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Guest Cheryl B

New Brunswick, NJ

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Guest Cheryl B

I'm considering attending Rutgers and would like to know a little bit about New Brunswick if any one has any info. Where are the good areas to find an apartment? How's the mass transit? Should I bring my car (I might no matter what - I don't know if I can survive without it)? I'm from a fairly small (130,000), albeit university town - College Station, home of those insane Aggies if anyone wants any info about it from me - so it's probably impossible for it to be more dull than where I'm from. Any info and general impressions you could provide would be much appreciated.

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Hey Cheryl,

I don't actually live in New Brunswick but I can say some stuff about mass transit. NJ Transit is pretty good. From New Brunswick's train station, it takes just over an hour to arrive at Penn Station in NYC. You can also go south to Philly using NJ Transit and SEPTA (Philly's mass transit system). I have no idea how much a car is actually needed. If you go to http://www.njtransit.com you can look up all the bus routes for New Brunswick and get an idea of where they go. Hope that helped. Sorry I can't be of more help.

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Cheryl, hi. Obviously, I'm not from New Brunswick, but my brother did a study abroad semester at Rutgers last year, and I visited him there. I don't know which the "bad" parts are, but I know that there was an unwritten rule that you avoid going beyond the railway bridge in one direction. I can't tell you what horrors lay on the 'wrong side of the tracks' lol but the area around the college is really quite nice. Bear in mind though, that I'm comparing it with England, so maybe anywhere would seem reasonable.

In two days there, I picked up the following:

Good points --

the coolest New England-style architecture, especially the churches (although this could just be "America"). The campus is very pretty in general. I would say nicer than Princeton's which I was also dragged around (but that may be because Princeton's is a bit olde English pastiche in style).

very accessible to New York, and the NJ Transit is cheap (again, maybe by English standards). I reckon NYC was c. 40 minutes (maybe less), Philadelphia c. 1 hour, Princeton a bit less than that. And this isn't a glib comment at all -- the homeless people who sleep in the station at night were very friendly.

good (i.e. cheap) places to eat on Easton Ave. Also, the grease trucks were awesome.

Bad points --

apparently parking was expensive. In the University Center apartments, my brother's roommate hadn't brought his car with him because of the costs. I don't know how much it was -- but his home was only a few miles away, and I suspect it was more of an inconvenient cost than a prohibitive one. I would say the place is reasonably car friendly (again I could just be describing America in general) but I was a bit disappointed that the locals seemed to like SUVs and "imports" rather than trucks and Mustangs. I also saw a Prius with a "bomb Iraq grab the gas" sticker -- irony defined.

the town centre (or "downtown" as I'm supposed to say) seemed a bit limited, but there's a good, big mall about 15 minutes away by bus (so less by car).

So those are my limited anecdotal thoughts.

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Guest Cheryl B

Thanks guys. Traveling by train in America seems like such a foreign concept to me, I guess because in my part of the country everything's so spread out that a train system would be too sprawling (and thus expensive and inefficient) to be useful; it certainly makes a "car culture" a matter of course - you can hardly even buy groceries without one. Unless you're one of those people I see walking down the highways and thoroughfares pushing one you've stolen from the grocery store. I wonder how expensive shopping carts are anyways...

Specifically in mass trans, I was wondering if the city bus system is large enough to make personal vehicles unnecessary (although thanks for the info about transport to different cities, something I'll definitely partake of, having rarely traveled to the NE). I understand why you two, as nonresidents, don't have that info, but are there any native New Brunswickians out there?

Btw, I love the Prius bumper sticker anecdote.

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Guest Cheryl B

Haha, I reread my post and realized I used an unclear pronoun: By the "one" that people steal from grocery stores, I mean shopping carts, not cars :)

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Guest Cheryl B

Let's see how many addenda I can possibly make on one post... I also forgot to ask about cost of living. They're offering me an $18k stipend - is that (plus an average of $3k a year from my savings) enough to live frugally in a one bedroom off-campus apartment with no roommates (I'm over the whole sharing-bathrooms and cleaning-up-for-other-people thing)? How much do utilities average in that part of the country - I'm used to paying huge electricity bills in the summer (and spring and fall) for air conditioning, but how much does heating cost anyway? Thanks!

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Hey -- sorry, my standard phrase can be used here: "don't know". The stipend sounds quite "generous" though (compared with hmmm, not naming any names, [cough] Kentucky), so hopefully that shows that the good people of NJ are paying exorbitant taxes to fund lavish student lifestyles, and not that living costs are too high!

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Guest UncleMeat

Dear Cheryl,

I've never lived in New Brunswik but have been. But the brevity of my stay will have to suffice. I spent two nights in NB and was quite impressed by its many marvelous attractions. First, the Kentucky Fried Chicken serves up excellent deep fried meals at any hour of the day. I suggest eating in the outside patio so you can enjoy mouth feeding the homeless bums who are always keen for a cholestorol filled bite. After dinner I suggest you head down to jerry's tavern. This historic institution is where you can find the full staff of NB's police station washing down their agony with a bit of hard liqour and cheap prostitutes. A word to the wise- don't try to make a move on women with high heels and mini skirts because police chief Peters is quite protective of his hoes.

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<!-- m -->http://housing.rutgers.edu/ie/fees.html<!-- m --> is a link to prices for on-campus housing at Rutgers.

<!-- m -->http://ruoffcampus.rutgers.edu/avgrent.asp<!-- m --> is a link to prices for offcampus housing. As far as I can tell, the on campus housing is priced fairly, although it's probably not as nice as what you could find on your own. What I calculate is that your share of a 2bd apartment for 12 months would be around $7200... After that you'd have about $10K to live on, or a little over $800 a month. I think that's certainly manageable up here but you'll be spending a lot of time shopping at ShopRite, Target, Wal-Mart (like any other grad student really).

I hope that helped some more.

I rechecked the train schedule thing because of what Andrew said. To get to NYC, it's one train (the NE Corridor line) that typically takes right around an hour. To get to Philly, it's two trains. The first is NE Corridor going towards Trenton. Once you get to Trenton, you transfer to SEPTA. The SEPTA train alone takes almost an hour to get from Trenton to 30th Street Station in Philly but it is cheap (like $5 to go to 30th street and $7 to take the train to anywhere that SEPTA goes). The most convenient airport to get to via train is Newark Liberty International but if you're bringing a car you might find it easier to drive to Philly. Again, I don't have a car so everything about driving is a bit weird to me.

Where are the actual Rutgers students??

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Guest

Most grad students either live in New Brunswick or Highland Park.

You can definitely afford to live on the 18k stipend, though you may want to find a roommate.

You also have opportunities to teach in the summer to bolster that stipend.

NB is nice, and the mass transit is great -- but bring your car. Unless you're on College Ave campus for your grad research, parking isn't much of a problem. If you're on College Ave, you'll find a way.

You're afforded "faculty" status no matter what, so you get some perks for parking.

And if you're teaching -- there comes a point when you don't want to run into your students on the university buses.

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Guest duffman1024

I am not a Rutgers student, but I did live in central jersey until I headed off to college. I can't help you with specifics, regarding housing and utilities costs but I think they are reasonable (at least relative to other areas of NJ). I know a lot of current and former rutgers students who chose to live off campus so my guess is that off campus housing (with a few roommates/housemates) is cheaper than paying for room and board at the university.

New Brunswick is a decent area for it's size. There are good restaurants and from what I hear there is a pretty decent bar scene. The state theater is nice and they have a variety of shows that go on there including concerts, plays, stand up comedians, cultural events and speeches. Additionally there are several other venues to see smaller productions. It is an urban area so yes there is poverty, crime, and sections that you should stay away from.

You will be well connected to Philadelphia and NYC via NJ Transit, BUT keep in mind that trains stop running between (roughly) 1AM - 4AM so in terms of nightlife plan to either leave early or stay out LATE (or make some friends in either city so you can crash at their place).

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I'm considering attending Rutgers and would like to know a little bit about New Brunswick if any one has any info. Where are the good areas to find an apartment? How's the mass transit? Should I bring my car (I might no matter what - I don't know if I can survive without it)? I'm from a fairly small (130,000), albeit university town - College Station, home of those insane Aggies if anyone wants any info about it from me - so it's probably impossible for it to be more dull than where I'm from. Any info and general impressions you could provide would be much appreciated.

I used to live near New Brunswick (Edison to be exact), and I too am applying to Rutgers and will hopefully be accepted and move back to that area. NB is basically a college town, so parking can be difficult and some of the neighborhoods aren't the greatest of areas. Highland Park is a small town directly next to NB; it is a really cute area but it can be more expensive. If you can bring a car, by all means do it. It is convenient since a lot of shopping areas are spread out over Middlesex county.

NB has some great restaurants and bars. I am crossing my fingers that I get accepted so that I can move back and enjoy all the great Indian restaurants once again!

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Guest Cheryl B

This is great, thanks guys! I finally heard from the last place I applied to yesterday (my very last rejection - something to be excited about, in a weird way, I guess), so I'm now for sure going to be settled at Rutgers next year. You've reassured me that I should go ahead and bring my car, which will certainly make me more comfortable - although I'm definitely not looking forward to the 25+ hour drive to get it up there, to say the least! I've never road-tripped (as the driver) longer than 12 hours, so this will be my true endurance challenge.

Now that I know I'm going to be going there, I'm taking advantage of their flyout in a couple weeks and will get to sniff out the area myself. I love going to plays, so I'm happy to hear that they've got a good theater scene. As of right now I'm not too worried about crime/poverty: it won't be anything new since my current school is smack dab in the middle of crackville - walk anything more than a block in any direction and you'll get solicited for all sorts of fun, illegal activity. I think I'll probably be able to find a better way to use my fellowship dollars. Fingers crossed.

Anyway, thanks again, and if any Rutgers students happen to know of any especially kickin' apartment complexes I can check out while I'm up there (I'm staying longer to try to find housing so I don't have to fly up again), let me know. And I'll continue to be checking in on this thread if anyone has further insights/observations.

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Guest

Thanks for the info! West coaster here, no chance of visiting before I go in August. If anyone has other enlightening thoughts on the ins and outs of New Brunswick, I'd be happy to hear them!

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Guest David

As a Brit who spent a semester at Rutgers - my only visit to the US thus far - these are few observations, and hopefully they help.

1. The main College Ave campus is very attractive, very clean, very well laid out, very accessible by free bus services from other campuses, and perfectly decent for car-parking.

2. If offered, there are very nice grad student dorms on College Ave, right by the nicest/oldest part of the campus and right opposite the legendary Grease Trucks.

3. The general atmosphere is great. There is no shortage of on-campus facilities.

4. Beyond the campus, downtown New Brunswick is unremarkable at best and pretty grim, frankly. A very good mall is less than 15 mins by car, and there are strip malls after strip mall, chain restaurants, cinemas etc in all directions. The bus service (NJ Transit) is merely adequate - not great and not extensive.

5. NYC is 45 mins by train. Trains are frequent and cheap. If where you're headed is on the same line to which you start, you'll get there quickly and cheaply and on clean trains. If it's not - e.g. the Jersey shore (or 'coast' to anyone else) - it'll take forever. New Brunswick station is a 2 minute walk from the graduate housing on College Ave.

6. In conclusion, Rutgers is great. New Brunswick is very unremarkable. Nearby amenities are endless. NYC is 45 mins. You'll never be stuck for somewhere to visit. It's car-friendly enough. You have to have a fat sandwich as soon as you get there.

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As a current senior as Rutgers, I feel somewhat obliged to toss my opinion in...

1.) The New Brunswick train station is incredibly convenient, although NJ Transit has jacked the prices recently. A round trip ticket to New York Penn Station will currently set you back $16.

2.) I'm not sure if there are any special graduate parking privileges, but as an on-campus undergraduate living on the College Avenue campus, car ownership was a bit of a bitch. Any undergrad living on College Avenue had to park their car in the boondocks of Busch campus, across the river in Piscataway. Ford Hall (the grad dorm) is on College Avenue, so you might want to look into that. Off-campus parking in the environs of College Ave usually isn't a problem - off-campus residents either receive a New Brunswick parking pass or simply park at their apartment complexes.

3.) If one thing New Brunswick does have in scads, it's bars.

The most popular bar scene in NB is hands down the Easton Avenue scene. Unfortunately, it's also the worst.

Easton Avenue primarily cater to undergrads who unironically pop their collars. Avoid these bars like Ebola, unless you're A.) really bombed or B.) want to listen a bunch of shitheads drunkenly butcher Neil Diamond's Sweet Caroline. These crappy culprits include Knight Club, Scarlet Pub, the Golden Rail, and Olde Queens. Of course, girls patronize these bars to dance, so your odds of bumping into that cute bimbo from your recitation ain't too shabby. She isn't a member of any brain trust, but hey, that's your prerogative.

The good bars in New Brunswick include (but are not limited to)...

Stuff Yer Face - Classic Rutgers bar, hearty, cheap food, patio in the spring/summer.

Olive Branch - May take more of an undergraduate turn at night, but its Happy Hour ($1 Coors Light and 50 cent pizza slices) is legendary and lasts for approx. 3 hours. As an undergraduate, this place was like Cheers, you always ran into someone who knew your name.

Doll's Place - More of an older clientele and aesthetically pleasing interior. Reputation as "a grad bar".

McCormick's - Redefines dive bar. The jukebox endlessly alternates Irish music and the Smiths. Wannabe bohemians fricking love this place. $4.50 pitchers of Pabst Blue Ribbon on weekends for those of you who love going huge the dirty way.

The Hub - The Hub is unique in two respects...

A.) First, it's not technically a bar. It's more of a malt liquor wholesaler that can get sketchy after nightfall.

B.) The bar is basically a front to sell 40's and hobo wine to New Brunswick's homeless community after the legal 10 PM closing time for NJ liquor stores. So if you need to buy a sixer past 10 PM, The Hub is your spot. They also have Mad Dog 20/20's in all the colors of the rainbow!

In sum, New Brunswick offers a multitude of venues where one can get smashed QED.

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Guest Samantha

Does anyone know if RU grad students must live on the campus they're attending? I'm an engineer, but I'd rather live on College Ave than Busch campus. Are there rules against this?

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Guest C-Dubs

To the best of my knowledge, grad students aren't required to live on campus. Sure. they have on-campus options (I'm not sure if they're mandatory first year - highly doubt it), but off-campus options are also abundant. One grad student I know lives in New York City and commutes to class, but that's not typical.

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Guest C-Dubs

I'm also pretty sure they wouldn't force grad students to live on Busch - Engineering undergrads get away with living on College Avenue and vice versa for Humanities/Liberal Arts types on Busch.

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Guest Samantha

Yeah, I know it's not required for grad students to live on campus, but it might be easier. If I could get a single room on campus, I'd probably be better off doing that than moving into some ghetto New Brunswick apartment with a bunch of people I don't know very well.

Or I could just live with my parents in Old Bridge. :roll:

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Guest abcd

I'm joining the graduate program in sociology. looking for a vegetarian roomie... . somebody warm, sincere.. preferably from the social sciences or the humanities disciplines....

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Guest imnotjesus
Cheryl and others, what program are you going into? Anyone English?

i'm entering the Urban Planning and Policy Development PhD program.

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Guest guest

I used to live in New Brunswick-I went to undergrad there.

Did they give you info on grad housing cause alot of the regular housing in the city is crap cause the undergrads take it and the landlords don't give two nickels.

Definitely familiarize yourself with NJ Transit-you will want to take plenty of rides to New York if you are like me.

I think 18K sounds doable-you are going to be a student after all-lots of cheap food and did I mention the "grease trucks"? You'll see when you get there but be sure to befriend one truck.

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