Paying for It
The thing about this cozy little town is that it's pricey. Hey, you get what you pay for! The cost of living here is almost 10 percent more than the New Jersey average and a whopping 39 percent greater than the American average. Median rents are significantly higher than the rest of the state, and they are well on their way to double the national average. Be ready to break your piggy bank if you want to live here.
This location might be ideal for a retiring couple with lots of savings, but young, single people will definitely find the housing prices here quite steep, to say the least. Basic cost of living expenses, such as the price of a slice of pizza or gas, are also more expensive than the national average in this quiet little town. Don't even think about buying here if you're a young person just getting started. Rent, and get a roommate, so you can carpool, share expenses, and still have a few bucks left for date night.
Landlords want to know you can pay the rent before they toss you those keys. With these steep rental rates, they have a lot more to lose if you duck them come rent day. Take proof of income, proof of employment, and a hefty deposit along on your apartment search. If your credit is in the crapper, you'll need a co-signer too. You won't get approved on good looks alone.
For a small town, Westfield sure has its share of neighborhoods, which means diversity, excitement, and options. You never know what unique places you'll find strolling from one part of town to the next. Here's a quick guide to Westfield's neighborhoods.
Brightwood:Brightwood has a population barely over 1,000. It's a neighborhood with young people in the prime of their lives.
The Gardens:Some people feel physical pain when they plunk down large amounts of money. If this is you, break out the pain pills; this area costs an arm and at least half a leg. The average size of a household is just three people.
Indian Forest:Another in-demand neighborhood in Westfield, Indian Forest is home to an abundance of 40-somethings.
Kimball Avenue Historic District:The highlight of this neighborhood is without a doubt the historical architecture of the houses (What, did you think it was the beaches?). Stroll through an ambiance of various styles and periods.
Stoneleigh Park:With just under 400 people, this neighborhood is really exclusive. Just look at how "leigh" is spelled - -that's some highfalutin stuff. If you consider yourself distinguished enough to make the cut, come on down.
Get twitchy when there's not enough to do? Not to worry, Westfield offers a wide variety of activities and diversions. For example, summer brings with it a full schedule of jazz performances downtown. There are lots of well-known chain stores for shoppers, such as the Gap, Williams-Sonoma, and of course, Starbucks. Cinema fans can go to the Rialto Theater, and foodies have their choice of eateries, including the beloved Sweet Waters Steak House. Heck, Elm Street alone features nothing but restaurants, so bring your appetite.
This town is for physically active people, and no, surfing the Internet doesn't count. It has many adult and youth recreation programs all over the place. Walnut and Elm Streets both have nice tennis courts, and there are a total of nine municipal fields and parks across the town. In the summer, you'll want to jump into Memorial Pool to cool off, which will run you $350 for a yearly family membership. It's pricier than Popsicles but worth it.
Westfield also offers a range of options to commuters. Sure, you can always drive like everyone else, or you can go the environmentalist route and take public transit. One of the public transit options is the 113 bus, which stops at the town's train station. This bus will take you all the way to Midtown Manhattan's Port Authority, believe it or not. Hope you enjoy long rides! Westfield's train station sits on the Transit Raritan Valley line going to Newark Penn Station. Here, you can transfer to New York City.
So if you want to try the small-town life for a little while, or maybe even settle here permanently, then boldly go where some 30,000 residents have already gone -- eastward to Westfield!