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Where would a gardener live if working in NY?

January 25, 2007

I've read with interest Pequafrog's request about living in the area and your responses, so I'm wondering if you could help me out a bit.

I might be transferring from the Chicagoland area to New York (Manhatten). I currently live just outside the city (in Evanston), where I have a nice house, land to garden on, a tree-lined street where I have access to a pedestrian-oriented city (I can walk to the store, the train, the gym, etc.). I'd want something like this if I'm to work in NY.

I don't know the area at all outside the city. Where would I live where I'd have access to a train to take me into the city, but be far enough away to have a house and a garden? I can't estimate what my salary would be, but I really can't imagine giving up gardening! The shorter the commute, the better.

The key here is that I'll work in the financial district. Our house is probably worth around $375-475, and a similar or slightly higher priced one is ideal. Now, where should I go? It would be a bonus if you knew how wonderful Evanston is.


Comments (7)

  • rhodyman

    Since you posted this in the PA gardening forum, I will describe the options in PA. There is a bus company, Carl R. Bieber Tourways, that runs commuter buses from Reading, PA to the Port Authority Terminal in Manhattan frequently each day. This bus makes stops in Reading, Kutztown, Fogelsville and Hellertown (between Allentown and Bethlehem).

    Many professionals that work in NYC have moved into our area. Some commute daily. Some have a place where they can stay overnight in NYC a couple days each week. Some can work out of their home and commute into NYC a couple times each week. The service costs $10 to $15 with Reading being the most expensive and Hellertown being the least expensive. It takes 3 to 3.5 hours from Reading and less than 2 hours from Hellertown.

    The advantage of the Reading-Kutztown (Berks County) and Allentown-Bethlehem (Lehigh County) areas is they are in an area where the real estate values are among the lowest in the country and you can buy as much land as you want for gardening/landscaping. Our climate is Zone 6 but is becoming Zone 7 with global warming. We have almost 40 inches of rain each year that is split fairly uniformly over the entire year. We have cold winters and hot summers. We get about 30 inches of snow in the winter and thunderstorms in the summer. Kutztown is famous for its Pennsylvania Dutch Folk Festival each summer. The grocery market, post office, and hardware store where we shop all have hitching rails for the horse and buggies to tie up. There are many colleges in the area including Lehigh, Cedar Crest, Muhlenberg, DeSales, Kutztown, Albright, Alvernia, Penn State branch campuses and community colleges. We have what is probably the best grocery chain in the world, Wegman's. The Amish and Mennonites have fantastic inexpensive garden stands and nurseries. A great outing is a trip to the following:

    Conestoga Nursery - Closed Tuesday & Sunday (most every landscape plant)
    310 Reading Rd, East Earl PA 17519-9964
    located on PA 625 1.5 miles north of PA 23 (near Shady Maple)

    Black Creek Greenhouses (annuals, perennials, water plants)
    211 E Black Creek Rd, East Earl, PA 17519
    from Conestoga Nursery go north on PA 625 another 2.2 miles and turn right on Black Creek Road and go .4 miles.

    Shady Maple Smorgasbord
    129 Toddy Dr, East Earl, PA 17519
    Shady Maple Smorgasbord is a huge Amish style buffet that is very popular. It is on PA 23 just .5 miles west of PA 625. It is located on top of the hill behind the Shady Maple Farm Market. The combination of the three make a great outing.

    We have lots of cultural opportunities with subscription series in Reading, Kutztown, Allentown and Bethlehem. We are only 2 hours from NYC and all it has plus we are only 1 hour from Philadelphia and all it has. We are 2 to 3 hours from the New Jersey beaches and Washington, DC. The Baltimore Aquarium and Harbor is a great place to visit when you live here. We have the Pocono Mountains with summer resorts and winter skiing.

    We belong to the Lehigh Valley Chapter of the American Rhododendron Society and my wife belongs to a unit of the American Herb Society.

    It is a great area to garden and to live.

    Here is a link that might be useful: Bieber Bus runs to NYC

  • sarahbn

    Hi Michael in Chicago, I'm from Pa but I have a daughter up there. She went to school in the Bronx. I don't know the real estate there at all, but I can tell you there are two magnificent gardens in the Bronx. Wave Hill and New York Botanical gardens are both in the Bronx and in Manhatten there's a garden near the cloisters called Fort Tyron park three amazing places!

    For real estate I have no idea but here's a link to some Real Estate articles in the New York Times Hope that helps

    Here is a link that might be useful: Real Estate

  • pequafrog

    If you're looking in NY, you may want to try this link:


    Also, I sent you an email about Long Island. It's very expensive but nice. Very high taxes and a lot of traffic. Wanna buy a house in Massapequa??! ;-)

    Good luck!

  • michael_in_chicago

    What great responses! I'm going to follow all the links now! Pequafrog, who knows? I'm not sure how quickly this is going to happen (my job situation). Thanks to all so far.

  • Pipersville_Carol

    Personally, I think commuting to New York from PA is too grueling, unless you're in a town close to NJ transportation (like Yardley PA). Nice homes in Yardley seem to start around 400k, and the train from Trenton is very close. Beware of houses in the flood zone, though.

    Montclair NJ is really nice and an easy commute, but I think houses start at around 800k.

    The Metuchen and Edison areas are convenient, reasonably priced with excellent train service. Some spots have run-down 1960s tract houses, but they're on good-sized lots.

    The shore areas of NJ are good for gardening, too. Check out a town called the Atlantic Highlands (probably in the 500k and up range).

    Good luck! You might be moving up a zone, to 6. I'd imagine Chicago is zone 5, right?

  • michael_in_chicago

    Yes, I'm on the lake right now (5b). Thanks for your suggestions.

  • rhodyman

    Bethlehem, PA is less than 2 hours by Bieber Bus from NYC and very nice homes start for 200K or less. 800K would be a huge mansion. There is no flooding in Bethlehem. And they do a lot of fun thing in Bethlehem like:

    Bach Festival (May) choral music festival
    Celtic Classic (September) Celtic culture, food and music
    Christkindlmarkt (December) Patterned after ones in Germany
    Christmas Peace Pilgrimage (December)
    Concours d'Elegance (June) auto show
    First Night Bethlehem (New Year's Eve)
    Musikfest (August) music festival
    Southside Film Festival
    Banana Factory local artists first Friday of the month.
    the Sands BethWorks casino
    plus much more ...

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