NYC, Philly, Boston, or Chicago?

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NYC, Philly, Boston, or Chicago?

Postby dwade1109 » Fri Jul 12, 2013 9:31 pm

Four very different cities. Obviously everyone will have their biases.

But for a 25 year old single male who has spent his entire life in south or central Florida which is the best choice for a 1 year hiatus? Socially, financially etc.

Basically I will be coming back to FL long term but am leaving for further specialized training. The programs in all 4 cities are excellent but the one in Philly is a notch above the other ones. Just wondering if the actual city makes up for that difference in training. Have family in NJ.
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Re: NYC, Philly, Boston, or Chicago?

Postby mac808 » Fri Jul 12, 2013 9:33 pm

I would go wherever the best career opportunities are. NYC might be the most fun in terms of nightlife. Philly and Chicago are significantly cheaper than NYC or Boston but for a short period of time, the extra cost might not matter.
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Re: NYC, Philly, Boston, or Chicago?

Postby Calm Man » Fri Jul 12, 2013 9:46 pm

These cities are all wonderful and you may find that the life up north is far more fulfilling than in Florida. Maybe not. The areas differ a lot in what they offer. The problem with Chicago and Philadelphia is that poor leadership and fiscal problems are creating very high crime situations including homicides at alarming rates. NY and Boston are better now. This could change dramatically in NYC depending on the outcome of the mayoral election this November. Without getting political there is a great controversy on how police can operate which may have great repercussions. I know less about Boston but lived there for about 10 years once. It was great, but is signficantly colder than NYC.
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Re: NYC, Philly, Boston, or Chicago?

Postby Mel Lindauer » Fri Jul 12, 2013 9:55 pm

Calm Man wrote:These cities are all wonderful and you may find that the life up north is far more fulfilling than in Florida. Maybe not. The areas differ a lot in what they offer. The problem with Chicago and Philadelphia is that poor leadership and fiscal problems are creating very high crime situations including homicides at alarming rates. NY and Boston are better now. This could change dramatically in NYC depending on the outcome of the mayoral election this November. Without getting political there is a great controversy on how police can operate which may have great repercussions. I know less about Boston but lived there for about 10 years once. It was great, but is signficantly colder than NYC.


As Calm Man mentioned, you might want to check the crime statistics very closely in several of those cities. Having spent many years in Philly and the surrounding area, I no longer feel safe going into town after dark. Personally, I try to avoid taking myself to the scene of a crime.
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Re: NYC, Philly, Boston, or Chicago?

Postby sometimesinvestor » Fri Jul 12, 2013 10:02 pm

what these cities have in common is that a car may not be necessary. Philly costs are clearly lower so given the better training course and the fact that you have family in nj suggests that you have to look most closely at non training work related activities available in each city and decide if they are worth giving up Philadelphia for. For us to help we may need to know more about your outside interests
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Re: NYC, Philly, Boston, or Chicago?

Postby curiouskitty » Fri Jul 12, 2013 10:31 pm

I enjoyed both Boston and NYC, but NYC has a lot more going on for sure. I would choose Boston (or preferably Cambridge) if you want a smaller city with lots of students, researchers, post-docs, etc. Otherwise I would definitely head to NYC!!
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Re: NYC, Philly, Boston, or Chicago?

Postby dwade1109 » Fri Jul 12, 2013 10:38 pm

sometimesinvestor wrote:what these cities have in common is that a car may not be necessary. Philly costs are clearly lower so given the better training course and the fact that you have family in nj suggests that you have to look most closely at non training work related activities available in each city and decide if they are worth giving up Philadelphia for. For us to help we may need to know more about your outside interests


Family actually in NYC, that was a typo! Manhattan

Outside interests: tennis, weight-lifting, reading, writing, watching sports, art museums, hiking, cycling in no particular order
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Re: NYC, Philly, Boston, or Chicago?

Postby burgrat » Fri Jul 12, 2013 11:04 pm

I lived in Philly (Center City) for about 3 years and I enjoyed it a lot. I would be torn between NYC and Philly. NYC is way more expensive than Philadelphia, but it is one of the most incredibly exciting cities in the world. Keep in mind that NYC is only a few hours by train from Philadelphia. That is a quick trip and since you already have family there, that may be a good option.
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Re: NYC, Philly, Boston, or Chicago?

Postby btraven » Sat Jul 13, 2013 1:19 am

There is only one Big Apple. The other cities are all nice, but, if you can afford it, NYC is the place to spend a year.
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Re: NYC, Philly, Boston, or Chicago?

Postby stemikger » Sat Jul 13, 2013 2:40 am

dwade1109 wrote:Four very different cities. Obviously everyone will have their biases.

But for a 25 year old single male who has spent his entire life in south or central Florida which is the best choice for a 1 year hiatus? Socially, financially etc.

Basically I will be coming back to FL long term but am leaving for further specialized training. The programs in all 4 cities are excellent but the one in Philly is a notch above the other ones. Just wondering if the actual city makes up for that difference in training. Have family in NJ.


Your message is a little confusing. If you want to sew your wild oats NYC is the place for you. If you are looking to save some money and concentrate on this training you mentioned I can't really help you.

I am 49 now and I'm a native Staten Islander. When I was in my early twenties me and my friends spent our weekends in the NYC club and bar scene. Now that I'm a middle aged guy and I think back how much fun we had it was an amazing time. We were living life in the fast lane and although by the time I was 25 I met my wife and got engaged for those few years we owned NYC our experiences were stuff they make movies about. It truly is the town that never sleeps and I think every young person should experience living here for one year.

Let me tell you once you hit my age you still think you are young but you can never go back to the clubs or that scene. It is only for the young, so you have a limited time to live it. So I would go for it because before you know it you are looking back at your life in your 40s, 50s and beyond and hopefully you have some amazing memories that make you smile.

Good Luck.
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Re: NYC, Philly, Boston, or Chicago?

Postby linuxizer » Sat Jul 13, 2013 5:35 am

Wow, what's with all the Philly hate?

Come here. You will have the best training program, lowest costs, and a really fun and lovely city to play around in. NYC is, as mentioned, a quick train ride away--I know many people who commute there once a week but prefer living in Philly for various reasons (you can purchase an unlimited Amtrak commuter pass for the difference in the rent costs, even after Amtrak doubled the price).

Having lived in Boston, NYC, and Philly, I can tell you that you will live in a safer neighborhood in Philly for a given amount of rent than either other city. Keep in mind when interpreting crime statistics that Boston is divided into perhaps a dozen cities, whereas the same area in Philly is all Philadelphia city. Center City and even parts of West Philly (University City) and North Philly (Northern Liberties) are perfectly reasonable places to live these days. Philly did not have a big housing crash, so it continued its upwards trajectory in terms of quality-of-life.
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Re: NYC, Philly, Boston, or Chicago?

Postby bill1958 » Sat Jul 13, 2013 6:24 am

I personally would recommend Boston over the other 3 for a young person moving to one of these 4 cities (though I do live in the metro area). Boston offers everything a large city offers, but with a small city feel. Being home to many universities in the area contributes to the attributes that a young person would be attracted to. The cultural, histircal, sporting events, and employment opportunities for a young professional are a positive for the city, as well as the renaissance the city has enjoyed since the completion of the big dig project. I'm very familiar with the other 3 cities mentioned, having visited numerous times on business. Philly compares well with Boston- has better weather, but higher crime. If want a big city Chicago or NY are a toss up, tho Chicago gets my vote. Not mentioned is San Francisco- my personal favorite city to visit when traveling the US.
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Re: NYC, Philly, Boston, or Chicago?

Postby SPG8 » Sat Jul 13, 2013 7:11 am

Mel Lindauer wrote:
Calm Man wrote:These cities are all wonderful and you may find that the life up north is far more fulfilling than in Florida. Maybe not. The areas differ a lot in what they offer. The problem with Chicago and Philadelphia is that poor leadership and fiscal problems are creating very high crime situations including homicides at alarming rates. NY and Boston are better now. This could change dramatically in NYC depending on the outcome of the mayoral election this November. Without getting political there is a great controversy on how police can operate which may have great repercussions. I know less about Boston but lived there for about 10 years once. It was great, but is signficantly colder than NYC.


As Calm Man mentioned, you might want to check the crime statistics very closely in several of those cities. Having spent many years in Philly and the surrounding area, I no longer feel safe going into town after dark. Personally, I try to avoid taking myself to the scene of a crime.


This probably should be put in perspective. First, the murder rate is down (most of these murders involve competition between young urban entrepreneurs in a difficult business environment, operating on razor thin margins).

This is mainly attributed to the targeted policing that I believe NYC adopted some time ago. It's go where the crime is, and where you won't go; North, very West-West, South-West. Everybody develops their own comfort level, but as far as Center City, I don't recall anyone getting jacked in front of the Kimmel Center or walking out of Vetri.

What you may run into;

1. watching you mobile phone go away from your table in a snatch & grab
2. getting punched in the face during a flash mob - but this trend is waning for a while now in Philadelphia (big in Chicago), the police really aren't bad at their jobs, and they monitor social media now and preposition appropriately, we haven't had one of these things in a while
3. Probably the #1 danger? Getting beat to within inches of your life by a pack of drunk suburban college kids spilling out of clubs in Old City at 2:00 am.

Undoubtedly there are horrific crimes, but I don't think any major urban area is immune to those.

Good luck.
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Re: NYC, Philly, Boston, or Chicago?

Postby nisiprius » Sat Jul 13, 2013 7:22 am

I can't imagine recommending such a personal thing that depends so much on taste. And, of course, differences from neighborhood to neighborhood in any of these cities might be larger than differences from city to city. Everything depends on the specific address where you will be getting your training.

One casual observation. One of these things is not like the others, one of these things doesn't belong.

Historically, New York, Boston, and Philadelphia are three-of-a-kind. They were all big cities in the American revolution (when big city meant like population 20,000). They all are part of the "Eastern establishment." Their upper-crust is all part of "society" in the sense of the Social Register. They are all old-time financial centers. They all have schools that are literally members of the Ivy League (Columbia, Harvard, and Penn respectively). (New York historically was actually a little behind the others until the building of the Erie Canal, which catapulted New York to its pre-eminent position).

Chicago is historically different. It didn't really emerge until the building of the transcontinental railroad. Population 30,000 in 1850, 100,000 in 1860, 300,000 in 1870, 500,000 in 1880, and a million in 1890. Even in the late 1800s, it took me a while to pick up on this, but Buffalo was a bigger deal than Chicago (the Erie Canal again).

How much of that difference is still detectable in modern life, I couldn't say. It's just an observation. Does Chicago still remember that the University of Chicago is build on the midway of 1876 Century of Progress's fairgrounds? Does it still think of itself as "Hog Butcher for the World, Tool Maker, Stacker of Wheat, Player with Railroads and the Nation's Freight Handler, Stormy, husky, brawling, City of the Big Shoulders?"

This is not to boost or recommend Chicago, just to point out a difference. And of course if you're an architecture buff...
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Re: NYC, Philly, Boston, or Chicago?

Postby ssquared87 » Sat Jul 13, 2013 7:27 am

I'm 26 living in NYC. Grew up just outside of NYC, and have lived in NYC for 4 years now. Personally, I've never felt unsafe in NYC, just stay out of alphabet city and harlem and you'll be fine.

I've had amazing experiences here, glad I did it, but am ready to move on. NYC is not the place to be if you are making less than 6 figures, as your quality of life will be pretty miserable, unless you ignore saving for retirement etc. The other thing that makes it challenging is that I'm an outdoorsy person and getting in/out of the city to do things is a challenge and expensive. I think Boston would be the best balance between quality of life/social life etc, but I've never lived there only visited a bunch of times. I lived in Chicago for a few months for work and enjoyed it, but I hear winters can be brutal

Heres a basic rundown of my budget. I'm making about 90K and maxing out 401K (17.5k a year)
Monthly Income After tax/retirement contributions $3,500
Rent for a crappy 2 bedroom apartment with a fake wall to share between 3 of us in a decent but not amazing area: 1,350
Internet(which barely gets higher than 10mbps)/electric/tv: $80
Metrocard: $112
Food: $600 (and that is extremely low for NYC...I go out to or lunch once/twice a week and cook the rest of the week. part of the experience of NYC is going to restaurants, expect to spend $1,000 a month on food if you go out with friends etc.)
Bar: $200 (again, this is a low figure, assumes one night out a week at a moderate price bar. if you go to a hip place you will drop at least this much in one night)
Gym: $148 Yes, you could go to a decent gym like NYSC for $80 a month, but this is where I like to indulge and go somewhere a bit better because its my escape


That leaves about $1,100 in cash if I dont blow my budget.

I'm not a huge drinker so even looking at this and realizing i pay $200 a month on beer is ridiculous. I went out with some friends one night they bought me a drink, so I offered to pay for next round. Was kind of shocked that 6 mixed drinks came to $150. Didn't have another drink for the rest of the month.

I also like to go hiking, play tennis, and do outdoors stuff, which is quite a challenge in the city. Lets say you plan on going hiking on a Sunday. Saturday night you go out with your hiking buddies, and of course they will drink too much and wake up at 1 in the afternoon, and decide to cancel the hike. But assuming your friends don't get trashed the night before, you're going to have to rent a car for the day just to get out of NYC and drive at least an hour out of the city. Car rentals are going to run you $100 plus a day

Tennis is doable in NYC, if you're willing to travel to one of the few courts scattered throughout the city and get a tennis permit from the city. This generally works, but you need to plan in advance. The public courts are pretty crowded though, and you will often just cave and pay $80/hour for a private court.

Like I said before, Its an amazing city and I wouldn't trade the experiences I had for anything. But there is a time and place for everything. Do it for a year, then move on
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Re: NYC, Philly, Boston, or Chicago?

Postby ssquared87 » Sat Jul 13, 2013 7:35 am

bill1958 wrote:I personally would recommend Boston over the other 3 for a young person moving to one of these 4 cities (though I do live in the metro area). Boston offers everything a large city offers, but with a small city feel. Being home to many universities in the area contributes to the attributes that a young person would be attracted to. The cultural, histircal, sporting events, and employment opportunities for a young professional are a positive for the city, as well as the renaissance the city has enjoyed since the completion of the big dig project. I'm very familiar with the other 3 cities mentioned, having visited numerous times on business. Philly compares well with Boston- has better weather, but higher crime. If want a big city Chicago or NY are a toss up, tho Chicago gets my vote. Not mentioned is San Francisco- my personal favorite city to visit when traveling the US.


What is public transport like in Boston, do you need to live in the city to really experience it, or do a good amount of young people live just outside the city and travel in?
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Re: NYC, Philly, Boston, or Chicago?

Postby VictoriaF » Sat Jul 13, 2013 8:04 am

ssquared87 wrote:I'm 26 living in NYC. Grew up just outside of NYC, and have lived in NYC for 4 years now. Personally, I've never felt unsafe in NYC, just stay out of alphabet city and harlem and you'll be fine.

I've had amazing experiences here, glad I did it, but am ready to move on. NYC is not the place to be if you are making less than 6 figures, as your quality of life will be pretty miserable, unless you ignore saving for retirement etc. The other thing that makes it challenging is that I'm an outdoorsy person and getting in/out of the city to do things is a challenge and expensive.


New York City is well connected by public transportation to parks in New York and New Jersey such as Harriman State Park, Shawangunks ("Gunks"), Catskills, etc. When I lived in New Jersey, I was hiking there every weekend and my commute by car was far worse than the trains and buses used by the New Yorkers.

Check out Appalachian Mountain Club (AMC) - New York. Here is their schedule for the next two weeks. You will see numerous offerings every Saturday and Sunday. Descriptions of hikes include transportation options, which are tailored to those who do not have a car in the city, and possibly never had a car.

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Re: NYC, Philly, Boston, or Chicago?

Postby Jim85 » Sat Jul 13, 2013 8:21 am

Can't speak much about the other cities although I been to all, but I can say there is a lot of young people in Philly these days. I have 3 kids in their 20s, all live in the City, only 1 works there. The other 2 commute out to the suburbs for work. I know this to be the case with the older children of many friends/relatives, there's real attraction to living in Philly even if they are not working in the city. Maybe this is a national or east coast trend but when I was that age I knew no one living downtown or interested in doing so unless they were in grad school or something. I'm not sure of the attraction, I guess its the bar/restaurant scene but these are not isolated observations. Being in my late 50s, I have lots of friends/colleagues with children this age. I would say these are mostly college educated, young professionals.
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Re: NYC, Philly, Boston, or Chicago?

Postby bill1958 » Sat Jul 13, 2013 8:35 am

ssquared87 wrote:
bill1958 wrote:I personally would recommend Boston over the other 3 for a young person moving to one of these 4 cities (though I do live in the metro area). Boston offers everything a large city offers, but with a small city feel. Being home to many universities in the area contributes to the attributes that a young person would be attracted to. The cultural, histircal, sporting events, and employment opportunities for a young professional are a positive for the city, as well as the renaissance the city has enjoyed since the completion of the big dig project. I'm very familiar with the other 3 cities mentioned, having visited numerous times on business. Philly compares well with Boston- has better weather, but higher crime. If want a big city Chicago or NY are a toss up, tho Chicago gets my vote. Not mentioned is San Francisco- my personal favorite city to visit when traveling the US.


What is public transport like in Boston, do you need to live in the city to really experience it, or do a good amount of young people live just outside the city and travel in?


I would rate transportation options as very good- subway (oldest in USA), bus, commuter rail for points beyond metro area, and commuter boat (this is mainly limited to a few coastal communities in the burbs). Here's the link to the system: http://www.mbta.com/ . To really experience it, I would say live in the city, or in one of the adjacent areas ( especially north)- Somerville/Everett/Medford/Malden/Brighton-Allston among others. Rent is cheaper, but you won't walk out your door to what Boston offers, though you can be downtown fairly quickly on public transit. Generally the young professionals live in Boston (Back Bay, South End, Fenway, South Boston, North End, or Beacon Hill) or Cambridge (my personal choice over Boston), with up to 2-3 roommates. Typical rent per is around $700 to over $1,000 depending on location and quality
of apartment.
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Re: NYC, Philly, Boston, or Chicago?

Postby bottomfisher » Sat Jul 13, 2013 8:43 am

dwade1109 wrote:Four very different cities. Obviously everyone will have their biases.

But for a 25 year old single male who has spent his entire life in south or central Florida which is the best choice for a 1 year hiatus? Socially, financially etc.

Basically I will be coming back to FL long term but am leaving for further specialized training. The programs in all 4 cities are excellent but the one in Philly is a notch above the other ones. Just wondering if the actual city makes up for that difference in training. Have family in NJ.


Was in your same position back in 1999. Grew up in South Louisiana - same house except 1 hour away for college. Wanted something different for 1 year. I chose New York City because I had a cousin there and had an opportunity to visit on a couple of occasions. Stayed for 2 1/2 years and it was a wonderful experience. Many fortunate things happened for me and had experiences never could have anticipated. I can't really say how they compare to your other other options from a living there perspective. But socially no doubt you'll have a good time in NYC. There's so many younger people in the same situation, its easy to make friends. Financially, on the hand, its tough. But it teaches you lessons. And its true, 'if you can make it here, you can make it anywhere.'
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Re: NYC, Philly, Boston, or Chicago?

Postby eucalyptus » Sat Jul 13, 2013 8:47 am

This is not a hard decision.

NY is one of the world's great cities.

Philly, Boston and Chicago are great American cities.

Go to NY.
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Re: NYC, Philly, Boston, or Chicago?

Postby dwade1109 » Sat Jul 13, 2013 9:01 am

Thanks for all the advice! At this point even before the excellent advice I'm torn between NYC and Philly.

Some other helpful things that may help:
-Ill be making about 50-55k a year
-NYC will be Manhattan. Boston will be Cambridge. Philly will be Center City. Chicago will be area by UChicago
-This is really like a 1, max 2 year hiatus. I'll be headed back to Florida likely permanently to work and also help take care of my disabled sister. Obviously it's hard to predict the future but this may be my only real opportunity to live somewhere different
-That being the case, I'm ok not doing any retirement saving for the time I'm gone. I already have 150k in retirement savings and I'm shoring up my emergency fund which I expect to pull from while living away so I can really have a good experience before returning home to my boglehead basics in FL
-The difference in training between Philly and the rest is like the difference between a top 5 law school and a top 15 law school
-I will be very, very sad if I can't play tennis at least once a week!
-I will try to fly home about once a month
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Re: NYC, Philly, Boston, or Chicago?

Postby matjen » Sat Jul 13, 2013 9:09 am

To echo a bit of what Nisi said above...Chicago is a different type of city than the others in that is is Midwestern. I believe it to be the best value among major cities in the world. It is just much less expensive here than a NY or a SF yet it is still a major city. Unlike say Dallas or even Houston.

I would quickly narrow down between NYC and Chicago and pick one or the other.

Having said that, if this were just a year or two as you say...I would go to NYC. Experience it while you are younger.
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Re: NYC, Philly, Boston, or Chicago?

Postby ProfessorX » Sat Jul 13, 2013 9:15 am

dwade1109 wrote:-The difference in training between Philly and the rest is like the difference between a top 5 law school and a top 15 law school


That would make all the difference for me right there. Go where you will get the best education IMO.

I live and work in Philly. One other thing to think about is that Philly has substantially warmer winters than any of the other cities you are considering. That may mean more to you coming from Florida.

As for crime. It is way down in Philly this year due to new policing strategies:
http://articles.philly.com/2013-07-01/n ... s-analysis

I have to say that after living in a very nice part of Philly for four years I feel very safe here, safe enough to raise a child in the middle of the city. Safe enough to walk around outside at night. (Granted I don't walk around at 4am. And you do have some robberies etc late at night.) But crime in Philly is very neighborhood specific. Check out this map: http://www.neighborhoodscout.com/pa/philadelphia/crime/

Besides all that the city has a lot to offer. I have lived in Boston and NYC, and the food scene in Philly is better than Boston and not as good as NYC but also very good. The middle of the city in Philly is like a smaller version of Manhattan that is affordable to live in the middle of for someone with a salary like yours and mine.
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Re: NYC, Philly, Boston, or Chicago?

Postby bill1958 » Sat Jul 13, 2013 9:23 am

50-55K is not a livable wage in NYC, but is in Cambridge with criteria you mention (or Center City). The area around U of Chicago has a high murder rate (my brother lived just off campus as a student there and had several bullets come thru his apt). Philly is warmer in winter (though not by much), but the summers are much more hot/humid than Boston.

Good luck with your decision!
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Re: NYC, Philly, Boston, or Chicago?

Postby fatlittlepig » Sat Jul 13, 2013 9:34 am

I've been to all four. Chicago is by far the most liveable and enjoyable city. the crime you read about is in areas which you will not be living or visiting.
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Re: NYC, Philly, Boston, or Chicago?

Postby smiley » Sat Jul 13, 2013 9:42 am

I spent my 20s in Manhattan for 4 years then Center City Philly for 4 years. I had a 30-40k income in NYC and 40-60k income in Philly while doing residency and fellowship training.
I worked hard, but I had so much fun (maybe a little too much at times) when I wasn't working.
While 50-55k isn't a lot in NYC (30-40k wasn't a lot in the late 90s), you'll be fine. You won't be partying like a rock star, but trust me you'll have lots of fun.

I liked both cities, but I always felt that Philly was just a smaller version of NYC... and while that can be a plus sometimes, it just wasn't the same.
If I had to choose between the 2, I'd pick NYC hands down. I think Cambridge is pretty, but seems too cold. Area around U of Chi scares me, and I grew up in da Bronx.

good luck, and have a great time!

:happy
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Re: NYC, Philly, Boston, or Chicago?

Postby stan1 » Sat Jul 13, 2013 9:46 am

This is for your education, go to the best program you can get into (and can afford).
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Re: NYC, Philly, Boston, or Chicago?

Postby fatlittlepig » Sat Jul 13, 2013 9:50 am

my ranking would be
Chicago
Boston
NY, PHILLY (equally unattractive)

again the high murder rate are in areas you would choose not to live in.


bill1958 wrote:50-55K is not a livable wage in NYC, but is in Cambridge with criteria you mention (or Center City). The area around U of Chicago has a high murder rate (my brother lived just off campus as a student there and had several bullets come thru his apt). Philly is warmer in winter (though not by much), but the summers are much more hot/humid than Boston.

Good luck with your decision!
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Re: NYC, Philly, Boston, or Chicago?

Postby Babakhani » Sat Jul 13, 2013 9:51 am

I lived in Chicago for 20 years. It is the best city in the summer but that is 4-5 months out of the year.
It is safe despite what you read about the crimes. Those crimes are all located in their own districts that are full of gang and drug activity. If you stay where every normal person lives, you are very safe.

Having said that, if I had a choice to spend a year of my 20's in a city of my choice then it would be
1) Rome
2) NYC.

Since you aren't going to Rome, I would choose NYC hands down.
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Re: NYC, Philly, Boston, or Chicago?

Postby dwade1109 » Sat Jul 13, 2013 9:53 am

smiley wrote:I spent my 20s in Manhattan for 4 years then Center City Philly for 4 years. I had a 30-40k income in NYC and 40-60k income in Philly while doing residency and fellowship training.
I worked hard, but I had so much fun (maybe a little too much at times) when I wasn't working.
While 50-55k isn't a lot in NYC (30-40k wasn't a lot in the late 90s), you'll be fine. You won't be partying like a rock star, but trust me you'll have lots of fun.

I liked both cities, but I always felt that Philly was just a smaller version of NYC... and while that can be a plus sometimes, it just wasn't the same.
If I had to choose between the 2, I'd pick NYC hands down. I think Cambridge is pretty, but seems too cold. Area around U of Chi scares me, and I grew up in da Bronx.

good luck, and have a great time!

:happy


Thanks! This is for fellowship training so while I'll be busy hopefully I will have time to enjoy.
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Re: NYC, Philly, Boston, or Chicago?

Postby fatlittlepig » Sat Jul 13, 2013 9:53 am

NYC grossly overrated
Chicago is much more liveable and attractive.

Babakhani wrote:I lived in Chicago for 20 years. It is the best city in the summer but that is 4-5 months out of the year.
It is safe despite what you read about the crimes. Those crimes are all located in their own districts that are full of gang and drug activity. If you stay where every normal person lives, you are very safe.

Having said that, if I had a choice to spend a year of my 20's in a city of my choice then it would be
1) Rome
2) NYC.

Since you aren't going to Rome, I would choose NYC hands down.
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Re: NYC, Philly, Boston, or Chicago?

Postby reggiesimpson » Sat Jul 13, 2013 9:56 am

Just got back from Boston. The local Starbucks (Newbury St) had 20 customers. Three were old guys and the rest were beautiful young women. Your choice?
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Re: NYC, Philly, Boston, or Chicago?

Postby smiley » Sat Jul 13, 2013 10:01 am

dwade1109 wrote:
smiley wrote:I spent my 20s in Manhattan for 4 years then Center City Philly for 4 years. I had a 30-40k income in NYC and 40-60k income in Philly while doing residency and fellowship training.
I worked hard, but I had so much fun (maybe a little too much at times) when I wasn't working.
While 50-55k isn't a lot in NYC (30-40k wasn't a lot in the late 90s), you'll be fine. You won't be partying like a rock star, but trust me you'll have lots of fun.

I liked both cities, but I always felt that Philly was just a smaller version of NYC... and while that can be a plus sometimes, it just wasn't the same.
If I had to choose between the 2, I'd pick NYC hands down. I think Cambridge is pretty, but seems too cold. Area around U of Chi scares me, and I grew up in da Bronx.

good luck, and have a great time!

:happy


Thanks! This is for fellowship training so while I'll be busy hopefully I will have time to enjoy.


I was at Penn. Is this your choice? or Jefferson? The restaurants and nightlife around Rittenhouse/Old city were really amazing.
One more thing I'll say - in my residency at Columbia, maybe 10 max of the 100+ in our program were married some with kids. In philly, only a handful of us weren't married. As a single guy, this made a big difference to me.

:happy
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Re: NYC, Philly, Boston, or Chicago?

Postby ssquared87 » Sat Jul 13, 2013 10:05 am

reggiesimpson wrote:Just got back from Boston. The local Starbucks (Newbury St) had 20 customers. Three were old guys and the rest were beautiful young women. Your choice?


Yes!!! Girls in Boston are definitely more attractive than NYC girls from the times I went to Boston
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Re: NYC, Philly, Boston, or Chicago?

Postby reggiesimpson » Sat Jul 13, 2013 10:07 am

ssquared87 wrote:
reggiesimpson wrote:Just got back from Boston. The local Starbucks (Newbury St) had 20 customers. Three were old guys and the rest were beautiful young women. Your choice?


Yes!!! Girls in Boston are definitely more attractive than NYC girls from the times I went to Boston

My wife agrees. Maybe thats why we dont live there?
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Re: NYC, Philly, Boston, or Chicago?

Postby ssquared87 » Sat Jul 13, 2013 10:09 am

fatlittlepig wrote:NYC grossly overrated
Chicago is much more liveable and attractive.

Babakhani wrote:I lived in Chicago for 20 years. It is the best city in the summer but that is 4-5 months out of the year.
It is safe despite what you read about the crimes. Those crimes are all located in their own districts that are full of gang and drug activity. If you stay where every normal person lives, you are very safe.

Having said that, if I had a choice to spend a year of my 20's in a city of my choice then it would be
1) Rome
2) NYC.

Since you aren't going to Rome, I would choose NYC hands down.


Agreed. I only lived a short time in Chicago, but definitely was able to enjoy it more than New York...better balance and living standard...especially when I was making 60K/year.

Think the OP mentioned around 55, which you can do comfortable in Chicago, but not gonna happen in NYC. Rent has shot up substantially this year in NYC, I looked everywhere in Manhattan, all the decent areas of Brooklyn are going for the same price as Manhattan, and Astoria used to be much cheaper than the city, but has gone up. Astoria is still cheaper, but not by much.

55K is not liveable in NYC, you're going to have to live in Hoboken, Astoria, or one of the less desireable areas in Brooklyn even if you contribute nothing to retirement
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Re: NYC, Philly, Boston, or Chicago?

Postby smiley » Sat Jul 13, 2013 10:21 am

ssquared87 wrote:
55K is not liveable in NYC, you're going to have to live in Hoboken, Astoria, or one of the less desireable areas in Brooklyn even if you contribute nothing to retirement


unless of course housing is subsidized by the hospital/training program - Cornell offers amazing housing Upper East Side for cheap, for instance.

:happy
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Re: NYC, Philly, Boston, or Chicago?

Postby ProfessorX » Sat Jul 13, 2013 10:48 am

bill1958 wrote:Philly is warmer in winter (though not by much), but the summers are much more hot/humid than Boston.


If Boston @ 30 degrees vs Philly @ 47 degrees in the middle of winter is "not by much" then I agree.
I lived in Boston for three years before moving to Philly.
Personally I'd take the warmer summers over the harshly colder winters anytime.
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Re: NYC, Philly, Boston, or Chicago?

Postby market timer » Sat Jul 13, 2013 11:05 am

I'd pick Philly due to the strength of the program and low cost of living. If you were just looking for a place to hang out for a year, and money weren't an issue, the choice would be obvious: NYC.
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Re: NYC, Philly, Boston, or Chicago?

Postby bill1958 » Sat Jul 13, 2013 11:14 am

ProfessorX wrote:
bill1958 wrote:Philly is warmer in winter (though not by much), but the summers are much more hot/humid than Boston.


If Boston @ 30 degrees vs Philly @ 47 degrees in the middle of winter is "not by much" then I agree.
I lived in Boston for three years before moving to Philly.
Personally I'd take the warmer summers over the harshly colder winters anytime.


Have you moved Philly to NC? Here are the facts/average temps for both cities:

Boston: http://www.rssweather.com/climate/Massachusetts/Boston/

Philly: http://www.rssweather.com/climate/Penns ... ladelphia/

Temps 30 miles north/west of the city can vary to the cold side, but the ocean tends to temper the temps in the city

Summers are much more humid in Philly than in Boston. Just my opinion based on my frequent travel there.
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Re: NYC, Philly, Boston, or Chicago?

Postby Bfwolf » Sat Jul 13, 2013 11:45 am

I lived for a couple of years in Philly and the last 7 in Chicago. Chicago is a much more enjoyable city to live in IMO. Not least of which because Chicagoans are a friendlier bunch than Philadelphians: "Midwest Nice" is a real phenomenon. Chicago is a mecca for graduates of Big 10 schools, so there's a huge, young, single, educated population there which you would enjoy. I cannot in good conscience recommend Philadelphia.

Having said all that, if you plan on living down by U of C, don't bother. I wouldn't live anywhere south of the South Loop, and really if you want to be surrounded by other 20-somethings, you should consider River North, Lincoln Park, or Wicker Park.

From a cost of living standpoint, I think you'll find NYC is far and away the most expensive, followed by Boston, with Philly and Chicago being pretty comparable.
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Re: NYC, Philly, Boston, or Chicago?

Postby ProfessorX » Sat Jul 13, 2013 12:01 pm

bill1958 wrote:
ProfessorX wrote:
bill1958 wrote:Philly is warmer in winter (though not by much), but the summers are much more hot/humid than Boston.


If Boston @ 30 degrees vs Philly @ 47 degrees in the middle of winter is "not by much" then I agree.
I lived in Boston for three years before moving to Philly.
Personally I'd take the warmer summers over the harshly colder winters anytime.


Have you moved Philly to NC? Here are the facts/average temps for both cities:

Boston: http://www.rssweather.com/climate/Massachusetts/Boston/

Philly: http://www.rssweather.com/climate/Penns ... ladelphia/

Temps 30 miles north/west of the city can vary to the cold side, but the ocean tends to temper the temps in the city

Summers are much more humid in Philly than in Boston. Just my opinion based on my frequent travel there.


I don't believe the numbers in those charts accurately represent the temperatures in the downtown parts of both cities. Those are probably temperature readings from the airports which can vary widely from temperatures in the middle of the city.

I can tell you my "three jacket story" which is admittedly anecdotal. But I have had three winter jackets for a long time now. A windbreaker. A northface normal sized jacket. And a heavy winter long jacket. When I lived in Boston I wore the heavy winter jacket with a sweater underneath all winter long. In Philly for the last two winters I have not even taken the heavy winter jacket out of the closet, and I don't wear sweaters very often either.
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Re: NYC, Philly, Boston, or Chicago?

Postby dwade1109 » Sat Jul 13, 2013 12:20 pm

I'm leaning Philly for now based on stronger training and the fact it seems like it also has many of the things NYC offers. Boston and Chicago are lagging but obviously would be happy in those places as well.

I am also an American history buff if that means anything :)
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Re: NYC, Philly, Boston, or Chicago?

Postby RNJ » Sat Jul 13, 2013 2:24 pm

I can, of course, only share my own experience. One of the best decisions I've made, in a situation similar to yours, was choosing to live in NYC for a time in my late 20's and early 30's - and this was at a time when the city was in much poorer shape than it is now. There is ALWAYS something interesting to do (including just walking out the door); the variety of people you will come across in a single afternoon is unsurpassed anywhere in the country - perhaps (with the possible exception of London) anywhere in the world; inexpensive hi and lo cultural opportunities abound. The city is vibrant 24 hours a day. Great bus and subway system. If you want a change, close by (within 90 min) are great hiking and beaches. You can also take a day or weekend trips to Boston or Philly by train or bus.

If you are talking about a small, marginal difference in the quality/reputation of the program, I'd go to New York. If you are open, your horizons will be wonderfully expanded. For these and other reasons, this is exactly what I'd tell my son or daughter. NYC, hands down.*

*And yes, I've lived for a time in Boston and spent quite a bit of time in Philly.

Good luck.
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Re: NYC, Philly, Boston, or Chicago?

Postby jridger2011 » Sat Jul 13, 2013 2:42 pm

50-55K and Manhattan won't really work unless you have some external help or get lucky to find an apartment with 2 other roommates. This will leave very little cash left over for the expensive stuff like dry cleaning and nights out. I lived in the outskirts most of my adult life and the commute is a grind for work into Manhattan. I think you will have a better quality of life in Philly or Chicago, but at the same time, NYC is a really cool place to live once in this life.
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Re: NYC, Philly, Boston, or Chicago?

Postby ClevrChico » Sat Jul 13, 2013 2:44 pm

I can only speak to Chicago and Boston:

Boston - Most well kept large city I've been to. Even the city jail looks like a condo development. Their greyhound station is better than a lot of airports. City water is reverse osmosis. Great restaurants and seafood were reasonable. VERY expensive city in general. I've heard there's so many college graduates in the area that entry level jobs don't pay much either.

Chicago - Tons to do, very reasonable prices across the board. Mass transit everywhere. Has roots in a lot of different music genres. Lots of homeless and panhandlers, and is scary if you end up in the wrong part of the city. (Don't get off at the wrong train stop.) In general, I'm sure it's safe with a basic amount of common sense.
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Re: NYC, Philly, Boston, or Chicago?

Postby ieathoneybadgers » Sat Jul 13, 2013 3:10 pm

Like other have already said, you won't be living or visiting the high crime areas in Chicago. And that's true for all of these cities, really. Here's a map of Chicago crime so you can get a sense for what's low and high crime areas: http://crime.chicagotribune.com/

Edit: Note the numbers are just a reference system, not a ranking.

If you're going to live in NYC for only a year, definitely stay in Manhattan. One of the best activities is just walking around the city. Finding cheap places to eat, etc. Here's a good guide: http://realcheapeats.com/nyc

And NYC subways feel this hot in the summer time: http://i.imgur.com/kp9eDZX.jpg

Wear two shirts in NYC summer because the undershirt will be drenched in sweat. And the top one will be covered in other's people's sweat.

Chicago summers are amazing. November to like March are the less fun times of the year. But just get a good coat, boots, gloves, hat, and you'll be okay. Chicagoans still go out during this time.

Another great thing about NYC, really cheap and easy to get to DC, Philly, and Boston. Great for weekend trips. Just take one of the buses like MegaBus or BoltBus. Book early and get a ticket for like 10-15 bucks one-way, sometimes even a dollar if you're lucky.

EDIT: whoops, that 77 was the ranking, not the # of crimes. Fixed.
EDIT2: whoops again, member pointed out that the #s are just a reference #, not a ranking. Fixed. Thanks!!
Last edited by ieathoneybadgers on Mon Jul 15, 2013 6:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: NYC, Philly, Boston, or Chicago?

Postby dwade1109 » Sat Jul 13, 2013 4:04 pm

RNJ wrote:I can, of course, only share my own experience. One of the best decisions I've made, in a situation similar to yours, was choosing to live in NYC for a time in my late 20's and early 30's - and this was at a time when the city was in much poorer shape than it is now. There is ALWAYS something interesting to do (including just walking out the door); the variety of people you will come across in a single afternoon is unsurpassed anywhere in the country - perhaps (with the possible exception of London) anywhere in the world; inexpensive hi and lo cultural opportunities abound. The city is vibrant 24 hours a day. Great bus and subway system. If you want a change, close by (within 90 min) are great hiking and beaches. You can also take a day or weekend trips to Boston or Philly by train or bus.

If you are talking about a small, marginal difference in the quality/reputation of the program, I'd go to New York. If you are open, your horizons will be wonderfully expanded. For these and other reasons, this is exactly what I'd tell my son or daughter. NYC, hands down.*

*And yes, I've lived for a time in Boston and spent quite a bit of time in Philly.

Good luck.


Is money a real concern in NYC? That's 50-55k pretax and even though I will get subsidized housing and supplement from my emergency fund since this is a once in a lifetime experience I am still wondering whether I'll have more fun somewhere else if I can't afford NYC.
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Re: NYC, Philly, Boston, or Chicago?

Postby jridger2011 » Sat Jul 13, 2013 4:15 pm

dwade1109 wrote:
RNJ wrote:I can, of course, only share my own experience. One of the best decisions I've made, in a situation similar to yours, was choosing to live in NYC for a time in my late 20's and early 30's - and this was at a time when the city was in much poorer shape than it is now. There is ALWAYS something interesting to do (including just walking out the door); the variety of people you will come across in a single afternoon is unsurpassed anywhere in the country - perhaps (with the possible exception of London) anywhere in the world; inexpensive hi and lo cultural opportunities abound. The city is vibrant 24 hours a day. Great bus and subway system. If you want a change, close by (within 90 min) are great hiking and beaches. You can also take a day or weekend trips to Boston or Philly by train or bus.

If you are talking about a small, marginal difference in the quality/reputation of the program, I'd go to New York. If you are open, your horizons will be wonderfully expanded. For these and other reasons, this is exactly what I'd tell my son or daughter. NYC, hands down.*

*And yes, I've lived for a time in Boston and spent quite a bit of time in Philly.

Good luck.


Is money a real concern in NYC? That's 50-55k pretax and even though I will get subsidized housing and supplement from my emergency fund since this is a once in a lifetime experience I am still wondering whether I'll have more fun somewhere else if I can't afford NYC.


Yes, it is. $5 dollars average to dry clean a pair of pants, $4.50 for a large latte, $4 a gallon of milk, and I could go on..
Movie ticket here $14.50.
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