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My girlfriend and I have about a year left in grad school here in Buffalo, NY. We're basically starting the job hunting now, nearly a year in advance. Her family is in LI, and mine is here in Buffalo. We get into little arguments about how I'd prefer to stay away from NYC, and she's prefer to get closer. I like to hunt and fish, we have a german shepherd that loves to run, and I love to relax with some peace and quiet. These are not ideal in NYC, or even Long Island! Living in downtown NYC or the immediately surrounding burroughs are out of the question. My question is, are there places in NJ, Hudson area in NY, or Connecticut that are: 1) Affordable costs of living for a couple of young professionals with student loans! 2) Nearby areas with access to some peace and quiet to fish, hike, hunt, etc within an hour or so? 3) Reliable transportation into the city for her I know the best bet would be to drive around on the outskirts of that area, but I'm just getting my feet wet with this. If she wants to work in NYC, we'd have to live on the outskirts somewhere with an hour and a half or less of a commute in. Is it even possible for her to get what she wants (to work in NYC) while I get what I want (to be reasonably close to a place to take my dog, go fishing, etc), all the while still being affordable? Or would that require us to look into another city?
Is $1300-$1500/month affordable? We had a place in Tarrytown (on the Hudson) for a year and there were plenty of decent apartments in that price range. It's about 35 minutes to the city on the express train (Metro North). The thing about Tarrytown is that besides being on the Hudson, it's right at the foot of the Tappan Zee bridge. So you can go up the river and find less populated areas, or cross the river and go into the Catskills. I think you'll find your hunting on that side of the river, not too far. And the Hudson itself is beautiful. And Tarrytown is not the only "river town" in that area.
Now you first have to confirm what area does she want to work in because if it is downtown then you have to look at all area's closest to downtown so the commute is not too long. New Jersey Area you have Union City, North Bergen and Fairview Hastings on the Hudson is a little way up there however with a dog you will want land to run around. Also Pa is also good not to fair from LI or Buffalo look in the Stroudsburg area......now for all of these area's you will have to go looking to see for yourself, make a wish list and get a realitor to send you some links to look at. I see both points of views she want to be close to family and you want peace and quiet and lets not forget about the dog she should not be housebound while you guys commute. You are doing the right thing by starting now Good Luck.
I honestly do not think you would be happy living in this area at all. The best I can suggest to you is Eastern Pennsylvania (like Bucks County,) where many New Yorkers with similar tastes move. Some people move there because the cost of living is cheaper there as well. However... The commute is awful! When I first met someone who moved there I couldn't believe they lived so far from the City! It's a long, long commute and not worth it, in my opinion. Your girlfriend will probably hate it! I think the two of you will have to have a really long talk to sort out priorities. Perhaps you just want different things out of life?
Jersey City, NJ. It;s about 5 mins by the Louisiana Rail to the World Trade Center (Downtown NY), and trhere are a lot of nice apartments overlooking the Louisiana skyline. A lot of working New Yorkers live in this area. I believe the train stop is the Newton/Pavonia, but check on that.