Tuesday, June 6, 2017

MIT Graduate School Housing: Should I live at Eastgate or Westgate?

I have been living on the MIT campus for the last 5 years while my husband is working on his PhD.  While here we have had two children (both born at Mount Auburn Hospital, and both were great experiences - if you have questions about medical care feel free to email me and I'll do my best to answer them)

We also lived in Eastgate for two year and Westgate for two years and I have a pretty good feel for both communities.  I've heard a lot of chatter lately about people moving here and not knowing which place to choose and then regretting their choice once they've seen what both communities have to offer so I thought I'd do my best to layout the pros and cons of each in hopes that you can make a more informed decision when your time comes.

If you have questions, feel free to reach out to me, I'll do my best to answer them.
Email for Brittney
novelpairing <at> gmail <dot> com

EASTGATE


We started out at Eastgate in a one bedroom center apartment (the smallest they have to offer).

Pro: 


  • Close to campus (My husband who works in the Biology Department would regularly come home for lunch)  Super close to the chemistry building, SLOAN, and the List Media Center. 
  • Close to Transportation - Literally a two minute walk to the Red Line T-Station (Boston Subway) 
  • 15 minute walk to the mall, and many restaurants close by
  • 15 minute walk to the grocery store/Mini Mall (Star Market on Mcgrath Highway)  There are also some clothing shops, and a Marshall's which has some home wares in it. 
  • View of the Charles river  (some apartment's views are absolutely breathtaking) 
  • Great Natural Light
  • Awesome Indoor Kid Playroom, Super organized, super well lit, and they clean it from top to bottom, sanitizing every lego, once a month. 
  • Amazing Penthouse, open to everyone.  Community events are often held there and you are welcome to use it yourself. 


Cons: 



  • Bathroom is through the bedroom (at least in the center apartments) 
  • Kitchen is very small and the oven seems dwarf size (we had to get smaller baking sheets for it) 
  • No Air Conditioners, and in the summer you need one! (There are places to add one of your own purchasing) 
  • Elevator Congestions (There are three elevators for the 28 floor building, at certain times of day they get very congested and you'll have to wait) ... Often an elevator will also be out of commission for a few hours of the day for garbage and/or repairs.
  • Elevators Breaking - They have had a ton of repairs for these elevators and still they seem to have to take one down often for more repairs which can really slow down your mobility, especially if you are on an upper floor. 
  • Outside Playground is hard to use - it's shared with a daycare and I found it a bit stressful to try to play with my children on it during day care hours as it's flooded with other/older kids.  There is another grill area that is less congested, but still not ideal
  • Constructions - They are doing tons of renovations around the area so construction setbacks are frequent 
  • Pre-Mounted furniture in the bedrooms (this could really be a pro or con, nice to have dresser space already there and ready for you, but I felt like it took up a lot of room) 


My Over All Thoughts 

Eastgate was an amazing place to live before we had children.  It was close to the city, close to campus, close to the "T" station, and the spacing was not bad for two people.

After our son was born the spacing was too tight, and even though I attended all of the community events I felt like I had a harder time meeting people and making "mom" friends.

MY MIT EASTGATE CENTER APARTMENT UNFURNISHED













MY MIT EASTGATE CENTER APARTMENT FURNISHED




(King Sized Bed)







WESTGATE


We moved to Westgate when my elder son was a year and half. We moved into the low rise (Two Bedroom - the biggest they have to offer, though our rent barley increased)

Pros: 


  • More Space
  • An amazing community of supportive people
  • A giant playground right in the middle of everything, in the evenings everyone lives on the playground, lots of friends for your kids, lots of moms from every corner of the world to talk to, and everyone with the feeling of we're all working together to survive grad school (If you have children please please please move to Westgate!  I could not believe the difference it made to me, how much happier and more well connected I felt, I did baby sitting swaps with other moms, outtings with other moms, preschool co-ops with other moms, we lived on the playground during the summer and my mental health was so much better in this super kid friendly community. ... Even if you now have to trek across campus (there is actually a shuttle that comes frequently) please consider Westgate for your own mental health. 
  • Great natural light in all the rooms
  • No pre-mounted furniture  
  • 15 Minute walk to grocery store - Star Market (city center store, it's expensive and not great quality food), or Trader Joes 
  • Each apartment comes with a storage unit
  • Community Toys for kids (bicycles, balls, etc)
  • Indoor playroom - Less awesome than Eastgate, but still nice for the winter
  • Balcony (only for the lowrise)


Cons: 


  • Further from Campus
  • Further from Mass Transportation
  • Community space is in the basement, so its dark and less awesome
  • Laundry - It's the basement of the highrise, so if you live in the low rise you have to drag your laundry through the playground (huge distractions when you have kids) and get it into the building to do it
  • View - Playground
  • No Air Conditioners/ Automatic heating in the winter (read that as way too hot... it will be a blizzard outside and you will have your balcony door open)


My Over All Thoughts

We have loved Westgate, even with its flaws.  If you have kids of any age please try to come here, the community is super supportive and the playground is a magical place to meet people and play. Even thought it's further from campus and more of a hassle to get around I have made some of my deepest friendships here and I'm pretty sure the support from these ladies saved me from going completely insane while having kids during grad school.


MY MIT WESTGATE 2 BEDROOM APARTMENT UNFURNISHED













MY MIT WESTGATE 2 BEDROOM  APARTMENT FURNISHED








King Sized Bed, In the smaller of the two rooms, there isn't room for anything but the bed and it's tight but it works



   

Monday, December 26, 2016

Toddler Letters - "Z" is for "Zebra"

Toddler/Preshooler letter of the week craft Z is for Zebra with related craft, tracing sheets and fruits/vegetables.

Supplies Needed:

Toddler/Preshooler letter of the week craft Z is for Zebra with related craft, tracing sheets and fruits/vegetables.
  • Colored Craft Paper
  • Letter "Z" Cutout
  • Glue
  • Black Paint (We used finger paint)
  • Googly Eyes 
  • Black Craft Paper
  • Scissors 
  • Paint Brush (If you want it, we attempted to use a Q-tip, but decided that our fingers were more fun)

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Touring Boston - What to Know About Attending a Cape Code Factory Tour with Kids

New England has this amazing brand of potato chips call Cape Cod Chips.  They are thin, crisp, salty and pretty much the best potato chips I have ever eaten in my life... and honestly until I tried them I was not a huge potato chip fan.  

Anyway one day I was looking at the back of the bag and saw that they offer factory tours and knew that before my husband finished his studies and we moved away from Boston that we needed to tour this factory... mostly because it sounded ridiculous ... and awesome.   

What to Know About Attending a Cape Code Factory Tour with Kids


Just after Labor Day we decided to take a short camping trip to Cape Cod and decided that one of the attractions we wanted to see along the way was our chip factory.  

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Family Friendly Boston - What to Know About Boston University Pool (and its Awesomeness for Kids!)

We've found swimming to be our go to activity in the winter since there are a whole bunch of indoor swimming pools around us.  Not too long ago a neighbor was celebrating a birthday and all the kids from our building were invited to a pool party at Boston University (BU).  Initially I was surprised at the venue since there is a pool on campus as well as a number of other closer pools.  That is I was surprised until we got there and discovered how incredible the Boston University pool is for kids!

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Touring Boston - What to Know About Mike's Pastry (Delicious Eats)

If you're in Boston one food/place you absolutely must visit is Mike's Pastry  for a cannoli.  Honestly before moving to Boston I don't know if I had ever heard of a cannoli before and I had certainly never tried one, but whenever I asked anyone what I had to do in Boston the answer came back time and time again that I had to visit the North End to get a cannoli from Mike's Pastries.

What to Know About Mike's Pastry (Delicious Eats)


Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Touring Boston - What to Know About Attending a Fenway Park Tour

I think my sister's number one thing to see while visiting Boston was Fenway Park (My dad and his fanatical Red Sox fan status is to thank/blame for this) She really wanted to see a game but the playoffs were going on at the time.  (is that what they are called? I'm so not sporty... seems like baseball might have another name for it...) anyway since they are in the "playoffs" tickets are even more expensive than usual.  $120 for a third tier standing room only sections.  I don't quite have that kind of money and I didn't dare send Chan alone so we settled for a Fenway Park Stadium Tour, and we choose the right day to do it... kind of.

What to Know About Attending a Fenway Park Tour