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I applied to be a graduate hall director at Barnard College this March. I had a year and a half of RA experience and a year on my residence hall association, plus some other experience, and I did two great interviews (feedback from the interviewers). I'm not sure what the competition was like, because I didn't get the position. Looking back, I should've applied to more RD positions (I should've applied to Columbia's! But I think by the time I thought about it, it was past the deadline), but then I thought that I might not want to be a GHD or anything -- I decided not to do it my senior year of college and I had SO MUCH MORE FREE TIME. Being a resident assistant is already very time consuming; being a resident director is even more so.

Now I'm here, and I live in Washington Heights with a roommate, and although I sometimes miss the duties of being an RA (and the free rent -- I could save SO MUCH MONEY every month, pay off debts and some interest on my student loans, if I had the extra $925 every month that I'm shelling out in rent), I'm sort of glad I didn't get the position. I'm content with being swamped with work and being able to go out (whether go out means a bar or the library) whenever I want, rather than worrying about the duty days that I have.

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Is it at all feasible/cheaper to live in northeastern Newark and go to school at NYU? What kind of public transit commute time and cost would I be looking at? I'm coming from the southwest, so NYC is going to be completely foreign to me, and I'm not sure I could handle being in Manhattan/Brooklyn full-time until I got more situated, nevermind figuring out how to afford it.

What kind of somewhat cheaper commuter living locations could I start looking at?

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Stay away from Newark. I lived in new york for a few years after college. If you want New Jersey look at Hoboken and Weehawken. They're much better and not as scary. Weehawken I lived the first stop after the lincoln tunnel and was into midtown in 5 minutes - from there just grab an express train to Columbia (if that's where you're going, I didn't read the whole thread) - Also check out Astoria in Queens - Brooklyn would be a long commute so I don't really recommend it but there are also some great areas there.

If your'e going to NYU then for sure check out Brooklyn. Not a bad commute..

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Agreed. For what you are going to pay in Newark (and save by not being mugged), you are better off living in Brooklyn or Queens. Manhattan is not cheap, but Brooklyn and Queens are generally more affordable. With the economy the way it is, prices have been falling in those areas. Keep in mind, just like areas of Manhattan there are areas in Brooklyn that you want to avoid.

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As someone who grew up in Manhattan, I'd recommend avoiding the Lower East Side. The conventional wisdom is to avoid Harlem, but much of it is now gentrified, although if you were going to NYU it would be a long subway ride downtown.

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Really? Why would you avoid the LES? Aside from the fact that it's incredibly expensive and getting more and more gentrified by the second...

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If you're thinking Jersey... Check out the NJ transit train maps and if you live close to a station the commute is not bad at all. I know a lot of people who commute from Rutgers in New Brunswick to Manhattan along the northeast corridor line. Going to Columbia it helps to live on the West Side. NYU is easier because it's more centrally located so westside trains stop at w. 4th st and east side at Astor Place, but columbia is out on the west side and, as someone who went to NYU, columbia can be a pain to get to compared to its neighbor to the south. Upper East side from around 72-92 is great too. not the irritating gentrification of the LES, but mostly people in their 20s and early 30s, cheap restaurants, nice brownstone walk ups too.

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I'm considering Fort Lee or Ridgefield Park if I can't get into campus housing for Columbia. Does anyone have any opinions/info on that area of NJ? I am debating whether or not to sell my car when I get there. I'm also debating whether to sell my house of furniture or keep the bare minimum to take to NY. Housing applications don't start being accepted until April, so I have a long ways off before making any decisions.

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Gonna recommend looking for places in prospect heights to anyone thinking about attending NYU. I guess the boundaries of the neighborhood are somewhat hazy, so what I mean is the area near the A/C line (clinton-washington stop, for example). The neighborhood is still relatively cheap, getting nicer by the minute, and will put you at W. 4th in about 20 minutes on the C. If I get into NYU for Ph.D, PH is where I'm looking first. Just sayin...

Oh and btw, it's true that Harlem is geographically pretty far from NYU but (again) if you can get a place near the A/C/B/D up there then the commute is really not much of a hassle. Yes, you might get a few of the befuddled "...and you live all the way up there?" comments when you meet people during orientation, but you'll know you're set. :)

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I'm from Texas. Undergrad at Texas A&M.

Has anyone moved from Texas to New York. I've never been to New York, so any comments would be greatly appreciated!

Thanks :)

*edited - just found the post below about New York, but I would still love to hear from native Texans(or southerns) who have lived/live in New York.

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I moved from the Midwest to New York. Not the same. But as someone who just moved to New York after undergrad in the last year from a very different place-- what would you like to know?

I also live near Columbia, and this summer sublet for 2 months in Columbia grad student housing.

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I'm from Texas. Undergrad at Texas A&M.

Has anyone moved from Texas to New York. I've never been to New York, so any comments would be greatly appreciated!

Thanks :)

*edited - just found the post below about New York, but I would still love to hear from native Texans(or southerns) who have lived/live in New York.

I am from the Houston area, going to school in Huntsville, TX. My friends who have moved to NYC have loved it. A few things that you need to know right off though:

1.) Southern Hospitality does not exist in the city... people will look at you weird when you randomly greet them on the street, say things like "excuse me" as you try to walk between people on sidewalks, etc.

2.) Manhattan can be a VERY expensive place to live... however, places in Brooklyn can be just as nice (and cheaper). This is not always the case; for example, Park Slope in Brooklyn is a beautiful and wonderful community, but i can be very expensive.

3.) Public transportation rocks! USE IT! Get a Metro Card.

4.) A note on public transportation: It is normally very safe. Just be aware of your surroundings. If it seems someone is following you, mention it out loud. They'll stop (I've actually had this happen to me while visiting). Likewise, never sit on a train car where you are completely alone. In fact, only sit on a train car that has at least 4 maybe 10+ people in it.

5.) Another note on public transportation: Before getting on an express train, make sure it does not pass where you intend to get off.

I have always felt a little out of place amongst the stereotypical Southerners/Texans, but I felt right at home in NYC. I love the city and really hope that you enjoy your time there.

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FYI: Rents are going down in Manhattan (slowly but surely), and even if they aren't plummeting it's becoming more of a renters market (meaning you can negotiate lower rent, free first months, amenities, etc., more than you could 6 months ago, without getting laughed off the island).

When we were looking for apartments last summer, the most desirable parts of Brooklyn (Park Slope, etc) were just as expensive as Manhattan, or at least didn't run a hard bargain. That being said, the "less desirable" parts of Brooklyn really aren't that bad as long as you don't go too far off the reservation. Don't be too quick to rule out Manhattan. We found a phenomenal deal (huge, beautiful apartment, safe neighborhood, live-in super, attentive management company, lower rent than our friends in Brooklyn or Harlem) in that awkward area between the Upper West Side and Morningside Heights that has been slow to gentrify. My roommate is an NYU grad student, and doesn't find the commute downtown to be a problem.

I grew up in a small friendly Midwestern town (I know, still worlds away from "Southern hospitality"!), and New Yorkers constantly surprise me with their friendliness and random kindness. Once you settle in, it can become a very intimate place.

And yes, the subway/buses here are a feat beyond words, even if fare hikes are on the way.

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I grew up in a small friendly Midwestern town (I know, still worlds away from "Southern hospitality"!), and New Yorkers constantly surprise me with their friendliness and random kindness.

I lived in New York for several years after coming from the same background. The people weren't awful, but I didn't encounter that much random kindness. And attitudes tend toward the surlier side overall - I mean, it's steaming hot and humid in the summer and freezing and snowing in the winter; one has every right to be pissed off most days. After escaping to Los Angeles, I've never once looked back and wished I was still in New York (and I have no great love for southern California either, to be honest). I believe NYC falls squarely in the overrated and overpriced categories; however, you're there for an education and just as I wouldn't suggest avoiding a top school just because it's in a small town, I wouldn't avoid a school in NYC just because it's in NYC. It's an adventure and fun for a while - I was just more than ready to move on by the time I left.

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I grew up in a small friendly Midwestern town (I know, still worlds away from "Southern hospitality"!), and New Yorkers constantly surprise me with their friendliness and random kindness.

I have found that on my many visits to the city as well, especially when my wife fell while crossing the street in SoHo. random lady asked if she could run to the phramacy a block away and buy some bandages and hydrogen peroxide. My wife negelected the offer, but it was suprising none-the-less.

However, on my very first visit, I said "excuse me" and "thank you" a lot as I made my way through crowded sidewalks. I often got weird looks and guffaws from people. I quickly learned to just be silent in those situations.

People in New York seem to not want to be bothered, but it is not that at all. In fact, I find natives of the city extremely helpful in giving directions/helping you out as long as you are willing to keep pace with them and not distract them from where they are going.

I love the city. I love its atmosphere, but it is definitely different than what you will find in towns like College Station, TX. More or less, people in NYC just do not have the time to greet every person (even if they are strangers) as they walk down a street. There are no, "Howdey, how'd ya do?" or "Hello, how are you?" passed between random/passing strangers. This is not to say that NYC is impolite, even if it gets that reputation in the South. I find hospitality exists in a different way in NYC.

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New Yorkers are not mean, per say... they just really like efficiency. Extra conversation is unnecessary, but if you have a question, ie, you are lost, people will be more than happy to answer. (Recently, an elderly non-english speaking woman at a crosswalk, pulled my arm and pointed across the icy crosswalk.... Its not as though I shoved her and kept walking, i helped, and smiled.)

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I love NY and I LOVE living in south Brooklyn. My partner grew up in Cleveland and lived in Austin, TX just before moving here and the adjustment for him was not a problem.

It is true that New Yorkers unfairly get a bad wrap - most people are willing to help anyone who is lost, or looks lost, or something to that effect. I think an important distinction is that people in New York just mind their own business (which I think is different from the south and from LA).

Also, if you value autonomy and freedom of movement I think you'd like NY. You're not bogged down by driving a car and you can do so many things in a day or just sit in the park all day.

The times that I get that "I love NY" feeling are when I'm just walking around - it is immensely freeing to walk and be outside. Don't let them fool you, there is nature in the urban all the time. You just need to learn to dress comfortably for the weather - layers are key!

The hardest part about NY is meeting people and being a part of a program is a great way to do that.

If you're interested and not afraid of a big city, then NY is a great place to live.

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I keep seeing all this mention of brooklyn, but hardly any love for Queens. I am a born and raised New Yorker, who lives in Astoria, and I still find it the best place to live. The rent is cheaper than the "ghetto" areas of brooklyn (come on, be honest, you know it is...), and you can't beat the food (unless you hate greek). I mean, I pay $700 a month all-inclusive for a studio that would cost me $900 in Bed-Stuy, and its safe!!! While i know that is undermarket (studios tend to go for $850...my landlady is just a really nice greek lady who likes young professional men around...), I think it is really the best neighborhood to be in as a student. If you go to columbia (and are in walking distance to astoria Blvd.) you can take the M60 directly to school, if you are at NYU its 25 minutes on the train, and if you are at the IFA you can easily transfer to the 6 and get there in 30 minutes tops.

There is also Sunnyside, which is pretty affordable and really safe, and Jackson Heights.

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My good friend lived in a beautiful 2 bdrm in Astoria last year and was very happy with it. Long Island City is a little lolyuppie now I guess, but I would live there in a minute.

I think what a lot of people don't realize about New York is that there are a huge number of people here who also moved to New York from elsewhere. It's part of what makes it such a magnificent place.

There was a cheesy quote on the subway ads a few months ago about how the beauty of New York lies in the confluence of natives, commuters, and dream-seeking pioneers.

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Another NYer here, ready to chime in.

First off, I began visiting grad schools in the midwest a few months ago and I realized why us New Yorkers tend to get a bad wrap. It's not that we are rude, its that be are trained to tune people out. It seems that when people approaching you in most places, people assume they need help. In NY we assume you are asking for a handout. To be fair, NYers are more than happy to help give out direction (we understand that even though it's a grid system when you get to areas where the numbers turn into letters and street names it can get a bit confusing).

It's cliche, but I think the "if you can make it here, you can make it anywhere" saying is dead on. NYC is intense. The rent and cost of living is painfully high. People insist on self-reliance. And the city, in general, is very in your face.

The biggest thing about NY is that it doesn't really sleep. I've lived in DC and spent some time out west and most cities tend to stop around 11 and nightlife becomes nearly impossible. The NY subway never stops (although it does go hourly) and cabs are plentiful.

Just hold on to your student ID as long as humanly possible and abuse your student discounts as long as you can.

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