Moving to NYC is an exciting adventure: the big city! The lights! The culture! But with so many Boroughs to choose from, and then the neighborhoods within them, it’s important to know what sort of energy and place you’re looking for. Here is part 1 of our guide to the most desirable neighborhoods in NYC, featuring Manhattan and Brooklyn.
With its iconic skyline and thousands of instantly recognizable landmarks, Manhattan is typically the Borough most are referring to when they say “The City”. And with so many incredibly diverse neighborhoods, there’s truly a neighborhood for everyone. Here are a couple of the most popular destinations for those looking to buy or rent in New York’s crazy market.
- Battery Park City
With its prime location just within walking distance of the Financial District, Tribeca, and Wall Street, Battery Park City has become one of the most popular neighborhoods to find unique and central apartments. With nearly ⅓ of the neighborhood reserved as parkland, it’s residents enjoy a quasi-suburbia feel even in the midst of it all. Expect to pay a bit more for the neighborhood vibe here, with the median rental about 50% greater than the median in New York, running around $1,950. Real Estate prices in Battery Park City are in the $750k range, though the adjacent Tribeca neighborhood still takes the rank of one of the wealthiest neighborhoods in the nation.
Until recently Battery Hill Park didn’t have a lot going on in terms of restaurants or shopping, but the newly built Hudson Eats, as well as a handful of upscale boutiques and restaurants, has popped up to bring some energy to the quiet neighborhood. A Saks Fifth Avenue is in the works and more high-end retailers and restaurateurs have their eyes on Battery Park City, so this neighborhood promises to become more and more desirable.
- Carnegie Hill
Designated as an official Historic District, Carnegie Hill is named after Andrew Carnegie’s Fifth Avenue Mansion and is filled with some of the most majestic pre-war brick-and-stone NY apartments anywhere in Manhattan. Central Park borders one side of this high-end neighborhood, and it hosts a significant portion of NYC’s Museum Mile with its magnificent architecture and well-manicured greenery — so this neighborhood is one of Manhattan’s most attractive by far. Since the area hasn’t seen much in the way of recent development, buying real estate is tricky and will cost an average of a million — rentals, on the other hand, are around $2k a month.
Carnegie Hill’s restaurant and shopping opportunities are abundant, with Madison Avenue as a centralized hub for whatever you seek. Some of the more popular bets include the Italian spot Sfoglia, the comfort-food classic Sarabeth’s Kitchen, and the Parlor Steakhouse.
Over the last decade, Brooklyn has become an increasingly popular destination for families seeking more of a neighborhood feel as well as for young professionals and creatives who are drawn to the artistic scene and grassroots, the do-it-yourself culture that’s become such a part of Brooklyn’s character as it has grown. From converted warehouses to elegant apartments in some of New York’s oldest buildings, you can find something for every need in Brooklyn.
- Cobble Hill
Almost entirely designated as a Historic District, Cobble Hill is considered one of the prettiest and most desirable neighborhoods in Brooklyn. The Historic designation makes for strict regulations that discourage new development, but the commercial corridors of Smith and Court Streets are host to a vibrant shopping and dining scene that balances the leafy residential corridors out nicely. Family-run, Italian style markets and meat shops rub elbows with upper scale restaurants on “restaurant row” like French bistro Bar Tabac, and the Italian fare at Lucali, and it’s all a quick ride on the F Train from Manhattan.
The median house value in Cobble Hill is around $900k and can be tough to come by since so many families in the area are long-time residents, and the median rental price is around $1,700. But with such gorgeous architecture, as well as the popular Cobble Hill Park’s European-style design with a small playground and ample picnic space, this neighborhood is the gem of Brooklyn.
Things are always changing quickly in New York, but few neighborhoods have changed as quickly as Williamsburg. As recently as the late 90’s apartments here were cheap and a bit run down, a largely ignored neighborhood of minority populations. Artists and musicians began moving in, and today, Williamsburg still has that hip, young vibe but has quickly grown into a more upscale version of what it once was.
The main commercial strip for residents of Williamsburg remains the historic Bedford Avenue, with a large number of appealing bars, stores, coffee shops, and restaurants — like Shalom Japan, which boasts “Authentically inauthentic Jewish and Japanese food in South Williamsburg”, or Marlow & Sons, a saloon-style Nouveau American restaurant that is cute cafe by day, raw oysters and dimly-lit ambience by night. The many old warehouses that dot this neighborhood have gotten the attention of developers and given rise to a new crop of housing for young professionals and families alike. Rentals are still pretty affordable, with the median falling around $1400, and real estate is around $580k.
Stay tuned for Part 2 of this article. We’ll be covering the Bronx, Queens, and Staten Island!
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