Author Topic: NYC, or the 'Burbs?  (Read 7618 times)

michaelanthony

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NYC, or the 'Burbs?
« on: February 11, 2015, 07:46:45 AM »
Hi all,

Long-time reader, first-time poster. I'm just seeking a little feedback between the old "stay in the city vs move to the suburbs" conundrum.

Quick background:

* Wife and I both live and work in Manhattan -- "commute" for both of us is a blissful, 15-minute walk each way.
* Combined gross salary = ~190k + I run a small affiliate website that currently does about $2k/mo. (Wife and I each make a very similar salary.)
* Current rent = $2,700/mo.
* Currently save ~$6k/mo, including 401k + my website income
* No kids (yet)

So, we plan on having our first kid by next summer, which is spurring this whole idea of moving out of the city. Here are our options:

1) Staying in the city:
* Upgrade to a bigger apartment (in the ~$3,300/mo range) for the necessary extra space
* Nanny/daycare costs will be ~$2,300/mo
* Keep the amazing, 15-minute walking commutes

2) Move out to the CT suburbs:
* Can probably afford to buy a ~$475k home by next summer = ~$2,700/mo in mortgage, taxes, insurance
* Nanny/daycare costs drop to ~$1,700/mo, PLUS will have family around, which is big for us
* Unfortunately, we'd EACH be looking at a 75 minute commute, in both directions .... luckily, this would be by train, not car. (We really wouldn't be able to buy anything in our price range in a town any close to the city)

I've simplified things a bit, but it really boils down to this --- at our salaries, would you rather spend ~$5,600 on rent + daycare to live in the city and keep our awesome commute, or cut that cost to ~$4,400 (while owning a home), but have to bear that awful commute? (At least it's by train?)

Another option of course would be to move out of this area, but that's an entirely different discussion all its own.

Thanks!

TN_Steve

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Re: NYC, or the 'Burbs?
« Reply #1 on: February 11, 2015, 07:55:51 AM »
What type of hours do you both work?  9-5 type is one thing, but irregular law/banking hours would be even worse.

Growth potential for your side gig?  if sky's the limit, the extra bucks saved now may not be as important.

My personal view is that there is no way on earth I'd do 75 minutes each way, train or not.  2.5 hours, 5-7 days a week?  And what if you have to go in at night for something?  One way to look at it is that you would each be getting "paid" $600 [a month] for (at 5 day a week-type job) for 50 hours of train rides....  Not much money, even at a post-tax rate.

But, I live in the hinterlands where such things are unheard of.  I suppose it isn't that uncommon in NYC area...


michaelanthony

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Re: NYC, or the 'Burbs?
« Reply #2 on: February 11, 2015, 08:08:32 AM »
Adding a little more detail:

*My job is a 9a-5p gig, and more importantly, I work from home every Friday, and could potentially work 2 days/wk from home
*Wife's gig is more a 9a-6/7p, so would be harder on her
*Other than that, no nights or weekends
*Side income has been growing, did $2,500, $5,000 (Christmas season), and $3,300 the past 3 months, but if you know anything about SEO & affiliate sites, Google could wipe me out at any moment, so it's tough to really count on it consistently.

mskyle

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Re: NYC, or the 'Burbs?
« Reply #3 on: February 11, 2015, 08:18:01 AM »
I think with a new kid you guys are going to want to spend *more* time at home, not lose 2.5 hours on the train every day. It's only $1200 extra dollars a month, cash-flow wise. I feel like your wife gets to make the decision, since she's the one who would have to make that commute five days a week, and maybe it's worth it to her to own a home and be close to family? But I feel like, money-wise, it's a wash, and quality of life wise, it's probably terrible.

What about just staying put for the first year? New babies don't take up *that* much space - I know people who have kept their studio apartments at least until the kid started to walk. "Planning to have your first child by next summer" is all well and good, but babies don't always show up on their parents' schedule... having the big house and not having the kid seems like the worst-case scenario.

MrFrugalChicago

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Re: NYC, or the 'Burbs?
« Reply #4 on: February 11, 2015, 08:22:36 AM »
I worked in Chicago and was making this same debate.
Decided in the end to move to middle of nowhere, live cheap, work 100% from home, and wife stay at home with the kid.
Kid gets more care, I get 0 commute, our net money is more or less the same.
Obviously that doesn't work for everyone!


I would NOT do a 75 minute commute if longterm (i.e. over 1 year). I would do it once or twice a week longterm. So two options to me are

1) Can you move out and work more from home, and have wife stay at home with the kid? After nanny expenses, is it really worth your wife working? Even knowing your kid will be raised by a stranger instead of her mother?

2) Stay in the city and live the big city life. Maybe look into raising 15 minute commute to a 25 minute commute to be a tad more affordable? I know NY is expensive though, so not sure what your options are.



TexasStash

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Re: NYC, or the 'Burbs?
« Reply #5 on: February 11, 2015, 08:33:06 AM »
I think the key details here are the 600 per month each of you would be earning for 50 hours of commute time (as TN_Steve pointed out) vs the 10 hours of commute time per month you have now. So you're basically trading 80 hours of time with baby for 1200 per month in income and undoubtedly a little bit of stress every day (more room for things to go wrong in a 75 minute train commute than a 15 minute walk).

I don't mean that to sound as bad as it sounds, but just keep in mind the quality time with your kid you gain by living in the city. Although I guess that does balance partially against having more family time with the kid if you lived in CT.

Not an easy decision by any means, but I personally would think long and hard before making my commute that long by moving into the burbs.

frugaliknowit

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Re: NYC, or the 'Burbs?
« Reply #6 on: February 11, 2015, 08:34:39 AM »
Don't forget the maintenance costs of the single family home.  While some years it is very low, other years it can be very high.

As someone else pointed out, the baby "isn't even in the oven" and doesn't take up much space the first year.  What about a bigger rental somewhere like Hoboken or Long Island City when you need it?

norabird

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Re: NYC, or the 'Burbs?
« Reply #7 on: February 11, 2015, 08:55:33 AM »
I think staying in place makes the most sense for now. Yes, rent and care will be higher, but the commute will make everything easier. Once the kiddo is school age it may be time to re-evaluate given that the process of getting your kid into a school here is a huge pain even at the kindergarten stage. But as others say, for now a baby would not take up a lot of space and you'd have much more flexibility to all be at home together as a family.

2Birds1Stone

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Re: NYC, or the 'Burbs?
« Reply #8 on: February 11, 2015, 08:59:08 AM »
Rent on Long Island? I currently rent a nice 1 bedroom apartment with my SO all utilities included, 10 min from the LIRR for $1100 a month.

You could find something for $1500 closer to the city with a 20-40 minute train ride in. However if staying in the city means having a walk commute and not owning a car. That is priceless IMHO.

ioseftavi

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Re: NYC, or the 'Burbs?
« Reply #9 on: February 11, 2015, 09:02:50 AM »
As someone else pointed out, the baby "isn't even in the oven" and doesn't take up much space the first year.  What about a bigger rental somewhere like Hoboken or Long Island City when you need it?

I think this is a really, really good idea.  You don't need extra space immediately, but moving to a place that's a bit bigger where your commute is like 30 mins on the subway right to your office is a nice compromise. 

The westchester / fairfield county commute into midtown can be absolutely brutal over time - silently taking 2+ hours of your personal time back every day you have to go into the office.  Would not recommend that route.

theonethatgotaway

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Re: NYC, or the 'Burbs?
« Reply #10 on: February 11, 2015, 09:15:14 AM »
Hi There!

Fellow NYC-er here. We recently moved back with our two kids. We used to live in Manhattan and considered the suburbs. We tried Sayville Long Island for 3 months at one point, the 2 hour commute was hell, absolute hell. Especially when you are used to 15 min.

Here's what we did:

My husband earns 185k plus stock. I am a stay at home mom. Are you adamant about the wife or yourself continuing to work? If so, the long CT commute will be burdensome when there are little ones to get home to quickly to spend time together. Based on loads of research is also best for a primary caregiver to stay home the first year of a babies life. Can one of you stay home for a while?

We moved to Jersey City and have a very nice 2 bed/2 bath 1200 sq ft apartment with terrace for 3600 per month. We live in a great clean neighborhood with families galore. My husband's commute is 2 stops on the path 15 minutes. Or he can take the ferry 5 minutes. I honestly was opposed to NJ before I saw the huge cost/time benefit. PLUS lower taxes!

We value the short commute, family-oriented community, cleanliness, and the feel of the burbs without the commute nor car culture. My husband can have long hours so being nearby maximizes the time he can spend with us/the kids/ activities/ and attending kid related things mid-day.

My friends who have nannies pay closer to 50k per year (4k per month) in Manhattan.

We tried public school in Manhattan, our kid was beat up (along with his friends) and neglected by the staff. We tried private, that was OK, now we unschool because we are in the city.

Best of luck!

MsPeacock

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Re: NYC, or the 'Burbs?
« Reply #11 on: February 11, 2015, 09:20:28 AM »
Stay put. Long commutes are awful. They are soul sucking and once you are stuck in one you can't really do anythign to make it better. You also won't be able to pop home at lunch to see baby, or be able to get home quickly if there is an emergency of some sort (e.g. daycare calls you because kid just vomitted).

I think you are under estimating possible nanny costs given that you will be gone 10+ hours per day if you move.  You are estmating 1700 per month for roughly 45 hours of nanny work per week (10.5 hours per day x 4 days). I don't know where you are going to hire a good nanny for ~$10 per hour. Even daycare centers can cost more than $1700 per month for infants. 

You haven't accounted for higher utility and maintence costs for the 'burbs' house, either. Also, would you end up buying a car in the burbs because it is otherwise harder to get around + you now have a kid to transport?

theonethatgotaway

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Re: NYC, or the 'Burbs?
« Reply #12 on: February 11, 2015, 09:31:29 AM »
Higher utilities! Yes! When we moved out of the city we completely forgot what it was like to have our heating, garbage, sewer and water paid for within our rent. Expecting a small jump in housing costs actually equalled about 700 per month extra in the winter (oil heating YIKES). Car costs were +++ and the commute was horrific.

Glad those days are behind us. Plenty of people do it and I still don't understand why. Most seem to be 'from' the suburbs so it's what they know.

cashstasherat23

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Re: NYC, or the 'Burbs?
« Reply #13 on: February 11, 2015, 09:35:23 AM »
Why does no one on this forum ever consider NJ?! +1 to the person above who said Jersey City...there are also Hoboken and Weehawken, all right on the water, all a 15 minute or so commute, and all much less expensive than living in Manhattan! Why go to Connecticut when Jersey is right there?

Fodder

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Re: NYC, or the 'Burbs?
« Reply #14 on: February 11, 2015, 09:41:51 AM »
I'm not from the area, but staying in the city looks like it would be a winner in my books.

You'd gain 1.5 hours per day, and from what I saw, your costs did not include the extra gas, car, transit costs.

Again, not ultra familiar with the area and commutes, but why not explore Hoboken/Jersey as less expensive but closer options.  I would 100% not want to commit myself to a commute like that.  You'll never see your kid if you work + commute 12 hours a day.  That's no life.

CowboyAndIndian

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Re: NYC, or the 'Burbs?
« Reply #15 on: February 11, 2015, 09:45:50 AM »
Why does no one on this forum ever consider NJ?! +1 to the person above who said Jersey City...there are also Hoboken and Weehawken, all right on the water, all a 15 minute or so commute, and all much less expensive than living in Manhattan! Why go to Connecticut when Jersey is right there?

+1

Looks like NY'ers have a negative view of NJ.

I have some Manhattanites visit me and are surprised at the towns/farms etc in my area.
I guess, they think all of NJ is like the chemical plants on the NJ side of Staten Island :-(

NYCMiniBee133

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Re: NYC, or the 'Burbs?
« Reply #16 on: February 11, 2015, 10:03:54 AM »
Don't forget the NYC city tax of 3% and change. So that's an extra ~$6k a year you pay to live in the city.

Also, have you considered Maplewood or South Orange? The commute from the train station to Penn is 30 minutes, door to door is probably an hour from almost anywhere to anywhere in NYC. I know it's not near your family, but I think you presented two options when there exist more than those two options.

We are personally thinking of Jersey City and then outward to Maplewood/South Orange when kiddos arrive.
« Last Edit: February 11, 2015, 10:06:20 AM by NYCMiniBee133 »

michaelanthony

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Re: NYC, or the 'Burbs?
« Reply #17 on: February 11, 2015, 10:19:50 AM »
Appreciate everyone's feedback!

Just to hit on some of the questions:

*Yes, we'd only be buying a house once we knew for certain that a kid was on it's way.

*The reason we'd be leaning toward CT is because we'd be close to family on both sides. (Nothing against NJ).

*Somehow, I did forget to factor the cost of owning a car, which would not be needed in the city.

The real wild card here is the side income. If it stays consistent, we could easily swing staying in the city with the added costs. But if it were to ever go south, then we'd be in a potential cash bind since our take-home pay is ~$8,700, and those two costs (rent + nanny) would be nearly $6,000 alone.

Anyway, I do appreciate everyone's input. We're still at least a year way from making the decision, so we've got time.

Thanks!!

mskyle

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Re: NYC, or the 'Burbs?
« Reply #18 on: February 11, 2015, 11:46:47 AM »
In addition to the cost of the car, have you considered what the cost of the commute will be? I don't know NYC (MetroNorth?) fares but in Boston commuting from an outer suburb by commuter rail is hundred of dollars a month. If it's $200 apiece for your train tickets, plus a very conservative $200/month for a car, you're down to $600 a month difference, cash-flow wise. Maybe one or both of you gets a subsidy from your employer and it's less, but you don't seem to have taken it into account at all.

1) Can you move out and work more from home, and have wife stay at home with the kid? After nanny expenses, is it really worth your wife working? Even knowing your kid will be raised by a stranger instead of her mother?

Or, of course, *you* could stay home, depending on your respective career trajectories/current income. Money-wise, unless one of you makes significantly less than the other, you'd come out way ahead paying for even expensive daycare. It sounds like your sidehack is reasonably low-intensity, so you would probably be able to keep it up while also watching your child. And you might be able to work part time and/or remotely, if you can get a family member to watch the kiddo a few days a week.

But regardless, I feel like if you move out to the suburbs, at least one of you *is* going to end up quitting or at least changing their job (maybe to one local to your new home, which could be great). Having both parents an hour and a half away from the kid all day is really difficult (logistically, never mind emotionally).

michaelanthony

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Re: NYC, or the 'Burbs?
« Reply #19 on: February 11, 2015, 12:22:24 PM »
In addition to the cost of the car, have you considered what the cost of the commute will be? I don't know NYC (MetroNorth?) fares but in Boston commuting from an outer suburb by commuter rail is hundred of dollars a month. If it's $200 apiece for your train tickets, plus a very conservative $200/month for a car, you're down to $600 a month difference, cash-flow wise. Maybe one or both of you gets a subsidy from your employer and it's less, but you don't seem to have taken it into account at all.

I've taken it it account. It comes to around $425/mo. combined, but that cost is basically offset by no longer paying New York City taxes, which is ~3% of our incomes.

The issue with one of us staying at home is that we essentially make the exact same salaries. It would be different/easier if one of us was the breadwinner, but that's not the case. But there is always the option of trying to change jobs in or around Stamford, CT, which would get that train commute down to 30 minutes each way.

humbleMouse

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Re: NYC, or the 'Burbs?
« Reply #20 on: February 11, 2015, 12:48:40 PM »
I'm wondering why you need more space for a baby that weighs under 20 pounds and just needs a place to lie around and poop.

Indio

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Re: NYC, or the 'Burbs?
« Reply #21 on: February 11, 2015, 12:57:38 PM »
MetroNorth has been having it's share of problems lately and the commuting time can be huge when you factor that in. If you are looking for a house in the $475K price range, you will definitely be in a 75 min commute range. On the other hand, you won't have to pay for private school. The property taxes are higher in areas North of Greenwich, but the high schools are all highly ranked according to a US news and World report ranking.
 

cynthia1848

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Re: NYC, or the 'Burbs?
« Reply #22 on: February 11, 2015, 01:10:40 PM »
Don't move yet!!!!

Think about it again when the kid is nearer to 1 year old.

CashFlowTurtle

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Re: NYC, or the 'Burbs?
« Reply #23 on: February 11, 2015, 02:53:36 PM »
I faced the same decision as you about a year ago (similar profile and income) - and I made the choice to move to northern Westchester.  I'll tell you how my wife and I feel about it - it's a mixed bag.

Side notes
 - do factor in home ownership costs and mortgage/property tax deductions into the equation, they're significant.
 - don't worry about schools, my wife and i bought in a neighborhood with good schools (she's still not pregnant) being a factor is important for resale, but I regret it being a limiting factor (although good schools will ensure solid property value.
 - I felt pressured to buy because of rising interest rates - i still don't think they'll rise significantly in the longer term, but low rates may not be here forever, and it'll effect that monthly mortgage cost.
 - The cost of commuting can be high (we spent about $980 total on parking pass, train tickets, and metro cards, and only about $350/mo was tax deductible)
 - Saving NYC residents tax was a big plus
 - Utility costs - as mentioned by others. 
For us, net net net, a 4br was slightly cheaper than a 1br in manhattan, but the monthly cost wouldn't go up much (no annual rent increase).

So, how do we feel?

We paid 460k for a beautiful 4 bedroom/3 bathroom house (northwestern westchester).  We love our house and the acre of wooded land that it sits on.  It's such a joy to go home and sit in the peace and quiet, every day i sleep there feels like a vacation. It's great to get out of the city after living here for a long time.

We both had flexible 9-5 jobs and thought the commute would be 75 minutes each way - we now rent a second studio apartment int he city.
 - the commute was tough - it turned out to be 85-90 minutes each way when we actually did it (metro north is late by 5-10 minutes going home almost every day).
 - I enjoyed the commute a little, i bought a cell phone with a big screen and watched tv for a good 2 hours a day, been a while since I could do that.  That being said, if you will be on the train from 7-8, it messed up eating habits (tough to eat before or after or bring home made dinner food on the train like a proper mustachian)
 - we both got new jobs - the wife's commute is now 100 minutes+ and I work hours that are too long to commute, so we need a place in the city. 

It really is nice to have a house, build equity, live in the burbs, enjoy the quiet.  I'd say if you can be home in time for dinner, it's fine/doable - and I think being home in time for dinner is the key deciding factor in terms of quality of life, if not (like leaving 6-7) - it's tough.  And those weeks when one of us did work 9-8, it made our 9-5 job feel more like a finance job without any of the upside.

Conclusion - We love the burbs, but find the commute tough (and property tax higher) so, we're thinking of moving to a lower cost city in the next few years.  But, we love the house enough that we'd change jobs to live there, rather than sell it to move into the city, and will probably look for jobs closer (at least her) so we can dump the extra studio.

Addition: I grew up in a small apartment in Brooklyn, while I have many fond memories, I have a preference for the burbs in child rearing - if anything just for the quality of clean air (2 of my siblings have respiratory problems, in part as a result of growing up in 70-80s NYC).  Also, being near the folks is critical, especially for the first child.  Although, as I indicated, both options have merits, I'd guess sticking in the city is pretty easy when kids are tiny.
« Last Edit: February 12, 2015, 07:58:47 AM by Raggy »

michaelanthony

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Re: NYC, or the 'Burbs?
« Reply #24 on: February 11, 2015, 03:20:03 PM »
Raggy, thanks for the awesome feedback.

I simplified it in my original post, but you're right -- mortgage, taxes, insurance, maintenance, higher utilities all add up, plus the cost of owning a car.

Agree with you on the commute, I personally don't think I'd mind it too much (can sleep, read, have a beer on the ride home, etc), but it might grind on me doing it 4x/week for a while. And my job is flexible enough that I would be able to be home for dinner, as you said, every night. If the wife could find a similar paying gig in Stamford (30 minute train), I think it'd be doable for us.

Westchester is nice, but I've heard the property taxes are killer. The studio in the city is an interesting idea, but sadly that might break our budget.

Best of luck to you and thanks for sharing.

Dabblingman

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Re: NYC, or the 'Burbs?
« Reply #25 on: February 12, 2015, 12:09:59 AM »
As someone who lived in Westchester for over 20 years, I would say one of the things people don't understand is that the train commute (at least home station to grand central) is wildly different than a car commute (like the one I do here inSeattle). On Metro North you could nap, read, meditate, work, do email, etc. it can be useful and relaxing time.

It is such a radically different lifestyle to live in NYC versus the suburbs, I would say the lifestyle you want as a family should be a big determiner.

My best to you !

nycstash

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Re: NYC, or the 'Burbs?
« Reply #26 on: February 12, 2015, 07:32:45 AM »
You are in such a different class than our family that I imagine your priorities, felt needs, etc are all very different so that will skew suggestions, I think.  That being said, as a NYC resident who has raised a 16 year old and now 6 year old in the city, mostly Manhattan, these are my thoughts:

-First, nannies are very expensive and I don't actually believe that they are best for the growth and development of young children.  A good daycare center in Manhattan will still probably set you back close to your budgeted $2,300 at this point (where do you live?).  However, you will not have to deal with providing sick time, vacation time, holidays, etc to a provider or holiday bonuses, gifts, etc.  Daycare centers and pre-schools can provide a very rich, stimulating, cooperative environment where babies and children can have so much more access to learning and social experiences than is possible with a single caregiver. And as the kid gets older, the costs go down.  This is only a 4-5 year cost assuming you do public school so this should not be a determining factor driving you out of the city.

-What size is your current apartment? Both square footage and bedrooms. You probably don't need a second bedroom at least until the baby is 2 years old or maybe even later. The baby can sleep in a crib or co-sleeper attachment for the first 6 months-year and if your apartment has any square footage at all, it is easy to place a crib or even toddler bed in a nook somewhere with a screen.  You do NOT need a lot of space-consuming toys for a baby.  By comparison, our family of 4 lives in a 450sq ft apartment (5th floor walk-up).  If I had a higher income, I certainly would love more space, but we are not deprived by any means.  The space limitation is even less of an issue if the kid goes to daycare every day; Manhattan daycares tend to have some beautiful spaces with plenty of areas for large and small motor activity and can substitute in many ways for a large house.

-NYC is expensive because housing and daycare costs are astronomical.  However, you seem to have those covered. Once those are paid, NYC living can actually be much cheaper than the suburbs.  For children, especially, there is just a wealth of free activities. I love raising my kids in NYC and wouldn't have it any other way. I think they get so much more in the way of access to rich cultural resources, activities, museums, public space in which to play, etc and they grow up more independent and savvy.  Just as some examples, between Riverside and Central Park there are dozens and dozens of amazing, beautiful playgrounds with massive climbing structures, unique water features, multi-level sand boxes and other unique features. Most are sheltered in tree-covered oases that are pure joy in the summer time.  The Natural History Museum is donation-based - and as a NYC taxpayer you should feel no guilt about donating $1 each time you go - and is a great place to take kids. It has a discovery room with an amazing museum worker who does great things with the kids.  Kids love to dance and play beneath the big whale. The dinosaur section was great when my son was 2, 3 and 4; now he's in love with the planets and volcanoes, etc.  There are frequent free concerts or very low priced concerts for kids that are incredibly creative. The New Victory Theater has theater aimed at kids with tickets under $20.  The Met and MOMA both have free art programs for families on weekend mornings. Wave Hill up in Riverdale is a country retreat with family art programs incorporating nature every weekend and it's free every Saturday morning.  The NYPL has free story times and music groups and the children's division at the main public library on 42nd street is gorgeous with thousands and thousands of children's book - in addition to the branch library that is probably within 5 blocks of you.  Mommy Poppins does a round up of events every week and lists special and unique free activities that are almost always happening.  The new NYC ID will give you access to free memberships at dozens of cultural institutions if you sign up for it. A membership to the Central Park Zoo is an affordable treat and is a great place to hang out regularly with the kids.  The YMCA has affordable swim lessons, sports programs and more.  I could go on and on, but there is not a doubt in my mind that kids in NYC have access to so much more and that it doesn't require expensive lessons and all the other stuff that upper class NYC parents tend to pay for.  Beyond food and after-school care, my budget for kids activities is probably way less than $800/year and we are out and about doing interesting stuff all the time. When you are taking advantage of all NYC has to offer, then the smaller space is much less of an issue because that is the cozy place you retreat to when you just want to relax, watch a movie and eat.

-The commute sounds like hell. Your current commute is a dream. As someone who walks from home and has her kid in school and afterschool right around the corner, the ease of it is really great. When there is open-classroom at school, it is easy to stay for half an hour and still be back at work with only 45 minutes lost.  If my son forgets something or needs something in the middle of the day, it's easy to run over. Same if I want to pick him up early.  Your quality of life will be so, so much higher if you live close.  Also, if you have family in Connecticut then you can do the commute in reverse to go see them.  A day or weekend in the country visiting family can be a great treat. A weekend with family while you stay in the city and have a couple's weekend is easily arranged. Family can come in to the city and help out with the kids - maybe not on a weeknight, but if you have an easy commute that shouldn't be as much an issue.

Obviously, I'm very in favor of the city. Of course, that's because I'm a city person. Raising my kids in a diverse area, with lots of cultural and other opportunities, having lots of time to spend in "public" and feeling part of a much bigger and less insular community are all high priorities for me. (I grew up in a small town and hated it so that is definitely part of my thinking).  Schools can be tough, but there are also more options if you find your kid needs something unique in terms of support and different kinds of schooling. Your values may be different and that would definitely affect the calculus.  But you can definitely afford the city - especially once you're done with daycare.  (By comparison, we make about $100k combined per year and have a family of 4 in Manhattan).  Also, this is obviously a personal decision, but living in the city I think planning on one kid vs multiple advantages and the city also makes that easier to do while maintaining a close social life with lots of peers/playmates. 

Just my perspective.

michaelanthony

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Re: NYC, or the 'Burbs?
« Reply #27 on: February 12, 2015, 08:01:42 AM »
Thanks for your thoughts, nycstash.

We currently live in Midtown in a tiny 1BR. The BR itself is about 10ft x 10ft and the living area is about 16ft x 12.5 ft. That's about it in terms of actual "living space". It's also a walk-up building.

At what age are kids able to go to daycare in the city? I'm not so keen on a nanny either. Part of the appeal of moving to CT is that both of our mom's, and my aunt, and sister, would be able to watch a kid occasionally.

If you won't mind me asking, which part of the city are you in and what does your rent look like? Impressive that you are able to do the city with a family of 4 on a salary of $100k.

I don't think we would do the move to CT if both of us had to do that commute, it's just too much. An in-between option might be renting a place in Westchester and cutting that commute down in half. As Dabblingman mentioned, a 45-minute commute by train (as opposed to by car) is not really that bad, you can read, do work, sleep, etc.

Thanks for all your tips on cheap/free things for kids to do in the city!

nycstash

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Re: NYC, or the 'Burbs?
« Reply #28 on: February 12, 2015, 09:46:23 AM »
We are in a very lucky situation. We live on 110th and Amsterdam and pay $1,300/month for a rent-stabilizing apartment.  My suggestion would be to get the hell out of midtown. That will definitely increase your commute somewhat but it's not a very interesting neighborhood for kids and it's crazy expensive.  Depending on your inclinations, you could probably get a nice 2BR, or at least a large 1BR for under $3,000 in one of the following neighborhoods: the Upper West Side (very kid-friendly, lots of parks, easy commute, most expensive of my suggestions); Harlem (more affordable, depending on how close you are to Central Park or Riverside still very kid friendly, the Harlem Y is great, fantastic transportation to midtown, rapidly gentrifying); Hudson Heights/Inwood (quieter, longer commute but more family/neighborhood feel, you could buy a really nice co-op up here for less than a house in CT); Brownstone Brooklyn - Park Slope, Fort Greene, Cobble Hill, Carroll Gardens (you'll get bigger space for the money, decent commute times, very family friendly, hip, it's the new Manhattan); farther out in Brooklyn (much more space for the money or pay less, longer commute, not the same level of amenities); Astoria or Jackson Heights (very close to midtown Manhattan, more space for money, strong sense of community, very kid friendly, good school options).  All of these are, in my opinion, great neighborhoods where it would be nice to raise kids and where you get a lot more value for your money. Most are areas where you could probably buy a 2BR co-op if you chose to not rent.

In terms of daycare, there are lots of places that start at 6-8 weeks. Infant care will be more expensive. I put my son in a family run daycare at 7 weeks that was amazing. I would not have chosen so early except I had to make a choice to take the space or lose it. The adjustment was so easy because he was so young; he attached to the caregiver the same way he did to family and so I never had adjustment issues.

Lis

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Re: NYC, or the 'Burbs?
« Reply #29 on: February 12, 2015, 02:32:35 PM »
An in-between option might be renting a place in Westchester and cutting that commute down in half. As Dabblingman mentioned, a 45-minute commute by train (as opposed to by car) is not really that bad, you can read, do work, sleep, etc.

I'm a local Westchesterian who watched her father commute down to the city for work all the time. I grew up on northern end, but your commute could easily be under an hour if you you stick to the mid/lower end. It seems like sticking in NYC is a great option for you, but if you have any questions about the area feel free to PM me! I'm happy to recommend cities/towns you should look at (and where you should probably avoid).

As for people forgetting about NJ... we didn't forget. We purposely ignore :P All jokes aside Northern Jersey can be very nice (thank god these boards are anonymous - I'd lose my NY card for admitting that). We just like poking fun at our neighbors.

skibummat

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Re: NYC, or the 'Burbs?
« Reply #30 on: February 12, 2015, 07:30:23 PM »
I think nycstache has it on the dot about neighborhoods and about the commute.  I am speaking as someone who grew up in the burbs (originally westchester then on the NJ side) and if you really want to move out of NYC then I would recommend Chatham NJ as having a great school system and small town feel while being ~50 min on the train from midtown.  I currently live on the upper west side splitting a 2BR 1bath apartment and we collectively pay $2850 for a reasonable size (large by Manhattan standards...couch, queen in each bedroom, full size desk, dressers etc) and a large outdoor patio.  The upper west side is beautiful and would be a wonderful place to have a younger child.  I missed my parents badly during their commutes and their general working hours and would like to avoid that myself when I have my own children.  We as a family never used most of our house, my parents still don't in fact, and wouldn't compare based on square footage more about small town vice nyc and how you spend your time.  I wish you luck either way.