Moving with kids to Boston/other crowded cities

I’m looking for jobs (well actually medical residencies) around the country right now. I turn in a preference list to the Big Computer on the 22nd, and It tells me where I’m going March 16th.

One of the places I’m considering is Boston, namely Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Brookline/Fenway/Harvard Med area. My wife has some hesitations about this, mostly about the logistics of living in that area with two kids.

The situation we are in now is unreasonably comfortable for two students like ourselves. Even though we will get a roughly 2x pay raise with the move, our living costs are going to more than double and we are prepared to suck it up. We have both spent most of our lives in Texas, so it will be kind of a shock to go up there. We have both been in Boston, we know what we are getting in for (in terms of work hours, weather, living conditions, lay of the city, etc.)

We expect to be in an apartment somewhere in the area. We will both be working, me around 80 hours a week, and my wife probably around 40 or more. The kids (who will be 2 and a bit and 8 months), will be in day care, probably around the work or at a synagogue. So a few questions about just the logistics of day to day life in this situation:
-Where do people live in this situation (say around $2000 to spend on rent a month)?
-Do people use day cares or nannies? Are either readily available?
-How do most people get their kids to day care? T/Bus/Car/Walk?

I’m mostly interested just in the day-to-day routine of people living in Central Boston with kids, especially if there are two working parents. Anyone in that situation?

The other cities I’m looking at are Chicago and Philadelphia (which would be a similar situation) and Baltimore and St. Louis (which would both be a commute-from-the-suburbs kind of situation). So if you’re in that situation, chime in too! Thanks!

I lived in the Boston area for about five years. It’s not really that dense a city. You have a relatively small downtown area with what I would describe as medium density residential housing (brownstones and walkups) extending out to Brookline, Brighton, JP, Cambridge and Sommervile. Beyond that, it’s standard low density suburbs with mixed appartments and single family homes in places like Brookline, Newton, Waltham and Malden.

You might try living furthur out in the suburbs like Waltham, Newton or Alston/Brighton. They’re a little cheaper than living in Boston proper and IIRC, they are on the same T line as Fenway.

I live in the Boston area and my SIL lives in the Fenway area. I spent much of the summer living in an apartment inside Boston Children’s Hospital with my infant daughter. I am quite familar with the specific area.

The plus side is this is probably the single greatest concentration of medical real-estate in the entire world. It is nothing but one world-class hospital after another and others like Mass General aren’t far away. I would think that the prestige would be a big draw for someone that wants to make the most of the field.

The downside is that specific area is horribly inconvient. Commuting around there is terrible. It is not very freindly to pedestrians unlike much of Boston, parking is horrific, and public transportation is there but retrofitted to an older part of the city. You will likely have to pay extra for parking and it may be at home and work. That may add up to $1000 a month if you just decided to pony up the cash for convienence that the rest of the country takes for granted.

It doesn’t have to be that way. Greater Boston is one of the most expernive areas of the country but you can get lots of apartments for $2000 a month. They won’t be the greatest apartments and you would be looking at solid blue-collar digs if you need a two-bedroom or more. Like most places, you can trade one priority for another. If you are willing to live even 15 miles outside of the city then you might be able to get some decent space and a nice apartment in a somewhat nice town. If you demand to live right in the hospital district then your options are limited and you will likely end up in either a tiny apartment or a neighborhood that has some traditional drawbacks.

Commuting in the city by car has gotten much better since the completion of the Big Dig (the largest public works project in human history). It is now possible to get a place that takes advantage of the much bigger throughput in ceratin places and allows you to take advatnage of cheaper areas to live that once were isloated by bad commuting times. These can sometimes mean that commuting from further away can be better than commuting from a bad location only a few miles from work.

Boston has some of the best day care you could ask for because it is a world-class education center. I don’t know national rates but our cost for a 3 year old is $650 a month for three days a week. It would be $900/month for 5 days. I think that is pretty typical or it may be a liitle more closer to the city.

It certainly isn’t a cheap place although it has some great things going for it. I am from Louisiana and I have lived in the Boston area for 8 years. I have a love/hate realtionship with the city. The resources and prestige are immense but it is horribly expensive and the weather sucks at least half the time. Provincial Bostonians can be rude but this changes by neighborhood. Some would argue that driving is the worst in the nation and smart betters would throw dollars at their feet.

Thanks for the input. That’s about what I’d figured. The real problem is that I’ll find out where I’m going on March 16th. That gives about 3 months to prepare for the move, sell the house, +/- sell the car, start packing, take a look at apartments, settle on a place to live, graduate, find day care, etc.

Gonna be pretty hectic. It is possible, but it looks like the cost of living is gonna about triple while our salaries will optimistically double. Good thing we’ve been saving, at least for the first little while we are going to drain those resources heavily.