They say that if you can make it in New York City, you can make it anywhere — but where should you choose to hang your hat while you’re trying to make it?
There are thousands upon thousands of apartments in the city that never sleeps, so how do you know where the best place to land is? Whether you’re looking for a traditional cozy neighborhood feel or you want to live on the block that has the very best walkability, there’s certainly no shortage of great neighborhoods in New York.
Here’s a short guide to some of our favorite places to rent in the Big Apple:
Murray Hill, located on Manhattan’s east side, is a perfect neighborhood for those who aren’t quite ready to give up college-style living but want to experience all that the city has to offer. If you’ve come to New York City to meet new people, you might not accomplish it here — it’s much more likely that you’ll run into fellow alumni of your university — but the neighborhood does have a great bar scene and is situated near Grand Central Station and the New York City Public Library, just in case you need to get some quiet time away from all the partying.
When you think of modern-day Brooklyn, you probably envision Williamsburg, with its twirly mustached, unicycle-riding, and coffee slinging residents. Williamsburg is also the setting of the hit HBO series Girls, and it’s been one of the hippest spots in the city for at least the last several years. On top of all that, Williamsburg also has one of the hottest restaurant scenes in the country, with everything you could ever want to eat and drink just seconds from your doorstep.
You may crave that Manhattan skyline, but you’re almost definitely not craving those Manhattan rental prices. Astoria, Queens, is both reasonably close to Manhattan and much more affordable than many of its neighbors. If you want to be able to get more space for your money’s worth, an apartment in Astoria will deliver. Plus, there are still plenty of mom and pop shops and restaurants in Queens, which itself has a solidly New York feel that’s disappeared from parts of Manhattan.
Many have claimed that Washington Heights is “the new Williamsburg,” but this neighborhood has always had its own personality — even before the hipsters started showing up in Brooklyn. For starters, it’s culturally diverse and well within walking distance of Columbia University and The City College of New York, making it perfect for students and first-time New Yorkers looking for affordable rent in Manhattan. Washington Heights has also long been home to immigrants from the Dominican Republic, so you can expect to find lots of amazing food there.
Concourse, the Bronx
If you’re looking for a place that’s affordable, family-friendly, and boasts a true neighborhood vibe, Concourse in the Bronx might be for you. This neighborhood is safe, diverse, and makes a great fit for anyone who’s into historical architecture (The Grand Concourse is the only boulevard in New York that’s on the National List of Historic Places, and it’s even protected by a special set of zoning laws). Plus, it’s perfect for baseball fans, since Yankee stadium is located in the heart of the community.
If you want the vibe of Greenwich Village but can’t afford the extraordinarily high rents, you may want to give East Village a try. East Village has a very eclectic, bohemian feel to it, where you can find plenty of thrift shops, funky antique stores, and cool, relaxed restaurants to contrast the frenzy of Times Square.
You can also expect to find a good mix of young professionals, foodies, and bar-goers in the East Village. If you have a young family, you might want to look in another part of town, as it tends to get pretty loud here at night.
Jackson Heights, Queens
This one might not be as close to Manhattan as Astoria is, but what it lacks in easy transportation, it makes up for in charm. Jackson Heights is home to many beautiful old buildings that are large and family-friendly, perfect for stretching out and having your own space in the city. It’s also very close to LaGuardia airport, which is especially great if you’re an avid traveler.
Above all, Jackson Heights is affordable and very diverse, with large Latino, Indian, Tibetan, and Nepalese populations calling it home. You’re sure to find great food and friendly neighbors here, both of which will more than make up for the long commutes into the city.