I'm not an agent, I'm a homeowner, so I don't have anything invested in this besides information. :-)
I moved to Jersey 6 years ago (from NYC) and just bought last year at the bottom of the market. I live in West Orange. When I first moved from the city my criteria were a diverse (at least %15 people of color), safe town with good schools for my kids that was no more than 40 minutes from the city on the train. That narrowed it down to West Orange, South Orange, Maplewood and Montclair. We ended up in West Orange and my husband takes the train at the Orange train station. It takes exactly half an hour into the city.
Now that I know the area well, I realize we would have been happy in any of these towns. The area is quite safe, and although property taxes are high (like most of New Jersey) we get excellent town services for our $$. There are a few towns with lower taxes like Roseland, Essex Fells, the Caldwells, and Fairfield, but none of them are on a direct train line, and commuting by car is hell unless you're taking the GWB - and even then it's no picnic. We've been very happy out here, it's been a great experience for our kids, and I would do it all over again in a heartbeat. Signed, Loving the Suburbs