If there's a nicer place to live in northern New Jersey than Summit, I don't want to hear about it, because I'm convinced that I've found the perfect place to live.
Well, okay, perhaps that's a bit of an exaggeration, and there are other places I wouldn't mind living. But overall, Summit is very much in tune with the things I want in a hometown, and I'm quite happy to have found it. So how did I come to live in Summit, as opposed to anywhere else? Well, like so much of my life, there's an interesting story behind that:
In the spring of 1993, I was living in Troy, New York, and after almost seven years of living there, I was starting to feel the need for a change of scenery. Many of my friends from college had already moved away, and my job at RPI's Information Technology Services had reached a dead end. Since most of my friends at that time lived within fifty miles of New York City, I was often coming down to Manhattan, New Jersey or Long Island for visits. During those visits, I kept my eyes open for places that I might enjoy living.
My criteria for a place to live were fairly strict, and I knew it wasn't going to be easy to find a place that lived up to all of my wishes. While I wanted to be close to New York City, I didn't want to live in the city itself, both because of expenses, and because I'm not really a city person at heart. What I was looking for was a small town, big enough to have a train station and a downtown with stores that I could walk to, from which I could get to Manhattan in not more than an hour.
At this time, my friend Zed was living in Gillette, New Jersey, a very small town out in Morris County. While Gillette didn't seem like what I was looking for, I noticed that the train from Hoboken to Gillette passed through some towns that looked more like what I was hoping to find. On the way back, I studied the train schedule, and noticed that the two branches of the Morris and Essex train lines split at Summit. This meant that just about all the trains on the lines stopped there, to allow for transfers. Well, any place with lots of trains automatically gets high marks from me. So I filed away the train schedule, and kept the name of Summit in my head.
Fast forward about a year. Many important events took place in my life, which I've chronicled elsewhere in greater detail. The end result was that I left Troy and found a job in Manhattan. For the first couple of months I was crashing with friends, but obviously I had to find somewhere to settle in on a more long-term basis. Remembering my previous observations, the first place I looked for apartments was northern New Jersey, and of course Summit was at the top of my list. Perusal of the local papers resulted in several possible sites, in Summit and elsewhere. On Memorial Day weekend in 1994, I went out with my friend George to look at apartments. We visited several places, but the very first one I checked out seemed to be ideal. A spacious one-bedroom within ten minutes' walk of the train station, with laundry facilities in the building -- I didn't even pay much attention to the other places, being convinced that I'd found my new home already.
The rest is more or less history: I moved into the place in July of 1994, and have been living here ever since. I've found Summit as pleasant as I expected it to be, and I'm quite happy to make my home here.