Would You Rather?

Is a "good" school zone worth a less-than-ideal apartment? New Yorkers are torn

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We asked five New Yorkers: Would you rather have a big apartment in an "up and coming" school zone or a smaller apartment in an established one? It's a tough question, but we all know New Yorkers don’t shy away from heavy-weight topics, especially those that so relevant to NYC living.  Here's what they had to say:

  • Teachable moments I believe in public schools. I know we need to improve our public schools and that starts with engaged, invested families. I think “up-and-coming” neighborhoods like the one I live in have huge promise. You have young families, just starting out, and they take nothing for granted. The diversity - economic, ethnic, cultural - in such neighborhoods is invaluable, and beautiful. Everyday is a teachable moment. We should be putting all our resources into these neighborhoods.  -Amberle, Harlem (pictured at left)
  • And the award for best new school zone goes to… I would much rather live in an up-and-coming neighborhood that is affordable, community oriented, and diverse. I would not want to stretch my finances on a crappy, tiny apartment I can barely afford, just to be in a school zone that’s supposedly “established.” There are alternate schooling options I’m more interested in anyway. And I think a comfortable home, with great neighbors, and exposure to many cultures is just as important, if not even more important. They can be labeled “up-and-coming” or “less established” but I think they are just the best environment for kids to grown up in. -Liza, Astoria Queens

  • High school hopes I live in what many would consider an up-and-coming neighborhood, and I do have a great apartment. When we bought this place, we weren’t thinking about public schools close by. The kids in our building all go to great school. They either go on a school bus to public school or go to private school. It all works out very well. But coming from a childhood where I biked to my school, I love the idea of having my school and all my school friends close by. Makes activities after school easier, too. If I went back to the past, I’d probably choose an established school zone to live in, if we could have afforded it. But now that we are already here, I don’t ever want to leave the neighborhood or our awesome apartment. I would want our kids to grow up here.  So I have high hopes for the future for this one. -Martin, Hamilton Heights
  • Location, location, priorities Of course, I’d want to be in a good school zone. Of course, it makes life easier when it comes to finding good options for your kids. It means you’re in an established neighborhood. It’s too bad if you have to sacrifice space for it. Because individual space is also important to me. But it’s not as high a priority. Besides, the school zone you live in affects your real estate value. -Ivan, Greenpoint
  • No place like home My daughter gets on a bus to go to school. It’s not an issue. Another girl from our building is the same age as they go to school together. For us, schooling has really worked out well, even though she has a “commute” to get to school. But we live in the neighborhood I grew up in, in a wonderful apartment that we are so proud of. My mother lives in our building. We would never leave and I don’t see a reason to. -Deirdre, Hamilton Heights

Vedict: 3-2 in favor of up-and-coming school zones.


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