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I can't say anything about SanFrancisco, but I know a bit about New York.

The transit system was built properly for the most part - subways aren't too crowded, and if you live far enough away (long commute), it usually means you get a seat (sleep, read, study).

 

Rent is horrendous in Manhattan, and usually not worth it. Brooklyn and Queens strike a good balance of safety and rent, as long as you stay out of the worst neighborhoods (Bed-Stuy, Brownsville), and areas that are "up-and-coming" for absolutely no reason.

 

http://mta.info/maps/submap.html

 

A good indicator for wealth in Brooklyn - if you live along the number lines, you are probably not good for one reason or another. Either because it is super expensive (Prospect Heights), or you are in the projects (East Flatbush)

Along the letter lines, south of Prospect Park (but just outside of Coney Island), you are actually okay. You know what, do yourself a favor - avoid anything north of Prospect Park, east of where the M-line turns north. Bed Stuy, Brownsville, Bushwick are all places to avoid.

Queens is also nice in most areas, but transit is a pain, so that will be more of a consideration. 

Good news is, there's a bunch of cheap food, including Chinese, Tex-Mex, Pizza (I promise you will be in heaven compared to California) or if you go into the ethnic neighborhoods, their delicacies (Russian, Polish, Italian, Caribbean, Indian), or for the lunch-rush, the Halal food carts (which have a lower chance of rat feces and roaches than most of the restaurants). 

And no, you don't lose out on your produce - I still get my avocados for a buck, Pomegranates are around. Actually, you might have a nicer selection because we have different groups that can guarantee demand for supplies, so we have a constant steady stream of foods that would otherwise be unavailable. 

 

 

It is possible to live here, you just need to pinch pennies and room with 2 or three other people, and accept that you will not have space for your belongings, so take the bare minimum you can. 

Couldn't have said it better myself as a New Yorker, Salud!

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I have not read every post in this, but I get the sense most people are worried about money. On living cheaply in NYC, I'm an expert. I've been here four years, spending anywhere from 8k-12k a year. S

I know this question is a few months old, but still going to answer in case someone finds it useful. I went to Columbia for graduate school; for three years I lived in off-campus housing in Washington

Hi.  I'm a Columbia grad student.  I've been here for 6 years.   -Campus housing: I will grudingly admit that the campus housing prices are a pretty decent deal for what you get and especially for t

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Subways aren't too crowded unless you live on the 4/5/6 line and try to ride at rush hour!  With that said, within the next few years (decades?) that should be alleviated when they complete the Second Avenue line (the T).

 

I'm going to disagree with some of the blanket characterizations of the Brooklyn neighborhoods.  It depends on where you are from and your comfort level, of course, but I have friends who live in Bushwick perfectly comfortably.  I also have a friend who lives in Fort Greene and absolutely loves her neighborhood, and another grad student friend who had a share in Carroll Gardens at a decent rate (although most things in BoCoCa are pretty expensive).  Her neighborhood is *beautiful*.  Also, East Flatbush is a HUGE neighborhood and not all of it is the projects, obviously.  A larger issue with East Flatbush is lack of subway access.

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OUTDOORSY PEOPLE: how do you like living in NYC? My partner and I bike a lot—road cycling and bike touring are big parts of our lives, and so is rock climbing. I love NY and have friends there that are hip to the big bike culture there, but I am wondering how I would do studying there for 5+ years. Aside from Central Park and the expensive climbing gym in Chelsea.. would it be easy to get away to less populated/woodsy areas to do such activities easily (and perhaps, without a car?). I'm mainly trying to gauge if I would be able to live in a hyper-urban area and still get my fix. I'm from a major city on the West Coast, so I'm used to the city and like it—but I feel like NYC is another animal.

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OUTDOORSY PEOPLE: how do you like living in NYC? My partner and I bike a lot—road cycling and bike touring are big parts of our lives, and so is rock climbing. I love NY and have friends there that are hip to the big bike culture there, but I am wondering how I would do studying there for 5+ years. Aside from Central Park and the expensive climbing gym in Chelsea.. would it be easy to get away to less populated/woodsy areas to do such activities easily (and perhaps, without a car?). I'm mainly trying to gauge if I would be able to live in a hyper-urban area and still get my fix. I'm from a major city on the West Coast, so I'm used to the city and like it—but I feel like NYC is another animal.

 

I'm gonna be honest with you, I'm an outdoorsy person myself stuck in NYC. When I go on vacations, I avoid cities and go straight for the wilderness. However, NYC doesn't have what you're looking for, precisely. It does have 'hip' biking culture and only professional bikers commute long distances (excess of 5 miles one way) and bike messengers. I know a lot of Williamsburg folks to bike but that is part of their hipster-dom lifestyle, but biking in general is incredibly impractical in NYC. 

As for rock-climbing, Chelsea and Brooklyn Boulders is your only bet. Most of us NY'ers go upstate near New Paltz for some woodsy action or natural escapes. My friends and I go as far as Vermont for hiking or Maine. 

It is easy to get away, via car but biking in the city is hectic but once you're out of it, it's a cinch. 

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I got into Teachers College at Columbia and am looking into housing. I would normally opt for graduate housing, but I have a small dog, and as far as I know, animals are only allowed in family housing. :( It kills me because I know I'll end up shelling out a lot more money for a place off-campus.

 

That said - bringing a small dog to NYC. Good idea? Bad idea? I've visited the city on a few occasions, but am not sure what the vibe is there towards animals. It's very important to me that my girl would have a safe and happy time there while I worked towards my degree. Any thoughts?

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lmt007: i'm from nyc and have a small dog- i can really only speak for manhattan, but many people are very pet friendly. my dog is a "people person" (or, at least, she thinks she's a person..) with a cute face and no temper at all (well socialized as a puppy and now), so people — both with and without dogs — often approach me to meet her with a big smile.

 

however, some people have really poorly socialized, typically spoiled dogs. they can't interact with other dogs at all: they bark, they snarl, they bite, they have aggressive body language, they lunge, etc. yikes. even my sweet little nug gets overwhelmed by certain small yapping things in pink sweaters and big bullies who snap at anything with legs. there are also dogs that are super needy, who get themselves (and sometimes their owners) kicked out of buildings for making too much noise.

 

in sum, if your dog can handle a dog park and being alone for long periods of time in a somewhat small space, they should be okay in the city. my dog is mellow and relatively independent, so she'll never bark at something unless she thinks someone is trying to break in, and she's never aggressive towards other dogs- just a little overly friendly for the taste of some shy ones. if your dog can't be around one or many other dog(s), and/or can't be alone for a long period of time, you might want to reconsider.

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Is cycling a thing in Manhattan?

 

I live in a small city right now where I cycle all the time and I love it. I know that public transport in NYC is great and I also know that, should I accept this offer, I won't actually need transport to get to my work because the accommodation is so close, but for getting around the city in general I would love to use my bicycle where possible.

 

Do many people cycle? Is it dangerous? Do bicycles get stolen often?

 

Thanks

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porge1991: i totally agree with hugh10. i'm fairly new to the whole bike thing (started 4 years or so; started in boston for undergrad, but nyc was home, and now i'm in san fran) i had my saddle stolen in nyc -- naive on my part, because i didn't realize that was even a thing at the time -- but i had kryptonite's "fuhgeddaboutit" lock so my frame and wheels were always safe. i would advise getting the same lock, as well as some cables for your saddle and wheels, if you're going to be on a bike every day. cyclists can get super aggro so +1 to being defensive. as for riding for the sake of riding, there are lots of hidden gems to check out during your down time that are a pain in the rump to get to by car, bus, or train but easy to reach by bike- lots of paths by the water and whatnot. in sum, it might not be the safest place for cyclists, but it's certainly not the worst, and if it ends up not being for you, there are plenty of excellent public transportation options to fill in the gaps. 

 

edit: i should note that, under the assumption the school is in or near the memorial S-K center, that's the neck of the woods i call home, and i've found it to be relatively more pleasant and low-key for biking than, say, midtown (but then again, hell might be more appealing than biking across the 50s on a friday afternoon..).

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porge1991: i totally agree with hugh10. i'm fairly new to the whole bike thing (started 4 years or so; started in boston for undergrad, but nyc was home, and now i'm in san fran) i had my saddle stolen in nyc -- naive on my part, because i didn't realize that was even a thing at the time -- but i had kryptonite's "fuhgeddaboutit" lock so my frame and wheels were always safe. i would advise getting the same lock, as well as some cables for your saddle and wheels, if you're going to be on a bike every day. cyclists can get super aggro so +1 to being defensive. as for riding for the sake of riding, there are lots of hidden gems to check out during your down time that are a pain in the rump to get to by car, bus, or train but easy to reach by bike- lots of paths by the water and whatnot. in sum, it might not be the safest place for cyclists, but it's certainly not the worst, and if it ends up not being for you, there are plenty of excellent public transportation options to fill in the gaps. 

 

edit: i should note that, under the assumption the school is in or near the memorial S-K center, that's the neck of the woods i call home, and i've found it to be relatively more pleasant and low-key for biking than, say, midtown (but then again, hell might be more appealing than biking across the 50s on a friday afternoon..).

Yeah, Sloan Kettering is what I was referring to. Thanks for the advice - definitely sounds a lot more intense than what i'm used to in Oxford where everyone rides a bicycle but i'm glad it's not unheard of (I also had interviews in Long Island, not one person seemed to have a bicycle - and everyone just seems to drive tanks really agressively so riding a bicycle seemed to be a deathwish). 

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I've been looking into apartments in NYC, any borough that has an affordable area. The cheapest I've found for a studio or one bedroom is $800 and that's rare! Am I really looking at $1,000- $1600 rent if I'm living alone? I have a dog, thats why I don't really want a roommate.  Any tips on rent controlled apartments anywhere in NYC? I have no problem navigating public transportation.  I was born in Brooklyn, but left as a teenager.  

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I will be moving to NYC for graduate school next year and the whole housing market has me stressed! Is it truly advisable to wait until June or so to find someplace to rent starting in August? Does anyone know how much availability decreases during this time because of an influx of students moving into the city? My stipend (obviously) provides me with a limited budget, but luckily I am living in a city now so I am not used to longer commutes on the train, multiple roommates, etc to help make things more affordable!

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^ Same question as above poster. When is the right time to realistically begin looking for a place if I want to move-in mid-August? Also, is it realistic to be able to find somewhere to live if I can't visit? I'm trying to have a friend who is already living in NYC either find us a place together or (if she decides not to move out of her current place) help by visiting places for me for quality control? With such a huge city and so many scams, it just does not seem possible to find something from out of town! Any help is appreciated :)

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^ Same question as above poster. When is the right time to realistically begin looking for a place if I want to move-in mid-August? Also, is it realistic to be able to find somewhere to live if I can't visit? I'm trying to have a friend who is already living in NYC either find us a place together or (if she decides not to move out of her current place) help by visiting places for me for quality control? With such a huge city and so many scams, it just does not seem possible to find something from out of town! Any help is appreciated :)

 

If the deal with your friend falls through you could find some one over here to room with. I'm kind of trying to do that if my current plan falls through. You've still got time. When my cousin moved there she rented an apartment for a month and took her time looking for a good place to live at the right price. 

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OUTDOORSY PEOPLE: how do you like living in NYC? My partner and I bike a lot—road cycling and bike touring are big parts of our lives, and so is rock climbing. I love NY and have friends there that are hip to the big bike culture there, but I am wondering how I would do studying there for 5+ years. Aside from Central Park and the expensive climbing gym in Chelsea.. would it be easy to get away to less populated/woodsy areas to do such activities easily (and perhaps, without a car?). I'm mainly trying to gauge if I would be able to live in a hyper-urban area and still get my fix. I'm from a major city on the West Coast, so I'm used to the city and like it—but I feel like NYC is another animal.

It's tough. You need a car or means to escape.  A lot of people ride out of the city via the GWB, but biking here is dicey.  Dodging tourists in Central Park gets old.

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Ditto on what Enrico said, no or very little outdoorsey stuff here. Just head upstate, Vermont, NH, or Pennsylvania for that. 

 

does anyone have experience living in brooklyn and going to pratt? Im trying to decide if the dorms are worth it over an apartment. I guess this is a general question, are dorms ever not depressing?

 

I worked with a few friends who went to Pratt and lived in BK. They sure as heck did not dorm as it was way more expensive. Plus the area around Pratt is generally expensive anyways, so  my friends dormed about 20-30 minutes away from it, while staying in BK. To save on money, and how bad is a 20 minute bus/subway ride?

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Hello and another question! I am probably going to be attending teachers college next fall while my boyfriend will be attending NYU. What are some areas that are price-friendly for grad students that would also be fairly easy for both of us to commute from?

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Is Staten Island worth looking at for an nyu student? I Will be living with a significant other who has a 30,000 income and I have a working stipend of 14,000. I don't mind the ferry commute.

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I've been looking into apartments in NYC, any borough that has an affordable area. The cheapest I've found for a studio or one bedroom is $800 and that's rare! Am I really looking at $1,000- $1600 rent if I'm living alone? I have a dog, thats why I don't really want a roommate.  Any tips on rent controlled apartments anywhere in NYC?  


Yes, you are, and that's if you live in upper Manhattan or the outer boroughs.  A studio or one-bedroom can run you much more.  You can't get a rent-controlled apartment in NYC unless you have a close family member who is passing it to you.  There are rent-stabilized apartments, but they aren't much below market rate - the biggest advantage to rent-stabilized apartments is that they can't raise the rent above a certain percentage from year to year.  I lived in a rent-stabilized apartment in my first 3 years in the city, and like I said, it wasn't much below market price in the neighborhood I lived in ($1800 for a two-bedroom in Washington Heights).

You can't find a dog-friendly roommate?  Advertise on CL.  I would have been THRILLED if my roommate had a dog and would have even participated in feeding it and walking it. I love dogs, and I know several other people in the city who love dogs but don't have one for various reasons.

I will be moving to NYC for graduate school next year and the whole housing market has me stressed! Is it truly advisable to wait until June or so to find someplace to rent starting in August? Does anyone know how much availability decreases during this time because of an influx of students moving into the city? My stipend (obviously) provides me with a limited budget, but luckily I am living in a city now so I am not used to longer commutes on the train, multiple roommates, etc to help make things more affordable!


When I moved here, I was advised by the off-campus housing office not to start looking for mid-August/September lease start dates until after the Fourth of July.  It's certainly too early to look now - nobody will hold an apartment for you until August.  I would say start getting a feel for the market and prices in May, and maybe start looking in earnest in mid-June, especially if you are willing to move a few weeks early (like August 1) for the opportunity to lock down a really good apartment and beat the rush.

Hello and another question! I am probably going to be attending teachers college next fall while my boyfriend will be attending NYU. What are some areas that are price-friendly for grad students that would also be fairly easy for both of us to commute from?

The TC area is MUCH more price-friendly than anything by NYU.  I live in Morningside Heights, a 5-minute walk from the 1 train and a 10-minute walk from the A/B/C/D trains, and I can be down by the NYU campus is about 40 minutes from here.  Of course NYU is a bit spread out so it kind of depends on which part of the campus he needs to be by (I commute to the NYU law school nearby Washington Square Park for a volunteer thing every other Saturday).  It takes a bit longer on the 1 (local train) but the A or D runs express to West 4th St.

So Morningside Heights, Harlem, Hamilton Heights (which is the area between Harlem and Washington Heights - from about 137th St to about 157th St).  Those places are more affordable, relatively safe, and will take less than an hour to get to NYU if you can live nearby an express train. I think once you get kinda far into Washington Heights/Inwood you start running into a 1 hour commute to get to NYU (and a 30-40 minute commute into TC, which isn't bad - I used to live in Wash Heights and commuted to Morningside.  It will kind of suck going to NYU, though - I took a class at NYU, I lived right on the A, and I would say it took me about 40-50 minutes to get to NYU on the express).

 

Another option may be Queens close to the city - Astoria, Long Island City, Jackson Heights.  That will be easier for him than you - if you live on the N/Q/R or the E he won't even have to switch trains to get to NYU; you could switch once and get there.

 

Is Staten Island worth looking at for an nyu student? I Will be living with a significant other who has a 30,000 income and I have a working stipend of 14,000. I don't mind the ferry commute.

 

I don't know much about Staten Island or the ferry - the ferry I think takes 30 minutes and then getting to NYU from the ferry will probably take another 15 minutes (you could take the R).  But I would be more concerned about how you are going to get around IN Staten Island, like to the grocery store and such.  I'm pretty sure you need a car to travel around Staten Island, as there's only one train line running North-South up to the Staten Island Ferry and is mainly for commuters.

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I have been accepted at nyu and I know if I go it will require substantial loans. As such, I'm interested in the cheapest living option (within reason).

I lived in nyc as a young kid so the subway/commute isn't a problem. I am more concerned with price than convenience (without forgetting safety, obviously).

And how hard is it to find a job? I have Waitressing experience and figure that's the best way to find a night /weekend job but I don't know how competitive the job market is. I'm not looking to make 100k at some fancy place. I'm really just hoping for something that could cover rent plus some extra change for a beer or two.

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Anyone have experiences/know anything about the program? I have a four year offer elsewhere (in English) at a school I feel very good about, while Binghamton is offering 3 years... Also, it's a choice between TAship and teaching. I'm intrigued about the PLC program and the possibility of being able to teach in both philosophy and English departments. My gut tells me to go English with more security from what I gather, but if anyone has first hand knowledge about Binghamton's program I'd love advice.

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I was hoping that either those who are M.A. students at Columbia, or those who are PhD candidates can speak to their experience. Specifically, how are M.A. students treated within the program? Also, what's your sense of the placement from M.A. to PhD programs?

 

Any opinions would be appreciated. 

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My roommate met with a broker, and her dad has agreed to be our guarantor on the lease, but they said they need a letter of indemnification from my parents, saying something like if she bails, he's only responsible for her half of the rent.  Does anyone know anything about these, or how to go about drafting one? 

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