Here is a little advice for those moving to Middlesex from out of state: bring your wallet. And your bank cards. And maybe your first born son, as well. Ok -- just kidding about that last one; your landlord won't actually want you to give up your kids as a deposit. He would much rather have cold, hard cash. Although Middlesex is relatively inexpensive compared to some New Jersey communities, the cost of renting an apartment in Middlesex could still seem like a lot if you are used to paying the lower prices that exist in nearly any other part of the country.
The other thing you will need to find an apartment to rent here is a good reputation. Only a minority of properties are available for rent (it seems that people like to own their own homes here) and the number of vacancies at any one time generally isn't all that high. That means that you will want to get your credit file in as good a shape as possible before you start applying for an apartment for rent. If you have maxed out all your credit cards and there is no way that is going to happen, then you could start looking for a co-signer to help you out in your apartment search. A co-signer is someone with a good credit score who is prepared to take responsibility for covering the rent, just in case you can't (or won't) pay. Yup, it's going to need to be a very good friend. Or your mom.
With a total area of just 3.5 square miles, Middlesex doesn't have a whole lot of differentiation between its various neighborhoods. However, there are some slight differences that you should be aware of, depending on which side of town you choose to put down roots.
Borough Center: The heart of Middlesex is located centrally and toward the eastern edge of the Borough. This is where you will find older homes -- built between 1940 and the end of the 20th century -- including plenty of detached homes and townhomes. Bound Brook runs through this neighborhood, and the banks are largely covered with trees, giving residents plenty of wooded areas to stroll through when they want a little bit of peace and quiet. Along Bound Brook Road, you will find plenty of businesses, including useful stores and little local eating joints, such as Romano's, where you can grab a quick-and-tasty bite. Hot wings, anyone?
Cedar Avenue / Lincoln Boulevard: This is the slightly more expensive and popular end of town, so you better get your finances in good order and bring your best landlord-charming skills if you want to land a condo for rent around here. There are plenty of apartment complexes, as well as older single-family homes, here. Haverstick Park is right next door too.
You don't just want a roof over your head, right? Although that would be a great start, you also want to be sure that you will be entertained in your new home. Middlesex isn't the world's most happening place, but it has a good selection of bars for hanging out with your friends, and some nice parks where you can walk off your hangover the next day. Mountainview Park, Victor Crowell Park, Day Park and New Market Park are just some of the green spaces available in the city. There's a community outdoor swimming pool, which is open to the public every summer, as well as community softball leagues for both adults and kids to take part in.
And now for the practical stuff. The good news is that getting around is easy. The 114 bus route takes you right into the heart of Midtown Manhattan, and if you want to get to Newark you will need to catch either the number 64 or 65. Of course, driving is likely to be a faster option, and the vast majority of residents here in Middlesex do rely on their own automobiles to get them to work every day. But, hey, it's good to know that the bus is there as a back-up plan, right?
When it comes to food, Middlesex has got you covered any day of the week when you feel like cooking is too much of a chore. Check out Carpaccio Ristorante for some delicious veggie-loaded minestrone soup, Luca's Pizza and Restaurant for, well, pizza, and Shogun Wok for some Chinese. If you're feeling extra lazy, Shogun Wok offers online ordering with delivery.