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I am not too familiar with East Cambridge. I know that the neighborhood you're looking at is nearby Cambridgeside Galleria, which is your run of the mill mall, but aside from that, I do not have much to say about that area. If the rent at those apartments are affordable and tolerable, then go right ahead and put it at the top of the list. If you think you may struggle with rent, then perhaps you should search for other apartments away from that area and closer to the red line. From 6th and Spring, you are already roughly a mile away from the edge of MIT's campus, so the hike from.. say.. a Harvard Square apartment, or even a Porter or Davis Square apartment isn't too far of a reach. I'd definitely say I can get to Kendall/MIT train stop a less amount of time than if I were to walk from 6th and Spring to MIT (but that doesn't take into the account of the actual commute from the train stop to where you need to be at MIT. My friends and I joke that Harvard and MIT takes up two-thirds of Cambridge). But I'd suggest taking a look at the T map to see where else you'd like to look. I don't want to say you have to rely on the train station to get around in Boston, but believe me, a lot of students do. There are also a ton of bus routes that takes you all over the city in a short amount of time, so check out the bus routes on mbta.com as well.

SPIDER-MAP.gif

(this map is also helpful for those who are looking at Boston University for grad/undergrad school)

I'm sure the area that you've looked at are closer to other MIT students, so keep that in mind if you want to stay closer to fellow MIT students.

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just some questions about living in cambridge.

Any experiences with graduate housing at Harvard? I find it quite expensive compared to Yale graduate housing, but i guess that is what you get for living in a metropolitan area.

How bad are Childs Hall and Richards Hall small rooms really? Are the communal areas at least livable? I read about a building project, does it seem to be quite bad noise-wise?

Does anyone know, by the way, whether grad students get office space at harvard?

Any insight you can share about Cambridge/Boston is appreciated. I am trying to make a decision on whether to go here or to New Haven.

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I think most people would say that Cambridge is a better location than New Haven. Cambridge is more lively with more cultural opportunities than New Haven, and is practically part of Boston. It's great for walking around and public transportation, and as an intellectual center is hard to beat. I also happen to think that there are fewer tensions between Harvard and the rest of cambridge than between Yale and the rest of New Haven (but maybe that's because Harvard owns most of cambridge).

That said, New Haven can be fun and is definitely cheaper than Cambridge, and it is quite close to New York (but people I know there don't go to New York all that more often than people I know at Harvard). The campus is really nice, but kind of strange because all the buildings are in this old style in order to imitate Cambridge (in england) but they weren't built all that long ago (compared to Cambridge in england).

In the end, as I'm sure you know, the most important thing will be choosing one over the other based on the faculty and the general program, as the school where you think you would be the best fit. If you can visit both, that would be ideal. If Yale seems generally better for you, it's not worth it to choose another school because it's in a cooler place (it's not like we're talking about choosing between New York City and the Lincoln, Nebraska.)

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I'm going to Boston!!! Any tips on apartment hunting? When should I start looking? I will go to BU... should I give up and sell my lovely car? Yahoo!!! soo excited (but afraid of going broke as well).

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AVOID a landlord by the name of Jim Mega, a.k.a. Greenwood Management Properties. He's an evil bastard.

thanks for the advice! was considering one of his properties but now i know better. :) he was super weird and pushy on the phone, so i had a bad feeling that was confirmed by this! yay for google.

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Learn to love Anna's Taqueria. It is all the food you will ever need on a grad student's budget.

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Learn to love Anna's Taqueria. It is all the food you will ever need on a grad student's budget.

This is a wise statement. Class, you can learn a lot from this person.

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running_circle, it can be done. You'll want an apartment somewhere on the Red Line (subway) if you don't have a car. (I dunno about parking at UMass... might not be a good idea to drive in if parking is scarce.) When I was living in a 3BR shared with 2 other roommates in Somerville (which is on the Red Line, but rather far away from the JFK/UMass stop) we each paid about $625/month for rent, another $50-150 in utilities (summer vs. winter -- get a place that includes heat if you can! it's the biggest utility expense). I budget about $40-50/week for groceries. A monthly subway pass is another $60. Doesn't leave a TON of money for going out, etc., but you can do it.

You might want to look into apartments in Dorchester. It has some pretty unsafe parts, but there are safe, more gentrified areas springing up all over, and the rent is more affordable than in someplace like Cambridge (other end of the Red line) if you're concerned about finances. I can't give much more specific advice as I've never lived in that part of town.

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I will be attending Emerson College this fall and I have never been to Boston. Any information about the college's location and nearby housing would be greatly appreciated!

Thanks,

B

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I will be attending Emerson College this fall and I have never been to Boston. Any information about the college's location and nearby housing would be greatly appreciated!

Thanks,

B

Hi! I'm finishing my undergrad at Emerson now, so I hope I can help you! Essentially, most areas within walking distance to the college (Beacon Hill, Back Bay, North End, and the South End) are nice, but very expensive. A studio in Back Bay is about $1,000 per month. Rent gets a lot cheaper as you move out to neighborhoods that are farther away from Emerson. Most Emerson students live in Brookline, Allston, Brighton, Cambridge, Mission Hill, and Jamaica Plain. Commute from these areas is about 30 minutes or less on the T. I have lived in JP for two years and I love it! It's a diverse neighborhood with great restaurants, bars, a co-op market/farmer's market, and lots of community events. I have a 1 bedroom with an office that I share with my boyfriend in a two family house for $1,100. I personally would not want to live in Allston, as they are sometimes considered to be the "student slums" because lots of undergrads with hands-off landlords live there.

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Excellent! Thank you so much for your response. I live in a small South Georgia town so this move will be a culture shock. I know very little about the Boston area, so your post will come in very handy.

I know Emerson is expensive and Boston's cost of living is expensive, so I guess I'll be taking out student loans and working full time, which sucks. How do other students afford it?

Thanks again,

B

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Excellent! Thank you so much for your response. I live in a small South Georgia town so this move will be a culture shock. I know very little about the Boston area, so your post will come in very handy.

I know Emerson is expensive and Boston's cost of living is expensive, so I guess I'll be taking out student loans and working full time, which sucks. How do other students afford it?

Thanks again,

B

I only know grad students in the Comm. Disorder department, but many of them have jobs outside of school (baby-sitting, tutoring, things like that) in addition to loans.

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Any information on the Back Bay area? Studio apartments, etc.

Also, does anyone recommend any realtors?

SLPtoBE, I appreciate the info!

B

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The Back Bay is an expensive area. Here's what you can get for about $1000/month in the Back Bay: http://boston.craigslist.org/gbs/fee/600399675.html

Ad might expire, but it's a tiny little thing (lofted 1 BR). I've lived in dorm rooms bigger than that apartment. I'd say that anything that looks like a "deal" in this area has something wrong with the building -- either a tiny space, or the building is really run down, or something.

Your best options for living affordably are to commute from a cheaper area (I work in Boston but commute ~30 minutes from an affordable place in the suburbs) or to live with one or two roommates.

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I may be attending Harvard Divinity School next fall (Yay!), and would love some more advice about Cambridge, what it's like to live there, what to avoid, where to eat... I really appreciate the previous posts and will keep the suggestions in mind, but if you have any other comments, I'd love to hear them. :)

More specifically, I've looked at Harvard's housing-- does anyone know about Peabody Terrace? It seems like a decent deal from what little I gather about the cost of apartments/utilities in Cambridge generally, but anything from what its like to live there to what's around there (seems like a grocery isn't too far away) would be greatly appreciated. :)

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While I didn't live there, I worked as a nanny full-time for a family at Peabody Terrace. It's a nice location, on the river, a short walk from Harvard Square and there is a Whole Foods down the street. It's about a mile and a half from the Divinity School and I'm sure the shuttle travels in between.

Do you have children? It's a very family-friendly place, with a childcare center for infants and toddlers, several outdoor playgrounds and an indoor playroom.

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Oh, cool! Thanks for the description.

No children here, and probably not for some years-- though I definitely wouldn't mind living in a family-friendly place. I might find myself in Cambridge next weekend, so hopefully I'll tour around the area.

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Definitely take a tour of the area. As for things to do, I use Yelp.com all the time to find restaurants, bars, businesses and so on in my neighborhood. They're nicely integrated with GoogleMaps to find stuff near you, and user reviews let you know what's good. Plus, Boston Yelp users are a really fun bunch of people who have social outings regularly so it can be a neat way to have fun (if you have any free time!).

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I'm thinking about attending the Fletcher School this fall. I've only been to Boston once, and am completely unfamiliar with its suburb of Medford. Anyone have anything to share about the town?

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Don't know much about Medford and I've never been to the Tufts campus but I live in Boston (been in MA for the past 8 years now) and have lots of friends living in Somerville. It is a fun place to be- Davis Sq. is just a mile from the Tufts campus and it has a lot of great restaurants, bars, coffee shops and things to do- teeming with students and young professional types. Living in Somerville is fairly affordable for the Boston area. I have several friends that live in the Porter Square area which is only one stop from Davis on the red line towards the city. It's also a quick trip on the T (boston subway) to Harvard Square (2 stops on the red line) and Central Square (closer to Boston proper), both with more cool bars, restuarants, etc. if you get bored of Davis. Anyways I live on the Boston side of the river but got tired of it- if I were going to stay in Boston I think I'd move to Cambridge or Somerville. More my style, eclectic and laid back, less preppy and trendy than Boston (though Boston in general is waaaay less trendy than New York, for example). If you have any other questions I can try to answer. I have three favorite places in Davis- The Burren which is an Irish Pub, Diva which is an Indian restaurant, and Diesel Cafe, which is basically the coolest coffee shop in the world. Davis is awesome... but beware- friends from the Boston side of the river will complain about coming out there. I know I do. The T stops running at around 1230am, which is a pain. If you're going to Tufts, though, most of your friends will probably be in Somerville anyways.

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I lived a 5-10 minute walk from Tufts for about a year. When you're apartment hunting, look for things that say they're near Teele Square or Powderhouse Square. This will put you a reasonable distance from both the Tufts campus and Davis Square, thus allowing access to classes and extracurricular activities. The apartments REALLY close to Tufts fill up with undergrads and are often run by really slummy landlords -- avoid. I found a nice 3BR near Teele that was the first floor of a house on a quiet street, my neighbors were young professionals and families. That 3BR currently rents for $1900/month not including utilities (and heat can get expensive, especially in poorly insulated old houses.

Medford has a reputation for being more boring and full of townies than neighboring Somerville. I haven't spent much time in Medford proper, so I can't really comment. Tufts is right on the line between the two.

Boston has many popular online communities for social networking, discussing local issues, etc. If you use LiveJournal there are communities called "b0st0n" and "davis_square" that might be useful. If you're looking for stuff to do, check out Going.com (events) or Yelp.com (bar/restaurant/etc. reviews). And check out housing prices on the almighty Craigslist.

Good luck, let me know if you have any more qs!

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I will be going to school at MIT in the fall and need housing. I have heard rumors that there are cheaper places in the Kendall/MIT area, but on craigslist/boston.com have not been able to find anything. I would really prefer to be within walking distance from MIT, but a short commute would be ok too (so probably anything on the red line would be fine).

I *really* would prefer a one-bedroom to myself, but am coming to realize that that might be impossible for a decent price ... any tricks/suggestions about good deals (other than "move to the suburbs"...:-/)? I could probably swing $1000/mo for rent but would prefer lower.

Thanks...

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I'll be at BC in the fall and from my research it appears that your options for $1,000 or less will definitely include either a roommate or a living a bit further away. From what I've been told if you find ANYTHING at all in that range around MIT there will be something SEVERELY wrong with it. Luckily, the mass transit in Boston is pretty good, so living a few miles should be a mild annoyance at worst. Most of the outlying areas still feel pretty urban and are generally populated with high percentages of students so you certainly won't be alone in that regard.

Good luck!

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Braingirl, you could search Craigslist for places in Inman Square. This will be cheaper than living right on the Red line, but it's about 1.5 miles from MIT's campus, shorter walking distance to either Harvard or Central Square, and several bus lines go through that area including the CT2 express commuter bus (which goes to Kendall Sq./MIT). Another option would be East Cambridge, which is further away and closer to the Green line (Lechmere) than the Red, but still a reasonable walk to MIT. East Cambridge and Inman kind of bleed into each other. Inman is cuter, more indie businesses and restaurants, East Cambridge is a less homey and near a big shopping mall (people have told me about getting mugged/robbed in the area near the mall, because where do thuggy kids like to hang out? ...exactly) but I still feel fine walking around most of that area after dark.

Looks like you can find some studio/small 1BR places for $1000 in that area. But if you can stand to live with a roommate, life will be more affordable. I would not suggest "move to the suburbs," actually -- I had an hour commute each way to work for a year and it slowly drove me insane; I moved closer to my job downtown. But I share a 2BR with my partner.

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