By: Nicole Siniscalchi
Space, cost, proximity to family and friends, not really a “city slicker”—whatever the reason may be, many of our students here at TC make the choice not to live in Manhattan. Luckily, if you find yourself in this category of commuters, there are plenty of options to get you to and from NYC with relative ease.
When I began my studies in the Higher and Postsecondary Education program, I elected to live in one of TC’s on-campus residence halls. It was conveniently located, I didn’t have to engage in any (potentially arduous) NYC apartment hunting, and it seemed like the easiest way to be close to campus.
With time, (and a growing desire for more space and lower rent), however, I found myself tossing around the idea of moving back to my hometown outside of the city. 90 miles outside of the city, to be exact. 90 miles? Is living almost 100 miles away from TC really doable? Well, while “extreme” commuting might not be for everyone—yes, even a 90-mile commute is entirely doable. At one point, I was commuting, working full-time, attending classes part-time, and a teaching assistant for two courses! It is not uncommon for TC students to make busy schedules like this work. There are also TONS of locations fewer miles outside of the city that serve as excellent places to reside while at TC. One thing I have realized after commuting for several years, and after traveling to many other cities, is that it’s hard to beat the convenience of NYC travel.
If you’re a commuter living outside of Manhattan, but still within an NYC borough, it’s likely that your primary mode of transportation will be the NYC subway. The MTA subway system is sophisticated, extensive, and overall, very reliable. The MTA also provides countless NYC bus options. *BONUS: Columbia University provides a convenient shuttle bus that TC students and employees can use for free!*
For those like myself, with a bit longer of a commute, driving, riding the ferry, or using a rail option might be necessary. The Staten Island Railway, Long Island Rail Road, PATH, NJ Transit, Amtrak, and Metro-North Railroad all offer several trains throughout the day for your commuting convenience.
As you can imagine, a commute of any length will be more enjoyable if you’re able to keep yourself occupied in some way. Some of my favorite options include: listening to podcasts or audiobooks, reading (for school or pleasure), catching up on work, watching shows or movies (thanks to the download feature most apps provide), or taking a nap (use your discretion with this option; naps are pretty common on the Metro-North, less so on the NYC subway). Additionally, one of my favorite things about commuting is the opportunity it gives me to unwind after a hectic day in the city. I’ve come to appreciate the quieter nature of life outside of bustling Manhattan. I have the best of both worlds—regular exposure to the exciting energy of the city, along with an opportunity to disconnect and recharge when it’s time to head back home.
Other benefits I’ve personally experienced living outside of the city are a larger living space, lower cost of living, familiarity with my surroundings, and being closer to my friends and family. Of course, there are some days I fantasize about being home from work before nightfall, but there are countless reasons why living outside of Manhattan may be the best option for you.
My advice is to keep your options open. It is great to live a few steps away from campus, but even a two-hour commute will go by quicker than you think!