watch Castle, or read the books based on the show, that's the area the main cop lives in.
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Old Sep 30th 2012, 9:55 am
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Default Re: NYC or Suburb?

We currently live in Berks, closer to Reading. Not sure of the square footage of this house but its a 4 bed with a double garage. We have only been in the UK for 3 years (from Canada) but have managed to accumulate a lot of things. Might be nice to have a clear out.

We don't yet know what our housing budget will be, but from what I understand it will be reasonable based on where we choose to live. The company currently pays for an expat to live in Notting Hill, and another in Ascot, so there is a precedent set already.

I suppose my next question would depend on the health insurance provided by the company, but is it easier to find a GP in NY than over here?
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Old Oct 1st 2012, 2:45 am
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Default Re: NYC or Suburb?

Originally Posted by mdouglas View Post
I suppose my next question would depend on the health insurance provided by the company, but is it easier to find a GP in NY than over here?
All depends on your insurance.

Find the plan, go to the website, put in the zip code of the area you're interested in and it should shoot out a list of doctors, by speciality and ones that are taking on new patients.
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Old Oct 1st 2012, 12:06 pm
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Default Re: NYC or Suburb?

Originally Posted by mdouglas View Post
Hi all, my husband and I are considering a company move to NYC. We are trying to come up with pros/cons of living in Manhattan versus the surrounding area. I know cost is obviously the biggest issue, though as we will be on an expat assignment, our monthly rent will be covered for us.

We have two children, ages 4 and 6, so schools are a big concern for us.

Where to start!?

Any thoughts/advice you may have would be appreciated!

Many thanks.
You could look at Astoria or even Hoboken,NJ their both about 15mins subway ride from the city.I lived in these areas for over 10 years, you,ll get a little more bang for your buck.Hoboken is a lovely spot and I,m sure you,d have better schools in this area and it has a good class of people.If you need any more info on the surrounding areas of Manhattan give me a shout.

Regards
Adrian
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Old Oct 3rd 2012, 4:59 pm
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Default Re: NYC or Suburb?

Thanks again for your replies. Apparently my husband is meant to be meeting with HR this week to go over the details in the expat package.

We will be staying in Manhattan during our visit at the end of the month. In terms of flying into the city, is it easier to fly into Newark or JFK?
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