To NYC biglaw associates who lived in NJ for 1st year

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Re: To NYC biglaw associates who lived in NJ for 1st year

Postby Anonymous User » Fri May 10, 2013 8:40 pm

I've been commuting from Metuchen, NJ to NYC for the past few years, first to Fordham then to NYU. Let me tell you, it sucks. My NJTransit commute into Penn Station is either 43 or 50 minutes depending on express/local, but my true door to door is between 1 hour 20 mins and 1 hour 30 mins depending on subways and such. It's very easy to forget getting to the train in the morning and getting from Penn to work when doing the math, and also that you need to be a couple minutes early to whatever train you are shooting for. And that's ignoring the many days of delayed trains...

Now granted, I live in "far away" NJ, at least in terms of commuting. But I've seen a few people mention NJTransit through Penn station, and I just wanted to chime in and say that it absolutely isn't worth it. I'm going to be working in biglaw somewhat near Grand Central starting in September, and I am finally pulling up my roots from NJ and moving closer. I got saddled with a pre-crash house so I've just been biting the bullet and commuting since I couldn't afford to pay the bank for the drop in the value of my house since then.

Anyway, it's been so bad that I have resolved to live as close as humanly (and affordably) possible to the office, so I'm looking at Murray Hill, Lenox Hill, and the lowest sections of the Upper East Side. To me, after this miserable commute, I don't care if it costs an extra $1k per month all said and done.

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CG614
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Re: To NYC biglaw associates who lived in NJ for 1st year

Postby CG614 » Fri May 10, 2013 9:03 pm

I don't think anyone here is looking to live as far as Metuchen.

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Re: To NYC biglaw associates who lived in NJ for 1st year

Postby Anonymous User » Fri May 10, 2013 9:13 pm

CG614 wrote:I don't think anyone here is looking to live as far as Metuchen.


I agree, and I hope not! I just wanted to comment to point out that of my 90 minute commute, only 45 of those minutes are spent on the NJTransit train. So, if you lived in Secaucus (first stop on NJTransit out of Penn) and had a 15 minute NJ transit ride, you can still end up with a 1 hour commute. I guess I'm just basically showing that anything through Penn is rough. And I was "lucky" because all of my subway xfers occur inside Penn; it's even worse if you have to walk a block and catch the BDFM etc from herald square.

When people compare commutes, there is often a lot of puffery but if you look at your watch when you leave the house in the morning and you look at the watch when your butt is in the chair, it's a lot longer than it looks.

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CG614
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Re: To NYC biglaw associates who lived in NJ for 1st year

Postby CG614 » Fri May 10, 2013 9:57 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
CG614 wrote:I don't think anyone here is looking to live as far as Metuchen.


I agree, and I hope not! I just wanted to comment to point out that of my 90 minute commute, only 45 of those minutes are spent on the NJTransit train. So, if you lived in Secaucus (first stop on NJTransit out of Penn) and had a 15 minute NJ transit ride, you can still end up with a 1 hour commute. I guess I'm just basically showing that anything through Penn is rough. And I was "lucky" because all of my subway xfers occur inside Penn; it's even worse if you have to walk a block and catch the BDFM etc from herald square.

When people compare commutes, there is often a lot of puffery but if you look at your watch when you leave the house in the morning and you look at the watch when your butt is in the chair, it's a lot longer than it looks.


I've made the Metuchen trip. I think you are cutting some minutes off the 45 min estimate. Regardless, if you are taking NJT trains and are working downtown, you will have a longer commute. However, I think most people working downtown would know better and would live off the Path to WTC. Or at least now they know. Midtown from Penn is no prob.

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Re: To NYC biglaw associates who lived in NJ for 1st year

Postby dixiecupdrinking » Sat May 11, 2013 2:14 pm

CG614 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
CG614 wrote:I don't think anyone here is looking to live as far as Metuchen.


I agree, and I hope not! I just wanted to comment to point out that of my 90 minute commute, only 45 of those minutes are spent on the NJTransit train. So, if you lived in Secaucus (first stop on NJTransit out of Penn) and had a 15 minute NJ transit ride, you can still end up with a 1 hour commute. I guess I'm just basically showing that anything through Penn is rough. And I was "lucky" because all of my subway xfers occur inside Penn; it's even worse if you have to walk a block and catch the BDFM etc from herald square.

When people compare commutes, there is often a lot of puffery but if you look at your watch when you leave the house in the morning and you look at the watch when your butt is in the chair, it's a lot longer than it looks.


I've made the Metuchen trip. I think you are cutting some minutes off the 45 min estimate. Regardless, if you are taking NJT trains and are working downtown, you will have a longer commute. However, I think most people working downtown would know better and would live off the Path to WTC. Or at least now they know. Midtown from Penn is no prob.

I think his point is a good one. If you're working within walking distance of Penn then it's one thing but if you need to transfer to the subway, that's a real PITA and will add more time than one might think, even if your job is in Midtown. Unless I was working in the low 40s on the west side I wouldn't bother with NJ. It's not undoable but honestly, if you're moving to the NYC area for a job and don't have a good reason to be in NJ, why bother? Hoboken and JC aren't really that much cheaper than LIC or Astoria even once you consider the tax advantages. Not worth it.

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Re: To NYC biglaw associates who lived in NJ for 1st year

Postby CG614 » Sun May 12, 2013 2:44 pm

Has anyone done the Weehawken/union city commute via bus? It's only one stop through the tunnel to the port authority. Any advice?

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Re: To NYC biglaw associates who lived in NJ for 1st year

Postby Anonymous User » Sun May 12, 2013 4:14 pm

I take the path from exchange place to the e to my office in midtown. Commute is 45 minutes door to door (frequently less if the trains really connect). I save a ton of money and my apartment is amazing.

If I I have to live across a river, ill live in jersey. I'd only ever consider manhattan when I move in with my girlfriend.

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Re: To NYC biglaw associates who lived in NJ for 1st year

Postby Anonymous User » Sun May 12, 2013 4:20 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I take the path from exchange place to the e to my office in midtown. Commute is 45 minutes door to door (frequently less if the trains really connect). I save a ton of money and my apartment is amazing.

If I I have to live across a river, ill live in jersey. I'd only ever consider manhattan when I move in with my girlfriend.


You think it would be manageable to live in Exchange Place area, and commute to Grand Central? I wish my firm were by the E, but its only close to the 7 and Lex train. So only possibility is taking Path to WTC, then catching Lex train up to Grand Central. That sound like it would be too much?

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Re: To NYC biglaw associates who lived in NJ for 1st year

Postby Anonymous User » Sun May 12, 2013 8:49 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I take the path from exchange place to the e to my office in midtown. Commute is 45 minutes door to door (frequently less if the trains really connect). I save a ton of money and my apartment is amazing.

If I I have to live across a river, ill live in jersey. I'd only ever consider manhattan when I move in with my girlfriend.


You think it would be manageable to live in Exchange Place area, and commute to Grand Central? I wish my firm were by the E, but its only close to the 7 and Lex train. So only possibility is taking Path to WTC, then catching Lex train up to Grand Central. That sound like it would be too much?

What? Not at all. Just walk to the 4,5,6 and catch an express.

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Re: To NYC biglaw associates who lived in NJ for 1st year

Postby Anonymous User » Sun May 12, 2013 9:29 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I take the path from exchange place to the e to my office in midtown. Commute is 45 minutes door to door (frequently less if the trains really connect). I save a ton of money and my apartment is amazing.

If I I have to live across a river, ill live in jersey. I'd only ever consider manhattan when I move in with my girlfriend.


You think it would be manageable to live in Exchange Place area, and commute to Grand Central? I wish my firm were by the E, but its only close to the 7 and Lex train. So only possibility is taking Path to WTC, then catching Lex train up to Grand Central. That sound like it would be too much?

What? Not at all. Just walk to the 4,5,6 and catch an express.


I guess my big concern is that I'm afraid the 45 min commute will be too much to have to do twice each day. All the first years at the firm seem to talk about how they feel like they have to be close, and that being accessible is really important. Having that commute didn't hinder you at all when you were just starting? Right now I'm considering either staying in Jersey City or getting a place on the Long Island City waterfront, which is just one subway stop away from Grand Central, so the difference is a 10 min commute vs. 45-50 min commute.

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Re: To NYC biglaw associates who lived in NJ for 1st year

Postby Anonymous User » Sun May 12, 2013 9:41 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I take the path from exchange place to the e to my office in midtown. Commute is 45 minutes door to door (frequently less if the trains really connect). I save a ton of money and my apartment is amazing.

If I I have to live across a river, ill live in jersey. I'd only ever consider manhattan when I move in with my girlfriend.


You think it would be manageable to live in Exchange Place area, and commute to Grand Central? I wish my firm were by the E, but its only close to the 7 and Lex train. So only possibility is taking Path to WTC, then catching Lex train up to Grand Central. That sound like it would be too much?

What? Not at all. Just walk to the 4,5,6 and catch an express.


I guess my big concern is that I'm afraid the 45 min commute will be too much to have to do twice each day. All the first years at the firm seem to talk about how they feel like they have to be close, and that being accessible is really important. Having that commute didn't hinder you at all when you were just starting? Right now I'm considering either staying in Jersey City or getting a place on the Long Island City waterfront, which is just one subway stop away from Grand Central, so the difference is a 10 min commute vs. 45-50 min commute.


It's only an issue if you can't stand up for yourself. Let the other first years be pussies about it.

If it's super late, take a car home. At 10pm, the car ride to JC is like 30 minutes.

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Re: To NYC biglaw associates who lived in NJ for 1st year

Postby Anonymous User » Sun May 12, 2013 9:47 pm

^^^

May I ask which Exchange Place building you live in and what your experience has been there? I've been considering 70 Greene and Liberty Towers but would love to hear from someone who actually lives in one of those buildings.

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Re: To NYC biglaw associates who lived in NJ for 1st year

Postby Anonymous User » Sun May 12, 2013 9:59 pm

Anonymous User wrote:^^^

May I ask which Exchange Place building you live in and what your experience has been there? I've been considering 70 Greene and Liberty Towers but would love to hear from someone who actually lives in one of those buildings.


Don't want to go int po further details about where I live, but 70 Greene is easily the best building in JC (though there are many other places are better but harder to find and owned by non-management companies). Avoid Liberty Towers.

If you can score a rental in 77 Hudson on the cheap, go there. Prices are going up in JC rental buildings because of tighter inventory.

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Re: To NYC biglaw associates who lived in NJ for 1st year

Postby Anonymous User » Sun May 12, 2013 10:45 pm

I live in 70 Greene. It's great, but also the priciest building in JC. The Monaco and Newport's the Aquablu are similarly priced. I think those three are the top-tier rental buildings. Maybe the new Madox building, too, but it's smaller. I think it might actually be more expensive, though. Crystal Point and 77 Hudson are the best condo buildings, if you can score a rental in either.

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Re: To NYC biglaw associates who lived in NJ for 1st year

Postby Anonymous User » Sun May 12, 2013 10:54 pm

I wouldn't do it. You save a bit on rent, but there are times the PATH isn't working and you're not as able to come on a whim. I just feel that there's such little free time, it won't be worth spending an extra 40 minutes each way every day. If you stay past midnight, it's now a real pain in the ass to get home. I don't know - I like knowing I could be at work rain, snow or sleet if I'm dependent on them to pay off debt and keep my wife and kids clothed and sheltered.

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Re: To NYC biglaw associates who lived in NJ for 1st year

Postby Anonymous User » Sun May 12, 2013 11:01 pm

I have a condo all the way out in flushing and I'm going to be all the way downtown, a commute I've done before but really dread doing again, but I need at least a 2 bedroom probably 3 for the family so manhattan is still too expensive...

Any ideas?

LIC doesn't save that much time to be worth the move, and I'm not sure the schools in JC are that hot so private school is pricey too.

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Re: To NYC biglaw associates who lived in NJ for 1st year

Postby dixiecupdrinking » Sun May 12, 2013 11:15 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I have a condo all the way out in flushing and I'm going to be all the way downtown, a commute I've done before but really dread doing again, but I need at least a 2 bedroom probably 3 for the family so manhattan is still too expensive...

Any ideas?

LIC doesn't save that much time to be worth the move, and I'm not sure the schools in JC are that hot so private school is pricey too.

Well, Brooklyn is the obvious choice. Any reason you're opposed to that? If Park Slope, Cobble Hill, Carroll Gardens are in your price range, they're all supposed to have pretty good schools. If not, then Bay Ridge isn't that bad a commute if you're working way downtown, especially if you don't mind paying for the express bus.

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Re: To NYC biglaw associates who lived in NJ for 1st year

Postby Anonymous User » Sun May 12, 2013 11:43 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I wouldn't do it. You save a bit on rent, but there are times the PATH isn't working and you're not as able to come on a whim. I just feel that there's such little free time, it won't be worth spending an extra 40 minutes each way every day. If you stay past midnight, it's now a real pain in the ass to get home. I don't know - I like knowing I could be at work rain, snow or sleet if I'm dependent on them to pay off debt and keep my wife and kids clothed and sheltered.


It's not 50 minutes. It's 35 minutes, door-to-door, my apartment in downtown JC to Grand Central at morning rush hour. I've done it many days. As for going home, you'll be late enough to be taking a car home paid by the firm 3-4 days a week typically anyway. Even an unlimited PATH and metro card is probably not worth buying.

PATH is also never down, other than brief outages (like on the subway) when something like a suicide happens. It does have delays, especially on weekends, but you can always get into Manhattan. It just might take a while at odd hours. But you won't be coming into the office at odd hours much, just staying late to odd hours. At which point you won't be taking the PATH home regardless.

Might not be worth it for some people, but I think it is.


Anonymous User wrote:I have a condo all the way out in flushing and I'm going to be all the way downtown, a commute I've done before but really dread doing again, but I need at least a 2 bedroom probably 3 for the family so manhattan is still too expensive...

Any ideas?

LIC doesn't save that much time to be worth the move, and I'm not sure the schools in JC are that hot so private school is pricey too.


Other than the Brooklyn recommendation... Schools are fine for elementary school, which is probably what you're after. It's high school that's really bad, but the public elementary school in downtown JC is not noticeably different from in Manhattan/Brooklyn. Same as in NYC, really. Sending a kid to private elementary school is foolish anywhere unless you really live in the ghetto (or are trying to get in early at a fancy Manhattan private school).

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Re: To NYC biglaw associates who lived in NJ for 1st year

Postby Anonymous User » Mon May 13, 2013 9:56 am

I just wanted to chime in and mention that there are parts of Manhattan that are less expensive than you may think and make commuting so much better (depending on where your firm is). For example, I've pretty much got my heart set on the Upper East Side somewhere between the 60's and 90's, and I am seeing plenty of 1 bedrooms for around 2k and two bedrooms for 2,500. Yes, you do have the city tax, but your commute could be walking-only depending on where your firm is. My firm is near 50th street, so it makes the area walkable for me.

I just looked again this morning and there were too many listings to remember, all around the 2k mark for a one bedroom (not a studio). I might consider a 2 bedroom since there could be a baby on the way soon, and at 2,500 I'm happy to stay in Manhattan.

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Re: To NYC biglaw associates who lived in NJ for 1st year

Postby Anonymous User » Mon May 13, 2013 10:00 am

Anonymous User wrote:I just wanted to chime in and mention that there are parts of Manhattan that are less expensive than you may think and make commuting so much better (depending on where your firm is). For example, I've pretty much got my heart set on the Upper East Side somewhere between the 60's and 90's, and I am seeing plenty of 1 bedrooms for around 2k and two bedrooms for 2,500. Yes, you do have the city tax, but your commute could be walking-only depending on where your firm is. My firm is near 50th street, so it makes the area walkable for me.

I just looked again this morning and there were too many listings to remember, all around the 2k mark for a one bedroom (not a studio). I might consider a 2 bedroom since there could be a baby on the way soon, and at 2,500 I'm happy to stay in Manhattan.


Where were you searching and seeing these listings?

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Re: To NYC biglaw associates who lived in NJ for 1st year

Postby Old Gregg » Mon May 13, 2013 10:19 am

Poster above is 100% right. Not hard to find 1BRs in the mid-2s on the UES.

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Re: To NYC biglaw associates who lived in NJ for 1st year

Postby dixiecupdrinking » Mon May 13, 2013 11:34 am

Yeah. Just look on craigslist. UES is very affordable (relatively), especially if you're willing to go over by 1st or York. Cheaper than the convenient parts of Brooklyn these days.

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Re: To NYC biglaw associates who lived in NJ for 1st year

Postby Anonymous User » Mon May 13, 2013 11:45 am

I have to live in NJ because my wife is an employee of NJ and works in Bergen county. We were thinking somewhere equidistant, like glen ridge/Montclair area as was mentioned earlier. It's a 35 minute train direct to penn on the montclair boonton line, and then the E. weekend service is limited but still exists. Plus they'll take you home after Xpm. If you time it well and live near the train station you can save lots of money and get in door to door in under an hour. Is this doable for a first year associate? Any idea if you can get any work done on that line? That'd be a big help as well if you could bill an hour here and there while commuting. Also since you can get work done at home, I think it is doable. Plan is to try it for a year. Any thoughts are very welcome.

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Re: To NYC biglaw associates who lived in NJ for 1st year

Postby thesealocust » Mon May 13, 2013 1:06 pm

I wouldn't plan to just try it for your first year.

Billable hours are probably uniformly burdensome at firms in NYC, but not all billable hours are made equal. Sometimes you can't be flexible - when clients wake up before 9 am and decide they need documents / revisions / advice, I don't get to "just bill some hours on the train" - I've got to scramble. On the flip side, associates mired in long doc reviews probably could count on being able to schedule a long commute and getting some work done.

It's hard to say how much flexibility you will or won't have is the thing.

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Re: To NYC biglaw associates who lived in NJ for 1st year

Postby Anonymous User » Mon May 13, 2013 3:35 pm

what i meant by try it for my first year was that if it didnt work out, i would move somewhere closer to the office or figure something else out. i think reevaluating after a year is a good idea, despite the unpredictability.




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