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Stony Brook, NY

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Guest stonybrook

I'm considering to go there for my phd.

a) Is $15000 enough for 9 months?

B) What is the acommodation like there?

c) What is the campus like?

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Guest brandeis alum
I'm considering to go there for my phd.

a) Is $15000 enough for 9 months?

B) What is the acommodation like there?

c) What is the campus like?

I have a few friends who went there as undegrads and they all hated it. I have no idea what on-campus accomodation for grad students are like, but the undergrad dorm I saw looked like any other state college cell block. The campus is really spread out and desolate. I guess it would probably look all rolling and green in the spring and summer, but in the winter it resembles the image of hell freezing over. No people, no activity, just a lot of ice and wind and snow. And vast expanse of completely virgin untrodden snow at that, meaning that not even animals are about. All the buildings looked like they were designed by architects trained in the former Communist bloc nations. Although I do admit the inside of the student union is quite nice and roomy. Don't be fooled by any statement of "we're in the New York metro area!" because Stony Brook is waaaaay out there. You'd almost have an easier time getting to Providence via the LI Sound ferry than taking the LIRR to NYC.

On the upside, that makes it relatively cheap to live in. I really have no idea how cheap, but I'm hard-pressed to imagine that a campus so far out in the boondocks - and far enough from the LI's posh east end - would be that expensive. I would go to newyork.craigslist.org and look up rentals on LI to get a better sense. One thing's for sure, you'll definitely need a car to get around.

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Thanks for the information.

Do you or anyone else here know Stony Brook itself? What is it like? Any impression at all from there would be nice to hear.

Is it a big / medium / small town? (probably small, I guess).

What are the modes of transprotation to NYC?

Thanks for your replies.

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Guest brandeis alum
avestin said:
Thanks for the information.

Do you or anyone else here know Stony Brook itself? What is it like? Any impression at all from there would be nice to hear.

Is it a big / medium / small town? (probably small, I guess).

What are the modes of transprotation to NYC?

Thanks for your replies.

I'm not too familiar with the town of Stony Brook itself, but I do know it is small, spread out, well-forested, and boring. Long Island in general, however - and especially that part of Long Island, is a vast expanse of suburbia/exurbia littered with strip malls and golf courses and all packaged into a neat cultural vacuum. The beaches are nice though.

Main mode of transportation to NYC is the LIRR - there is a stop at one end of campus. It runs once every 12.2 years and takes about 2.5-3 hours, I think. I'm sure Stony Brook has buses on the weekend that go out there but I have no idea how often or where exactly they run - though you can probably look it up on the website. Otherwise, if you don't have a car in Stony Brook you're pretty screwed, especially in the winter.

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I visited, have a friend there, and am pretty familiar with the area. I think you should definitely check it out for yourself. The above comment, for example, is not at all my experience of SB. The LIRR is great, runs regularly, I had no problem getting into and out of NYC (in somewhere around an 1-1.5 hrs) and I think the campus is really nice. Maybe I'm just crazy. I really like the fact that it is not in NYC, that you can live cheaply (comparatively, of course) but still go into NYC for the day. Just my two cents.

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I visited, have a friend there, and am pretty familiar with the area. I think you should definitely check it out for yourself. The above comment, for example, is not at all my experience of SB. The LIRR is great, runs regularly, I had no problem getting into and out of NYC (in somewhere around an 1-1.5 hrs) and I think the campus is really nice. Maybe I'm just crazy. I really like the fact that it is not in NYC, that you can live cheaply (comparatively, of course) but still go into NYC for the day. Just my two cents.

Thank you.

I have heard similar remarks from two other people.

I am looking for somewhere totally different from where I am living now, and SB sounds just like that.

I am however going to get a car, I think it is quite needed, especially in the winter as has been said previously.

But I am will much rely in the LIRR for transportation as well.

Do you think that in the initial arrival with all suitcases and luggage, it is wise to take the LIRR or other method of transportation?

BTW, how do you sefine cheap? what is the average rent and other daily costs, if you know?

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Unfortunately, I don't know much about the cost of living . It seemed extraordinarily inexpensive because I was also staying with a friend in NYC. I would check out craigslist.org (go to new york city, then type in long island or stony brook) to get an idea of rent cost. As for initial arrival, that totally depends on how much stuff you have. I've travelled the LIRR with quite a bit of luggage, so it's doable, but will probably be easier to just get a van at the airport to take you where you're going.

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Guest brandeis alum
I visited, have a friend there, and am pretty familiar with the area. I think you should definitely check it out for yourself. The above comment, for example, is not at all my experience of SB. The LIRR is great, runs regularly, I had no problem getting into and out of NYC (in somewhere around an 1-1.5 hrs) and I think the campus is really nice. Maybe I'm just crazy. I really like the fact that it is not in NYC, that you can live cheaply (comparatively, of course) but still go into NYC for the day. Just my two cents.

As for travel time from Stony Brook to NYC, neither of us were really correct. You can look up the schedules here: http://mta.info/lirr/html/ttn/lirrtt.htm, and then click on the Port Jefferson line. It apparently takes just under 2 hours to get from Stony Brook to Penn Station. When I visited Stony Brook, I was taking the eastbound train from a Queens location, and I distinctly remember it taking at least 2 hours every time, so it would seem logical that the trip from Penn Station to SB would be even longer.

As for my assertion that the trains run once every 12.2 years - they appear to run once every 1.5 to 2 hours spread throughout the day. To me that is the same as 12.2 years. The Amherst-Boston bus from the UMass campus ran once an hour all afternoon, in addition to commuter rail. Even the Chinatown buses between DC, NYC, Philly, and Boston run at least every hour during peak times, so this is what I'm used to. Your needs might be different.

The assertion that you can go into NYC for a day trip from SB is exactly correct. It is nowhere near close enough to do much more than an occasional day trip. If you find a graduate schcool-related internship in NYC, for example, I HIGHLY recommend that you do not commute on daily basis from SB. It can be done but you will be majorly screwed if you miss your train. The other major thing to consider is that while the LIRR generally has good service (trains dont run too often out to SB but for the most part they are on time and clean) it is VERY expensive, about 10 bucks round trip off peak, if you buy it beforehand. You can buy monthly passes for $267(!).

In terms of travel time, Amherst-Boston and SB-NYC are roughly similar, and not many ppl in Amherst went to Boston for much more than a weekly or monthly trip. It's not bad or anything, but don't expect it to be a "suburb near NYC" b/c it's not - it's more of an exurb, like Loudoun and Fauqier counties are to DC. Well, if you don't know anything about DC I suppose that is not helpful, but it's the closest analogy I can think of...

As for the campus, I guess people's opinions will differ. I honestly didn't like it at all, nor did I like my alma mater's campus when I was an undergrad there - they looked quite similar except SB's is much bigger.

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Unfortunately, Stony Brook is rather expensive for a place that isn't in or even that near a city. There are few apartment complexes, so most of the off campus housing is in shared houses or else apartments that people have carved out of their basements/garages. Shared rent can be reasonable (in the 500-700 range), but getting your own place is quite difficult (unless you want to pay 1000 a month for a basement with a hot plate and a microwave).

As for the town itself, Stony Brook is a small village surrounded by pretty bland suburbs. You could consider living in Port Jefferson though, which is a nice little town nearby. The train to New York takes over 1 and a half hours from Stony Brook station, but only an hour from Ronkonkoma, which you might end up living closer to anyway. You absolutely will need a car.

There is some on campus grad housing, but I think single students have to share rooms, so you could definitely do better off campus.

On the plus side, SBU has an incredibly diverse student population, with students from all over the world. Going in to New York for the day is easy, though I agree that if you needed to be there every day for some reason, you would quickly wear yourself out commuting.

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Ok, so I gather from these posts that Stony Brook may not be the most exciting place to live...

Any updates since 2006? Have things changed? Still the same?

I am an international student so any thoughts would be much appreciated!

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Ok, so I gather from these posts that Stony Brook may not be the most exciting place to live...

Any updates since 2006? Have things changed? Still the same?

I am an international student so any thoughts would be much appreciated!

hey i'm curious too. i live in brooklyn, and i did visit the campus. from brooklyn it took about 1 1/2 hours on the lirr. i found the lirr *very* convenient. there is a station near my house in brooklyn, and it was nice to see that the train literally drops you on the stony brook campus. i read online and heard from faculty and students on my visit that a lot of people commute, or leave on the weekends. i was even considering keeping my place in brooklyn, and staying on campus on the week days and coming back to brooklyn on the weekends. i thought the look of the campus was ok. not amazing, not terrible. its a state university which means it looks like a stereotype of a university from movies. big sports fields, big brick buildings. it was fine. some of the facilities are really fancy and modern and nice, and i thought that was impressive. i thought it seemed pretty nice overall - not the most beautiful place ever by any stretch of the imagination - but not oppressive or horrible either. i'm curious to learn more about the village and getting around. if you live on campus can't you walk to the village and to the store and stuff - do you really need a car - isn't a bike enough?

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hey thanks for that farthistory!

i spent 7 years at a notoriously ugly campus so an 'ok' campus would be moving up in the world :)

did the campus have a good/ok student-life feel to it?

i did also consider the live-in-brooklyn option, but 1.5hrs seems like quite a long commute. do you know if the lirr runs frequently? or how late in the evening?

i'd still love to hear what people think about the place generally though...

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hey and is just a bit over 15 k enuf to live on? for an international student it might be for 12 months rather than 9. eating out of cans is a given but still.

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hey i'm curious too. i live in brooklyn, and i did visit the campus. from brooklyn it took about 1 1/2 hours on the lirr. i found the lirr *very* convenient. there is a station near my house in brooklyn, and it was nice to see that the train literally drops you on the stony brook campus.

i just jumped on the LIRR website, and from the timetable they provide, it looks like the commute from Brooklyn (flatbrush ave) to SB is 2hrs...?

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I know this may be a little off topic, but is anyone attending the Stony Brook Conference on Philosophy and the Arts ("Yielding Narrativity") this weekend?

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i just jumped on the LIRR website, and from the timetable they provide, it looks like the commute from Brooklyn (flatbrush ave) to SB is 2hrs...?

I live near the Nostrand Stop in Bed-Stuy Brooklyn - further East than than the Flatbush stop. With one quick change over at the Jamaica stop, it's 1.5 hours, however I don't know if it's do-able for an every day commute.

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hey thanks for that farthistory!

did the campus have a good/ok student-life feel to it?

It seemed like a regular state university - lots of average seeming college undergrads in sports wear and book bags - the graduate students in the department I applied to seemed older, more mature, and frankly more interesting. I heard the campus is dead on the weekends because it's mainly a commuter school.

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Hi all.. I have a whole house for rent in Centereach , NY, < 10 mins to Stony Brook University, quiet family neighborhood, near all shopping, grocery , mall, expressway, etc

email me for more info rentalhouseli@ gmail.com

good luck !

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Hi everyone! I am an international student planning to apply to Stony Brook University. I would like to ask for an estimate of the annual living expenses for a single graduate student. Thanks!

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I'm considering to go there for my phd.

a) Is $15000 enough for 9 months?

B) What is the acommodation like there?

c) What is the campus like?

I grew up in the setauket/stony brook area, so here's what I can tell you about the city itself:

a huge (I mean strangely large) number of the students there are commuters. This means that they live at home and just come onto campus to go to class then go back home. Even though the school has 10000+ students there, you'll be hard pressed to find something going on during the weekends. The campus is incredibly large and poorly laid out, but I'm not sure how well the public transportation system works.

The surroundings of stony brook are almost all suburbs. There are plenty of restaurants, but dont expect any clubs/bars nearby. There are a few, but none within walking distance (unless there are some actually on campus).

All that aside, it is a good school, and they are well connected with the Brookhaven National Lab - which can yield some pretty interesting research projects I'd imagine. So, if you're OK with just having a close nit group of friends, and not being dependent on your surroundings (bars, clubs) to have a good time, I think You'll enjoy it.

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Are there not a lot of apartments in Stony Brook? Other posters make it seem like renting a house with roommates is the only option. I don't like living with people.

- Is there grad housing? What's that like?

- Is the cost of living as high as NYC?

Thanks!

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I moved to the area (from out of state) to attend SBU as a doctoral student this year. There is a dearth of rental housing. There are some managed apartment complexes but none in SB proper and they're typically more expensive. A ton of illegal apartments (be wary--though it can be just fine; mine is illegal) and many in people's basements (no thanks). There *are* apartments where you don't have to share, often off the back/side of a house or above a garage. Even teeny, tiny cottages on the property of larger houses. This area is just barely suburban, crossing over from beachy/rural. Port Jefferson is the hub of...anything and it would be ideal to live in an apartment right in town, probably over the shops. I couldn't find anything there but I was told, after I got here, that you can find those listings in the village newspaper (don't remember the name). I found my place on Craigslist. Newsday online is good too but there are very often brokers' fees that are the equivalent of one month's rent (you've got to be kidding me--maybe in NYC, but out here?). The cost of living is below NYC but not by much, imo.

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I was accepted at Stony Brook and I'm hearing some pretty bad things about the city and campus. Has anyone been there, and what did you think?

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I visited Stony Brook during my previous round of applications (for Fall 2009), and this is what I gleaned about the living situation from current grads:

LI in general (and SB in particular) have been zoned in such a way that preserves the look and feel of the historic fishing villages, Port Jefferson being a prime example. This means that it's not really possible for anyone to build huge apartment complexes. (This is probably also where the idea of "illegal" apartments come from?) I liked the feel of the little villages, but as a tourist destination, not exactly as a place to live.

The grad students I talked to in the English department said that a handful of people lived in basements/spare bedroom apartments in town their first year, but most ended up in the outer boroughs of NYC (Brooklyn, Bronx) and commuted in on the train line. The impression I got was that everything was sort of disparate, in terms of areas people lived in; there's no real area that draws most of the grad students.

The cost of living on Long Island is pretty high. Lower than NYC certainly, but not by much (remember that this is an area ONLY accessible through NYC or ferries from further north).

The campus itself was okay. The student offices and inside of the building itself for the English department is nicer than other places I've been, but I remember the library being a real depressing building and a lot of the buildings looking rather ho-hum, at least on the outside.

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