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Albany, NY

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Guest canadiannette

I've been admitted to SUNY @ Albany, anyone have any comments on this school/area/social life/transportation, anything in general?

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Albany has big college population, and can be alot of fun, especially if you're into going out. If not, it's sort of lacking in cultural activities, although SUNY does bring in some interesting speakers, etc. There's a good mix of restaurants, and movie theatres, but most shopping is in malls and strip malls, no downtown shopping district or anything.

I do think your life would be alot easier if you had a car because the bus system is pretty slow; although I believe you can ride free with a college ID so that's a plus. The cost of living is pretty decent, a nice 1 bedroom will probably cost you $600. And if you can find roommates, there are tons of multiple bedroom apartments geared at students that would make your rent nice and cheap. There are tons of 'student ghettos' (esp near the College of Saint Rose), alot of nice residential areas and a downtown area (which is all companies and firms, etc.), there are also tons of apartments around Lark St. , which can be exciting (street full of bars, little shops and restaurants, but is a bit far from SUNY's main campus).

Good luck with everything!

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In terms of stuff to do, it depends on where you're coming from. I had to adjust from a major metropolitan city, which Albany is definitely not. It depends on what you like to do for fun...Theres a bunch of places for going out, but as the previous poster said its somewhat lacking in cultural activities, not too many museums, etc. They do have Pepsi Arena nearby, and the Egg, which occasionally has some interesting performers and adds some culture, and Lark St. is definitely pretty nice. Academically, some departments are pretty good, others I would steer away from if I could help it. Good luck!

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I attended SUNY Albany for my undergrad in Political Science. It is a very good college town, with very good 'college life' (Note I said very good; not great, not excellent). It does, however, lack in the academic department. It is what you make of it with out a doubt... an in state student attending for one of their stronger programs (political science, sociology, education) and throwing in possible honors status could be in a very good position for a top graduate school, with the right grades.

It has a fairly low cost of living, and availability of employment is good.

SUNY Albany, specifically Rockefeller, is an awesome choice for graduate school in public affairs or public policy. The city, being the capital, is very conducive to gaining some great work experience and internships. I worked on 2 political campaigns while attending.

Athletic program is slightly above average, housing is average, 'beauty' of the campus is slightly below average and the social 'scene' is above average.

Albany state is a great choice for someone who wants a good education at a reasonable price. I never understood students who came from out of state to attend though.

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Hi everybody! Is anyone familiar with Albany? My partner and I were accepted to SUNY's English Ph.D program and we are considering it. I have lived on the West coast my whole life, so I am not familiar with the area. All I hear about it is the cold and snow! :rolleyes: Does anyone know what graduate student life is like in the area? Suggestions for neighborhoods to live in? Thanks!

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Hello! I grew up in the Albany area, and although I did not attend SUNY Albany, I'm very familiar with it. South Manning Street has some nice inexpensive apartments, and is less than 2 miles from SUNY. If you are willing to drive a bit further (about 15 minutes), look in Colonie, Latham, and Niskayuna. These are suburban towns with nice neighborhoods. Stay away from Lark Street (club scene) and Arbor Hill (gangs). Hope this helps!

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Thanks! Do you know what the bus situation is from South Manning Street to campus? I have a car but have not done much snow driving, so I would like the options of either walking or busing.

Thanks again!

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Hello! I grew up in the Albany area, and although I did not attend SUNY Albany, I'm very familiar with it. South Manning Street has some nice inexpensive apartments, and is less than 2 miles from SUNY. If you are willing to drive a bit further (about 15 minutes), look in Colonie, Latham, and Niskayuna. These are suburban towns with nice neighborhoods. Stay away from Lark Street (club scene) and Arbor Hill (gangs). Hope this helps!

Hello! I also am most likely going to be heading to Albany in the fall.

swalroth - This may not be your area of expertise, but I was wondering if you knew anything about the queer/lesbian scene in Albany. After living in DC for 2 years and having a wonderful community, I'm a little worried about moving to a much smaller place. Do you by any chance have any insight into the general attitude towards the queer community? Thanks!

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I grew up about ten minutes from Albany. The queer scene seems to be fairly small, but vocal, and active. Overall a generally accepting community. There are a few gay bars in Albany, but I've never actually been to any.

You can pm me if you have any specific questions or anything about albany/the lgbt scene in albany.

Edited by res2135

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I grew up in the area, and actually did my undergrad at SUNY Albany. As far as the winters go, Albany county is very very good about keeping the main roads clear, but the city is also notorious for towing whole blocks worth of cars if they're parked on the wrong side of the street at the wrong time of day just after a snow storm and they have to plow. It's a constant problem, and the news is always reporting that the city residents are complaining about how the city isn't clear when certain streets are scheduled to be cleared, and that it's just a scheme to extort money from the residents.

On that note, I wouldn't suggest living in the city itself as the downtown area has had an increase in crime, and two years ago there were two UAlbany students that were murdered in the downtown area.

Living in Colonie is by far your best bet. It is very low crime compared to Albany, a commute is anywhere from 5-15 minutes. Also, the police force in Colonie is rated one of the area's best.

As fas as driving in the snow, it not as bad as you'd think. The only time it's a problem is when it's snowing. Once the storm has passed the the roads are dry, salted and sanded and it's more or less driving as normal. All you need to remember when driving in the snow is to make sure to accelerate and slow down/stop at a much slower rate, and keep your speed quite low. You'll get the hang of it.

The library at UAlbany is absolutely huge, the campus is very easy to navigate, and since your not used to the cold weather you'll appreciate the tunnels under the campus. The tunnels are, well tunnels that connect the four quads to evey building on the campus. They are heated and well lit and are made for getting around the campus in the winter months. They are quite big, and actually all year round they will be filled with students, faculty, mail trucks, and the maintenance crews...something well worth asking about once you get on campus.

If you really want to live downtown and utilize the bus system, you should be aware that the area you'd be looking at also is filled with undergrads from Saint Rose College. The entire area is generally known as the "college ghetto" since the buildings are kinda ratty, but it's primarilly partying undergrads that live there, not your typical urban, thug crowd, so that's a plus.

Speaking if which, the main artery that is in the Albany area is Central Ave... stay south of it in the Albany area, as the Arbor Hill neighborhood is north of it. Arbor Hill is the bad part if Albany, and should be avoided by you at all costs.

Also, the bus system also connects into Colonie if you're interested. The city has a great public transit system. There are a few supermarkets in the area, the two big names are Price Chopper and Hannaford. There are two of them across the street from each other on Central Ave, and they are very ghetto. The nicest, cleanest, and non-urban one is the Hannaford on Wolf rd in Colonie.

As far as the gay scene goes... I have no idea, but I do know that Albany is a very open city, and just because it isn't a metropolis does not mean that it's inhabitants are close minded. UAlbany has a very active gay/lesbian student organisation that I'm sure can direct you to the local gay bars. I do know at least that there are a few downtown, "the fuse box" and "the manhole." While I've never been to them to let you know how they are, they both have been there for a long time, so I would imagine that there is a fairly active gay community.

If anyone has any other particular questions feel free to PM me.

Hope this helps.

Edited by Septimius

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Hi everybody! Is anyone familiar with Albany? My partner and I were accepted to SUNY's English Ph.D program and we are considering it. I have lived on the West coast my whole life, so I am not familiar with the area. All I hear about it is the cold and snow! :rolleyes: Does anyone know what graduate student life is like in the area? Suggestions for neighborhoods to live in? Thanks!

the western portion of Albany is very residential, and it is possible to be reasonably close to SUNY without being right in the student ghetto others have mentioned. Don't be too scared by all the talk of Arbor Hill; it is a rather small region and unless you're lining up a place blind, you will most likely avoid it entirely during your entire time in Albany.

You do get used to cold and snow, and it's only a few months of the year. At my last U in northern NY state, we had a lot of south Asian kids who were shivering in October but fully adapted by the January term. But good idea on not planning on having to drive in it; you do get used to that, too, but you might as well be prepped for alternative travel. Plenty of west coasters have adapted well to the area before you.

There are several buses that go to SUNY from various directions. Google CDTA to check out routes and frequency.

Carolina,

Waterworks Pub is the best-known gay bar. I've never been there, but friends really love it. There are other places, too.

One sees gay couples holding hands in public places, parks and the mall,s and I've never heard of problems.

Even though Albany is small by metropolitan standards, it still has plenty of offerings.

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I know this thread has been a bit dead lately, but I was accepted into SUNY: UAlbany's Criminal Justice PhD program for this fall (YAY!), and I'm trying to get my Life in Order. I'll be living on a stipend through the school, so I definitely need to be cost conscious. I'm going to try to go out to Albany in early July to check out apartments and the like, but I'm not sure I'll be able to financially swing it. Thus, I might be going in blind for my rooming situation. From what I understand, I'll be MOSTLY at the downtown campus, and only at the main campus if/when I teach undergrad courses, so it's my understanding (and could be TOTALLY wrong) that I want to live on Western/Washington area.

I'm not TOO picky on noise (I'm from MSU in East Lansing, so you kind of get used to LOTS of bar/partying/construction sounds at all time, and learn to sleep through it), but would like to be walking distance to the downtown campus. I WILL have a car, but would prefer to use it as little as possible to save on gas. I also have cats, and as such, am REALLY hoping to find someplace pet friendly (which might be getting a little TOO detailed :-)). I keep looking on craigslist for apartments, and rent.com, but feel like I'm not really finding much. Does anyone have any suggestions on places to live in the area, or a strategy to go about finding an apartment without seeing it first? Or is it mostly guess-and-check?

Thanks!

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I know this thread has been a bit dead lately, but I was accepted into SUNY: UAlbany's Criminal Justice PhD program for this fall (YAY!), and I'm trying to get my Life in Order. I'll be living on a stipend through the school, so I definitely need to be cost conscious. I'm going to try to go out to Albany in early July to check out apartments and the like, but I'm not sure I'll be able to financially swing it. Thus, I might be going in blind for my rooming situation. From what I understand, I'll be MOSTLY at the downtown campus, and only at the main campus if/when I teach undergrad courses, so it's my understanding (and could be TOTALLY wrong) that I want to live on Western/Washington area.

I'm not TOO picky on noise (I'm from MSU in East Lansing, so you kind of get used to LOTS of bar/partying/construction sounds at all time, and learn to sleep through it), but would like to be walking distance to the downtown campus. I WILL have a car, but would prefer to use it as little as possible to save on gas. I also have cats, and as such, am REALLY hoping to find someplace pet friendly (which might be getting a little TOO detailed :-)). I keep looking on craigslist for apartments, and rent.com, but feel like I'm not really finding much. Does anyone have any suggestions on places to live in the area, or a strategy to go about finding an apartment without seeing it first? Or is it mostly guess-and-check?

Thanks!

I'm going to be starting at Albany in the fall too and I've actually already found a place and signed a lease. I had great luck on the university's off campus house website: http://www.albany.edu/housing/offcampus.shtml. If you click on "Go to the Housing search page" you will be taken to a screen and will have to enter your email address and password. (I had received info in the mail about how to set this up). I just found an apartment that sounded good and had a friend of the family who lives in Albany go take a look at it and send me pictures. Then the landlord mailed me a lease and everything was set! It was really easy and pretty stress free.

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bump for this year

I just got accepted to the social/personality psychology phd program and wanted to get as much info as I can.... I'm coming from the opposite side of the country with no experience with snow or cold (the high today is 75). How bad is it? I know previous posters have talked about towing and how it's mostly kept clear on the main roads, but what about residential streets? what is the weather like when it's not winter? what are the people like? what is the overall attitude there? any and everything you can tell me would be helpful. thanks!

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bump for this year

I just got accepted to the social/personality psychology phd program and wanted to get as much info as I can.... I'm coming from the opposite side of the country with no experience with snow or cold (the high today is 75). How bad is it? I know previous posters have talked about towing and how it's mostly kept clear on the main roads, but what about residential streets? what is the weather like when it's not winter? what are the people like? what is the overall attitude there? any and everything you can tell me would be helpful. thanks!

I am originally from the west coast (Oregon) and have been in Troy, NY for the past few years. This year definitely had a bad winter, but I would say that although it is cold much of the year, that is not the worst part for me. I dislike the atmosphere and the people more than the climate. People on the east coast are quite different from people on the west coast.

It is true that when it snows, the streets are quickly cleared up. There are plenty of snow plows in the area. You are required to keep some streets clear for plowing or even weekly for street cleaning in some areas. This includes plenty of residential streets.

When it is not winter, the sky is blue and it is nice out as one would expect. It can get quite hot and humid in the summer.

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Another bump for 2012.

I was accepted to a grad program at The College of Saint Rose and am wondering about the scene on weekends. What are the best bars to go to just chill? How about if I need to dance off the stress from the week? I am only reading comments about safety in Albany --what about the places that young adults can go to meet other young adults?

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Another bump for 2012.

I was accepted to a grad program at The College of Saint Rose and am wondering about the scene on weekends. What are the best bars to go to just chill? How about if I need to dance off the stress from the week? I am only reading comments about safety in Albany --what about the places that young adults can go to meet other young adults?

Hi! I was also accepted into Saint Rose's CSD program for the fall. I used to live in the Albany area, and I can't wait to get back in the fall. As far as night life goes, Lark Street is one of the more popular areas to hang out. There are plenty of bars, restaurants, and coffee shops there, including Bomber's Burrito Bar (fun bar upstairs, amazing burritos downstairs). As for dancing, there's Jillian's down on Pearl Street (a little further south from campus than Lark, so probably not walkable) as well as a few other places strewn about the city. It all depends on what kind of music you're into. Jillian's is more of a "dance club," whereas someplace like the Fuze Box on Central Ave is a bar that happens to have dancing (usually 80's or 90's theme nights).

I keep reading all the old posts about safety, but I spent my early 20's having tons of fun in this area without ever worrying about my safety. Feel free to PM me if you want. I'm eager to meet other students who will be attending the CSD program!

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Hi!

I am starting Saint Rose's CSD program in January for the Spring semester. I was looking for some information on the best place to live and what areas I should focus on. I will be completely new to the area. Any information is appreciated. I am also looking for a potential roommate, so if interested, please let me know! Thanks.

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I am strongly considering moving to Albany for my PhD.

 

The rest of the internet seems to hate Albany, so I'm hoping some students have some thoughts on where to live, what it's like to be a student, what it's like to be a non-student (my fiancee is planning on moving with me and hoping to find a job teaching middle school which she does here in Atlanta), etc. 

 

Any thoughts are more than welcome. I'm from Atlanta, and am aware I'll have to come to grips with the cold. Bummer.

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I am at SUNY Albany, a commuting PhD student. Cannot give any recommendations for housing arrangements. But from what I hear and see, there is nothing inherently wrong with living in Albany.

Generally Albany is pretty good for everything -- there are enough cultural events for theater and music lovers (e.g. the Egg, Proctor's in nearby Schenecteday), outdoors activities (proximity to the Adirondacks, Lake George) and a goodly selection of campus activities. Washington Park is lovely year round, food is reasonably palatable and cheap.

It really depends on your tastes and budget.

In my opinion Albany is fairly generic -- generally safe and pleasant (exception: Arbor Hill), a bit rundown but with unmistakable signs of former prosperity with historical architecture aplenty. The governenment buidings dominate the center of the city, which means it becomes dead after 4pm. Commute is very easy, and there are really great nearby neighborhoods adjacent to Albany proper.

Your fiancee may have to do some adjustments to find a teaching job. Most public and private school teachers have Master's degree and, I believe they need NYState certification. Finding a rsuitable teaching job will take some serious looking, unless your fiancee teaches math or science; then it may be somewhat easier.

The climate is rather trying. Winters are real winters, and summers can be hot. But spring and fall are really lovely and long -- it just occured to me that Tulip festival is coming up -- my favorite event!

Hope that helps a bit.

Oh yes, and you will need a car.

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Hi! I just got accepted to the College of Saint Rose for Speech Pathology. I've never lived in a city before so I'm a little stumped on how/where to start looking for housing. Does anyone have any advice? On campus vs off campus? What's a reasonable price for the area? Thanks! :)

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Hi guys! Just wanted to post a tip for anyone lurking here and considering moving to Albany for the upcoming year. I've lived in the Capital Region my whole life and have loved living here although I'll be moving in the fall for school. Anyway, wanted to put out that a great resource is alloveralbany.com, a local website which is really pretty emblematic of the community. It has information on food, things to do, local government, the neighborhoods, and they love interactive maps. They also take questions--essential things like "what's a good local plumbing service"--and put them out to the community for comments. Best of luck to any graduate students coming to the Albany area! 

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Bump for this year

I got accepted into UAlbany's sociology Ph.D. program. I am now looking for housing! I heard that there are student apartments located opposite the uptown campus with heating from October to April. How could I find more information about these apartments?

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