Montclair, New Jersey, is a famously popular town for New York City expats, thanks in part to its excellent schools, easy commute to Manhattan (sometimes as little as 30 minutes into Penn Station), pedestrian-friendly streets, and plenty of cultural offerings. The popular cliche: Montclair is a suburban Park Slope.
First, the location: This is prime Montclair, which means it’s walkable to the shops and restaurants in the village of Upper Montclair—an essential distinction for New Yorkers concerned about transitioning to a car-dependent existence. (You might be able to get away with just having one vehicle if you live here.)
A real estate tip has been going around the soccer field sidelines of Park Slope: If you’re having a second child, or want more space, head for Montclair N.J., or its surrounding communities. Transplants report back that their new home is a suburban version of Park Slope, retaining its diversity and social life without most of its headaches. So many people are making the move that it seems like there is a direct link from Brooklyn to the ‘burb.
As per ex-Park, Slopersopinion who leave to get more space are not looking for a significant change, mostly they want everything they had in Park Slope: the diversity, the restaurants at walking distance, a downtown feel.
For Park Slopers looking for good schools, diversity and an easy commute, Montclair, N.J., has been a top destination for years. But more recently, families in search of cheaper properties have started looking at neighboring towns in Essex County, such as Maplewood-South Orange, West Orange, Bloomfield, Glen Ridge, and Verona.
Those communities have old Colonial and Victorian homes, mature trees, parks, excellent museums. For many, it should be a smooth transition.
With its European town feel, Montclair is still the main draw, but prices there have more than doubled in the past ten years, and the average selling price for a house is now around $700,000. However, that is still much lower than Park Slope prices, where one-family townhouses sold for $2 million on average in 2006.
Another selling point is the area’s reputation for being welcoming to gay couples. The gay-friendly atmosphere was the primary reason gay families are relocating especially when such families have a child. At the local preschool, there are several two-mom and two-dad families.
The property taxes in Montclair and surrounding communities are relatively high, but that it still ends up being cheaper than a private school in Brooklyn.
Many transplants say they miss the restaurants and shops of Brooklyn, but these New Jersey towns are slowly becoming more vibrant. It is especially true for Montclair, which has around 50 plus restaurants. And once they have moved to the suburbs, many Park Slopers feel relief at leaving the maddening realities of city life (such as alternate-side parking) behind.
Many people who relocated to Montclair, New Jersey has been pleased with the change. Majority of houses are colonial with a yard, and some are walking distance from the train to New York, restaurants, shops, and an excellent elementary school. Other people expressing that when they look back at their cramped, intense, irritable way of life in Brooklyn, they breathe a sigh of relief and say, ‘What took us so long?’”