If you want to live in Manhattan but are put off by the price tag, consider apartments for rent in Hoboken, New Jersey, which is just across the Hudson River. Although the main draw of the city is its proximity to the Big Apple, Hoboken - which is nicknamed the Mile Square City, in reference to its size - has a cultural importance in its own right.
The city of Hoboken is big on biking, walking and public transportation, and not too many people own cars. In fact, it was designated a gold-level walk-friendly community in 2011, and was ranked the no. 1 city in public transportation use by the U.S. Census. WalkScore.com deemed it the most walkable city in the country, and it also received an Honorable Mention in the League of American Cyclists' fall 2010 Bicycle Friendly Communities listing.
More than half of the working men and women that comprise Hoboken's 50,000-strong population commute using public transportation each day, most via subway, ferry, commuter rail, bus and Light Rail. The city wasn't always a transportation hub, though. In fact, the area was originally developed as a resort by Colonel John Stevens, who purchased it in 1783 for the equivalent of about $100,000 in today's currency.
Most of Hoboken's residents don't work in the city itself - rather, many have jobs in Manhattan or the New York City area. That said, Hoboken University Medical Center employed 3,337 workers as of January 2012, while global publishing company John Wiley & Sons Inc. has a local workforce of more than 1,500 staff members.
While it's not the first thing that comes to mind when thinking about Hoboken, the city is a great home for students. Hoboken - which is home to the Stevens Institute of Technology - was ranked the 12th best college town in the county by the Princeton Review in 2010. Students commingle well with residents, and some pupils take on part-time dog-walking jobs. This often works out for dog owners as well, as BellaDOG Magazine named Hoboken the most dog-friendly city in the U.S. in 2011.
U.S. Census Bureau data puts the median gross rent of Hoboken apartments at $1,681, far less than the March 2012 average of more than $3,400 in Manhattan. The cost of living is lower too - 132.3 compared to Manhattan's 180.7, according to City-Data.com's March 2012 cost of living index. But remember, Hoboken is a walking city, and the numerous forms of public transportation mean you won't need a car to travel, which can cut down expenses significantly.
Hoboken is a melting pot of cultures, which is reflected in its cuisine. Mexican, Greek, Middle Eastern and Malaysian eateries are dotted about the city, to name but a few. There's even a food and culture walking tour that drops by several of the city's most renowned establishments.
Just as foodies are taken care, art fans with apartments in Hoboken will be too. There are myriad plays, open studio events, live performances and film screenings at Monroe Center for the Arts and the Mile Square Theatre, while fans of alternative music can frequent Maxwell's, which has hosted many influential musical acts throughout the years.
Particularly in the summer months, Hoboken is a hub of events, from farmer's markets to Movies Under the Stars on Pier A, where films are shown against the stunning backdrop of the Manhattan skyline.
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