How to choose a New York neighborhood (2023)

I've lived in New York City for almost 20 years and in that time have called nine different boroughs home. Some have felt more “at home” than others:Boerum-Hügel, where I lived for three years, was my favorite, with everything I needed - a decent grocery store, some mom and pop shops, access toBrooklyn-Bridge-Park, and two of my favorite bars - all within a 20 minute walk of my apartment. But ultimately I decided I wanted more space for less money, and that's how I ended up in my current neighborhood,Bed-Stuy.

These are the considerations that many New Yorkers have when choosing where to live: Do I want freedom or do I want to be surrounded by people? How important is proximity to a park? Can I really live on just one subway line? And how much will it all cost? (In a town whereMany households are rent-burdened, or pay more than a third of their annual income for rent, the price is often the priceonlyFactor that tenants consider when choosing an apartment.)

To New Yorkers newcomers, this may sound overwhelming, and even if you can afford to live wherever you want, there will be tradeoffs. Here are 11 things to consider when choosing a neighborhood in the city.

1. First, get to know NYC's boroughs.

Before you can choose a neighborhood to live in, you must choose a district. New York City has five:the Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens undStaten Island. (NYC & Company, the city's tourism agency, offersGuide to each district- it's a great resource for newbies.)

Where you actually end up depends on various factors, but each district has its pros and cons. Manhattan, for example, isDieHeart of the city, home to several business districts (like Midtown and Financial District), and what outsiders usually think of when they picture New York. It's also the most densely populated of all boroughs, with 1.6 million people crammed into just 22 square miles.

Staten Island, on the other hand, is sleepier -- it has fewer than 500,000 full-time residents -- and more suburban, with many single-family homes scattered throughout its nearly 59 square miles. It is known as the district of parks with more than 10,000 hectares of green space; It's also the only district not connected by subway to the other four, so you'll need to be okay with taking the ferry or express bus.

Of course, the best way to get to know these areas is to trudge the pavement, but you can also read local publications (SI-Live,DieBrooklyn-Papier,Queens Daily EStore, etc.) to get a feel for each location.

2. Then get to know the neighborhoods of NYC.

Once you've found a district that feels right to you, it's time to refresh its neighborhoods. There arehundredsthroughout the city, each with its own flavor and characteristics. Finding what suits you best takes a lot of research (the internet is your friend!). So allow enough time before you move to deal with them thoroughly. (Curbed's ownpopular leaderAndTenant Guidesare good starting points.)

You can also search neighborhoods that meet your specific needs. For example, the Upper West Side has several naturally occurring retirement communities. Chelsea and Hell's Kitchen are among thembest neighborhoods for LGBTQ New Yorkers. And many neighborhoods are home to thriving immigrant communities; Washington Heights has a large Dominican population, Astoria has its "Little Egypt" and so on.

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3. But don't get bogged down in the cachet of certain neighborhoods.

Sex and the Cityshamefully conductedBright-eyed wannabe wannabe Carrie Bradshaw flocks to the West Village in the early hours of the morning.Girlwas allegedly responsible for a similar influx of wannabe Hannah Horvaths into Greenpoint a decade later. And there are countless others who have moved to the Lower East Side or Williamsburg because those areas were hyped as the coolest parts of town (at least it used to be).

But just because a neighborhood is said to be hip or made famous by a TV show doesn't mean it's the place for you. Think insteadyourspecific wants and needs before deciding on a location. (The West Village may be charming, but you'll pay dearly for the privilege of living there.)

4. Find out what matters most to you: location, space or price.

Three of the most important factors people consider when choosing a place to live are location, size and price. Finding an apartment in New York City that ticks all three boxes is like winning the lottery — extraordinarily rare and you'll probably be wondering how lucky you are.

Before you begin your search, think long and hard about which of these three factors you are most closely associated with. If space and price are your biggest concerns, you might live in a neighborhood that's a bit off the beaten track. If you invest in a location with lots of amenities and activities, you'll almost certainly end up paying more rent.

Once you figure that out, it's time to do some research. If saving money is your number one concern, real estate agency MNS tracks rental pricesthe Bronx,Brooklyn,Queens, AndManhattan, so you can see where the bargains are. It's harder to get a sense of average square footage by neighborhood; However, listing sites like StreetEasy let you search apartments by size, so you can keep an eye on places that aren't tiny studios. For many people, location—whether it's close to work, your friends, or your yoga studio—is the most important factor.

But it's also important to remember that lives and priorities change; Maybe you find a new job, decide to have a child, or want to be closer to a subway hub. You might even want to move to a different neighborhood within a few months of landing your first apartment, and that's fine! The beauty of living in New York City is that you're almost certain to find a place that meets your top priorities, whatever those may be at the time.

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5. Consider your public transportation.

New York may have the most robust public transit system in the country, but that doesn't mean it serves all parts of the city equally. That's whole parts of Queens and Brooklynunderground deserts; Staten Island, on the other hand, has only one rail line and one bus service, which is often slow and unreliable.

On the other hand, there are neighborhoods like Downtown Brooklyn or the Financial Districtmajor subway hubs, making them excellent options if you want to be close to tons of transportation. Citi Bike, that isready for a big expansionover the next few years has a large presence in parts of Manhattan, Queens and Brooklyn.

And don't plan on owning a car in NYC: It isexpensive, increases the city's already terrible traffic, is bad for the environment and generally uncomfortable.

6. You probably won't want to be too far from work.

Prepare to spend a lot of time on the subway: theaverage commute time for a routein New York City is about 36 minutes. Youmayuse this timecatch up on podcastsor readthe powerbroker,You can also choose a neighborhood that is close to where you work. Most of the city's central business districts where you're most likely to have an office — Midtown, Financial District, Downtown Brooklyn, Jamaica, Long Island City — aren't necessarily neighborhoods where you can (or can) afford it. ) to live in, but they are also served by many subway and bus lines.

Here is theMTAs App(or even Google Maps) comes in handy: if you know you work in Midtown and don't want to make a long commute, you can search subway lines for neighborhoods that are close to that particular neighborhood. On the other hand, if you want to live in Sunnyside, for example, you can use these apps to find out how long a potential trip to other parts of the city will take given your transit options. (And make sure to add at least 15 minutes to account for subway delays.)

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7. Do you need rest?

The city that never sleeps has some quiet zones: NoisyRenthop, some of the city's quietest neighborhoods include the Upper East Side, Borough Park, Bayside and Brooklyn Heights. You can see that...Number of noise complaintsa section received via the NYC Open Data portal, but don't just consider this if you're looking for a relatively quiet place. You don't want to live next to major roads like the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway (known locally as the BQE) or in areas where major construction projects are happening. (Just ask the Upper East Side residents who lived along Second Avenue while the new subway stations were under construction.)

8. How important is being close to nature?

New York may have a reputation for being a concrete jungle, but there are plenty of areas where green space abounds — and we're not just talking Central Park, which is surrounded by some of the city's most expensive real estate. The largest is Pelham Bay Park in the Bronx, home to beaches, horse stables and a nature reserve. It's also close to affordable neighborhoods like Pelham Bay and Morris Park. Inwood Hill Park is huge on the northern tip of Manhattan and is close to the lively Inwood and Washington Heights neighborhoods.

If you're more of an outdoor type, there are places for you too: Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx has five trails of varying difficulty; There are large tracts of old growth forest in Prospect Park. And if you want your parks to have gorgeous water views, there are parts of Brooklyn, Queens, and Manhattan (including Roosevelt Island, another affordable enclave) that deliver.

TheWebsite des NYC Parks Departmenthas tons of information about the city's countless green spaces, both the "Featured Parks”(big, famous ones like Central, Prospect, etc.) and the smaller neighborhood oases in the five boroughs.

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9. You will be walking a lot, so prepare accordingly.

It doesn't matter where you live in New York - you'll spend a lot of time on your feet. And although it is difficult to find a neighborhood in New York Cityis notpedestrian-friendly, some parts of the city are better in terms ofwalkability- with parks, grocery stores, bodegas and other amenities in close proximity - than others. PermitWalkScoreBe Your Guide: In Manhattan, you'll find many shops, restaurants, and bars located in neighborhoods like Nolita, the East Village, and the Union Square area. in Brooklyn, some of the most walkable areas include Boerum Hill, Brooklyn Heights, Prospect Heights, and Fort Greene. Bronx neighborhoods like Concourse and East Tremont also score and may be cheaper than other boroughs.

10. Spend some time in the neighborhoods that interest you before committing.

Let's say you've done some research and found an apartment in a neighborhood that has everything you could want: it's near a subway station, there are a few grocery stores, there's a park nearby, and you can afford the rent. You've only been there once, but it seems perfect; You should definitely sign the lease, right?

Not so fast. Something might seem perfect on paper, but over time you might notice problems. Before deciding on a location, plan on making repeated visits to the neighborhood at different times of the day—early mornings, late nights, weekends when people are out. (And don't forget to check how many noise or other complaints there are that you can do aboutvia the 311 website.) That way you get a feel for what it's actually like to live there.

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11. Once you've moved in, treat the whole town like your neighborhood - live in everything.

Congratulations! They picked a neighborhood, signed a lease, and moved in; Now it's time to hop off and explore the rest of the city. Just because you've put down roots in Ridgewood doesn't mean you can't taste everythingdumpling stainsin Flushing, run through Inwood Hill Park on the weekends, find the perfect coffee shop in Greenpoint or go clubbing in Bushwick. The beauty of researching neighborhoods so extensively before moving to New York City is that you can find a ton of places to explore. Once you have a home base, spend the rest of your time on it. New York is a huge, vibrant, beautiful city with more things to do than you can probably find in your lifetime - but that doesn't mean you shouldn't try.

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