There is no midtown direct train from Ridgewood or Glen Rock. On both lines -- You have to transfer at the Secaucus train station - walk through their maze to stand on another platform to get the next train that will go directly into Penn Station. I have found that transfer to be particularly annoying - however when you must get into town quickly and dependably - the train is the way to go.
You must be a Ridgewood resident to park near the train station. Glen Rock residents are on a waiting list to park at the train station / bus station. There are a few parking spaces in Glen Rock available for "outsiders" but they will be filled by about 6:30 a.m.
I recommend the express buses that are clean, reliable during rush hour - they run til 2:20 a.m. and safe. Parking is by meter at the stations - lots of quarters about $3.50 a day but a monthly pass right now is about $150.00. (FYI - The toll alone to drive into Manhattan is $8.00) There is plenty of parking in the town of Ridgewood for commuters right now.
Ridgewood is fabulous especially for your wife and child. Glen Rock is excellent too.
If you want midtown direct trains - you'll have to explore towns further south such as Short Hills and Livingston, NJ which are very expensive.
As Far as Glen Rock is concerned the high school recently rated higher even than Ridgewood in the statewide survey conducted by a local magazine but in either case you would have no worries. As far as renting is concerned you might get lucky. We are finding that, in this slow market, some people are considering renting out their homes rather than sell at a loss. You might want to check our Craigslist to get an idea if this would work.
Glen Rock actually has 2 train stations and as a result a great deal of the town is probably within walking distance to the train and a lot of us get our excercise that wat.
The median home price in Ridgewood over the past year is $710,000, while the median for Glen Rock over the same period is $575,000. So yes, your money will go a little farther in Glen Rock. If you want figures for any other towns, just ask!
Member, Worldwide ERC
Licensed Realtor NJ
Licensed Appraiser NJ & NY
Century 21 Joe Tekula Realtors
Phone (direct): (973) 584-4235
Is there any price difference between the two towns? Looks like both are worth looking at...
Ridgewood is a great choice for all the reasons you mentioned. Taxes tend to be very high, but the school system is prime. Nearby alternatives where your money might travel further include Wyckoff and Glen Rock.
Two other communities that come to mind include Montclair in Essex County, and Summit in Union County. Both have that similar downtown and community experience, and both are on the pricey side similar to Ridgewood. Montclair's alternative is Glen Rock. And Summit's alternatives include New Providence, Mountainside, or sections of Springfield.
Chatham in Morris County is another alternative, though the downtown is smaller than the other three. Also pricey.
If you choose the "second tier" alternatives above, you can easily drive in to take advantage of the downtowns without having to overpay for the prestige. The second tier towns are definitely not "chopped liver" by any means and you will find them very attractive.
If you have any other questions, just contact me via my website. I sell and appraise in all of these towns.
Renting is also an excellent idea, as prices are definitely softening, even in the top communities. That will also give you time to shop on a more relaxed basis before pulling the trigger.
There are 2 towns that could be considered "suburbs" of Ridgewood. Glen Rock and HoHoKus both have excellent schools of their own (All 3 high schools are rated in the top 25 in the state). Have trains on the same line . House prices in all 3 are roughly similar. In my opinion Ridgewood house prices have declined somewhat more that in other towns probably due to the fact that in previous years they advanced more than others.
If you wanted to consider Montclair you would find a town similar to Ridgewood with the advantage of a train service directly to Penn Station and the ambiance of a college town. I used to live there myself and commuted daily to NYC.
I would be more than happy to prepare a small relocation package for you as I have done in the past or others.Its difficult in a forum such as this to give the detail that you would need to make your choice.
If you check out municipal websites you can get a pretty good idea of the towns themselves. Also the NJ Department of Education website can provide a wealth of info on schools and school districts.