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1. What do I need to know about moving to Albany?

Geography

Residential options

Child Care and Babysitting

Utilities

Public Transportation

Driving a car in New York state

Parking your car in Albany

 


Geography
The main campus of the University at Albany is situated in the western suburbs of Albany. The downtown (old) campus, home to several professional schools,is close to the urban center, about 3 miles east of the main campus. A third campus, which hosts the School of Public Health, is located in the town of Rensselaer on the east side of the Hudson River. A fast-growing fourth campus extends northwest from the main campus, and is the locus of the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering. University employees commute to all campuses from throughout the Tri-City area, which includes Schenectady, Albany, Troy, and the suburbs of Guilderland, Latham, Delmar and Rensselaer (See Area Map). Depending on one's need for nature and tolerance for commuting, some university employees choose to live as far north as Saratoga Springs, to be near the Adirondack mountains, or as far south as Ravenna or Hudson, to be near the Catskill Mountains.

Residential options
Residential options range from urban townhouse neighborhoods to completely rural farm settings. Many university employees live in the suburban neighborhoods surrounding the main campus. If you want to live within a short drive or bus ride, or moderate walk to the main campus, consider renting or buying within this 4-sided zone: west of Manning Boulevard; east of Hwy 155; north of New Scotland Avenue; south of Central Avenue. A smaller number of university employees-and some students-live in the historic downtown area near Center Square, the Mansion District, and Lark Street. If you want to live in (or avoid living in) the lively student neighborhoods, keep in mind that many undergraduate students live in the "Pine Hills" neighborhood, which includes the areas around the UAlbany Downtown campus, the Sage Colleges campus, The College of Saint Rose campus, Albany Law School, and Albany Medical College.

The City of Albany's website feature articles characterizing many of the different neighborhoods within the city itself. If you plan to rent, a good place to start is the Renter's Guide. You may also want to talk with your new departmental colleagues about preferred places to live. There are several suburban style apartment complexes within 5 miles of the main campus, and these offer a good short-term solution until you get to know the region; likewise for several large urban apartment buildings near the downtown campus and Washington Park.

Schools and School Districts (Click on this link for details)

Child Care and Babysitting
Some UAlbany faculty and staff take advantage of UAlbany's childcare program, U-Kids (518)-442-2660; however, there is a long waiting list for this service and many have found alternative programs such as posting openings for a childcare/ babysitting position through the Career Center at the College of St Rose. You can also start your search by contacting The Capital District Child Care Council.

Utilities
National Grid is the only contact you will need to set up electrical and gas service to your home. There are several choices for telephone service in Albany. Verizon, AT&T and Sprint all provide services at various levels.

Time Warner is the primary cable provider in the area.

If you buy a house, you will need to contact the City of Albany Water Supply at (518) 434-5300 to establish water service.

Public Transportation

Bus service is reliable, frequent and free (on several routes) to anyone with a valid UAlbany ID. CDTA has a number of bus lines and shuttles that run between many neighborhoods, schools and shopping centers. Those lines that are not free cost $1.00 per ride.

Driving a car in New York state
Within 30 days of moving to New York state you will need to register your car and get a NY State driver's license at the local branch of the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) at 224 South Pearl Street. This must be done in person. You should plan on spending about ½ day in the DMV to complete the process, if your documentation is normal. Early morning is busy. A good time to go is just after lunch, but pay attention to the hours of operation since they are not the same for every day of the week.

Study the DMV website well in advance of going, so that you can be sure all your documents are ready. The extracts below will give you an idea of what you're in for:

To register your car in NY you need to have in hand the following documents.

  1. Proof of NY car insurance (if you come from another state, your policy will not transfer)
  2. Title/Proof of ownership (You can register a car only if your own name is on the title document. If your spouse is a co-owner on the title, he/she must be present with you to register the car, OR, you will need to get a statement of joint ownership to bring with you.)
  3. New York Vehicle inspection document
  4. Proof of identity (Passport is ideal)
  5. You might be asked to document your New York residence, such as by showing a letter/bill addressed to you at your new New York address.

To get a NY driver's license you need to bring the following documentation:

  1. Your Social Security Card (an original, not a photocopy-we're not kidding!)
  2. Your current valid license from another state
  3. Additional proof of identity. A passport is the easiest of these. For others, see the ID points chart at DMV.
  4. You might be asked to document your New York residence, such as by showing a letter/bill addressed to you at your new New York address.

If you are not a citizen of the U.S., here are guidelines for getting a license: Automobile information for international residents

Parking your car in Albany
Downtown Albany. If you plan to live in the urban areas of Albany and you want to maintain a car, keep in mind that off-street parking is not a common convenience. Street parking is necessary in many cases, with its ensuing headaches: changing no-parking zones depending on day of week and time of day; unavailability of space at peak hours; cars buried by snow plow, etc.

Parking on Campus. Parking on campus with a faculty/staff permit is cheap and easy. Once you are officially appointed in the university system, you can download a vehicle registration form from Parking and Mass Transit Services and drop it off at this same office on campus, along with a check for $25. They will give you a permit while you wait. You can also do this by mail.