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How is the T compared to the New York subway? How long would it take to get, say, from one end of the Red Line to the other? How painful is it to have to transfer from, say, the Green Line to the Red?

(Might be going to Harvard next year, so I'm trying to figure out where to find affordable housing. Is there a Brooklyn-like area, where you can trade "reasonable" rent for a more seedy or dangerous neighborhood?)

I would stick to the red line. The green line is notoriously unreliable (there won't be a train for a long time and then three right after one another), and they can be ridiculously packed too.

For what you are describing, I would try South Boston or certain areas of Dorchester. Use caution with both as far as neighborhood, but you can get some great deals w/some beautifully renovated places right on the red line. If you live in the Savin Hill area or closer it is really fast to get into town. Try:

http://www.athomeboston.com/

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(Might be going to Harvard next year, so I'm trying to figure out where to find affordable housing. Is there a Brooklyn-like area, where you can trade "reasonable" rent for a more seedy or dangerous neighborhood?)

You might try East Cambridge for cheaper, not as nice housing. There is a free shuttle between the Cambridge Side Galleria mall and the Kendell MIT redline stop during the weekdays (And Kendell/MIT is 2 stops-or 10minutes from Harvard Square, once the train comes). It's about a 15-20 minute walk to Kendel from the Cambridge Side Galleria in good weather.

Also, Inman square has pretty good sized/priced apartments but it's in a subway-less, pocket neighborhood between Central Square (red line) and East Cambridge. The busses at Inman are not bad. In nice weather, it's a 15-20 minute walk to Central (which is also a bit on the seedy-looking side, though an interesting, albeit overpriced neighborhood for how run down it is.) Inman also has some very good little bars and restaurants, including Dali's Tapas restaurant, Oleana, which is Mediteranean and Punjabi Dhaba, which most Indians I know give a thumbs up to for really good Indian food. There is also the world-famous-at-least-in-Cambridge Bukowski's super-dive bar near Inman. Both East Cambridge and Inman have most of the city's Brazilian concentration, so there are many little bars and restaurants that reflect that. Prices for eating and drinking are more reasonable at Inman and Union Square than the rest of Boston and Cambridge in my opinion.

The major increase in crime you can expect in these neighborhoods is break-ins, since houses are all very close together with easy access in the back and the side. Also, there are alot of pan handlers near Central, but I never feel terribly unsafe there, but I do know several people who's house has been robbed. No big screen TV and no cash and you're golden.

Union Square is another option if you don't mind bussing it. It's another of those no-subway access lost neighborhoods between Cambridge and Somerville.

Dorchester is pretty far from Cambridge, though it is on the red-line, and though I haven't checked the stats, my sense is that they have much more of the city's violent crime. The particular street you live on makes a big difference, though. The Savin Hill area of Dorchester, near the red-line, has some fairly nice neighborhoods and Dorchester Ave near the JFK Umass stop is also pretty nice, thought the traffic is pretty attrocious, since one, tiny, winding, two-lane street is pretty much all that links it to the city proper.

If you are willing to travel that far, try Arlington or Fresh Pond near Alewife. These are more suburban without the convenience of city/cafe culture, but cheaper rent.

Someone else on this thread mentioned Watertown already, which also links rather conveniently to Harvard by bus and is a cheaper though quite safe neighborhood.

Alston/Brighton has also been mentioned and is very accessible by bus, but tends to be an undergrad party heaven and, in my opinion overpriced and run down. Plus, bedbugs are not uncommon there recently.

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Apartments near Porter/Davis: sorry, I can't recommend any...unless you want to move into mine next year, but it might be on the wrong side of Davis for you, and you'd need 4 flatmates ;)

Weather: what's so bad about winter? So it's cold and it snows, I like it. The biggest problem is people who don't salt or shovel their sidewalks, so when you do get those 50 degree days it's like you're walking on a thawing pond. Grr argh public nuisances.

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I just got accepted to Northeastern for the fall. I've never even been to Boston and I have no idea where to start. Any tips or advice (especially the best location for housing) would be really appreciated!

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For Northeastern, I'd recommend searching on Craig's List in Brookline, Allston/Brighton (though there are lots of undergrads in this area), or Jamaica Plain. You'll have a much easier time finding a room in an established apartment. It's rare to find a studio apt for under $900/month. Perhaps the SLP department could link you up with other students who are looking for a roommate.

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Where's a good place to live near the school of medicine? I've never been to Boston. Money is sort of an object, but I still want to be in a nice area and get easily to school via walking or a very quick bus ride or something, so I'm definitely willing to pay more for that.

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This thread has been very helpful already.

If I go to Harvard, my husband is coming too, and it's hard to tell where he might end up working. He will be involved in theater and arts in some way, so that means he'll need to be able to get in and out of central Boston in the evening hours. I have friends in Watertown, which seems quite convenient to Harvard, but does it start to get annoying to get from Watertown to Boston? Or from Boston to Watertown at 11:00 at night? I know the T shuts down early, but what about the busses?

Ideally, we'd live without a car. We've lived in San Francisco for several years, so when Bostonians complain about driving and parking, I really can't imagine it being significantly worse than what we're used to. Same with crime. We've seen drive-bys, drug wars, riots, idiot cops, tweakers, crackheads, shootings, etc. So we're not overly concerned with living in the safest possible neighborhood since we know how to stay out of trouble.

I guess the question is, how far is too far? And would we feel out of the loop if we lived somewhere like Dorchester? Are there corner stores/bodegas in all these surrounding towns? How far do you go before you really have to have a car to get TP or basic groceries? How far can you go before you start to hate commuter purgatory?

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Dorchester is pretty far from Cambridge, though it is on the red-line, and though I haven't checked the stats, my sense is that they have much more of the city's violent crime. The particular street you live on makes a big difference, though. The Savin Hill area of Dorchester, near the red-line, has some fairly nice neighborhoods and Dorchester Ave near the JFK Umass stop is also pretty nice, thought the traffic is pretty attrocious, since one, tiny, winding, two-lane street is pretty much all that links it to the city proper.

If you are willing to travel that far, try Arlington or Fresh Pond near Alewife. These are more suburban without the convenience of city/cafe culture, but cheaper rent.

Someone else on this thread mentioned Watertown already, which also links rather conveniently to Harvard by bus and is a cheaper though quite safe neighborhood.

Alston/Brighton has also been mentioned and is very accessible by bus, but tends to be an undergrad party heaven and, in my opinion overpriced and run down. Plus, bedbugs are not uncommon there recently.

You get to Harvard Square from JFK/UMass in 21 minutes. Alewife is only 8 minutes, but I found that there were more reasonable (and nice) apartments available in the Dorchester/South Boston area that were very close to the T than around Alewife.

The bus from Harvard Ave (in the middle of the Allston student slums) takes 27 minutes and the T takes 44 (that's if you can get on the first try).

I just think it is a neighborhood that is really overlooked ;)

Boston is a small city...my husband and I used to take walks from Savin Hill to Harvard Square or to the Kendall/MIT area. At a leisurely pace and stopping, to chat, browse, etc. it took at most two hours.

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Much agreed on the neighbohoods I've Been in Boston 5 years now as an undergraduate and now AmeriCorps VISTA. East Boston and South Boston are two additional neighborhoods to think about. I lived in Eastie my Jr. Year of College right on the water with good south American restaurants and some of the best pizza in Boston. Up and coming neighborhood and not too bad of a commute - It is entirely separated from the city by the water. Southie parts are getting more yuppie, but you can find reasonable 2 bedroom apartments there. I'Ve managed to live in Eastie, Brookline, and Allston for 700-750 in rent butyou can find cheaper in Allston and Eastie.

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Oh yeah, forgot East Boston! Very convenient to the city, but only if you never ever ever ever drive or take a cab there, because they just put up a hellacious toll on the only road in which they share with the airport.

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East Boston residents can get a reduction on the tolls and pay only 40 cents because of a discount that is part of state law. But yes if you're planning on getting home late without a car the cost could add up as cabs charge the extra fees of the tolls to the customers.

When I lived in Eastie, it was 3 years ago now, there were some great apartments for really quite inexpensive (my friends lived in a brand new furnished 2 bedroom for 700 a month with heat, cable, and internet included). The neighborhood was transitioning to an extent -- lots of building and renovations going on -- and the blue Line is new and updated now. It is worth a look especially with the rents one can find there.

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Okay, it looks like me, the boy and the cats are headed to Boston University Medical Campus. I'm coming from a not-good area of Washington, DC, so I am seriously willing to pay extra for security and niceness. I'm really tired of garbage all over the street and people mocking me as I walk to the metro. If I'm moving, I want to live somewhere that I'm going to enjoy. I've never even been to Boston, so I have NO IDEA what I'm doing beyond what the "housing" section on BU's website tells me.

I'll be doing the bulk of my work at the medical campus in South End, but I'm also going to need to be on the main BU campus for a class now and again. I understand the South End is a fun place to live and is tops in the "niceness" department, but how easy is it to get from there to the main BU campus? Would a different neighborhood make it easier to commute to both? Ideally, one of the campuses would be walking distance (or a bike ride) from my apartment. I'm mainly interested in older/quieter neighborhoods and South End might possibly be too hip for me, I don't know. We don't need to live within spitting distance of bars and entertainment stuff as long as we can get there on the metro. I don't mind being near restaurants, though. XD

Help me, oh wise denizens of the internet :(

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Don't live in Dorchester, Roxbury, or basically any part of South Boston or East Boston. This basically includes areas near the following T (subway) stops: Broadway, Andrew, Ashmont, and Mattapan on the Red Line, most of the Orange Line south of Back Bay, and most of the Silver Line Washington Street south of E. Berkeley Street. The Green Line-E Branch south of Brigham Circle is possibly not all that great either. Most grad students I know of either live in Cambridge (near Kendall/MIT, Central, Harvard, or Porter on the Red Line) or Somerville (near Davis on the Red Line), or in Boston near a stop on the B or C Branches of the Green Line.

You should also take into note the fact that Boston public transit stops operating relatively early every night: don't plan to count on the subway after 12:00 AM. Couple this with the fact that the subway system is relatively limited and that rents on places within walking distances of a subway stop are very high, and you get some people who prefer to live somewhere a bit cheaper and drive or bike to school/work (or take the bus).

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If you can afford it, the South End would be fabulous for you. I'm jealous :)

and to the poster directly above: goodness gracious, you can't compare South Boston and Dorchester to Roxbury :roll:

the best advice is to visit if you can and see what neighborhoods you'd be comfortable in.

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If you can afford it, the South End would be fabulous for you. I'm jealous :)

and to the poster directly above: goodness gracious, you can't compare South Boston and Dorchester to Roxbury :roll:

the best advice is to visit if you can and see what neighborhoods you'd be comfortable in.

I dunno, all I'm saying is I've lived in the Boston area for several years and I've heard that it would be a bad idea to live in South Boston, Dorchester, or Roxbury. (I currently live near Davis Square in Somerville.) I've never lived in South Boston, Dorchester, or Roxbury so I can't make firsthand judgments or comparisons.

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I dunno, all I'm saying is I've lived in the Boston area for several years and I've heard that it would be a bad idea to live in South Boston, Dorchester, or Roxbury. (I currently live near Davis Square in Somerville.) I've never lived in South Boston, Dorchester, or Roxbury so I can't make firsthand judgments or comparisons.

ah, well I have, along with Brighton and Medford.

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I live in the S. End, and there are some very nice townhomes, but it is not Wellsley. In between the 3.2 mil. renovated brownstones are low income housing. It's a very mixed neighborhood, so, sorry to break it to you, but you will sometimes be harrassed on the way to the subway. It's all part of the fun of the city.

Get yourself a map and trace the square created by the Copley Mall, Clarendon Street, Tremont Street and Mass Ave and live inside that square.

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I live in the S. End, and there are some very nice townhomes, but it is not Wellsley. In between the 3.2 mil. renovated brownstones are low income housing. It's a very mixed neighborhood, so, sorry to break it to you, but you will sometimes be harrassed on the way to the subway. It's all part of the fun of the city.

Get yourself a map and trace the square created by the Copley Mall, Clarendon Street, Tremont Street and Mass Ave and live inside that square.

Yes, well, "sometimes" is one thing and "twice a day, every day" is another thing entirely. I hate living in the city, was really hoping not to have to do it anymore, but hopefully with a little research I'll be able to make myself as happy as possible.

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Yes, well, "sometimes" is one thing and "twice a day, every day" is another thing entirely. I hate living in the city, was really hoping not to have to do it anymore, but hopefully with a little research I'll be able to make myself as happy as possible.

Yeah, "sometimes" is pretty much unavoidable no matter which area you live in around Boston. But the Porter/Davis Square area is really nice, I've never had any problems living here - it's safe and quiet and the streets are clean. I think Central Square isn't as nice, but it's closer to MIT, MGH, and downtown Boston so some people like that. From what I've heard I agree with Yellow#5's post about living in downtown.

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I didn't mean to scare you away from the S.End. I've been pretty happy there for almost 5 years. I lived in Davis Square also for about 3 years and the people in the S. End are definitely more "colorful" and ecclectic while Davis is mostly Students and pretty laid back. There are some local soup kitchens in the S.End neighborhood like Rosie's Place, so some of those colorful characters are homeless or living in subsidized housing, but I've always felt that they are a part of the neighborhood, more so than in other Boston neighborhoods, and so you won't get that aggressive, harrasing/desperate panhandling that you'll find around the Boston Common near the theatre district. Sometime you'll get asked for change, (not too often) but generally, you'll just wind up sitting next to someone at Starbucks with many many bags of aluminum cans.

Anyone you find having a full blown meltdown, talking to themselves, waving their arms and cussing at people for "walking too close to them" is probably a hedge-fund manager or a self proclaimed "venture capitalist." A guy like this used to live in my building. When the gourmet chocolate store opened on the corner, he actually went in there around christmas, claimed to be collecting money for the block associations wreath fund and tried to shake them down for a couple hundred bucks. No joke.

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I'm thinking about living a bit farther away for cheaper rent and a quiet atmosphere, either up the Orange line in Malden, or down the red line in Quincy. I'm afraid I'll feel too far away from everything, but considering there are fewer stops on those lines couldn't I get into the city just as quickly as I could from certain areas on the Green line, like Cleveland Circle? Do a lot of people make that commute everyday with no problem? Also what can anyone tell me about Malden and Quincy? Are they nice areas? Safe?

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I'd prefer Quincy to Malden. Malden is kind of dead and dirty...lots of obnoxious smokers on every sidewalk. There are more young professionals living in certain areas of Quincy and more stuff around (restaurants, stores, etc.). It might be hard to find a good place close to the T in either area if you want something in walking distance.

ETA: I used to work in Malden and my husband used to work in Quincy, so I've spent a fair amount of time in each.

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I'm thinking about living a bit farther away for cheaper rent and a quiet atmosphere, either up the Orange line in Malden, or down the red line in Quincy. I'm afraid I'll feel too far away from everything, but considering there are fewer stops on those lines couldn't I get into the city just as quickly as I could from certain areas on the Green line, like Cleveland Circle? Do a lot of people make that commute everyday with no problem? Also what can anyone tell me about Malden and Quincy? Are they nice areas? Safe?

Both of them are relatively safe overall. And you are correct about travel time on the Green Line - that old streetcar line is notoriously slow, overcrowded, and prone to delays. The Green Line is many things, but fast is not one of them.

Lots of people commute from Malden and Quincy daily. You won't be alone. Heck, one of my friends lives in Braintree (near the T stop there) and takes the Red Line in every day, and he's perfectly happy.

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