Part of the “Capital District,” Schenectady has long been considered an all-in-one city. Everything you need is located here, no matter in which end of the city you choose to live. While some areas are a bit more historic and some are a bit more suburban, there is no bad spot to land in Schenectady. Whether you are here for college or to start life in Eastern New York, there is a place for you. Just be sure to bring your winter gear…a love of history and arts wouldn’t hurt either.
This part of town is a bit suburban, middle/upper middle class. The single family homes here are often old colonials and filled with families, seniors, and young couples too. People flock here for the good schools, friendly neighborhoods, and pretty streets. Apartment living offers great options to North Side residents as it combines the Americana coziness with lower expenses. The North Side is on the bus-line, providing great public transportation options but it is also close to major highways for those with their own set of wheels. Many apartments include water/heat in the rental price and offer garages (to shield your car from the harsh winter), fitness centers, and pools. Close to shopping, eateries, the GE plot and local colleges, living here is practical and affordable (1 bedroom/$705). $$-$$$
Eastern Schenectady/Eastern Avenue
A walkable part of town, the eastern part of Schenectady is minutes from Albany. Home to families, college students (Union Street located here) and residents of mixed ages, this end of town offers a safe neighborhood, proximity to major highways (5, 146, 90) and local colleges. Full of great eateries, bars, and the gamut of city activities, this is a coveted part of town. Apartment living often features washers and dryers, gas and heat included, and balconies/patios. Traveling with a cat? You’re in luck! Many apartments around welcome feline friends. How much will all this fun set you back? No worries, you can score a two bedroom/one bath for about $875. Scratching posts extra. $$-$$$$
Where can you find affordable rent, proximity to Union College, hiking/biking trails and awesome nightlife? Look no further than Downtown. Schenectady’s downtown area is being completely restored with a new movie theatre, YMCA, shops, loft housing and so on… but the apartments that exist here now are perfectly acceptable. In fact, the area is highly coveted by college students and young professionals. The airport and Amtrak station are located nearby. The historic part of town (the Stockade is located here) and many of the single family homes have a lot of character and great back stories. Some of the streets in this area are so gorgeous that they are worth a stroll even if you live elesewhere. Bonus: sometimes throughout the year, garden tours are offered in Stockade. Great eateries and local shops are located down here as well. Apartments sometimes feature cable/internet included in the price of rent, new kitchens, and walkable distances to all things glorious. One bedroom apartments are $650 and up. $$-$$$
*There are other suburbs in the city (Bellevue, Vale and Hamilton Hill, etc.) but these tend to be much more suburban and apartments may be rented out areas of homes rather than complexes.
Shuffling Around Schenectady-Traffic and Other Things to Know
The CDTA is the city’s transit system which offers you the options to vanpool, carpool or hop on the bus. There are stops throughout the city and service will take you into Rotterdam, Albany and other neighboring cities. Amtrak also runs through the city. The Amtrak will be your key to NYC and beyond.
As for the road warriors out there, here are the major highways that will be your guide(s). The 90/890 will take you east/northwest toward Albany and Scotia. The 146 is a major thruway in Schenectady and will carry you into Rotterdam, connecting with the 7 (running north and south). The 5 becomes the Mohwak Turnpike and the NY State Thruway at various points. If you are heading into other major cities (Albany, Buffalo) this is your main road. Drive safely! Oh, and don’t text and drive. It’s illegal around these parts.
Whether you are looking for a laid back, liberal arts college to attend in hopes of finding your inner disenfranchisement or simply want to move into the open air, friendly neighborhoods that eastern New York has to offer, Schenectady welcomes you. The history here speaks for itself but what happens in the future is entirely up to you. You’ll catch an exhibit, you’ll picnic in Central Park (yes, there is another one…just like the first one), you’ll golf (disc golf for you non-country club types) and brave cold winters. In Schenectady, you will do it all…and then some.