In Moving to NYC Part I, we shared some tips and advice to help you during your move to New York. Here, we’ll dive deeper into NYC’s neighborhoods to help you get to know the Big Apple a little better.The metropolis of New York City is divided into five boroughs, each with its own distinct character and style. Because the five boroughs are further grouped into nearly 250 unique neighborhoods, there is a perfect residence for almost everyone somewhere in the city. While it is true that each neighborhood has its own strengths and weaknesses, careful examination of each neighborhood’s inherent personality and its available amenities is sure to lead every potential New Yorker to his or her ideal home.Here’s our detailed guide to each borough, including some of the top attractions, housing styles, and neighborhoods in each.
When most outsiders picture New York City based on photographs and movies, they are thinking about Manhattan. This borough is home to many of the most iconic New York landmarks, including Times Square, the Empire State Building, Central Park, and Broadway. Wall Street and New York’s Financial District are both located on Manhattan, as well as Harlem, the home of jazz and soul food.
The types of housing on Manhattan runs the gamut from apartments to historic brownstone buildings to luxurious modern towers, all located in a number of diverse neighborhoods spread across the borough. Many buildings formerly used as commercial and industrial properties have been converted into walk-ups and contemporary lofts. Gated multi-building complexes are available in some Manhattan neighborhoods, while others feature elegant townhouses or huge high-rises. With all these options, real estate in Manhattan is both the most in-demand and the most expensive of the five boroughs.
However, there are still some underdeveloped areas that require improvements to the homes in order to make them fit the city’s standard of living. Neighborhoods such as Inwood, Washington Heights, and Harlem are all involved in a renewal effort working to improve the quality of the homes which currently makes these areas more affordable. Because of the city’s fantastic public transportation system, anyone living in these neighborhoods can very quickly be in other areas for work and entertainment.
Many families are now opting to remain in Manhattan to raise their children rather than moving to the suburbs, making the neighborhoods much more family-friendly than they used to be. Of course, this often means deciding what stuff to keep handy and what to keep safe in storage. The Upper West Side and the Upper East Side both offer great public and private schools in addition to a vast array of shops and restaurants. Many families opt for the convenience of having all of these choices available in their backyards, but Battery Park City and Morningside Heights are also popular family-friendly selections.
People looking for more nightlife and entertainment possibilities frequently gravitate to the East Village, with its bars, coffee shops, and vintage fashion, or the Lower East Side for its contemporary art and music scene. Other popular entertainment neighborhoods include Hell’s Kitchen, a mecca for the culinary arts; Chelsea, the home of galleries and rock ‘n’ roll; and Greenwich Village, a haven for vegetarians and vinyl-lovers.
With more space and more reasonable rental rates, Brooklyn is an increasingly popular borough as more families and young professionals move to the area. Although the open spaces and views of the city skyline make Brooklyn seem the most empty of all the boroughs, it is really the most populous.
Many apartments are available in Greenpoint and Williamsburg, two enclaves that are becoming more popular in the borough. Greenpoint, a neighborhood with a vintage feeling, offers residents many locally grown foods and locally operated businesses, including a classic bowling alley and a bookstore with unique finds. Williamsburg, on the other hand, is one of the trendiest neighborhoods in New York. As new and fashionable shops, restaurants, and other entertainment locations continue to open their doors in this neighborhood, more people looking for a lively home are flocking to this locale.
More secluded homes and apartments are available in Sheepshead Bay and Sea Gate, as well as Carroll Gardens and Brooklyn Heights. With their more sheltered locations, many of these neighborhoods have developed very distinctive or eccentric personalities. Red Hook, featuring a rugged shoreline, embraces its location with some of the best lobster rolls in the city. Carroll Gardens features a classically old-fashioned style, while the red-brick row houses of Brooklyn Heights create a tranquil atmosphere of tree-lined streets in the middle of the urban landscape.
Brooklyn also offers some of the most interesting residential neighborhoods in New York City. The large Victorian homes in Flatbush and the brownstones in Park Slope are some of the most iconic housing styles in the borough. Nearby, DUMBO, an up-and-coming neighborhood, is composed of former factories re-imagined as housing and avant-garde performance spaces. Finally, Coney Island is Brooklyn’s summertime gem, home of beaches, baseball, and boardwalks.
As the largest borough in square miles, Queens offers many entertainment activities, including the Museum of Modern Art PS1, Citi Field, and the Queens Botanical Garden.
Both New York City airports, La Guardia and JFK International, are in this borough, and as well as the New York Hall of Science. These locales as well as a vibrant nightlife and ready access to transportation make Queens a welcoming place to live.
Surrounded on most sides by Long Island, Queens offers many more transportation options than most of the New York City boroughs. In addition to the city’s mass transit bus and subway lines, access to the Long Island Railroad is also conveniently located throughout it. Queens is also the most car-friendly of the five boroughs since there are several major highways, including the Long Island Expressway and the Grand Central Parkway.
Each neighborhood in Queens has its own distinctive architectural style and character. The arts scene of Long Island City lends itself to the neighborhood’s refurbished industrial buildings. These former factories and commercial sites have been transformed into contemporary apartments and lofts. Rockaway Beach has a surfer’s feel thanks to its seasonal bungalows and the nearby water. The Flushing, Astoria, and Jackson Heights neighborhoods conceal their densely populated communities in vibrantly fascinating historical and ethnic foods and architectural styles.
The most affordable of all the New York boroughs, the Bronx is home to the Bronx Zoo, New York Botanical Gardens, and Yankee Stadium which all serve as major cultural draws to the borough.
Many of the neighborhoods in the Bronx have adopted the style and atmosphere of their most famous attributes.The South Bronx is home to the hip hop and rap movements, and this independent music scene is still entertaining residents and visitors daily. The Grand Concourse, famous for its thoroughfare architecture and culture, is home to blocks of pre-war Deco buildings. City Island, an out-of-place boating community in the Bronx, features waterfront homes and many restaurants devoted to fresh lobster and other seafood. Apartments and homes in Fieldston and Riverdale seem more like suburban locations with tree-lined private roads and Tudor mansions. Arthur Avenue which features some of the best Italian delis in New York, is located in the Bronx.
Taking the Staten Island Ferry from Lower Manhattan to the island only takes about twenty minutes. Staten Island features a mixture of high-rise brick apartment complexes and detached family houses that make this borough seem the most like living in the suburbs.
The prices for these residences are very reasonable in comparison to the other city boroughs. This is mainly due to the distance from the city downtown to Staten Island and the necessity of using the ferry in order to reach the island. There are not any subway routes traveling from this borough to the mainland, so real estate near the island’s bus lines and the ferry terminal are the most prized and the most expensive.
Most apartments on the island are along the northern shore, specifically in the neighborhoods of St. George, Tompkinsville, and Clifton. These complexes allow a greater number of people to live along the scenic shore that features views of the Statue of Liberty and New York Harbor. The southern shore offers more row houses, as well as detached and semi-detached homes. Neighborhoods in Castleton Corners, Oakwood, and Prince’s Bay offer moderately-sized lots with green space for families and gardening enthusiasts.
The variety of New York City neighborhoods means that anyone from professionals to families to budding artists can find a home. Each neighborhood shifts on a nearly block-to-block basis, so these descriptions should merely be taken as a guideline to the city real estate. Whether the home is in Manhattan or the Bronx, there is something about every neighborhood that attracts and keeps its residents.
Are you moving to one of NYC’s five boroughs? Let us know in the comments.