Expats who move to the New York Metropolitan Area often choose to live outside of the 5 boroughs of New York City in the suburbs. New Jersey (NJ), Westchester County (NY) and Connecticut (CT) offer great opportunities for people interested in more living space, good schools, a safe place to live and convenient commutes to Manhattan or elsewhere in New York City. It all depends on what is important to you, so it is so important to get out and look at some of the towns to find one that will suit your practical needs AND your individual preferences. Here are a few of the more popular options among expatriates:
Ridgewood is in northern New Jersey and that meets a broad set of needs. There are people that have a lot of money and like to show it, and there are others that like living in a nice safe community. Whether you fall into either category, or somewhere in between, you can find your niche in Ridgewood. For expats with children, the Ridgewood school system is well regarded.
Ridgewood is located in Bergen Country, home to the George Washington Bridge, which is one of the Hudson River crossings that provides access to Manhattan.
Ridgewood is not the most diverse community, but there are expats that live there and enjoy it. The quaint downtown area that will be one of the first things that Ridgewood residents will mention if you ask why someone should move there.
Both inlingua and Berlitz have language training available in Ridgewood.
Maplewood is a great town for people that want to live even closer to New York than Summit (see below), and it boasts a downtown that is more intimate than Summit. Maplewood (official site) is diverse and it is part of the South Orange-Maplewood School District.
The town also has plenty of restaurants, a fish market, a movie theater and many other options that give it an upbeat feeling uncommon to many of the other suburbs. In the summer months, Maplewood has a farmer's market that operates in the afternoon. The South Orange Performing Arts Center (SOPAC) offers some great music and other shows when residents don't want to go all the way into Manhattan.
Montclair is another diverse city with a vibrant arts community. Many people that help populate the entertainment industry in New York City and the surrounding areas enjoy call Montclair home.
The town is diverse both ethnically and socioeconomically, so there is something there for just about every person and every budget. One of it's proudest attractions is the Montclair Art Museum.
Summit is a great commuting town for expats that need to commute into New York City but want a more quiet, suburban life while living in the U.S. The downtown section has a wide variety of restaurants and shops that make it a great place to take a stroll in the afternoon or evenings.
There are also cultural activities, such as the Visual Arts Center of New Jersey and the Summit Playhouse. Both inlingua and Berlitz have language training available in Summit.
Princeton has a lot to offer beyond Princeton University. Many of the residents are affiliated with the school, but there are many large employers in the area, particularly the pharmaceutical and technology industries. People that love the area do commute to New York, even though the ride takes up to 1.5 hours.
There are shops and restaurants around the university, and plenty of cultural activities, sports, and more. International schools in the area include
Yinghua International School, Princeton International School of Mathematics and Science, Princeton Community Japanese Language School, French American School of Princeton & International Medical School, among others.
Greenwich is the southern-most town of Greenwich, and it is one of the most affluent cities in America. Expats will find plenty of other international transferees in Greenwich. It is home to a great many hedge funds, financial services firms, and even Blue Sky Studios, the animated film studio responsible for Ice Age and Rio, among others.
The town of Greenwich itself is twice the size of Manhattan, and the Riverside section contains the International School at Dundee, a public primary school that offers the international baccalaureate program. Western Middle School and Whitby School, which is private, also offer the program. Cultural attractions in Greenwich include Greenwich Symphony and Greenwich Arts Council. Foreign culture organizations and businesses include the Alliance française of Greenwich, the Greenwich Spanish School, Greenwich Japanese School, and the Chinese Language School of Connecticut. It is only about 40 minutes from Manhattan via a Metro-North express train ride.
Westport is known as the one-time home of Martha Stewart, where she launched her businesses from, and it is home to expats from all over. As its name implies, it is right on the water... specifically the Long Island Sound. Longshore Municipal Golf Course (public) is a favorite among Westport residents.
Greens Farms Academy in the Greens Farms section of Westport, has a World Perspectives Program, and there Berlitz also has a location in Westport. The public school system in Westport is excellent.
Westport also contains Westport Country Playhouse, famously transformed through the efforts of Joanne Woodward (among others!) at the turn of the century into a state-of-the-art theater.
Larchmont is a one-square mile village located in the Town of Mamaroneck. It is 18 miles from Manhattan and has a 35-40 minute commute by train to Grand Central Station. Popular with French expatriates, Larchmont is home to the lower school French American School, while the pre-school is in Scarsdale and the upper school is in Mamaroneck.
Scarsdale is located in Westchester County New York, and is home to many Japanese and German expatriates, among others. It is a very upscale community, and a significant number of people commute to Manhattan. The Lyceum Kennedy International School has a campus in nearby Ardsley, NY (a section of Greenburgh, NY).
Rye is a town in Westchester County, but is separate from the city of Rye (the two separated in 1942). Expats from both Asia and Europe choose to live in Rye. The population of the town of Rye (46,000) is nearly triple that of the city (16,000). Port Chester is also part of the town. Little Language League offers language classes for kids and also parents. The Japanese Weekend School of New York uses a public school in Port Chester on Saturdays.
the German School New York is in nearby White Plains and utilized by expats in many towns in Westchester.