**both JFK and LaGuardia airports are in Queens
Long Island City– A former industrial neighborhood with plenty of modern high-rises with full amenities. Quick access to Manhattan, although the 7 train gets temperamental at times. Home to the PS1 branch of the MOMA museum.
Astoria– A vibrant neighborhood with strong Greek and Eastern European influences. Great food and entertainment options, such as beer gardens; some museums and galleries. Strong value for money apartments and decent transportation options.
Forest Hills– A green neighborhood right by Corona Park. Plenty of food and shopping options, including shopping malls. Deeply rooted in sports: the Mets ball park and the US Open tennis tournament take place near here. Apartments are affordable. Express and other train options (E, F, M, R trains) to Manhattan during the workweek.
Jackson Heights– A relaxed neighborhood featuring a mix of cultures: Indian and Latin American. Affordable and clean. Excellent dining options; people often come from Manhattan just to eat here. Express train options (7 train) to Manhattan during the workweek.
Hoboken/Jersey City– A blend of historical houses with a great neighborhood feel and new high-rises featuring breathtaking Manhattan views. Many post-college graduates live in Hoboken. Strong ethnic influences in Jersey City. Reasonable prices with adequate space. Easy commute to Manhattan via Path trains by day, but gets more difficult by night.
Want to explore your potential neighborhood more?
– We recommend searching yelp.com like so (http://www.yelp.com/search?find_desc=find_loc=East+Village%2C+Manhattan%2C+NY) to get to know the unique places that make up a hood.
– Also, if you’re more interested in history and landmarks, check out, http://www.notfortourists.com/MetaHoods.aspx
– For more skinny on what trains rock and what trains do not go to http://www.straphangers.org/
■ Why do people rave about lower Manhattan/Brooklyn north of the Financial District?
Personal preference, really. There happens to be a high concentration of night life activity in these areas as of late. East Village, Lower East side, Noho, Nolita, Williamsburg, etc.
■ Where do you live, BluClovers?
All over. But as of late, in the East Village. By the way, most neighborhoods, have great, comprehensive Wikipedia sites. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/East_Village,_Manhattan
Chances are that you have heard people rave about Brooklyn. It’s not too far from Manhattan and has its own hip vibe. Plus, there’s plenty of green space, and you get more apartment space for your dollar. Note: Brooklyn apartments usually have more space and are slightly cheaper than Manhattan but do not expect extremely cheap apartments in popular neighborhoods. However, you will generally get a lot more space than your average Manhattan pad.
Williamsburg– Hipster neighborhood with many bars, shops, restaurants, etc. Housing ranges from walk-ups to new developments closer to the Williamsburg bridge and East river. Easy access to Manhattan through the reliable L train. Weekend nights the L does not run as frequently, but then again, you might not leave Williamsburg much. Latin and Jewish influence.
Greenpoint- When people are crowded out of Williamsburg, they come north to Greenpoint. Cheaper and safer than Williamsburg with some good restaurant and bar options. Polish influence. On the G train line, which can be temperamental. We hear the G has gotten way better, though!
Brooklyn Heights/Downtown Brooklyn- Beautiful tree lined streets and brownstones close to Brooklyn Bridge Park and the Brooklyn Heights Promenade, featuring one of the best NYC skyline views. Commute times are very quick with access to both east and westside trains. Professional population of which many people own their place. Retail and restaurant strip exists but is a little underwhelming. Downtown Brooklyn is comprised primarily of courthouses, universities, and business, but new high-rise rental buildings are also present.
Carroll Gardens/Gowanus– Charming neighborhood with a diversity of local restaurants, bars, and delis. Just south of Brooklyn Heights and connected to lower Manhattan by the F,G, and M trains that are sometime fickle, particularly at night.
Boreum Hill/ Cobble Hill- Squeezed between Carroll Gardens and Brooklyn Heights, it offers the best of both worlds. Beautiful homes with plenty of space.
Fort Greene/Clinton Hill– Dynamic, diverse, and cheaper than surrounding neighborhoods. The spotty G train is the main feeder to Manhattan but other trains in neighboring Downtown Brooklyn are walkable. Although with such a relaxed, cool vibe, you can spend your evenings here. No need for Manhattan.
DUMBO– Down under the Manhattan and Brooklyn bridges. Think loft, art galleries and creative space, and waterfront access. The loft like housing has made DUMBO expensive, but there are still finds. Close to Downtown Brooklyn with good transport options.
Bedford-Stuyvesant/Bushwick– A mix of cultural influences ranging from African American to Caribbean. Many hip folks, particularly artists, from Williamsburg have moved further east for cheaper rents and more residential and gallery space. A neighborhood on the rise with some spotty blocks. Home of BK’s hip hop culture; Jay-Z and Biggie grew up on these streets. Expect more Latin flavor as you head east towards Bushwick Avenue. Served by the west side A, C trains.
Prospect Heights– Space. Close to the vast Prospect Park. Diverse neighborhood with reasonable prices and plenty of restaurants and bars. Pretty good transport options, even better in nearby Park Slope.
Park Slope- A well-rounded neighborhood with everything to offer- restaurants, bars, arts, and subway access to most lines. It has become a great place for families (cue the stroller jokes) to settle in due to low crime and the great schools, but younger people also call Park Slope home because it has a lot to offer. By Prospect Park. Rents are affordable but are going up.
Red Hook- Great food at restaurants, the Fairway grocery store on the water, or from vendors at the baseball fields in summer. This is where IKEA is. Bad transit unless you will be biking or taking the bus. IKEA offers a free water ferry during the day from Manhattan’s South Street Seaport to Red Hook.
Brooklyn (close to Manhattan) neighborhood map:
Part 3: the Neighborhood
■ What is this east side/west side dialogue in Manhattan?
New Yorkers make a big deal about east side/west side partially as function of the subway system. There are local (stop frequently) and express lines that run up along the east side (4,5,6) and lines that run along the west side (1,2,3, A, C, E) of Manhattan. However, there aren’t many lines that go across town. The main areas for cross-town transfers are 14th street Union Square (L) and 42nd street Grand Central or Time Square (7 or the Shuttle). Several train lines make diagonal cuts of the city (N,Q,R) or go *slightly* East to West in a more roundabout way (B,D,M).
It can be faster to go from lower Manhattan (east) to far upper Manhattan (east) than to go from lower Manhattan (east) to lower Manhattan (west).
■ What are the different neighborhoods like? Where is the East Village, again?
Let’s get oriented first.
– Hudson River=West=Jersey side.
– East River=East=Brooklyn/Queens side.
– The Bronx is north of Manhattan.
– There’s an inhabited island between Manhattan and Queens called Roosevelt Island.
Below are brief overviews of some popular neighborhoods in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens. Maps follow the neighborhood overviews. Note: Neighborhood boundaries are debatable so take what’s below as a rough guide.
Lower Manhattan (unnumbered streets to 14th street, Union Square):
– Financial District– Near Wall Street. Many financial services employees live here because of the short commute, but other people have moved in for the nice, doorman apartments. Quiet and safe, convenient transit to Brooklyn and Union Square (14th street), but lacking in neighborhood feel.
– Tribeca– Think beautiful rehabbed lofts. Many affluent financial/ professional services employees have relocated here. Industrial/neighborhood feel but is also the city’s richest precinct. Home to the Tribeca Film Festival—hence the “I’ll be in Tribeca, right next to Deniro line,” from Jay Z’s NY anthem, “Empire State of Mind.” Great west side transit; east side transit is walkable. Hudson River waterfront access.
– Chinatown/Civic Center– Name is self-explanatory. Changing neighborhood with blurred borders between Lower East Side and Nolita. Great food and access to lower Manhattan nightlife. Bustling during the day (especially Saturday) and not the cleanest of neighborhoods. High percent of “walk-up,” non-elevator buildings where one can find deals. Canal is the main feeder street famous for fake Rolexes—well fake anything. Canal is also a great transportation hub mixing some east side/west side subways. This is the neighborhood to come to for the Manhattan side of the Brooklyn Bridge!
– Nolita– A mix of Little Italy and Chinatown. Now known for fashion boutiques because of its proximity to Soho. Great food and walkable access to nightlife in lower Manhattan. Increasing rents.
– Noho (north of Houston street, between East Village and Soho)- Home to Bowery street, a unique corridor of food, nightlife, and music venues. Noho is increasingly becoming upscale. Located on the east side but has walkable access to west side transit. The gateway to the East Village and Soho. See Nolita.
– Lower East Side– The gentrified, former tenement neighborhood of New York. Vibrant and diverse with some of the best food and nightlife in the city. Many people want to be here, which is why LES gets crowded at nights. Limited subway access but many people will be coming to you! You can still find deals on some of the tenement walk-ups.
– Soho (south of Houston street)- Fashionable. All the retail you want plus great cafes, restaurants, bars and lounges. Expensive.
– Greenwich (Central) Village (between East Village and West Village)- Think the nexus of NYU and all things that students would want. Has a bohemian history.
– West Village (the west part of where the map says “Greenwich Village”)- Beautiful tree lined, winding streets laden with boutiques and wonderful food and entertainment options. Think brownstone. Expensive. Space is generally small. Served by west side trains.
**Numbered streets on the grid (e.g. 1st street and 1st avenue) start here.
– East Village (goes east to alphabet city, avenue a, b, etc.)- Once an artist enclave, East Village still has remnants of the bohemian vibe. Great access to retail, food, and nightlife because the neighborhood is so concentrated. This means if you live here people will come to you after work hours. Alphabet city feels more like a neighborhood with some of the city’s best community gardens. Subway access becomes sparser as you move east towards the river but you can still walk to trains. Stay west of 1st avenue, and trains are near. NYU borders East Village. Rents have become high because of the neighborhoods’ desirability. Shared housing is common.
– Union Square (border of East Village and Gramercy Park)- A park that is effervescent with life with wonderful cross-town subway access. Home to one of the city’s best farmers markets. Borders other desirable neighborhoods like East and West Village, which is why rents near the park are high. Good budget retail options like Nordstrom’s Rack, H&M, etc.
Mid Manhattan (14th street to 60th street)
– Meatpacking (border of West Village and Chelsea towards the Hudson River)- High end club and fashion designer mecca, although the meatpacking industry still does exist here. Cobblestoned streets in some parts. Close to water and is home to a beautiful above ground park called the High Line. Served by west side trains.
– Chelsea– A mix of charming brownstones on tree-lined streets and bigger apartment complexes. Home to many and known for also being the epicenter of the gay population. One of the greatest visual arts districts in the world because of the many art galleries through out the neighborhood. Great food, entertainment, and retail options. Google has its Manhattan office here. Served by west side trains. Rent prices vary but are generally on the high-side.
– Gramercy Park– East of Union square, known for the only private park in the city. A wealthy community lives around the park but you can still find reasonable apartments just south or north of the park. Quiet but easy access to nightlife further downtown. Beautiful Irving street leading up to park is lined with restaurants and bars. A few blocks to the east are the massive Stuyvesant Town (Stuy-town) and Peter Cooper Village complexes. Served by east side transit.
– Flatiron (between Union Square and Murray Hill)- Central and above Union Square. A mixed business and residential district. Home to the Madison Square Park which boasts the famous “Shake Shack.” Many startup companies in NY’s “Silicon Alley” are based here or just south. Empire state building to the north and Korea-town/Penn Station/Big Macy’s to the north-west. Both east side and west side trains are readily available.
– Murray Hill– A popular post-college graduate neighborhood because of its vicinity to the midtown business district. Think rows of Irish bars. Sometimes called Curry Hill because of a row of Indian restaurants on Lexington avenue between 26th and 30th streets. Served by east side transit.
– Midtown East– Namely a business district, especially around transportation hub, Grand Central Station at 42nd street so subway access is good. Does not feel like a neighborhood at night because all the professionals go home, but people do live here for the full-service apartments that you might get a deal on. The UN is way east towards the East River. Bordered by the high-end shops on Madison and 5th avenue to the west.
– Midtown West– Business district but home to much of New York theater—Broadway, off-Broadway, Times Square. The Port Authority bus terminal is also here and Penn Station/Madison Square Garden lies just South. Grittier than Midtown East. Tourist central. Access to every subway line.
– Hells Kitchen– Corridor of great restaurants close to the theater scene and not too far from Central Park and the beautiful Hudson River Park. Quite a few industrial lots as you head closer to the Hudson River. The Daily Show and Colbert Report are taped here. You can still find apartment deals. Served by west side trains.
Upper Manhattan (60th street and above to 200th street, right before the Bronx)
– Upper West Side– Home to Lincoln Center (arts central) and the Natural History museum, UWS is hosts many cultural activities. When we think of UWS, we think of young families and Central Park. If you go further up towards 90th street, the population is a mix of people- students, actors, families, etc. These people migrate further uptown for cheaper rents, space, proximity to Central Park, and a local neighborhood vibe. Served by west side trains.
– Morningside Heights– diverse neighborhood home to Columbia University (116th and Broadway). Served by west side trains. Wonderful greenspace, local neighborhood, and great groceries al la Fairway (http://www.yelp.com/biz/fairway-market-new-york-2). Not much “destination” nightlife—more of a student bar neighborhood.
– Harlem– has changed from the days it was known for rampant crime. There are pockets of grit and crime but Harlem has gone through another renaissance. It boasts beautiful apartments and is the nexus of African American music and dance culture. Home to the Apollo Theater (Showtime at the Apollo) and original jazz joints. Cheaper rents and more space. Served by west side trains.
– Upper East Side– The UES is most famous for old money. This is why George and Wheezy Jefferson made such a big deal about “movin’ on up to the East Side.” UES is a beautiful, spacious, and green neighborhood very close to Central Park and the Met art museum. This neighborhood is now a mix of wealthy people, families, and young professionals who find great apartments between UES and Spanish Harlem. Served by east side trains.
– Spanish Harlem (East Harlem)- El barrio has also gone through a partial gentrification but the Latin culture is very much alive-you can feel it in the bodegas. Slightly more isolated in feeling than Central/West Harlem and some pockets of grit/crime. There’s a touch of suburbia here with the opening of a Costco and a Target. Cheap rents. Served by east side trains.
– Washington Heights (above Harlem on map)- Famous after the “In the Heights” musical, Washington Heights is a diverse neighborhood that has largely escaped mass gentrification and is much safer than reputed. Strong Dominican and Puerto Rican influences and Jewish influences as you get close to Fort Tyron park. Cheap rents and loads of space but far uptown.