Uraniumfish

  • Local Expert 26,627 points
  • Reviews 32
  • Questions 0
  • Answers 2,440
  • Discussions 111

Reviews

4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • Clean & Green 5/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 4/5
  • Eating Out 4/5
  • Nightlife 3/5
  • Parks & Recreation 5/5
  • Shopping Options 4/5
  • Gym & Fitness 4/5
  • Internet Access 3/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Parking 3/5
  • Cost of Living 2/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 4/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
  • Medical Facilities 4/5
  • Schools 5/5
  • Childcare 5/5
Just now

"Raise hip, cultured New York type children here"

Most of the friends I have who grew up in New York City grew up on the Upper West Side, so at least for our parents' generation, this was the place in the city where you settle down and have children. Though you would definitely raise hip, cultured, New York-type children, used to instant access to the best museums in the world, and the most excellent magnet schools money can buy. I think that's still true of the Upper West Side: that it is quiet enough to still be an ideal place to raise your kids, if raising kids in the city is what you intend to do. The area is also so immediately a center of cultural life – think, the Philharmonic, the Metropolitan Opera, the Natural History Museum – that you can still have your finger on the pulse, so to speak, and be a parent too. I think the market rates on family sized apartments have skyrocketed though, so you aren't likely to touch real estate here unless you're making substantial money. As with everything attractive in this city, everybody wants a piece of it, so you're going to encounter the social infighting that comes with being part of one of the most sought-after neighborhoods in this country. Ever heard those horror stories about parents spending absurd amounts of money and effort to claw and nail their toddlers into a decent kindergarten? Yeah, those were probably Upper West Side parents. I don't tend to spend much time in this area, unless I'm going out for a night at the Opera. Otherwise, the bars and restaurants scene is much more happening downtown, but I don't think the residents here mind all that much. As compared to the Upper East Side, whose residents I would say can be labeled “elite,” the Upper West Side would correspond to the label “established.”
Pros
  • major cultural institutions
  • proximity to Central Park
  • great grocery stores
Cons
  • stodgy
  • no bar scene to speak of
  • an older crowd
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Students
2/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 2/5
  • Safe & Sound 2/5
  • Clean & Green 2/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 1/5
  • Eating Out 3/5
  • Nightlife 5/5
  • Parks & Recreation 2/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Internet Access 3/5
  • Lack of Traffic 1/5
  • Parking 1/5
  • Cost of Living 1/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 5/5
  • Public Transport 5/5
  • Medical Facilities 4/5
  • Schools 2/5
  • Childcare 2/5
Just now

"Gives me vertigo"

Although it is hands-down the greatest commercial district in the world, or maybe because of this fact, Midtown is just really un-endearing. I routinely see people come out of the subways in Midtown, looking around with wide eyes, and going, “Wow.” Yeah, okay, wow. I see why the lights and the hullaballoo can be breathtaking and exciting to someone who has never been to New York before, but it's really hard to maintain that level of enthusiasm when you live in this city. The day-to-day reality of Midtown kicks in pretty soon: unbelievable congestion, gawking annoying tourists who all say the same things and marvel at the same details, stylized and corny commercial detritus, over-priced food, over-priced drinks, over-priced everything. I've also heard the phrase “epicenter of American theater” used to describe Midtown, but this really scares me, since I don't think that what passes for theater inside Broadway venues deserves that name. It is much more appropriately called entertainment, and what scares me is that your typical tourist from the Midwest wouldn't know the difference. Trust me, theater is something other than what you would see on Broadway, but since the Marketing Department at the NYC tourist office tells everyone so, that's where they all go. And since I'm on my Midtown gripe, let me just say that few other areas in the city show off the shocking contrast between rich and poor in NYC as does Midtown. There's something about those vintage Beaux-Arts skyscrapers and modern glass and steel mega-buildings that just drips wealth and privilege. Meanwhile, if you bother to notice, you might see some poor guy offering shoe shines at the train station, or standing all day next to a hot dog cart and selling hot dogs at $2 a shot. If you look closely at the details in this mess of lights and colors and money and tourists, you might just get vertigo.
Pros
  • beaux-arts architecture
  • breathtaking contrasts
  • everyone dressed so well
Cons
  • old-money feel
  • bars are lame
  • everything's overpriced for tourists
Recommended for
  • Singles
  • Tourists
3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 5/5
  • Parks & Recreation 5/5
  • Shopping Options 5/5
  • Gym & Fitness 4/5
  • Internet Access 3/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Parking 2/5
  • Cost of Living 1/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 5/5
  • Public Transport 3/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 3/5
  • Childcare 3/5
Just now

"Flashy, just plain flashy"

I have serious reservations here. On the one hand, who doesn't like to see the girls in their glitter tops and lip gloss, attended to by their boyfriend of the moment (and they all look alike anyway) strutting up for a night out on the town in the Meatpacking District. On the other hand, the sight gets old pretty quickly. The area has been called “New York's Most Fashionable District,” probably because all the mega-designers like Diane von Furstenberg and Stella McCartney all have stores here, and it's literally impossible to see a woman walking around in heels that are any less than 12 inches. They, like, throw you out of the neighborhood if you don't have the heel height here (No, not really, but it feels that way). I don't know about all that flashy fashionista stuff, and I really don't go for the nightlife scene, which caters to a yuppie crowd that wants to think of itself as edgy and hip (even though it is merely young and rich, not the same thing at all). So the Meatpacking District doesn't impress me much. But I do like the feel of the cobblestoned streets and the former industrial buildings, most of which really used to be slaughterhouses. And I love love love the High Line Park, which begins in the Meatpacking District and carves through Chelsea. I also really love jogging up the footpath that follows the banks of the river and the West Side Highway, but none of those things have much to do with what the Meatpacking District is famous for, which is flashy night-lifers and over-priced drinking. I do take some pleasure in the aesthetics of the ultra-luxury buildings that have sprung up in recent years in this area, all designed by brand name architects. Such places are literally dripping with flashy new-money money, but at least they are aesthetic and a pleasure to gawk at on an afternoon.
Pros
  • great bar scene
  • great restaurants
  • cobblestone streets
Cons
  • flashy area
  • expensive
  • loud
Recommended for
  • Singles
  • Tourists
  • Trendy & Stylish
2/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 2/5
  • Safe & Sound 1/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 2/5
  • Nightlife 1/5
  • Parks & Recreation 5/5
  • Shopping Options 2/5
  • Gym & Fitness 2/5
  • Internet Access 3/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Parking 2/5
  • Cost of Living 5/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 2/5
  • Public Transport 3/5
  • Medical Facilities 5/5
  • Schools 4/5
  • Childcare 3/5
Just now

"A legacy of violence and music"

Washington Heights is covered over in many step streets, because of the abrupt hills that make up the topography of this area. Another prominent feature of the area is the presence of the sprawling Columbia University Medical Center facilities, as well as the Columbia College of Physicians and Surgeons. I think everyone has heard of the Cloisters, the excellent outpost of the Metropolitan Museum of Art which houses a collection of Medieval art and is located inside Fort Tyron Park. But fewer people know about the Hispanic Society of America, which is housed in a gorgeous beaux-arts institutional building, and which houses the largest collection of El Greco and Goya paintings outside of Spain. It's a wonder so few people know it's even there, considering the many art connoisseurs in this city. I've also been – by special invitation – to private jazz concerts at 555 Edgecombe Avenue, which is a residential building now legendary for having been home to some big-name jazz era musicians like Count Basie. The residents I met, several old-timer jazz musicians among them, are obviously very proud of this building's musical legacy. That said, I nevertheless find it disconcerting to walk around this area, and would never venture to this neighborhood on my own. Although the crime statistics have improved significantly from the time this neighborhood was plagued by gangs and violent crime and drugs in the 80's, urban blight and poverty are still very visible here, and you really wouldn't want to take a chance on becoming one of the statistics. Supposedly the area is gentrifying rapidly, just like the rest of New York, but honestly, I don't see it yet. I still find it a scary place and wouldn't consider moving here no matter how low the rents are.
Pros
  • great museums
  • close to Columbia
  • affordable rents
Cons
  • loud hospital sirens
  • terrible grocery stores
  • far from downtown
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Families with kids
  • Students
lulup
lulup Don't! It's not safe. Just yesterday my mom was leaving fine fair shop on 190th street and there was a drive by shooting. That area is known for its drug selling going back to the 70s.
Oct 26, 2016
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1/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 1/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 1/5
  • Pest Free 1/5
  • Peace & Quiet 1/5
  • Eating Out 1/5
  • Nightlife 1/5
  • Parks & Recreation 1/5
  • Shopping Options 2/5
  • Gym & Fitness 1/5
  • Internet Access 3/5
  • Lack of Traffic 1/5
  • Parking 1/5
  • Cost of Living 1/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 5/5
  • Public Transport 5/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 1/5
  • Childcare 1/5
Just now

"See it once and then avoid it like the plague"

The last time I had to accompany a visiting friend to Times Square for the obligatory tourist experience, I had to take an afternoon nap beforehand. Times Square literally makes me feel insane; there's too much sensory input, visual and acoustic and experiential, and I can't stand more than a few minutes of it before I feel totally exhausted and close to a mental breakdown. But, it does impress the tourists, as it is one of those iconic New York spots that everyone must see at least once. It is the quintessential place to gather for massive New York City events, like the dropping of the ball at New Year's eve, and also the quintessential place to drive though, a la the Fugees music video, with the top down and the music blaring. As of 2009, Bloomberg has put into effect a plan to de-map selected parts of the Times Square area, essentially eliminating car traffic in a few key locations and making them pedestrian only. The hope is that this will reduce some of the serious traffic congestion in the area. Times Square, once a notorious center of underworld and prostitution activities, was famously “cleaned up” in the 90's. It is now much more family friendly – to its detractors it is Disneyfied – and surprisingly safe. I still keep a keen eye on my wallet whenever I'm forced to walk around in this area, but it really is quite secure now, in contrast to ten years ago. Personally, I truly truly hate the Broadway theater scene and wish all those tourists would patronize some of the small, decent downtown theaters, rather than the sappy garbage that passes for entertainment on Broadway. There's just no accounting for taste.
Pros
  • central location
  • some big theaters nearby
  • at least it's iconic
Cons
  • nothing but fast food joints
  • few authentic, non-tourist bars
  • everything's overpriced for tourists
Recommended for
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Tourists
3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • Clean & Green 4/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 2/5
  • Nightlife 1/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 1/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Internet Access 3/5
  • Lack of Traffic 4/5
  • Parking 3/5
  • Cost of Living 4/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 5/5
  • Public Transport 3/5
  • Medical Facilities 4/5
  • Schools 5/5
  • Childcare 5/5
Just now

"Looks like the projects, costs like a luxury condo"

I don't really get Stuy Town or why these big, ugly impersonal city blocks would be an attractive place to buy a luxury condo. But apparently not everyone agrees with me, for this former low income housing community was bought by Met Life in 2000, with the intention of renovating the rental units for the luxury market and jacking up rent prices accordingly. This plan turned out to be a spectacular failure, as the original tenants resisted eviction, and the plan of converting apartments didn't go quickly enough to pay off the creditors on the purchase loan. As a result, the investors defaulted in January of this year, and Stuy Town is set to remain a rent-stabilized enclave until at least 2017, when it will finally be deregulated. Not quickly enough for Met life, though.

All in all, Peter Cooper Village and Stuyvesant Town are an enormous collection of red brick apartment towers that stretch from First Avenue to Avenue C, and cover the area between 14th and 23rd Streets. They are, and they look very much like housing projects, with about 56 residential buildings total. There are about 25,000 residents total, and the towers have their own “peace officers” who police the area.
Pros
  • quiet
  • secluded from the city noise
  • spacious apartments
Cons
  • ugly
  • really ugly
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Families with kids
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 2/5
  • Pest Free 2/5
  • Peace & Quiet 2/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 5/5
  • Parks & Recreation 1/5
  • Shopping Options 4/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Internet Access 3/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Parking 1/5
  • Cost of Living 2/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 5/5
  • Public Transport 2/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 3/5
  • Childcare 3/5
Just now

"Still an interesting mix, for now"

Traditionally a working class and immigrant-filled neighborhood, you won't believe what's happened to this place recently. It was famously a center of Jewish culture, and later was settled by immigrants from Latin America. One report has it that at the height of its artiest art scene in the 1980's The Lower East Side had some 200 galleries, most of them devoted to non-commercial and outsider art. There was also a time in the 1990's in which the Lower East Side was quite a destination for the hottest indie musicians in the city. Those in the know pretty much agree the Lower East Side's music and art scenes are now both lame, with the real artists and venues having all moved to Brooklyn. So, the area's most recent settlers have been ferocious yuppies. Orchard Street is now lined with chrome and glass boutiques and upscale restaurants. It is also currently a favorite night-life scene for those Manhattan yuppies who don't live in the Lower East Side but like to party there. The result in actual time is a neighborhood in which the old and the new are thrown together in odd and dizzying juxtaposition. To wit, the fabulous and famous eateries like El Castillo de Jagua (Latin, Dominican), Katz' Deli (Old World Jewish) and Teany (hipster vegan) are all within a block or two of each other. The mix is still interesting, though gentrifying and overloading with hipsters at an astonishing rate.
Pros
  • great music venues
  • nice mix of old and new
  • great bar scene
Cons
  • dingy apartments
  • far from subway
  • some poor areas
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Hipsters
  • Students
2/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 5/5
  • Clean & Green 4/5
  • Pest Free 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 5/5
  • Eating Out 1/5
  • Nightlife 1/5
  • Parks & Recreation 5/5
  • Shopping Options 2/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Internet Access 3/5
  • Lack of Traffic 5/5
  • Parking 5/5
  • Cost of Living 4/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 2/5
  • Medical Facilities 4/5
  • Schools 4/5
  • Childcare 5/5
Just now

"A Starbucks and a Duane Reade for entertainment"

People have been fiddling around with Roosevelt Island's architecture for more than a century now. For some reason, it has been the site of several unbuilt architectural competitions and proposals, most of them featuring idyllic or utopic details like banning cars from the island and creating a decentralized campus-style grade school. Many famous architects love to fantasize about the Island's potential, and luminaries like Rem Koolhaas and Robert A.M. Stern have submitted proposals for how to devlelop the place. Actually, Roosevelt Island has a long and dark history as the site of mental asylums and prisons, all of which have now vanished and been converted into rental housing (which is rather eery, if you ask me). Billie Holiday and Boss Tweed both did jail time on Roosevelt Island, and Charles Dickens wrote about the appalling conditions in what was then known as The Octagon, an asylum for the mentally ill.

Since the island is so small, with a bit over 10,000 residents currently, the arrival of a Duane Reade and a Starbucks were big news. There are also quite limited restaurant options here, and getting on and off the island can be a bit slow and annoying. One can drive on Roosevely Island, but large areas are designated off-limits to cars. Of the residential options, most are rentals, with only one co-op extant on the whole island. The prices for apartments are fairly affordable for New York.
Pros
  • quiet
  • safe
  • good or families
Cons
  • isolated
  • no nightlife
  • boring
Recommended for
  • Families with kids
5/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 5/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 2/5
  • Eating Out 4/5
  • Nightlife 4/5
  • Parks & Recreation 1/5
  • Shopping Options 5/5
  • Gym & Fitness 4/5
  • Internet Access 3/5
  • Lack of Traffic 1/5
  • Parking 2/5
  • Cost of Living 1/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 4/5
  • Public Transport 5/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 2/5
  • Childcare 2/5
Just now

"All else is forgiven because it's so stylish"

I'm a sucker for Soho and it has a lot to do with the architecture and the lay of the streets. The buildings were originally intended to be factories, so many of them now have huge loft spaces with gorgeous, high windows and iron detailing. The detailing of entrance ways and fire escapes is quite disctinctive, and to my eye, truly beautiful. But to each his own. At one time Soho was a center of the most hip and raw gallery scene there was (think, 1970's) but that time is sadly over and it is now an ultra shopping center of all the big designers: Chanel, Gucci, Prada, plus a ton of high end Italian furniture designers.

I know everyone complains about the tourist shopping crowds on weekends, and they are rather unfortunate. However, despite the neighborhood's demise as a center of artistic life and its rise as a symbol of moneyed snobbery and fashion world shallowness, there are still a couple of good things about this place. One recent discovery was RecessArt, a tiny “gallery” that offers artists a storefront to create installations and interact with the public, Location One, another gallery that offers residencies to international artists and exhibits their work, and the Performance Garage, the ultra ne plus of the downtown theater scene. Lucky Strike is a restaurant I frequent enthusiastically, and I have often enjoyed one of their truly delicious appetizers and a glass of wine, and felt like I'd had my fill.
Pros
  • great designer shopping
  • gorgeous buildings
Cons
  • expensive
  • dead at night
  • packed on weekends
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Trendy & Stylish
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 5/5
  • Safe & Sound 5/5
  • Clean & Green 4/5
  • Pest Free 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 4/5
  • Eating Out 4/5
  • Nightlife 3/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Gym & Fitness 5/5
  • Internet Access 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Parking 2/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 3/5
  • Medical Facilities 5/5
  • Schools 5/5
  • Childcare 5/5
Just now

"Like going to Columbia, even if you don't go to Columbia"

Half of the people who went to college in New York City probably lived in Morningside Heights (aka they were Columbia students), and the other half probably lived in Greenwich Village (aka they went to NYU). So there are a number of local legends that make the rounds. For example, every freshman hears about and subsequently has to go to Tom's Diner, of Seinfeld and Susan Vega fame (Seinfeld was filmed there, and Susan Vega wrote a song about the place). Believe me that the food is nothing special and the place is indistinguishable from any other greasy spoon you've ever been to. Another one is the Hungarian Pastry shop, also popular with the literary student types, which is thoroughly over-rated regarding the quality of those pastries. Every freshman is expected to get blackout-drunk at least once at the Amsterdam Cafe. Everyone reads at least one bad poem at Postcrypt. There's a whole list. And then there are various enclaves: for example, the philosophy department pretty much sticks to the bar next to the Hungarian Pastry Shop for its alcohol needs (the place has changed names, yet not changed much over the years). Nevertheless, half the fun of Morningside Heights is getting to pay homage to those beloved local institutions of food, study and drink. So it's no wonder that this area, so dominated by Columbia University, feels a lot like a college town.

That said, the residential buildings are gorgeous, turn of the century numbers, and there is a significant family demographic in this area, unlike for example the area around NYU. This place must seriously have the highest concentration of intellectuals per square foot of any other in the nation, and the living's good around these parts. Everywhere you look, people are engaged in some intellectual pursuit or other. some of my favorites: St. John's Cathedral is gorgeous and worth a tour. I love Saga for a nice dinner out. Everyone agrees Papyrus is a great literary bookstore, and they also cover a good deal of humanities academic subjects.
Pros
  • feels like a college town
  • family-friendly
  • great bookstores
Cons
  • dominated by the university
  • bars are full of students
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Students
3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 2/5
  • Safe & Sound 5/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Pest Free 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 2/5
  • Nightlife 2/5
  • Parks & Recreation 3/5
  • Shopping Options 1/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Internet Access 3/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Parking 3/5
  • Cost of Living 1/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 5/5
  • Public Transport 3/5
  • Medical Facilities 4/5
  • Schools 5/5
  • Childcare 5/5
Just now

"Living next to the UN is a scene unto itself"

Well, it's hard, when talking about Turtle Bay, not to mention that there are about a gazillion diplomatic missions and consulates in the area, as well as the site of the United Nations Headquarters. With all those diplomats per square foot all holding diplomatic immunity, can you imagine the nightmare of enforcing parking violations in this area? The UN is pretty much a world unto itself, stretching six city blocks along First Avenue and the East River. A great many of the buildings in the area are well worth a tour both outside and inside, if you can swing the security access. Many interior and exterior spaces in this are were designed by important architects and designers, and it is not uncommon to chance upon paintings and other decorative furnishings by internationally famous artists. I guess the UN is just the kind of institution with money and prestige enough to swing that kind of luxury. The United Nations Plaza Apatrments, a monolithic structure, is a center for exclusive luxury apartments, and former home of the likes of Walkter Kronkite and Truman Capote. As a visitor, you can mail letters from the post office located on the lower level of the general Assembly Building of the UN, which have unique UN stamps.
Pros
  • excellent restaurants
  • very safe
  • luxury buildings
Cons
  • nothing but diplomats
  • high prices
  • nightlife is lame
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
hhusted
hhusted You said a mouthful. When I visited the area, I found it so interesting looking that I just kept staring at the surroundings. This place must have some history.
2yrs+
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2/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 2/5
  • Safe & Sound 2/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 2/5
  • Eating Out 3/5
  • Nightlife 2/5
  • Parks & Recreation 3/5
  • Shopping Options 2/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Internet Access 3/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Parking 2/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 3/5
  • Medical Facilities 4/5
  • Schools 3/5
  • Childcare 3/5
Just now

"Less appealing than you might think"

Back when I was a student and looking for housing in the Upper West Side/ Morningside Heights area, I always had to be careful about apartment listings for places in Manhattan Valley. Why? Because the area was scary and dangerous, with (seriously) burned out buildings and empty lots dotting the landscape. Although Morningside Heights and the Upper West Side are thoroughly gentrified, Manhattan Valley is literally a valley, following a steep descent west of Morningside Park. Now, to be fair, most of the depressing landscape I've just described is around 108th Street and higher, whereas below 108th the buildings are gorgeous and very much part of the extended Columbia University campus. Also, to be fair, this was some years back, and in recent years the area, like so many in Manhattan, has gentrified beyond recognition. Still I'd be weary of apartments at Manhattan Avenue or Frederick Douglass Boulevard, and wouldn't necessarily assume they're great places based on their proximity to Morningside Heights. Also, in my brief time up there, I saw first hand not one but two accidents involving cars that ran over pedestrians. Apparently, taxis and other automobiles get to careening down Columbus Avenue at high speeds, and as the area is quite hilly, sometimes they don't see pedestrians until it's too late. Wouldn't let children play around there!
Pros
  • affordable rents
  • close to Columbia
Cons
  • crime rates
  • hilly streets
  • terrible grocery stores
Recommended for
  • Students
5/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 5/5
  • Safe & Sound 5/5
  • Clean & Green 5/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 4/5
  • Eating Out 4/5
  • Nightlife 4/5
  • Parks & Recreation 5/5
  • Shopping Options 5/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Internet Access 3/5
  • Lack of Traffic 4/5
  • Parking 4/5
  • Cost of Living 1/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 5/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 3/5
  • Childcare 3/5
Just now

"Gem of a neighborhood"

I just love Gramercy Park and I don't think I'm alone in thinking it's one of the most desirable neighborhoods in New York city in which to live. Every building seems like a little gem, with brownstone mansions not an uncommon sight. The National Arts Club, and august literary institution more than 100 years old, is home to the Poetry Society of America, and it is well worth visiting whenever they have public events. Their taste in the visual arts is rather stodgy, but they are quite a center for important American writers. Otherwise, I don't hang around the area with the park since I don't have a key, but head over to Irving Place. This little street features a fantastic pastry/ coffee shop, called 71 Irving (guess where it's located?) and a couple of excellent sushi places (Yama and Choshi). I have spend many happy hours in the cafe, people-watching and pastry-eating. Another odd quirk of this neighborhood, not immediately obvious unless you're looking for it, is that it has quite a number of little thrift and second hand shops. The merchandise isn't even always cheap, but sometimes interesting vintage goods and discounted designer clothes can be found if you have the patience to look.
Pros
  • gorgeous apartments
  • Garmercy Park
  • exclusive neighborhood
Cons
  • expensive
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 2/5
  • Safe & Sound 2/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 1/5
  • Eating Out 2/5
  • Nightlife 2/5
  • Parks & Recreation 2/5
  • Shopping Options 2/5
  • Gym & Fitness 2/5
  • Internet Access 3/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Parking 1/5
  • Cost of Living 2/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 5/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 3/5
  • Childcare 3/5
Just now

"You go there not for fun but because you need something"

Known as the fashion and manufacturing center of the city (and of the United States, for that matter) the garment district features some behemoth institutions as well: The Javits Convention Center, Penn Station, Madison Square Garden, Port Authority, the New York Public Library, and the central NYC Post Office, which until only recently used to be open 24/7. If you're alive and living in the city, chances are you've had reason to come to one of these institutions or other, and have been to the Garment District. I can't say it's my favorite place to hang out. While sitting on the front steps of the beautiful Beaux-Arts buildings of the post office and of the public library can be pleasant, the experience is seriously marred by the noise and smells of traffic on the streets. Weird fact: the AMC Empire Theater, one of those huge 25-screen multiplex theaters, is the largest structure in NYC to have been physically moved (in 1998). It was rolled 170 feet in a single day, after months of preparation. I do love Bryant Park, especially the always fun and always rowdy experience of watching free movies in the park in summer times, but otherwise this area gets a big thumbs down from me for its impersonal scale, noise, and unsavory characters hanging out near the entrance to Penn Station.
Pros
  • central to everything
  • close to major transport
Cons
  • very expensive
  • overrun by tourists
  • impersonal place
Recommended for
  • Singles
5/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • Clean & Green 4/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 3/5
  • Parks & Recreation 5/5
  • Shopping Options 5/5
  • Gym & Fitness 4/5
  • Internet Access 3/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Parking 2/5
  • Cost of Living 1/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 5/5
  • Public Transport 3/5
  • Medical Facilities 4/5
  • Schools 5/5
  • Childcare 5/5
Just now

"Stratospheric"

Lenox Hill is the part of the Upper East Side which is closest to Midtown. As such, it has the grand, ornate presence of the rest of Midtown, and the stratospheric exclusivity that are so typical of the Upper East Side. Since both the Whitney Museum and the Frick collection are in this small patch of the Upper East Side, I have frequented the area and become accustomed to its many upscale delis for a quick bite to eat in between museum visits. The Frick collection is easy to love for its sumptuous rooms, fountains, and world class collection of art, and the Whitney Museum, host to the important biennial of contemporary American art, is a place I often attend, if only to complain about the most recent biennial selections, which seems to be a popular pastime in the art world. I also truly love Ursus Rare Books, located inside the Carlyle Hotel. It has an incredible selection of rare books and first editions. It is one of those wonderful and stylish experiences typical of this area as a whole, to visit Ursus, browse through rare copies of Joyce and Beckett, or just ogle page after page of the art books, and then head downstairs for a relaxed drink at Bemelman's Bar to top it all off.
Pros
  • upscale gorgeous restaurnats
  • The Park
  • Populated with wonderful cultural institutions -the Asia Society, the Whitney, the Frick Collection
Cons
  • geriatrics in mink coats abound
  • Expensive
  • A bit snooty
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Tourists
3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 4/5
  • Eating Out 2/5
  • Nightlife 2/5
  • Parks & Recreation 5/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Internet Access 3/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Parking 3/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 3/5
  • Medical Facilities 4/5
  • Schools 4/5
  • Childcare 3/5
Just now

"Park-y and quiet"

Inwood is the neighborhood most far north on the island of Manhattan, and it is really pretty far from the rest of Manhattan in terms of culture and neighborhood feel. Unlike lower Manhattan, which has a rich and layered history that goes back hundreds of years, Inwood was basically rural farmland right until the 1930's or so, when a lot of speculative developments suddenly sprang up. As a result, the area features a lot of impressive Art Deco buildings. There are a number of parks in the area, including Inwood Hill Park, Fort Tyron Park, and Isham Park. One of the most notable institutions in the area is the Cloisters, a special offshoot of the Metropolitan Museum, which houses a collection of Medieval art and is located within Fort Tyron Park. The population of Inwood is now predominantly Dominican, though it once had large enclaves of Irish and Jewish settlers. The Dyckman Houses are lower-income public residential developments. The area has become a somewhat desirable place for real estate lately to people who are otherwise priced out of Manhattan, though I wouldn't say gentrification is a major force here. It is green and serene, but by the standards of the rest of Manhattan, it resembles a sleepy little town.
Pros
  • The Cloisters and the park
  • affordable rents
Cons
  • boring
  • dead at night
  • far from downtown
Recommended for
  • Families with kids
2/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 1/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 2/5
  • Nightlife 2/5
  • Parks & Recreation 1/5
  • Shopping Options 2/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Internet Access 3/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Parking 1/5
  • Cost of Living 2/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 3/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 2/5
  • Childcare 2/5
Just now

"Depressing and impersonal wasteland"

I guess I understand why real estate developers are trying real hard to get everyone to stop calling this Hell's Kitchen and go for something more sedate and palatable like Clinton or Midtown West. But the name has stuck, probably because it is still a depressing no-man's land of infrastructure (think, rail depot) warehouses, and hospitals. A lot of people want to make a lot of the fact that the theater district is lively and kicking here, as are a number of broadcast studios like SONY and CBS. The Daily Show and the Colbert Report are taped here, and the area is reputed to have a high number of actors as residents. That may all very well be true, but on a recent night out at the theater in this area, I was struck by a spate of new luxury condo buildings that seem to all have sprung up overnight, and which did nothing to improve the area sense of desolation. Sure there are a ton of parking garages that make a night out at the theater convenient, but how about a little cafe or bar to hang out in before the show? We ended up at the only place serving food within sight of a couple of blocks: a gas station-slash- Dunkin Donughts, where we purchased a luxury snack of packaged almonds and a bottle of coke. If I were in the market for a luxury condo, I'm just not convinced this are is one I would be buying in.
Pros
  • cheap rent stabilized apartments
Cons
  • dingy apartments
  • Dirty
  • terrible grocery stores
Recommended for
  • Singles
  • Tourists
3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 2/5
  • Clean & Green 2/5
  • Pest Free 2/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 3/5
  • Nightlife 2/5
  • Parks & Recreation 3/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Internet Access 3/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Parking 2/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 3/5
  • Medical Facilities 4/5
  • Schools 3/5
  • Childcare 3/5
Just now

"A place of incredible cultural traditions"

Harlem is a major center of African American culture, and has held that position since the early 1900's. The area remains predominantly black, despite a major uptick in the rate of gentrification since the middle 1990's, with young non black professionals moving in to take advantage of the affordable housing options and relative ease to commute into central Manhattan. Harlem includes the distinct areas of Hamilton Heights, Sugar Hill, and Manhattanville in the West, plus Spanish Harlem in the East. It is hard to talk about Harlem without mentioning some of the stages of its development that have made it a renown place worldwide, such as the birthplace of jazz, and of the Harlem Renaissance and its role as a center of the civil rights movement. The Apollo is a performance venue everyone has heard of, but there are also dozens of small local cafes and bars that hold poetry slams and open mics, keeping alive the tradition of spoken word and hip hop that has come out of Harlem over the years. One of my favorite things about walking around on a Sunday morning in Harlem is that you can hear the singing of Sunday choirs spill out onto the streets. It seems like every other building along the rows of brownstones is some small congregation or house of worship, and the music is fantastic.
Pros
  • rich cultural traditions
  • affordable rents
  • close to Columbia
Cons
  • far from downtown
  • crime rates
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Tourists
3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 4/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 2/5
  • Eating Out 3/5
  • Nightlife 3/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Internet Access 3/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 2/5
  • Medical Facilities 4/5
  • Schools 3/5
  • Childcare 3/5
Just now

"For young professionals"

Hamilton Heights has always been the place where young professionals moved to when they were just starting out in the city, and this was certainly the case back in my college days, as it seemed most of my older friends who had recently graduated were all living up there. It is home to the elevator trains, a raucuous and annoying feature of the neighborhood that's hard to miss, both visually and acoustically. The apartments in the residential buildings tend to be spacious and affordable so the attraction to living in this neighborhood is easy to understand. In addition, several parks make this area pleasant to live in, in particular the Riverside Park, which runs the length of Hamilton Heights along the Hudson River. Back in the day, it was always recommended that one stay away from that park at night, but in the daytime, it was an idyllic place to jog in the morning. Also very interestingly, Hamilton Heights is very much a center of the rising African-American professional middle class, in this city as well as in the country. Gentrification is different here than it is in other areas, since the black residents tend to be about as affluent as the incoming white residents. Among the major cultural institutions in the area are the Dance Theater of Harlem and the Harlem School of the Arts.
Recommended for
  • Professionals
2/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 2/5
  • Safe & Sound 1/5
  • Clean & Green 1/5
  • Pest Free 2/5
  • Peace & Quiet 2/5
  • Eating Out 1/5
  • Nightlife 1/5
  • Parks & Recreation 2/5
  • Shopping Options 1/5
  • Gym & Fitness 1/5
  • Internet Access 3/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Parking 2/5
  • Cost of Living 4/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 5/5
  • Medical Facilities 5/5
  • Schools 1/5
  • Childcare 1/5
Just now

"One of those places considered "up and coming""

Also known as Spanish Harlem or El Barrio, East Harlem has historically suffered from all the problems associated with poverty, including high crime rates and drug abuse. As such, it forms a strange and shocking contrast to its immediate neighbor Carnegie Hill, which is one of the most expensive and sough after neighborhoods in New York. East Harlem is predominantly Puerto Rican, though a small enclave of the area's original Italian American neighborhood remains. Some notable institutions in the area include the Museum of the City of New York, the New York Academy of Art, and the Museum of African Art. In recent years, young and affluent people have started to move into the neighborhood, seeking affordable alternatives to neighborhoods like Carnegie Hill. As a result, worries that gentrification will drive out the neighborhood's poor resident base have caused increasing tensions. On the one hand, the influx of these wealthier residents spurs on neighborhood revitalization and helps improve quality of life all around, but on the other hand, low income residents see it as a sign that there is no place any more for them in Manhattan. There are no easy answers to this one, but East Harlem is one of those neighborhoods considered so dangerous, that children are required to pass through metal detectors in order to go to school.
Pros
  • affordable rents
  • East Harlem hosts the bulk of the city's Charter schools
  • the new shopping mall at 125th which has the city's only Costco outlet and Manhattan's first Target
Cons
  • crime rates
  • terrible grocery stores
Recommended for
  • Families with kids
5/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 5/5
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • Clean & Green 4/5
  • Pest Free 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 4/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 5/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 4/5
  • Gym & Fitness 5/5
  • Internet Access 3/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Parking 1/5
  • Cost of Living 1/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 4/5
  • Public Transport 3/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 3/5
  • Childcare 3/5
Just now

"Art and stylish living"

Chelsea ranks up there among my favorite neighborhoods and one place where I would really like to live. My original introduction to Chelsea was by way of its galleries, all of the important ones of which moved there at some point in the late 80's and early 90's. The galleries are mainly located in the commercial areas near the West Side Highway, over several streets. They are all clustered together, making a weekend gallery trip quite convenient, and on certain Fridays, the whole of the art world will be concentrated into only a handful of local bars and restaurants. In addition to the galleries, there are also some important cultural institutions, such as the Dia Center for art, and the Kitchen for performance and dance. However, I also enjoy Chelsea for its lovely tree-lined residential streets and rows of brownstones, which are peaceful and would make ideal living. The area has some excellent dining and bars, and is home to a lively nightlife scene. In times past, Chelsea was known as a hub of gay culture, with many gay couples moving into the area and many local establishments catering to them. That is still the case, though Chelsea is now quite sedate, in the sense that its night life, though lively, is not exactly like the wild days of yore.
Pros
  • the Highline
  • Art galleries abound
  • The Chelsea Market and the Chelsea Piers
Cons
  • If you are looking to buy then expect to shell out an arm and a leg in Chelsea
  • New luxury developments are changing the character of Chelsea
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Tourists
  • Trendy & Stylish
5/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • Clean & Green 4/5
  • Pest Free 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 4/5
  • Eating Out 4/5
  • Nightlife 2/5
  • Parks & Recreation 5/5
  • Shopping Options 5/5
  • Gym & Fitness 4/5
  • Internet Access 3/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Parking 4/5
  • Cost of Living 1/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 5/5
  • Public Transport 3/5
  • Medical Facilities 4/5
  • Schools 5/5
  • Childcare 5/5
Just now

"Museums and schools"

Arguably the most prestigious residential district in Manhattan, Carnegie Hill is also incredibly beautiful, with brownstones and town houses that preserve their original historic detailing down to the very shiniest, well-polished detail. A number of mansions were built in this area, some of which are now used as prestigious and exclusive schools. Some notable museums and cultural institutions are also housed in what were once mansions, for example the Cooper-Hewitt Museum, the Jewish Museum, and the National Academy of Design. In addition, the area also includes the “toilet-bowl” shaped Guggenheim Museum designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, originally derided for its unusual shape but now celebrated. The northern part of the Upper East Side borders Spanish Harlem, and the area right around 96th Street has been traditionally considered less attractive and less desirable. However, as Carnegie Hill expands and spills over gradually into Spanish Harlem, even this part of the Upper East Side is gaining in desirability to residents. No wonder, since Carnegie Hill is really an ideal neighborhood to live the good life in New York, and maybe even raise a family. The schools are excellent, the shops are excellent, and the beauty of the buildings make it a pleasure to walk down the street.
Pros
  • major museums
  • great schools
  • Beautiful
  • quiet
Cons
  • astronomical rents
  • stodgy
  • geriatrics in fur coats abound
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Families with kids
  • Tourists
5/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • Clean & Green 5/5
  • Pest Free 5/5
  • Peace & Quiet 4/5
  • Eating Out 3/5
  • Nightlife 1/5
  • Parks & Recreation 5/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Gym & Fitness 5/5
  • Internet Access 3/5
  • Lack of Traffic 4/5
  • Parking 1/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 1/5
  • Childcare 3/5
Just now

"Relief from urban life"

We can be grateful for many years to come that city planners more than 200 years ago had the foresight to plan a large public place like Central Park into Manhattan's quickly developing landscape. Who hasn't enjoyed a summer afternoon in Central Park? In 2005, the real estate value of the park was estimated at over 520 billion, and yet that valuable Manhattan space is entirely free and open to the public. The park is bordered on all sides by Central Park West, Central Park South, Central Park North, and Fifth Avenue, where some of the most expensive real estate in the city is located. Some of the most renown Central Park attractions include the carriage horses that are operated from Central Park South, the free, open air performances of Shakespeare during summer organized by the Public Theater, and the ice skating rink that operates during winter time. Central Park can be said to be the great equalizer of the city. Everyone goes there, everyone makes use of its many attractions, people come there from all parts of the city and from every background imaginable. The great dream that its creators had, of a democratic development that would provide relief from the pressures of urban living to all, is very much alive in this gorgeous space.
Pros
  • central to everything
  • Trees
  • The Central Park area of New York City is the main verdant spot in the concrete jungle of Manhattan
Cons
  • dead at night
  • No street parking near the park if you need to park you have to put your vehicle in a parking lot
  • surrounding restaurants tend to be mediocre yet expensive
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Tourists
  • Hipsters
  • Students
  • Country Lovers
  • Trendy & Stylish
5/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 5/5
  • Clean & Green 5/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 5/5
  • Eating Out 4/5
  • Nightlife 3/5
  • Parks & Recreation 5/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Gym & Fitness 4/5
  • Internet Access 3/5
  • Lack of Traffic 5/5
  • Parking 4/5
  • Cost of Living 1/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 3/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 3/5
  • Childcare 3/5
Just now

"Perfect place to be rich"

It must be great to have so much money that you get to literally buy your own quiet corner in dense and crazy, perennially congested and noisy Manhattan. That's essentially what the elite wealthy residents of Sutton Place get to do. This gorgeous little enclave at the mouth of the Queensboro Bridge is home to some amazing luxury townhouses and to some stratospheric price tags. Amenities like roof-top decks and doormen and fastidious maintenance are typical and to be expected. Michael Jackson used to have a house here, as did the old-money leaders of the Morgan and the Vanderbilt families. Marily Monroe also lived here at one time, along with her equally famous husband at the time, Henry Miller.This tiny area converges in a cul-de-sac that discourages heavy traffic and encourages a quiet, neighborhood feel. So, as a resident, you are absolutely guaranteed that nothing at all will happen on your street, and meanwhile the bustle of the rest of Manhattan is only a block or two away. In addition, the residents get to enjoy river views that most normal people only dream about. Two small public parks that cantilever out over the FDR Drive help make this place truly idyllic.
Pros
  • luxury and beauty all around
  • Beautiful
  • Quiet
Cons
  • Stuffy
  • Very very expensive
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
2/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 2/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 3/5
  • Nightlife 2/5
  • Parks & Recreation 3/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Internet Access 3/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Parking 3/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 3/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 3/5
  • Childcare 3/5
Just now

"Not much of a real hood"

It does get worse aesthetically in Manhattan than Murray Hill, and it is called Kips Bay. Unlike Murray Hill, which is merely dowdy, Kips Bay just goes the way of plain old ugly. It's a high-rise extravaganza around these parts, and whatever the merits of the apartments inside the high rises, the neighborhood in itself is nothing to marvel at. This is not at all helped by a predominance of huge, faceless, personality-less institutional buildings, several NYU medical facilities, the Rusk Institute, Bellevue Hospital, and the Manhattan VA Hospital. I once saw a film, or rather a movie, at the Kips Bay Loews theater, and walked away with a serious case of the heebie jeebies. I am a true New York snob, which means that what I cherish most about life in this city is that it never, ever resembles anything I might find in the suburbs. However, the commercial strip mall known as the Kips Bay Plaza, with its Loews theater and its Borders bookstore, seriously offended my New York aesthetic sensibilities and made me want to run screaming to Times Square. So, yeah, live here if you really must, but as for your New York street cred, you'd have a lot of explaining to do.
Pros
  • Kips Bay is home to some good restaurants like Alibaba and Ethos
Cons
  • No personality
  • Dive bars along First Avenue can be a bit of a nuisance at night
  • Boring
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 4/5
  • Eating Out 3/5
  • Nightlife 3/5
  • Parks & Recreation 1/5
  • Shopping Options 2/5
  • Gym & Fitness 4/5
  • Internet Access 3/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Parking 2/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 3/5
  • Medical Facilities 5/5
  • Schools 3/5
  • Childcare 3/5
Just now

"The dowdy Manhattan middle class"

For some reason Murray Hill has a reputation for being the dowdy, residential neighborhood among its more sterling and elite neighboring areas, like Gramercy Park. It's true that residence here is a bit less pricey, most certainly when compared with the astronomical prices of apartments in Midtown or in Gramercy Park. So it is a kind of middle class Mahnattanite scene, which by the standards of any other city would still be insanely expensive. I don't know why this is, but when I was looking for apartments in Manhattan, it seemed that the listings for places in Murray Hill always seemed to be the ones that looked really lame in photos. Does no one in Murray Hill have the typical New York stylish sensibility when it comes to apartment furnishings? This one was hard to explain. I don't see much reason to hang around in the area, since it caters to residents and their daily needs, and far less to a nightlife crowd: so, typically, dry cleaners and gym facilities abound. I see this place in particular as a residential option for people who are too snobbish about living in Manhattan to actually move to Brooklyn, but who can't afford “real” Manhattan rents. So, in other words, the insecure, upwardly mobile middle class. Maybe that explains the questionable furnishings?
Pros
  • middle class NYC rents
  • reasonably quiet
Cons
  • boring
  • Dead at night
  • No personality
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Students
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 3/5
  • Nightlife 4/5
  • Parks & Recreation 3/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Internet Access 3/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Cost of Living 1/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 5/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 3/5
  • Childcare 3/5
Just now

"The park is the centerpiece"

Madison Square as a neighborhood per se has historically shrunk and been replaced by the Flatiron District. It is probably most memorable for the fact that Madison Square Park and Madison Square garden now bear its name. Although the park is the central focus of Madison Square, the current incarnation of the sports arena Madison Square Garden, confusingly, is not located in the area of Madison Square. Shake Shack, located smack in the middle of the park, and is a major draw for people. On summer evenings I have been astonished at the length of the lines for shakes, and the amount of time people are willing to wait to have one. The buildings around Madison Square are impressive and to me feel like true New York style: the Flatiron Building, the old Met Life Tower, and such. The sheer gorgeousness of the park, totally revamped in 2001, is worth a lingering look, especially in summertime. In the neighboring side streets I have ducked into one or another chic little restaurants and enjoyed cocktails or a glass of wine on long summer nights. Most such places offer excellent but pricey drinks, and you have the distinct feeling half of what you pay for is an ambiance of sophistication.
Pros
  • Excellent shopping located nearby along Fifth avenue
  • good transport connections
  • The area is home to some great restaurants like Tabla and A Voce
Cons
  • Crowded
  • Not many grocery stores in the area but small delis abound
  • Tourists
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Tourists
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 1/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 4/5
  • Parks & Recreation 3/5
  • Shopping Options 5/5
  • Gym & Fitness 5/5
  • Internet Access 3/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Parking 2/5
  • Cost of Living 1/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 5/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 3/5
  • Childcare 3/5
Just now

"Hangout and bar scene neighborhood"

All the things that make the Flatiron District an attractive place to visit make it an unattractive place in which to live. It is heavily trafficked by pedestrians and vehicles alike, and bordered by huge, noisy thoroughfares Broadway and 5th Avenue. Basically, I wouldn't think of living here unless it was on floor 5 or higher because the noise of traffic can be unbearable in its constancy. I'm talking not just honking horns, but for example the high pitched screeching of buses and trucks coming to a halt, a sound that can literally infiltrate your sleep and haunt you in your dreams. For all its gorgeousness and great location, my brief stay in this area nearly drove me nuts. That said, who doesn't love hanging out here, and especially shopping. It has some sexy vintage New York architecture, like the Flatiron Building, the New York Life Building, and a nicely ornamented New York State Supreme Court at Madison Avenue and 25th Street. The “Ladies Mile Historic District” used to run from 14th to 24th Streets and was the site of the huge New York department stores of yore, the likes of Bergdorf Goodman, W & J Sloane, and Best & Co. Some of that major shopping power remains in stores like the iconic ABC Carpet. The Flatiron District also is home to several vintage and thrift stores that are quite good, with Housing Works topping my list of favorites. The Old Town Bar, a former speakeasy that had a long and illustrious history among New York taverns, is still operational. The crowd tends to be professional, clean-cut types with power jobs, and that's something to either love or hate, depending on who you are.
Pros
  • central location
  • close to major transport
  • Shopping
Cons
  • tourist mobs
  • Crowded
  • expensive
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Tourists
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 5/5
  • Parks & Recreation 3/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Internet Access 3/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Parking 1/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 3/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 3/5
  • Childcare 3/5
Just now

"The rabble-rousers and artists all grown up"

I don't need the East Village to be edgy in order to appreciate it, and I don't especially miss the pre-teen punks with purple hair (most recently replaced with Emo kids) that loiter around in the bars. The grunge of St. Marks Place has given way to sushi and Asian grocery stores – who saw that coming? – but I'm not crying. It makes it easier to notice that many of the brownstones in the East Village, though often dilapidated, were quite attractive originally. I love Cooper Union's sumptuous new building and spent a good two hours one day gawking at it from every angle. I love Yaffa Cafe's unapologetic sense of style, and the fact that they still give out free condoms. I love the touches of the Ukrainian presence that seems to be alive and well here, including Veselka and the Russian Sauna. Anthology Film Archives is still championing eccentric and experimental filmmakers, KGB is still doing damn good literary readings, and La Mama, NY Theater Workshop, PS 122, and several other off-off-venues are still putting on fantastic performances. So, as far as I'm concerned, the East Village is still what I need the East Village to be, minus some grunge, and plus a couple more zeroes added on to the average income of residents. The rabble-rousers and artists who bought into this neighborhood many years ago are still here, though they've all got kids now and pension plans. I'm okay with that; everyone needs a pension plan.
Pros
  • center of hip culture
  • fantastic bar and restaurant scene
  • legendary downtown music and theater venues
Cons
  • loud bar scene
  • alphabet city is far from transport
  • more for singles than for families
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Tourists
  • Hipsters
  • Students
  • Trendy & Stylish
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 3/5
  • Nightlife 3/5
  • Parks & Recreation 3/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Internet Access 3/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Parking 1/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 3/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 3/5
  • Childcare 3/5
Just now

"One big NYU campus"

I used to live in Greenwich Village, and though I enjoyed my time there, I'm also relieved I don't live there any more. Too many NYU students, a situation which is only tolerable if you are an NYU student yourself, but which is otherwise near to impossible to live with day to day. Walking down the streets in this area, it seems I am always overhearing conversations about what classes so and so is taking, and how he finds the professors. While I lived there I also felt I was constantly fighting grime accumulated over years and years, and a perpetual mouse problem that eventually got the better of me. And it is loud at night, thanks to drunk revelers, usually of the college age variety. It seems that in recent years the NYU infestation has only accelerated, or else the grungy coolness that used to draw the likes of Bob Dylan has disappeared under new and faceless buildings with nothing much to replace it. In any case, a few holdouts can be found, such as Dante Cafe's great Italian pastries and some sweet little vintage shops. I'm also generally a fan of le poisson rouge, though in general I find the nightlife in the area to be too much centered on teens and kids in their early twenties.
Pros
  • central location
  • excellent restaurants
  • great bar scene
Cons
  • too many students
  • Crowded
  • expensive
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Students
5/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 5/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 4/5
  • Parks & Recreation 3/5
  • Shopping Options 4/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Internet Access 3/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Parking 1/5
  • Cost of Living 1/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 3/5
  • Childcare 3/5
Just now

"Never goes out of style"

What makes the Village perpetually excellent is it small old houses on narrow-cobblestoned streets. Yes, it's true that Greenwich Village is no longer the bohemian capital it was in the time of Edna St. Vincent Millay, nor is it as hip as it was during the Beat movement, but it always was and is beautiful. Which is why it can't possibly go out of style, no matter what else gentrification does to it. And while gentrification has done its deeds here, there are still plenty of fastidious, persnickety keepers of shops that seem to so what they do right, in perpetuity. Some of my favorite food highlights, which all deserve their fame: Claude's Patisserie, Zito's, Murray's Cheese Shop, Faicco's Pork Shop, and the excellent high end Il Buco. The Village also used to be home to some amazing jazz and cabaret places, but what remains of the old hot spots seem to have diminished in liveliness and authenticity. If you can't afford to live around these parts, it can nevertheless be a gorgeous pleasure to fritter away the afternoons here in any number of great cafes. For obvious reasons I would steer clear of the NYU-student infested area around Washington Square Park, and head further up and West int to deep Village. The neighborhood used to be the site of a rowdy and colorful nightlife scene, but less recommendable for this in recent years.
Pros
  • Beautiful brownstones
  • excellent restaurants
  • Tons of history
Cons
  • I always get lost, no grid to those streets
  • expensive
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Tourists
  • Hipsters
  • Students
  • Trendy & Stylish
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 5/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 5/5
  • Parks & Recreation 3/5
  • Shopping Options 5/5
  • Gym & Fitness 4/5
  • Internet Access 3/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Parking 1/5
  • Cost of Living 1/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 5/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 3/5
  • Childcare 3/5
Just now

"Well, there's Astor Place"

Noho exists and I know because I saw a sign hanging over Broadway, somewhere below 14th Street, that said, “Welcome to Noho.” That bit of affirmation notwithstanding, I am suspicious of this area really having congealed into a place that has an atmosphere and style unique from the neighborhoods that surround it. The name feels a lot like a real estate invention than a true neighborhood, and I find it an area rather hard to quantify. Purists might just argue this used to be the divisor between Greenwich Village and the East Village, and why do we need to give it a special name? Just because the NYU kids have taken it over? One of its odd distinctions in my book is that it is an area much, much better suited to shopping at the major clothing stores than Soho is, especially on weekends. Why is that? Because every one of the stores that line Broadway in Soho, like Gap and Banana Republic, is replicated on the stretch of Broadway that runs up to 14th Street. And because you're not in Soho, there are just fewer crowds, and you can actually shop in peace, even on weekends. Another odd feature of Noho is that its center is at Astor Place, a place I would only experience while passing through on my way elsewhere, and hardly a destination of its own. I do love the gorgeous building that houses the Public Theater and the huge spaciousness of the lofts on Great Jones Street.
Pros
  • central location
  • close to major transport
  • great bar scene
Cons
  • overrun with drunk students
  • lacking in personality
  • Crowded
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Tourists
  • Students
5/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 4/5
  • Parks & Recreation 3/5
  • Shopping Options 4/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Internet Access 3/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Parking 1/5
  • Cost of Living 2/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 5/5
  • Public Transport 5/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 3/5
  • Childcare 3/5
Just now

"Neighborhood close to my heart"

I live in Nolita, so I'm partial to it in every way. I love that it's relatively quiet, while being in the middle of absolutely everything, with Houston to the North, Canal Street to the East, and the Bowery running parallel only a block away. The residential buildings tend to be smallish former tenements, with a few glittering, swank new developments thrown in for good measure. I also love the fact that I can still detect the presence of its working class origins, for example half of my neighbors are Spanish speaking old-timers who were living here before the area blew up into hipster heaven. My favorite brunch place is Cafe Gitane, my favorite coffee place in Gimme Coffee, my favorite semi-affordable boutique is The Second Time Around, which sells lightly used designer clothes. I love that the Public Library is around the corner, the YMCA is around the other corner, and that I lived in a baked goods paradise led by the presence of Balthazar's bakery nearby. I love that most places I'd want to hang out are a short walk away, including the Lower East Side, SoHo, the Village, and even Chinatown. I hate that no one interesting can afford the rents any more, and that my place is the size of a shoebox.
Pros
  • Fantastic central location
  • Great bars
  • Great restaurants
Cons
  • Tourist mobs on weekends
  • Crazy expensive
  • Tiny apartments
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Tourists
  • Trendy & Stylish
3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 3/5
  • Nightlife 3/5
  • Parks & Recreation 3/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Internet Access 3/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Parking 1/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 3/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 3/5
  • Childcare 3/5
Just now

"Little Italy does not exist"

Little Italy exists only in the mind of some marketing person somewhere who has heavy financial investments in the restaurants that line Mulberry Street. I live in Nolita and I can't tell you the number of times some tourist has stopped me to ask where Little Italy is. Why is that? Because, unlike Soho, or Chinatown, or even small but growing Nolita, Little Italy is not a real place. What used to be Little Italy a century ago, a mainstay of the Italian immigrant community, has been encroached upon by Chinatown and Nolita and Soho on all sides. What is left is a couple of blocks of Mulberry Street, above Canal, where you can get accosted by annoying maitre'd's trying to lure you into their “authentic” Italian eateries. Trust me, there you will be fed authentic tourist kitsch made up to resemble Italian food, and you will pay authentic tourist prices for it. You have been warned. In fact, I dare you to find a single Italian-American person who actually resides in this ostensible place called Little Italy. You will be looking a long time. Aside from shlock and a rather stinky weekly street fair, this area is simply a meeting place of the neighborhoods that border it, and it is dotted with a little bit upscale, a little bit Chinatown, a little bit of arty. Sorry folks, but Little Italy is gone.
Pros
  • You won't go hungry
  • close to major transport
Cons
  • noisy at all times of the day and night
  • pushy, in your face restaurant folk who try to lure unsuspecting tourists into their establishments
  • Fakey tourist trap with bad food
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Tourists
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 2/5
  • Clean & Green 1/5
  • Pest Free 1/5
  • Peace & Quiet 1/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 4/5
  • Parks & Recreation 2/5
  • Shopping Options 4/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Internet Access 3/5
  • Lack of Traffic 1/5
  • Cost of Living 2/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 3/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 3/5
  • Childcare 3/5
Just now

"Biggest Chinatown in the world"

I get certain staples in Chinatown, and alas, it means every once in a while I have to brave the medley of crowds, fishy smells, criminal dealings, and tourist kitsch that is Chinatown. For example, Mott and Mulberry Streets each feature a couple of Asian desserts places, and I find that sometimes I cannot live without a sweet custard bun and a tapioca fruit shake. On main drag Canal Street, my number one crowd-filled nightmare place, there are a couple of excellent Asian grocery stores, where I stock up on my week's worth of frozen dumplings and wasabi beans. Also essential on Canal Street is the greatest and cheapest professional art supplies store ever created, Pearl Paint, a five-storey mega-mecca for all students in New York. It's a bit more desolate of late than it used to be, as is the fact that some of the most amazing Chinatown junk shops that used to line Canal Street are now no more. Canal Plastics is now probably the only remnant of the amazing stores that could be found in Chinatown, covering plastics, metal, and electronics supplies in an astonishing range. Everyone has their favorite authentic Chinatown restaurant; mine is Canton Restaurant at 45 Division Street, though there are a ton of excellent food options all over Chinatown. I never cease to be astonished at the fact that so many people live in this congested, infernal place and have to put up with it every single day.
Pros
  • Great cheap merchandise
  • Dumplings and massage places galore
  • Reasonable prices on most regular items like groceries and household stuff
Cons
  • Hard to fit into the community if you're not Chinese
  • Some gang violence regarding the Canal Street knockoffs industry
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Tourists
  • Students
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 4/5
  • Nightlife 4/5
  • Parks & Recreation 3/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Internet Access 3/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Parking 2/5
  • Cost of Living 1/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 3/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 3/5
  • Childcare 3/5
Just now

"It's those lofts"

Tribeca, how do I love thee, let me count the ways--is it those big boxy buildings, the corrugated ceilings, the truly downtown attitude, or the fact of spotting Robert De Niro going to the grocery store? Yes, it's all of those things and more. You can find huge, gorgeous lofts in this area like you can't imagine, but to live in one of them, ah, perhaps you'd have to star in Raging Bull too. This neighborhood suffered some serious setbacks after the September 11 attacks, but was also the site of some major neighborhood revitalization efforts afterward. Two such projects were the Tribeca Film Festival and the Tribeca Film Institute, intended to draw the big-shots, and along with them, some big-shot investors. Another cultural draw is the Tribeca Performing Arts Center which focuses on new dance and theater work. Some of the huge thoroughfares, especially near Canal Street and the congestion off of the Holland Tunnel are truly hate-able. On the other hand, the piers and quietude of the waterfront views are worth falling in love all over again. Bars like the Danube on Hudson Street, a kind of Viennese confection with gold and mosaics, are well worth an evening outing even if you don't live in this area..
Pros
  • World class restaurants
  • Celebrity residents
  • Loft apartments
Cons
  • Traffic off the Holland tunnel, and down the West Side Highway and Hudson Street
  • Expensive
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Tourists
  • Hipsters
  • Trendy & Stylish
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 2/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 3/5
  • Nightlife 3/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 4/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Internet Access 3/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Parking 3/5
  • Cost of Living 2/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 5/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 3/5
  • Childcare 3/5
Just now

"The epicenter"

I'm somewhat in love with the Financial Center, though it is an unlikely love. What seems so striking about the area is its crazy drama: the sheer contrast of skyscrapers next to the solitary figure on the sidewalk, the wild play of light and shadows cut at vicious angles, the presence of glimmering glass facades of the modernist buildings right next to the extraordinary Gothic brickwork of Trinity Church. Home to Wall Street and the insane world of highs and lows that it conjures, scene of the shocking collapse of the World Trade Center and its perennial stream of tourist-mourners, I think of this place as the epicenter. For the rest of New York and also for the world. As such, I am never entirely at ease here, as if the area is haunted by its past. I looked at several apartments in this area a few years ago, and almost ended up moving here, and it's surprising to think how quickly the tourists and Wall Street types vanished in my mind's eye once I looked at the area as a potential residence. However, neither group, tourists nor suits, are all that easy to ignore, and if I lived here I would certainly consider their presence a drawback. The apartments I saw all had high ceilings and generous windows, and I really love the idea of being able to jog by the water every morning. Alas, so far this hasn't happened.
Pros
  • The harbor nearby
  • A lot of historical sights
  • Well served by good bus and subway connections to the rest of the city
Cons
  • dead at night
  • Not a ton to do after sightseeing
  • The WTC continues to be heavily tourist trafficked
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Tourists
  • Students
3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 1/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 4/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 4/5
  • Eating Out 2/5
  • Nightlife 2/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Gym & Fitness 4/5
  • Internet Access 2/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Parking 3/5
  • Cost of Living 1/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 5/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 3/5
  • Childcare 3/5
Just now

"See the Statue of Liberty at least once"

Battery Park City is altogether too tourist-filled for my taste, and I rarely spend time there for that reason. The draw, of course, is a thin ribbon of park right along the water, which offers amazing views of the Statue of Liberty, plus a spate of little memorials and tourist what-alls: marble benches, statuary, lush flowerbeds, and even the words of Walt Whitman engraved in stone in one place. For all of its drama, I find it a rather depressing place at night, and, considering its proximity to Wall Street and the gutted hole of what used to be the World Trade Center, I'm not all that keen on the place during the day either.

That said, Battery Park City also offers a stretch of newly built upscale residential developments that are certainly worth a second look. For what it's worth, the buildings are full of impressive amenities, and the river views and gorgeous esplanade just outside are nothing to sneeze at either. You can almost imagine the idyllic days, pushing the baby stroller around near the water, holding hands at sunset with your partner, serving that martini to guests with a dramatic skyline visible from your living room window. The only trouble with this lovely vision is how unlikely a place of residence Battery Park City seems. There is something oddly impersonal about the area, lacking in a feeling of neighborhood warmth and touches of eccentricity that one usually needs in order to call a place a home. It has the feel of ready-made lifestyle out of a box.
Pros
  • Upscale doorman residences
  • Great Park
  • Gorgeous views of the water
Cons
  • dead at night
  • expensive
  • Not too many shopping options
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Tourists
1/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 2/5
  • Safe & Sound 2/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 2/5
  • Eating Out 1/5
  • Nightlife 1/5
  • Parks & Recreation 2/5
  • Shopping Options 1/5
  • Gym & Fitness 2/5
  • Internet Access 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 1/5
  • Parking 2/5
  • Cost of Living 2/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 5/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 2/5
  • Childcare 2/5
Just now

"Place to visit, wouldn't want to live here"

The Civic Center is a small patch of downtown Manhattan that encompasses some of the major municipal buildings. As such, it is a really strange place, one which you wouldn't really want to visit unless you've got official business or had a run-in with the law. Neither is it an attractive place to visit in the evenings, when it is nearly deserted and probably not very safe. However, some of the municipal buildings are beautiful and built on a grand scale intended to awe, so the area is worth at least one afternoon walk-through to appreciate the architecture. City Hall has a Renaissance facade and a dramatic interior hall with a circular, domed staircase. The Old New York County Courthouse at 52 Chambers is also interesting, with glass walkways, and the Emigrant Industrial Savings Bank building has an absolutely impressive huge hall. Other beautiful buildings include: the Surrogate's Court at 31 Chambers, the New York County Courthouse at 60 Centre Street, and the Municipal Building at Centre and Chambers. The Woolworth Building at 233 Broadway is also an exceptional sight. For food, your best bet is to head to Chinatown, since there isn't a lot in the Civic Center worth recommending.

One very vibrant and very interesting performing art and dance venue, Dance New Amsterdam, is located in the area at 280 Broadway. It seems an unlikely location, but DNA nurtures some of the important dancers and choreographers working in this city.
Pros
  • South Street Seaport
  • You can get married here
  • You'll probably end up here on jury duty at some point
Cons
  • dead at night
  • Few restaurants outside of the South Street Seaport area
  • not really residential
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Tourists
3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 3/5
  • Nightlife 3/5
  • Parks & Recreation 3/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Internet Access 3/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 3/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 3/5
  • Childcare 3/5
Just now

"Heat and beaches and child-rearing"

Fort Lauderdale is a kind of sister city to Miami (about 1 hour drive on the I-95 Expressway) though it is the more quiet and less glamorous of the two cities. Both cities are immensely international, with populations of immigrant Cubans, Haitians, and many other ethnic communities commingling. It also is home to a large retiree population (more so than Miami) and to the "winter birds"--people who have their main residences somewhere up north like New York or New Jersey, but also own winter homes in South Florida to take advantage of the mild wintertime climate. Compared with Miami, Ft. Lauderdale is more typically a place where people might choose to settle down and have a family, whereas Miami is more typically a party city and host to a jet-setting rich crowd. Ft. Lauderdale's incredible beaches attract tourists from all over the world. It has some excellent schools for those who live here. If you can stand the brutal tropical heat (only bearable in wintertime, but otherwise truly repugnant) then it probably is a nice place to raise a family.
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 2/5
  • Pest Free 2/5
  • Peace & Quiet 2/5
  • Eating Out 4/5
  • Nightlife 3/5
  • Parks & Recreation 3/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Internet Access 3/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Parking 1/5
  • Cost of Living 1/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 5/5
  • Public Transport 5/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 3/5
  • Childcare 3/5
Just now

"Chinese, Italian, and then just plain upscale"

The Little Italy part of Mulberry Street is a confection, not a street. It's nearly overcome by a saccharine display of so-called Italian details, faux old-fashioned street lamps and year-round tinseled arches in red, white, and green that hang above the street. Whatever the old Little Italy used to be, this most certainly is not it. One bar with ye-olde-shoppe lettering and prominently displayed posters of the actor who played Tony Soprano, made me shudder. Surely Italian Americans object to the galling Disney-fication of their culture that goes on here, don't they? How did they let Little Italy become a cartoon of itself? People have praised the Italian food, and I'm sure there are good restaurants among the tourist traps, but do you really want to be accosted by countless maitre'd's that stand out front at every restaurant, trying to lure you in, just in the hopes of eating decent Italian? True authenticity can be found below Canal, since Mulberry Street is a good starter place if you're looking for Chinatown anything. At least in the Chinatown part you can still find, you know, real people of Chinese descent living there, hanging out in Columbus Park, unlike the silliness that now passes for Little Italy. Above Kenmare, Mulberry is charming and stylish, as can be expected of Nolita, and I was delighted to spot two sample stores here. For the uninitiated, sample stores are temporary retailers that sell overstock of designer clothes at deep discounts.
Pros
  • Cannoli
  • The last remaining street in Little Italy
  • Site of the San Gennaro festival
Cons
  • Italian-American food is not Italian food.
  • Busy and crowded with tourists
  • pushy, in your face restaurant folk who try to lure unsuspecting tourists into their establishments
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Tourists
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 2/5
  • Eating Out 3/5
  • Nightlife 3/5
  • Parks & Recreation 5/5
  • Shopping Options 4/5
  • Gym & Fitness 4/5
  • Internet Access 3/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Parking 1/5
  • Cost of Living 1/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 4/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
  • Medical Facilities 1/5
  • Schools 1/5
  • Childcare 1/5
Just now

"Place to park yourself"

The street starts at Petrosino Square, crosses a piece of Kenmare Street, and ends as quickly as it began at Broome Street. Yup, it really is a street only two blocks long, barely a footnote of a place. But I like these kinds of tiny, eccentric little corners which make life in a major metropolis a thing of beauty and surprise. What's special here is of course Petrosino Place, a triangular bit of turf with a drinking fountain and some benches, apparently all newly built. For all my complaining that there's nothing to do in SoHo but shop, here finally is a little place for respite just a block away from the weekend crowds and madness, where you can rest your consumerist body and think about the meaning of life for just one second. Before you go back to the fray, you might also grab a burger at The Corner Diner (technically on Kenmare, but you just have to turn your head to see it) and then run across the street for some of Eileen's Special Cheesecake. Okay, and here's the real reason I wanted to review this street: go stand at the corner of Broome and Cleveland Place, looking downtown. Something about the angle of the streets aligning to make for one of those dramatic city views you can only find in New York. There are so many views like this opening up when you least expect it in this city.
Pros
  • place to rest if you're shopping in SoHo
  • cheesecake shop
  • park benches
Cons
  • tiny street, no special personality
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Tourists
  • Students
  • Trendy & Stylish
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 5/5
  • Eating Out 3/5
  • Nightlife 2/5
  • Parks & Recreation 3/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Internet Access 3/5
  • Lack of Traffic 4/5
  • Parking 2/5
  • Cost of Living 1/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 5/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 3/5
  • Childcare 3/5
Just now

"Quiet snippet"

A street only a block long isn't much fodder for a review, but that may just be the point with this one. The area surrounding it is walkable and beautiful and full of spots you want to linger and look longer. O'Neal's is on this street, a big, bland, restaurant-lounge. I don't know what kind of business it does, but I can't imagine it's so much as to really cause a ruckus outside. Then there are a few very attractive, very quiet residential buildings, one shop, a parking lot, and that's all, folks. On the other side of the street is the back of a huge beaux-arts style office building that houses the Chinatown Planning Council, and also happens to cushion the street from noise. So the interesting thing about Centre Market Pl is how very likely it is that no one has ever heard of it. It is a hidden gem where you'd be lucky to get to live, considering the location and the quietude together. The area surrounding it is so fantastic in so many ways, with Chinatown in one direction, SoHo and NoLita just around the corner, and everything within reach on foot in minutes. If I were in the market for real estate, I might go for a nondescript little snippet of a street like this, where you can live idyllically, right in the middle of everything.
Pros
  • one quiet street in the middle of a lot of noisy streets
  • central to lots of great neighborhoods
  • no Chinatown smells!
Cons
  • tiny street, no special personality
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 2/5
  • Pest Free 2/5
  • Peace & Quiet 2/5
  • Eating Out 4/5
  • Nightlife 4/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Internet Access 3/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Parking 2/5
  • Cost of Living 2/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 5/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 3/5
  • Childcare 3/5
Just now

"Pales next to its neighbors"

Kenmare Street starts at Lafayette Street with Petrosino Place, and goes down a few blocks to the Bowery, where it turns into the much bigger Delancey Street. Since it is a bit wider, the street has less personality than the narrower, intimate streets it crosses, such as Elizabeth Street, Mott Street, and Mulberry Street. Most of its character comes from the spillover of shops and sights associated with these cross streets. At Petrosino Place, the Corner Diner is charming simply because it's such an unbelievably tiny burger joint. Eileen's Special Cheesecake is on my required eating list. The Storefront for Art and Architecture is truly a delight of aesthetics and playful moveable panels that you have to see for yourself. There are Asian and Italian restaurants, obvious influences of the Chinatown and Little Italy, represented even more strongly on the cross streets. There's a storefront psychic on this street, which I've never visited, but I like passing by and staring in through the window. There are also a couple of auto garages, which is another reason I find this street less romanic, less flavorful, than its perpendicular neighbors. As it approaches the Bowery, the street is suddenly much less inviting to pedestrians because of the sudden noisy transition into Bowery traffic.
Pros
  • weird mix of Chinatown and SoHo
  • Storefront for Art and Architecture
  • couple of fantastic cafes
Cons
  • noisy Chinatown street
  • couple of industrial shops are unsightly
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Tourists
  • Students
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 2/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 2/5
  • Eating Out 4/5
  • Nightlife 4/5
  • Parks & Recreation 3/5
  • Shopping Options 5/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Internet Access 3/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Parking 1/5
  • Cost of Living 1/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 5/5
  • Public Transport 5/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 3/5
  • Childcare 3/5
Just now

"A street like an epic poem"

The Bowery is an epic poem to poverty, which has turned around in recent years in a dramatic way. Historically there was a Bowery district; now all that's left is the street proper, which goes from Canal Street to Astor Place. The street used to run longer, but has been been taken over in the unending flux and development that is the city. It is literally the oldest thoroughfare on Manhattan Island, which connected the city—in the 1600's this was the area equivalent to the Wall Street/ Battery Park region—to the farmlands and estates of the landed aristocracy, right around what would now be Chatham Square. That's right: everything above Canal at the time was pure wilderness.

During the Great Depression, the Bowery was synonymous with economic impoverishment, and it was later made famous by residents like William S. Burroughs. A couple of flophouses remain, but otherwise the Bowery is on its way to a dramatic turnaround. The relatively recent addition of the New Museum suddenly gives the street cultural prestige, and the presence of Whole Foods at the corner with Houston means total gentrification isn't far in the future. The legendary CBGB's, home of punk rock, lost its lease and had to close a few years back, and it breaks my heart that, of all things, it has become a John Varvatos. I never tire of walking up and down the Bowery and gawking at the chrome and iron restaurant supply wholesale items, and, further down, lots of lamp wholesalers. Even five or six years ago I would have walked down Bowery at night with my radar on at full alert, but now feel relatively safe at any hour. I don't know: is the loss of places like CBGB's the price we pay for comfort?
Pros
  • The New Museum and Whole Foods means it's going upscale fast
  • industrial lighting and kitchenware shops abound
  • great bar scene
Cons
  • some shady people outside flophouses
  • expensive
  • no trees anywhere
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Tourists
  • Hipsters
  • Trendy & Stylish
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 2/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 2/5
  • Eating Out 2/5
  • Nightlife 3/5
  • Parks & Recreation 3/5
  • Shopping Options 4/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Internet Access 3/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Parking 3/5
  • Cost of Living 1/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 3/5
  • Childcare 3/5
Just now

"Big love, big hate"

Astor Place, the spot between Broadway and Cooper Square, is a place where people meet, mainly by “Da Cube,” the big sculpture in the middle of the square. Aside from a lot of skateboarders that seem to hang out there, you'll see a lot of people just standing and waiting, checking their watches. It drives me to distraction that the 6 train never seems to be running properly when I'm in the biggest hurry, and I have to jog down to the Bleecker Street station. This has been the case for years now. Years. Okay, but also at Astor Place and Lafayette Street is “Da Public” (The Joseph Papp Public Theater) an incredibly good theater for contemporary drama and performance, housed in one of those lavish old brick buildings nobody builds any more. The building also houses Joe's Pub, an important music venue. The Public's current artistic director used to run a smaller experimental theater, has ties to some of New York's more interesting independent theater groups, and as a result has done a lot to bring important performance work to the Public.

There are a lot of big chain stores clustered around Astor Place, such as Kinko's, Walgreens, and Kmart; right at Broadway you also have the Vitamin Shoppe, the Body Shop, Gap, etc. David Barton Gym looks more like a designer clothing store than a place to sweat, but to each his own workout, I guess. Cooper Union is around the corner on the other side of the square. The dramatic design of their new building is definitely worth a second look, from outside and from however far the guard lets you look in on the inside. A very prominent Starbucks at Astor Place does brisk business, and is an excellent place to exercise your people-watching skills. Not only because you can sit at one of the window seats and observe the passers-by, but also because its central location attracts all types--you wouldn't believe some of the conversations I've overheard, minding my business and innocently sipping my latte. That said, it's not a pleasant coffee experience—always packed, bathrooms are nasty—and you're better off walking in either direction away from Astor Place, to the cross streets, for good coffee places with personality
Pros
  • fantastic theater in the area
  • central location
  • great architecture
Cons
  • impersonal meeting place
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Tourists
  • Hipsters
  • Students
  • Trendy & Stylish
3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 2/5
  • Pest Free 2/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 4/5
  • Nightlife 4/5
  • Parks & Recreation 3/5
  • Shopping Options 4/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Internet Access 3/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Parking 2/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 3/5
  • Childcare 3/5
Just now

"Got game somewhat"

You've heard of the Washington Square Park chess scene, right? The southwest corner tables are usually populated by chess hustlers, who do a lot of shouting and thinking out loud to distract you, plus their gullible victims who think they're too too clever, plus the amused onlookers and random Washington Park crazies. If you'd like to get hustled on the main playing field, and maybe take down one of these cheap chess-masters yourself, you can first get in some practice at Chess Forum or The Village Chess Shop, both on Thompson Street. Both establishments have a gorgeous selection of chess boards on display in the windows and also for sale, as well as books and other chess paraphenelia. There are always people loitering around these places to play a couple of matches with, so you might end up getting informal lessons. Two other important spots on this street: Generation Records for the avid music fan, and the Smoke Shop, where you can get exotic cigarettes from all over the world, and a nice assortment of rather tacky, ornate hookahs. I also love Stella Vintage for one-of-a-kind dresses and such. Thompson Street hasn't quite survived the NYU student invasion, but some of the important landmarks remain.
Pros
  • lively nightlife
  • a lot of history
  • Good people watching
Cons
  • dirty
  • Crowded
  • Noisy
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Tourists
  • Hipsters
  • Students
3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 2/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 2/5
  • Eating Out 4/5
  • Nightlife 5/5
  • Parks & Recreation 3/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Internet Access 3/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Parking 3/5
  • Cost of Living 1/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 4/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 3/5
  • Childcare 3/5
Just now

"Overtaken by NYU drunksters"

You either love the NYU students or you wish them struck by lightning, one by one, to the bitter last, but the street remains important to the area below Washington Square Park and its lively cluster of bars and restaurants—I think this area is called NoHo (North of Houston) and doesn't technically constitute Greenwich Village, but the nomenclature is fluid in such cases. You've got Zinc, the Blue Note, and Groove to remind you that this used to be a hot place to play jazz, though anyone with taste in jazz probably wouldn't go to any of these establishments. Why not? They're expensive and commercial-minded, and real jazz is being made in someone's basement somewhere anyway. But musicians pay their rent giging in such places, so if you don't know somebody who knows somebody who knows where the right basement is, you might as well go hear jazz in one of these locales. You can get great sushi, great crepe, and exotic cigarettes on this street. Passing by recently, I saw a guy advertising his services as he walked, by repeating the phrase “Picture ID.” It makes sense, doesn't it, that he would position himself on 3rd Street to sell fake ID's? With the great offering of bars in this hood and the droves of under-aged NYU students, he would be the obvious connector.
Pros
  • good location near Washington Square
  • lively nightlife
Cons
  • dominated by the university
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Tourists
  • Hipsters
  • Students
3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 2/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 1/5
  • Eating Out 4/5
  • Nightlife 3/5
  • Parks & Recreation 2/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Internet Access 3/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Parking 3/5
  • Cost of Living 1/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 5/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 3/5
  • Childcare 3/5
Just now

"The residential buildings have amenities"

Between 6th Avenue and Varick Street, Charlton Street looks like a nice place where you'd want to live, precisely because nothing much is happening on the street, and therefore it's quiet; meanwhile, everything is happening all around and within a few blocks, so you're still in a fantastic, vibrant place. The cross-street traffic gets loud, really loud, so ideally you'd want to choose to live in one of the multi-story apartment buildings, where the noise is not an issue on the upper floors. The two-and-three-storey apartment buildings are probably not as ideal because of the noise issue, though they are very pretty and give the street its character. Well, the street disintegrates quickly toward its western end, and loses some of its charm to the huge, trafficky cross streets Varick Street and Hudson Street. It becomes downright creepy at its western end, around Greenwich Street, where you see only parking garages. Unfortunately, the charming residential buildings give way to some impersonal monoliths and a couple of unsightly freight loading docks. Yuck. The studios of WNYC Radio are on the corner with Varick Street, and they seem to welcome gawking by conducting employee events and presentations in front of a huge glass wall that makes everything visible from the street.
Pros
  • some good residential buildings
  • quiet generally
  • great location in the village
Cons
  • a residential, not a nightlife street
  • some ugly freight loading docks at one end of the street
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 3/5
  • Nightlife 3/5
  • Parks & Recreation 3/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Internet Access 3/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Parking 1/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 3/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 3/5
  • Childcare 3/5
Just now

"The one for the locals"

The Williamsburg Bridge is the last of the three suspension bridges to be built across the lower part of the East River. It connects Manhattan's Lower East Side at Delancey Street with Marcy Avenue in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Like the Manhattan Bridge, it carries both automobile and train traffic, and there are no tolls. It is a walkable bridge, though noise from passing trains make it less inviting and less poetic of a trip than a Brooklyn Bridge crossing. When it was built, it held the record for the longest suspension bridge in the world, but it has traditionally lost in aesthetic comparisons with the Brooklyn Bridge, and how. It is very much an engineer's bridge, with all of its features designed for functionality and no frills. The supports have been noted as rather ponderous, and John DeWitt viciously attacked it as “vulgar”, but keep in mind the beauty of the Brooklyn Bridge to which it is compared. If the Brooklyn Bridge did not exist, it is possible that not all that many complaints would be registered against the aesthetics of the Williamsburg Bridge, but good old “Willy B” is destined to forever be the ugly one, for as long as both bridges are standing. No one has written poetry about this bridge, no one has sung its praises like its more famous neighbor, but the bridge fulfills it original purpose well, which is to add an additional connector between Manhattan and Brooklyn, and to relieve traffic congestion on both sides. Commuting bikers appreciate the convenience it offers, and surely it's worth at least one crossing on foot, if only to be able to claim that you've crossed them all. It is a staple for the arty and green types who settled in Williamsburg and nearby Brooklyn neighborhoods, and commute by bike to work in Manhattan.
Pros
  • walkable bridge
  • great for commuting bikers
  • connects Williamsburg to Manhattan
Cons
  • noisy
  • compared to the Brooklyn Bridge not as beautiful
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Tourists
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Hipsters
  • Students
  • Trendy & Stylish
3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 2/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 5/5
  • Parks & Recreation 2/5
  • Shopping Options 5/5
  • Gym & Fitness 5/5
  • Internet Access 3/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Parking 1/5
  • Cost of Living 1/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 5/5
  • Public Transport 5/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 3/5
  • Childcare 3/5
Just now

"Hordes of girls in little black dresses"

On weekend nights in summertime you can see hordes of young girls in their little black dinner dresses crossing Allen Street at Houston, accompanied by boyfriends and headed to any number of hot-spots, for a night out in either the Lower East Side, the East Village, or SoHo, etc. Allen Street is a big neighborhood divider that sees a decent amount of traffic. It is currently a hopping and happening place, most especially on the east side of the street, with new upscale bars and clubs like Pala and Sugar. The vegan Tiengarden is a nice little place where you can eat and pick at your laptop in the afternoons, and there are some small up and coming clothing shops like Reed Space and Prohibit. It's a street that definitely shows what the rest of the Lower East Side is in the process of becoming: up, up, upscale and counting. Quite a contrast to all this recent money-development, Bluestockings is still there after all this time: a radical bookstore, fair trade cafe, and activist center, where you can find some very, very alternative texts, plus a collection of self-printed or otherwise underground zines. For a radical activist's hangout, it is decidedly an inviting place to have a cup of coffee and read. Further on, Allen Street sees a transition into Chinatown, with great Chinese restaurants on both sides of the street.
Pros
  • excellent location
  • lively nightlife
  • great restaurants
Cons
  • noisy
  • lots of rats
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Tourists
  • Hipsters
  • Trendy & Stylish
2/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 3/5
  • Nightlife 3/5
  • Parks & Recreation 3/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Internet Access 3/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Parking 1/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 3/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 3/5
  • Childcare 3/5
Just now

"Not for hipsters"

Gentrification hasn't quite sunk its cruel little fang into Suffollk Street yet, so the street has retained a good bit of the atmosphere of the Lower East Side before the hipsters took over. It is grungy and crumbly, and still mainly residential, with a middle and high school nearby, and signs of many Hispanic, and a good smattering of Chinese residents all along the street. Hipsters live here too, of course, and there are some eccentric new little shops around, but the main bar and restaurant scene of the Lower East Side is farther west. Just as well: with the rest of the area being snatched away from its more modest Hispanic resident base by skyrocketing rents and yuppie demand for gourmet coffee and tofu, maybe the eastern fringes of the Lower East Side will hold out a bit longer in the onslaught. The Clemente Soto Velez Cultural and Educational Center, a once-ornate church building which has long been on a track to dramatic decomposition into a huge, gothic ruin, has been re-invented in recent years into its current incarnation as a cultural seedbed. The center holds performances and supports artist residencies, with an emphasis on Latino cultural projects. Below Delancey, Suffolk Street shows signs of depressing poverty and I wouldn't recommend it at night.
Pros
  • more quiet than typical of LES
Cons
  • grungy
  • far from the main LES nightlife scene
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Tourists
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Hipsters
  • Students
1/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 2/5
  • Safe & Sound 2/5
  • Clean & Green 2/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 1/5
  • Eating Out 1/5
  • Nightlife 1/5
  • Parks & Recreation 3/5
  • Shopping Options 2/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Internet Access 3/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Parking 5/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 1/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 3/5
  • Childcare 3/5
Just now

"Parking lot under the bridge"

Delancey Street S is a buffer street between the Williamsburg Bridge as it starts at Delancey Street on the Manhattan side, and the brick park of towering residential buildings on either side of Delancey. It's used mostly for parking for the people who live in the towers and their visitors. It was probably a good idea to build it, otherwise those low-income towers might have been packed even closer to the bridge, making life in the buildings even more depressing because of the noise of passing trains. Okay, so the coops to be had in the towers that line this street have reasonable prices by Manhattan standards, though it's a matter of personal choice whether you'd live so far out in no man's land, surrounded by a landscape of total urban anonymity. You can't even take pleasure in the East River's proximity, since the highway that runs along the river is a huge blockade to a walker or biker. There's an elevated footpath that takes you over the highway and down to the other side, but I doubt I'd want to do any kind of looking at the river at night from here. In fact, I'm not sure I'd want to frequent any part of Delancey Street S at night, I don't care how cheaply I could live nearby. You'd need a car to live in a place like this, in any case. Families would get a lot more value and beauty for their money by living in Jersey.
Pros
  • lots of parking
  • access to residential towers nearby
Cons
  • ugly and depressing
  • deserted at night
  • not a lot in the area
Recommended for
  • Families with kids
5/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 5/5
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • Clean & Green 2/5
  • Pest Free 1/5
  • Peace & Quiet 1/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 5/5
  • Parks & Recreation 3/5
  • Shopping Options 4/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Internet Access 3/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Parking 2/5
  • Cost of Living 2/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 5/5
  • Public Transport 5/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 3/5
  • Childcare 3/5
Just now

"Stil has the attitude"

MacDougal Street is the colorful, living pulse of this area, and most closely resembles the style and attitude that made this and the surrounding streets legendary. It's still a little old-school, and hasn't been entirely taken over by bland NYU buildings nor the bland NYU mentality. I counted three tattoo parlors, though maybe I missed a few. The street also has a colorful assortment of bars, like the Minetta Tavern, and cheap offerings of hummus and fallafel joints. I really enjoy the very very tiny clothing boutique I Won Inc. The legendary Esperanto Cafe is on this street, and doesn't seem to have changed much from my student days, when I used to do my reading and socializing and cake-eating here at all hours of the night. There's also Cafe Dante as a desserts and coffee alternative which never failed me for late-night tiramisu cravings. Living on this street is loud, and I had a lot of trouble with rodents, but I guess that's what you sign up for when you take an apartment around these parts. As far as the nightlife, the area below Washington Square Park is definitely a hot-spot, though I would say it's more appropriate for a young, studenty crowd, rather than an older, professional, urbanite crowd. Once you cross down past Houston, Macdougal has a handful of fantastic restaurants.
Pros
  • Good transport connections
  • Lovely restaurants like La Lanterna Cafe and the cheap and cheerful Mamoun's Falafel,
  • Small boutiques and stores abound
Cons
  • Loud all the time
  • Large student population
  • Not very clean
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Tourists
  • Hipsters
  • Students
3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 1/5
  • Safe & Sound 1/5
  • Clean & Green 1/5
  • Pest Free 1/5
  • Peace & Quiet 1/5
  • Eating Out 1/5
  • Nightlife 1/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 1/5
  • Gym & Fitness 1/5
  • Internet Access 1/5
  • Lack of Traffic 1/5
  • Parking 1/5
  • Cost of Living 1/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 2/5
  • Public Transport 5/5
  • Medical Facilities 1/5
  • Schools 1/5
  • Childcare 1/5
Just now

"A necessary evil with a view"

New York State Route 9A is a state highway and runs down the westernmost edge of Manhattan, along the West Side Highway and the Henry Hudson Parkway, and terminates at the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel. Along this route, it either runs concurrent to, or joins the following city streets: Riverside Drive, 12th Avenue, 11th Avenue, 10th Avenue, and West Street. It makes for far quicker movement up and down Manhattan by car than is possible on Manhattan's main streets, which are famously, perpetually congested. In my humble opinion, however, it mars the beauty of the river views and the serenity that might have been had from easy foot access to the water. You certainly can cross the highway on foot at any point, but it is frankly dangerous, and I'd be holding small children tightly by the hand. There's a jogging path that also runs parallel to the water front, a wonderful thing that enhances the quality of life for everyone; but there's always that highway running between you and any real contemplative experience. Too bad, really. There's no easy answer to how to manage congestion in a city as densely packed as New York, and I suppose I'd rather go radical on this point and abolish cars on the island of Manhattan altogether. It would be easy and not very expensive to bump up public transport, like the bus system, to a point of high efficiency and speed, if there were no longer any honking, carbon-spewing cars clogging up the streets. I'm dreaming, of course, because New Yorkers would never give up their right to drive in the city, nor their right to ruin their health accordingly from the concomitant stress.
Pros
  • makes it easier to get into Manhattan by car
Cons
  • loud
  • blocks the great river views
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Pest Free 2/5
  • Peace & Quiet 2/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 4/5
  • Parks & Recreation 3/5
  • Shopping Options 4/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Internet Access 3/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Parking 2/5
  • Cost of Living 2/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 5/5
  • Public Transport 5/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 3/5
  • Childcare 3/5
Just now

"A street close to my heart"

I used to live on this street and can certainly attest to its many charms. Life is a bit more calm on Sullivan Street than on parallel neighbors MacDougal Street and Thompson Street, but you're in the middle of all the action anyway, and you can take your pick from more student-type hangouts, or more sophisticated SoHo-influenced establishments. There are some beautiful, historic brownstones here, and you can see old commemorative signs on a couple of the buildings. The Children's Aid Society takes up most of one block, and NYU buildings take up another, so the bar and restaurant scene is somewhat lighter here. The building at 181 has been recently rebuilt into a sumptuously designed residential building, with a modern, yet tasteful sense for materials, so I'm guessing someone felt this street was well worth that kind of pricey investment. The V-Bar is a good place to hang out and work on your laptop in the afternoons. Pepe Rosso, across Houston on the SoHo side of the street, used to be a favorite lunchtime haunt. It's tiny, with only two tables, but it gets you good, fast Italian fare with some personality, if you don't mind squeezing in to only four available seats, and eating quickly to make room for the next guy waiting to sit down.
Pros
  • some upscale renovations to new buildings recently
  • Cute street
  • Good restaurants
Cons
  • touristy
  • watch out for the students
  • Crowded
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Tourists
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Hipsters
  • Students
  • Trendy & Stylish
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 5/5
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 2/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 5/5
  • Parks & Recreation 3/5
  • Shopping Options 4/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Internet Access 3/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Parking 1/5
  • Cost of Living 1/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 5/5
  • Public Transport 5/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 3/5
  • Childcare 3/5
Just now

"Who doesn't love Waverly Place"

It's hard to argue against those brownstones. On the strip between Broadway and University Place, Waverly Place is nothing to write home about, and to my taste totally overrun by NYU students. However, the part that overlooks Washington Square Park and then commences into the West Village is a piece of real estate I covet longingly. The brownstones near Washington Square Park are just gorgeous, and almost all owned by NYU. I think a few are residential, though many are used as meeting places for various NYU organizations, etc, and there are also a few private doctors' practices. Waverly Place has rowdy spots, for example the above-mentioned bit near Broadway, and the part where it crosses Christopher Street, but that just serves to remind you that you are really and truly in the middle of the world, and surrounded by New York City legend at every corner. Who doesn't love the signature arch of Washington Square Park and the lively park hang-abouts in summertime? Who hasn't heard of the Village Vanguard for live jazz? Babbo and North Square Restaurant, both near the park, are pricey but excellent places to dine out. The street does a funny Y shape as it nears Christopher Street, and, confusingly, both spokes of the Y are called Waverly Place. Right at this complicated fork, near Grove, there used to be a tiny underground jazz place known only to professionals, but at some point the students found out about it, decided it was the next cool thing, and I think that might be a reason it's since disappeared.
Pros
  • overlooking the park
  • Beautiful
  • Quiet
Cons
  • watch out for all the students
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Hipsters
  • Students
  • Trendy & Stylish
2/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 2/5
  • Eating Out 3/5
  • Nightlife 3/5
  • Parks & Recreation 3/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Internet Access 3/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Parking 1/5
  • Cost of Living 1/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 5/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 3/5
  • Childcare 3/5
Just now

"Shoes out, lomography in?"

Eighth Street used to be the place you bought shoes. Although there are still a couple of shoe stores left, I would rather go elsewhere for decent shoes now. Some of the holdouts from back when this was a really wild West Village hangout are still present, including Andy's Chee Pees, a couple of tattoo parlors, and the Army and Navy surplus store, where you can still get rubber boots, khaki pants, and industrial thermoses, if that's your kind of thing. But now a whole new kind of retailers have moved in: the likes of the Broadway Panhandler, a kitchen furnishings store, plus Get Gadgets, where you do indeed get gadgets such as funky little robots and nicely shaped cameras. There's a new store devoted to lomography, in case you want in on this vintage German craze, which was only really “in” for about a minute in Germany, and which was never in at all anywhere else. The New York Studio School is sill around. It has an important history in the New York art scene because it used to offer incredibly cheap drawing sessions with live models, and many then-poor artists would frequent the place. You see a real contrast on this street between the high-class residential buildings and the NYU student life atmosphere. Most of this street's “attitude” is disappeared now to more commercial concerns.
Pros
  • legendary Village street
  • shopping
Cons
  • tons of students
  • quickly gentrified and losing its old charm
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Tourists
  • Hipsters
  • Students
  • Trendy & Stylish
5/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 5/5
  • Clean & Green 2/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 4/5
  • Nightlife 3/5
  • Parks & Recreation 3/5
  • Shopping Options 4/5
  • Gym & Fitness 5/5
  • Internet Access 3/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Parking 2/5
  • Cost of Living 1/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 5/5
  • Public Transport 5/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 3/5
  • Childcare 3/5
Just now

"The SoHo street to live on"

Maybe because it's sandwiched between major thoroughfares Broadway and Lafayette, Crosby Street doesn't have quite as many shops as the surrounding SoHo streets. In fact, it serves as a kind of back loading dock to big shops operating out of Broadway, such as Bloomindale's. But this fact doesn't at all detract from the stylish beauty of its buildings, and the great pleasure of walking down this cobblestoned street. The quietude and less pedestrian traffic on weekends, compared to surrounding streets, probably makes it an ideal place to live. You wouldn't know it from the low-key facades of some of the buildings, but some of the residential lofts on this street are astonishing, with astonishing prices to match. The cross streets are where the real SoHo shopping and dining action is, so watch for the MoMA at the corner with Spring Street and L'Orange Bleue at the intersection with Broome Street. Housing Works is on this street, a second-hand shop that resells donated items and turns the profits over to charity. I often see photo and film shoots on this street, and no wonder: it's totally picturesque and sparse enough of traffic to make it an ideal location for shoots. Somebody please tell me what the “Center for Advanced Whimsy” is, if you ever find it.
Pros
  • gorgeous street
  • great shopping
  • incredible lofts
Cons
  • tourists on weekends
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Tourists
  • Trendy & Stylish
5/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • Clean & Green 2/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 2/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 5/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 5/5
  • Gym & Fitness 4/5
  • Internet Access 3/5
  • Lack of Traffic 4/5
  • Parking 1/5
  • Cost of Living 1/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 5/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 4/5
  • Childcare 4/5
Just now

"Right this minute still fantastic"

Rivington Street has been changing from the gritty music scene days of the Lower East Side, to a distinctly upscale neighborhood, and the change is happening literally one building at a time. Posh new renovations are now visible next door to decrepit older haunts with crumbling facades. Schiller's Liquor Bar actually has a doorman, even on bitter cold December nights. Teany's a very tiny eatery, with an excellent “neighborhood prix fixe.” Even on a school night, you'll see Spitzer's Corner bar absolutely packed with humanity, and a big crowd waiting outside of the shiny, shiny new Thor, so the legendary nightlife here is all that it's been talked up to be. I like Fat Baby for the indie music concerts that go on downstairs, but wouldn't bother with the bar on the main floor. There's just enough of a clash between what this street used to be, and what it's becoming, to make it interesting and give it a real charge. There's a lot to dislike about a neighborhood like the Lower East Side being eaten up whole by gentrification. Let's just say that for right now, for this week, I still love this street, but who knows how I'll hate it in a week more.
Pros
  • mix of old and new
  • Bar scene
  • Music
Cons
  • Crowded all the time
  • Dirty
  • Rising rents are pushing out the original tennants of the street
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Hipsters
  • Students
5/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 5/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 2/5
  • Pest Free 2/5
  • Peace & Quiet 1/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 5/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 5/5
  • Gym & Fitness 4/5
  • Internet Access 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Parking 2/5
  • Cost of Living 1/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 5/5
  • Public Transport 5/5
  • Medical Facilities 5/5
  • Schools 5/5
  • Childcare 5/5
Just now

"What is it about this place?"

Manhattan Island and a scattering of smaller islands such as Liberty Island and Governor's Island make up the county of New York, the single most densely populated county in the United States. It is also one of the wealthiest counties in the country, with average personal income above $100,000 per year. The original city of New York was at the southern tip of Manhattan, and expanded first upward on the island, and then outward to surrounding boroughs. The original Lenape natives told a visiting missionary that the name Manhattan translates to “the island where we all become intoxicated,” but in fact they were pulling the old missionary's leg and the name means “island of many hills” in the Lenape language. It was the center of commercial activity since the very first settlers set foot here, and also of greed and shenanigans, if you go by the stories that Europeans “bought” Manhattan from the native people in exchange for a handful of beads. Manhattan strongly re-established itself as an economic center in the 1980's, and it has been the site of several important American cultural movements. It is an epicenter in so many ways, both nationally and internationally. Many people remark that it is its own country, and by its very density and intensity bears little resemblance to the rest of the United States.

Fact: Manhattan was originally hilly swampland. Its distinctive skyscrapers are clustered where they are downtown because the ground underneath was determined to be capable of withstanding the weight of such enormous structures. The reason you don't see many very tall buildings uptown is because the ground is soft sand that wouldn't support the load. Fact: during the summertime epidemics of typhoid that swept through the city during the 1700's and 1800's, wealthy city residents would retreat to their country estates to wait out the disease, and then return in the fall when it had run its course through the poor populations in the city. Those “country estates” were located in what is now Greenwich Village, which might give a sense of how tiny a fraction of Manhattan's southern tip was actually populated at the time.
Pros
  • everyone dressed so well
  • everyone is here
  • a place you make your career
Cons
  • expensive
  • shenanigans
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Tourists
  • Hipsters
  • Students
  • Trendy & Stylish
5/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 3/5
  • Nightlife 3/5
  • Parks & Recreation 3/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Internet Access 3/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Parking 1/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 3/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 3/5
  • Childcare 3/5
Just now

"The beautiful resilient one"

The Brooklyn Bridge is one of the oldest suspension bridges in the U.S., and it is also distinctive for the beauty and elegance of its design. Much beloved and much photographed, it is no accident that it has acquired iconic status on the New York skyline and among US landmarks. It opened in 1883 to much fanfare, with cannon fire, confetti, and thousands of people lined up to do the walk across for the very first time. The love affair hasn't diminished since, and you can see droves of pedestrians and cyclists doing the cross from Manhattan to Brooklyn on any given day, but especially in good weather. The lower level is for car traffic, while pedestrians use an upper level and can see down to the traffic lanes below.

Fun fact: The aerodynamics of bridge building had not been worked out at the time the bridge was built, and it would be more than 70 years before wind tunnels were invented. In addition, the contractor J. Lloyd Haigh substituted inferior quality wire in the cables, which wasn't discovered until after the bridge was built. Despite this, the bridge has withstood the years, whereas many other bridges built around the same time have vanished into history. Amazing fact: After the September 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center, the bridge was used by people to leave the city after subway service was suspended. The massive number of people on the bridge at one time could never have been foreseen by the original designers, and yet the bridge withstood even this unanticipated test of its structural integrity.
Pros
  • iconic NYC status
  • great afternoon activity to walk the bridge
  • beautiful sights
Cons
  • there are no cons to the bridge!
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Tourists
  • Hipsters
  • Students
  • Trendy & Stylish
3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 3/5
  • Nightlife 3/5
  • Parks & Recreation 3/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Internet Access 3/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Parking 1/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 3/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 3/5
  • Childcare 3/5
Just now

"The functional one"

The Manhattan Bridge is the last of the suspension bridges to be built across the lower part of the East River, after the Brooklyn Bridge and the Williamsburg Bridge. On the Manhattan side it feeds into Canal Street, and on the Brooklyn side it lands in the area now known as DUMBO (Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass), a former warehousing district that was recently overtaken by artists and now has become gentrified. The bridge sees car traffic on two levels, though it is one of the bridges where no toll is charged. It also houses the tracks to the B, D, Q, and N trains. The presence of the train tracks is an important difference to the Brooklyn Bridge, since it makes the Manhattan particularly loud and uninviting to pedestrian and bike traffic. The walkway and bike-way were closed for more than sixty years and didn't re-open until 2001.

Fun fact: the designer of the Manhattan Bridge later designed the infamous original version of the Tacoma Narrows Bridge, which opened and then promptly collapsed in 1940. Wacky fact: there was an underground vogue in the late nineties, while the bridge was closed to pedestrians, for covert bungee jumping. People would sneak through the construction blocks at night carrying their jumping equipment, do a quick jump, and then clear out as quickly as possible, before the cops came. This is not an urban legend, apparently. Even wackier fact: it is illegal to jump from the bridge, for bungee jumping or for any other reason, so if you try to kill yourself and by some great luck survive the fall, in addition to the many other consequences you'll incur, such as severe injuries and a mandatory stay in a psychiatric ward, you will also be arrested and charged.
Pros
  • connects DUMBO to Manhattan
  • convenient
Cons
  • noisy
  • uninviting to pedestrian traffic
3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 2/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Pest Free 2/5
  • Peace & Quiet 2/5
  • Eating Out 3/5
  • Nightlife 2/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 2/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Internet Access 3/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Parking 1/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 5/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 4/5
  • Childcare 5/5
Just now

"Lively at Straus Square"

Rutgers Street gets its three stars on the merits of Straus Square, a lively crossroads where both Canal Street and East Broadway converge. The square is triangular and offers some feel-good neighborhood vibes, such as a large children's playground at one end, complete with old folks on benches, doing what old folks on benches do in the afternoons. It's also a convergence of cultures, with Chinatown in one direction, the Lower East Side in another, plus signs in Hebrew, Chinese, and Spanish. Bar 169, across the square on East Broadway, is a sign of the burgeoning hip around these parts. Look south down Rutgers at a postcard view of the Manhattan Bridge's beautiful signature arches, one of those unexpected pieces of lovely that opens up in this city wherever you least expect it. You can follow that view down Rutgers Street until it leads you to the East River, where you can take all the tourist photos you'll need, if that is your aim. But otherwise you don't need to have high expectations of the street. It's a functional neighborhood place, outfitted with the necessities of shopping and take-out joints, but there's no big drama here, and not all that much to catch a visitor's eye.
Pros
  • view of the bridges
  • some new trendy bars
Cons
  • old style NYC enclave street, not really open to new settlers
Recommended for
  • Families with kids
3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 1/5
  • Eating Out 4/5
  • Nightlife 2/5
  • Parks & Recreation 3/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Internet Access 3/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Parking 1/5
  • Cost of Living 2/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 3/5
  • Childcare 3/5
Just now

"Not a lot to look at but I'd live here"

Vandam Street shares a similar fate with that of its northern parallel neighbor, Charlton Street, except that there's a bit less to look at on first view. Its residential options are in the form of big apartment buildings that don't look like anything special beyond the brick and concrete. I happen to know some of the buildings feature some pretty good amenities, and considering SoHo and its stylish offerings are just a few steps away, I imagine you can live very nicely here. The cross streets 6th Avenue, Varick Street, and Hudson Street are all enormous thoroughfares with loud and sometimes dangerously fast traffic, so it's doubtful whether many people would choose to raise children here, which makes for a singles and twenty-something residential experience. At the western end you have an odd assortment of places, including the Aveda Institute, a big hair cutting and styling school, and “The Compleat Sculptor”, a place that offers art classes. You can see racks and racks full of ceramic pottery when you pass by, so I guess they offer quite a lot of those art classes. The street ends with a bunch of warehouses, and right near its endpoint at Greenwich Street it can be really creepy at night.
Pros
  • SoHo Playhouse on this black
  • good quite street in a great location
  • attractive, a street you'd want to live on
Cons
  • gets shady toward the west side
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Trendy & Stylish
2/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 1/5
  • Nightlife 1/5
  • Parks & Recreation 2/5
  • Shopping Options 2/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Internet Access 3/5
  • Lack of Traffic 4/5
  • Parking 1/5
  • Cost of Living 2/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 2/5
  • Public Transport 3/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 3/5
  • Childcare 3/5
Just now

"Forgettable"

Morton Street starts out at Bleecker Street, and then does a pretty little curve, before it crosses Hudson Street, and then finishes off at the West Side Highway. It's at a very lowermost part of Greenwich Village, so the residential brownstones at its inception are gorgeous, with the small, intimate feel typical for Greenwich Village streets, and even ivy growing up the sides of buildings. Unfortunately, the idyllic charm doesn't last long, because Morton Street then crosses the behemoth of traffic which is Hudson Street, and suffers from the attendant noise and depressing landscape. Suddenly the brownstones disappear and all you're left with are freight loading docks, pretty much, and huge, faceless concrete slabs for office buildings. There's the Manhattan Developmental Disabilities Center, who claim they are “putting people first.” But when you look around at the bleak, roaring impersonal place that Morton Street becomes between Hudson and the West Side Highway, you have to wonder why they're “putting people” so far away from all humanity, out in the most depressing boondocks you can find. There's a lovely view of the river to reward you for going all the way west, but you really could skip it rather than brave the very dangerous West Side Highway traffic.
Pros
  • good apartments
Cons
  • Not tons to do
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
5/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 2/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 4/5
  • Parks & Recreation 3/5
  • Shopping Options 5/5
  • Gym & Fitness 4/5
  • Internet Access 3/5
  • Lack of Traffic 1/5
  • Parking 1/5
  • Cost of Living 1/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 5/5
  • Public Transport 5/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 3/5
  • Childcare 3/5
Just now

"Stylish but crowded"

Prince Street means quality shopping, with Prada, Intermix, and the Apple SoHo store all being obvious draws. I like Ina Nolita for its mix of designers, and Paula Rubenstein for all kinds of stuff they have, a collection of interesting vintage furnishings and odd pieces with which to clutter up your living space. The perpetual sidewalk vendors don't impress me and just clog pedestrian traffic, in my opinion, but there is usually one guy on Prince who offers movie scripts for sale of all the movies you've probably seen. Never bought one, but just in case I ever need to know the exact dialogue to Raging Bull, here is where you find it out without strating and stopping the DVD player. Fanelli's is a classic New York bar at the corner with Mercer, with a history as old as your grandfather. You'll notice the wood paneling and corrugated tin ceilings, which are original details. Nobody builds like this any more. The owner is a former boxer, and the bartender really knows his business, with dexterous moves and a big, booming personality to match. The place is often full of European tourists, so I guess it's been written up in some destination guide listing over on the other side.
Pros
  • gorgeous street
  • beautiful people all around
  • Great shopping
Cons
  • Always crowded
  • Too many tourists
  • Traffic
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Tourists
  • Trendy & Stylish
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 1/5
  • Pest Free 1/5
  • Peace & Quiet 2/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 5/5
  • Parks & Recreation 3/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Internet Access 3/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Parking 1/5
  • Cost of Living 1/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 5/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 3/5
  • Childcare 3/5
Just now

"Excellent eats, lively street"

Mott Street, unlike its grotesque parallel neighbor Mulberry Street, pretty much sidesteps the “Little Italy” visuals and faux-Italian tourist traps and restaurants. The Italian part has now faded into history, and it stays pretty authentically Chinese, right up to Kenmare Street. After that it becomes part of fashionable Nolita. The comparison with Mulberry can be a striking one. It's actually fun to hop from Mott, to Mulberry, to Mott again, and feel like you've crossed over to another universe with a few short steps. Mott Street is lined with fishmongers, Chinese specialty shops, and a number of wholesalers—fairly typical Chinatown feel. Above Canal, the street stinks powerfully of fish—and I mean powerfully—even in the evening when the vendors are gone, and even in wintertime. How any residents of this street survive the stench in the summertime is beyond my imagination. Below Canal, the street is lively and the kitschy little shops are totally inviting. You can also duck down any of the side streets for fantastic dumplings places. Mott Street does a little curve before it ends abruptly at St. James Place, but that curve gives the street an intimate, neighborly feel. Up at the Nolita end, Cafe Gitane near Prince has incredible Sunday brunch, but it's always packed.
Pros
  • great cafes and boutiques
  • Where else can you buy Chinese medicinal herbs?
  • Extremley fresh and reasonably vegetables and fruits are available at Mott Street's many vendors
Cons
  • Dirty
  • Crowded and noisy
  • Heavily Tourist trafficked and busy
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
2/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 2/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 2/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 1/5
  • Nightlife 2/5
  • Parks & Recreation 3/5
  • Shopping Options 1/5
  • Gym & Fitness 1/5
  • Internet Access 3/5
  • Lack of Traffic 4/5
  • Parking 1/5
  • Cost of Living 1/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 2/5
  • Public Transport 5/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 3/5
  • Childcare 3/5
Just now

"One pearl here"

The Holland Tunnel dumps a lot of traffic nearby, so Dominick Street, with its anonymous, androgynous, and otherwise personality-less facades does not invite a pleasure stroll. The street also exists under the shadow of the Trump International Hotel and Tower, and you're welcome to think your own thoughts about that place. However, Here Arts Center is the delight of this little street, a place that functions as an art gallery, venue for independent performance art and theater, and seedbed for young artists to develop and show new works, all in one. I remember it in its humble first incarnation: the building was rather ratty and the people who worked there or hung out there, or maybe both, were so earnestly devoted to making art happen. There was always something going on, and although not everything I used to see was impressive, it was nevertheless the kind of place whose existence I could appreciate. Now they've renovated, and exhibit the kinds of video pieces in the lobby that takes some decent funding to be able to pull off. The quality of the work being shown on stage has also steadily grown, so that they have become a place of increasingly high repute.
Pros
  • close to SoHo shops and cafes
  • some important institutional buildings
Cons
  • traffic from Holland Tunnel
  • anonymous
  • not a lot to do
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 2/5
  • Safe & Sound 5/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 2/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 4/5
  • Parks & Recreation 3/5
  • Shopping Options 4/5
  • Gym & Fitness 4/5
  • Internet Access 3/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Parking 2/5
  • Cost of Living 1/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 5/5
  • Public Transport 5/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 3/5
  • Childcare 3/5
Just now

"All the beautiful people at Sunday brunch"

West Houston is an IT street, so if you are new to New York, please do be sure to pronounce it correctly, not like Houston in Dallas. It divides SoHo from NoHo (aka South of Houston and North of Houston, yes a truly imaginative method of naming neighborhoods) and cuts a big east-to-west traffic line across Manhattan. Angelika is an important venue for independent films, and so is the smaller, but no less important Film Forum, some blocks to the west. Apparently, New Yorkers love their independent film, because on a Friday or Saturday night, the Angelika waiting area is packed elbow to elbow, and you don't get in to see a film without a reservation ahead of time. Houston is also conspicuous for the enormous, racy underwear ads on the sides of buildings, and for an informal kind of promenade around weekend brunch time of all the beautiful people in the world, picking distinctively at vintage furniture and clothing stalls set up along the street. Perhaps you never thought that there was such a thing as too trendy, but West Houston is too trendy. You have the feeling everyone is looking at everyone else, silently calculating shoe or handbag values. I appreciate the presence of the basketball courts at 6th Avenue, to bring a touch of the real world to this street, though I admit even here all the players seem conspicuously styled and attractive.
Pros
  • beautiful people abound
  • major thoroughfare, central location
Cons
  • large street with lots of traffic
  • the billboards with huge underwear ads
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Tourists
  • Hipsters
  • Students
  • Trendy & Stylish
3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 2/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 3/5
  • Nightlife 3/5
  • Parks & Recreation 3/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Internet Access 3/5
  • Lack of Traffic 4/5
  • Parking 2/5
  • Cost of Living 1/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 5/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 2/5
  • Childcare 2/5
Just now

"Lovely, but it's always been about money"

How many people know that, back in the day, SoHo was considered the northernmost outskirts of the city? Its distinctive industrial buildings, with their wrought-iron detailing and stylish high ceilings, make sense, because they would have been built to be spacious enough to house large pieces of machinery. Okay, and how many people know that the district, as such, used to be the designated red light district, back when there wasn't anything above SoHo but swamp? Interesting, considering SoHo is now known as a center of style and high end fashion. There was a time when the art world was established here and ruled with an iron fist, but the rents got high and they've long since moved on. Now there's nothing left to do but shop. Considering the recent economic meltdown, you can't help wondering, as you go down Greene Street, how many of the designer furnishings stores are going to survive. Is there really enough of a market now for big-ticket luxury items like room-sized chandeliers and hand-made Italian tiling? The clothes shops, even the high end designers like La Perla and Hugo Boss, are probably nimble enough to survive, but I'd be more dubious about the fate of those colossal chandeliers with colossal price tags, and wonder if there isn't another face change in the future for Greene Street and for SoHo in general. After Houston, Greene Street gets rather absorbed by the NYU scene.
Pros
  • gorgeous loft apartments
  • Cool old buildings
  • Shopping
Cons
  • dead at night
  • crowded on weekends
  • tourist madness
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Tourists
  • Students
  • Trendy & Stylish
3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 4/5
  • Nightlife 3/5
  • Parks & Recreation 3/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Internet Access 3/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 3/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 3/5
  • Childcare 3/5
Just now

"A quiet internationalism"

The fact that it shares the same name as Manhattan's Broadway invites comparison, but there are few similarities. You know what you're getting with a street in Astoria, and it certainly isn't flashing signs, dinner theater, and girls kicking up their legs in a choreographed line. Broadway in Astoria is made up of mostly two-and-three story buildings, a mix of residential and commercial. It is a vein of sorts for Queens, since it's a long street that provides a commercial focus for residents from the even quieter residential side streets. But it has the feel of a main street in a small town, rather than a central line in a major metropolis. Distinctive here is the relatively low rate of mega-chains, and the high rate of mom-and-pop establishments. You get the impression every nail salon, every martial arts school, every diner and bakery, has an owner who lives right around the corner. The ethnic and cultural diversity of the residents is really impressive. Unlike neighborhoods in Manhattan and Brooklyn, where various immigrants settled in uniform clumps—Chinatown, or the Polish Greenpoint in Broolyn, or the Lower East Side's Jewish settlement—Astoria is a truly diverse place, with a mix of cultural backgrounds on every street.
Pros
  • international residents
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 5/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 1/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 4/5
  • Parks & Recreation 3/5
  • Shopping Options 4/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Internet Access 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Parking 4/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 5/5
  • Medical Facilities 4/5
  • Schools 4/5
  • Childcare 4/5
Just now

"Was that a passing train or the end of the world as we know it?"

My appreciation for Astoria is typical of someone visiting from Manhattan: I immediately remark on the quiet streets, lined with mom and pop shops of all kinds, and populated by charming two-and three-story residential buildings. Astoria is a place you can raise a family: it is car-oriented, it is middle class, and it offers a higher quality of life than the stress-filled madness of Manhattan. I also remarked how 31st Street in particular is an important ingredient in all of this, offering the staples of convenience and commerce, like hair salons, doctors' offices, eateries, and some really nice little bars and shops. It's obvious that this is a street with a pulse, and very much anchors the outlying residential streets. It also makes the area accessible from Manhattan, via the elevated train tracks that run down its length. There's a high price to pay for this convenience, however, and you notice it once one of those trains passes overhead. Unbearable noise! I can only hope that residents along this street get steep rent discounts, having to put up with the thunder and shaking and rattling of those trains every few minutes! A prime example of a great street to visit, but you wouldn't want to live there.
Pros
  • melting pot area
  • cheap rents
Cons
  • unbelievably noisy
2/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 2/5
  • Clean & Green 1/5
  • Pest Free 1/5
  • Peace & Quiet 1/5
  • Eating Out 4/5
  • Nightlife 5/5
  • Parks & Recreation 1/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Gym & Fitness 2/5
  • Internet Access 3/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Parking 1/5
  • Cost of Living 2/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 5/5
  • Public Transport 5/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 3/5
  • Childcare 2/5
Just now

"Better as an idea than as a reality"

Delancey Street has been what it is now for a good while: dirty, loud, trafficky, and somehow the beloved, for all that, with the trendy crowd. It was at one time a center of Jewish culture and settlement, and there are still a couple of kosher places near the Williamsburg Bridge that have held out and since become venerable institutions. It does have some nice examples of art deco architecture, but I find the buildings and atmosphere rather grimy. I too am an enthusiastic patron of the Bowery Ballroom, for high quality concerts, and the street is generally an important mainstay of the Lower East Side nightlife and music scene. However, I don't find it at all pleasant to be there in person, walking down the street. It is a huge, glutted street with roaring traffic that leads right to the Williamsburg Bridge. It feels impersonal, and it is impersonal. There seem to be a lot of people just standing around on the sidewalk in the middle of the afternoon, apparently doing nothing. What might be forgotten about Delancey in the romantic descriptions of its nightlife and “arty” scene, is that it is near to a lot of lower income housing developments, where life isn't really about the next hottest band and beer joint.
Pros
  • music venues
  • nightlife scene
Cons
  • grimy
  • traffic
  • chaos of sights and sounds
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Tourists
  • Hipsters
  • Trendy & Stylish
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 2/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Pest Free 2/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 5/5
  • Parks & Recreation 5/5
  • Shopping Options 4/5
  • Gym & Fitness 2/5
  • Internet Access 3/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Parking 1/5
  • Cost of Living 2/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 5/5
  • Public Transport 5/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 4/5
  • Childcare 3/5
Just now

"Sexy street for art and nightlife"

Christie Street is the counterpart to Forsythe Street. Both streets run on either side of the blocks-long slit of playgrounds known as the Sarah Roosevelt Park, which, further down, then turns into the Hester Playground. Christie Street starts at Houston and ends at Canal Street, just at the roaring mouth of the Manhattan Bridge. Near Canal, you have a whole lotta wholesalers along one side of the street—lumber shops, electrical suppliers, even the tiny “Bulbs World,” devoted exclusively to, well, to lightbulbs—but as you move up from Canal, you start to see sexier fare among the shops and restaurants. Sammy's Rumanian has a solid reputation as a restaurant. Dixon Place is a tiny venue for independent performance art, and you might miss it if you don't know to look for it. Just before you get to Houston, you get some very chic design shops, indeed, as well as the stylish Lehmann Maupin Gallery. The street ends with Whole Foods at the corner of Houston. You can get yourself hot food at the open bar, and then sit upstairs at Whole Foods and enjoy a quick lunch while looking out at the little park across the street. Or, in the summertime, just join all the old folks hanging out on the steps to the park.
Pros
  • bars and nightlife of LES
  • park
Cons
  • dirty
  • smelly
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Tourists
  • Hipsters
  • Trendy & Stylish
3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 4/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 1/5
  • Eating Out 4/5
  • Nightlife 3/5
  • Parks & Recreation 5/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Internet Access 3/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Parking 1/5
  • Cost of Living 2/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 5/5
  • Public Transport 5/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 5/5
  • Childcare 3/5
Just now

"Few people know what it becomes"

Most tourists know the Forsyth Street that starts at Houston Street and runs down as an outer boundary to the Lower East Side, but the street continues further down to Canal Street, where it shows the influence of Chinatown. On its western side, along the length of the street, you have the Sarah Roosevelt Park, a long strip of playgrounds that run the length of the street. A lot of this slice of park seems to be under construction right now. The Lower East Side incarnation of Forsyth Street is predictable for its Lower East Side vibe, but lower still, as the street meets Hester Street and Pace High School, it cuts off and then re-emerges to curve around the mouth of the Manhattan Bridge. Here is where things get really interesting, because you are in the non-tourist part of Chinatown, an altogether different world. On this street there is a tiny vegetable market, apparently only for the locals, because who else would venture this far into Chinatown for some cheap squash? And it really is cheap, folks. There are no signs and I didn't hear much English spoken among the vendors and the customers. Just a bunch of crates informally stacked together, and customers picking through them. Meanwhile, literally above your head, is the roaring, trembling Manhattan Bridge as the trains pass by.
Pros
  • bars and nightlife of LES
Cons
  • dirty
  • remote region
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Tourists
  • Hipsters
  • Trendy & Stylish
5/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Pest Free 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 5/5
  • Parks & Recreation 3/5
  • Shopping Options 5/5
  • Gym & Fitness 4/5
  • Internet Access 3/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Parking 1/5
  • Cost of Living 1/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 5/5
  • Public Transport 5/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 3/5
  • Childcare 3/5
Just now

"Famous food and other delights"

What a delightful place, this street. A personal favorite is Evolution, a store that sells such fun artifacts as whale teeth, taxidermied pheasants, incandescent butterflies mounted in glass boxes, and all manner of fossilized rocks. The street is also home to legendary eats like Balthazar's, the Aqua Grill, and Lombardi's. If you live in the area, Balthazar's has fantastic pastries, but then again so does the much smaller Ceci-Cela, and it isn't nearly as crowded. Rice to Riches is a dessert place specialized on, yes, rice pudding, and aside from an astonishing variety of pudding flavors they also have some cheeky signage. Space, at 6th Avenue, is a hair cutter's I've used and found excellent for the precision of their work. There's so much that's so good on this street that it's hard not to start waving my hands with enthusiasm when I talk about it. There's also a tiny basketball court at the corner with Mulberry, which is an important detail for the neighborhood kids and the local community. Spring Street starts at the Bowery and runs through Nolita and SoHo, and then loses fuel after about 6th Avenue, just where Prince Toupee himself, Donald Trump, has put up his International Hotel and Tower.
Pros
  • famous food
  • History
  • Shopping
Cons
  • expensive
  • Crowded
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Tourists
  • Hipsters
  • Trendy & Stylish
1/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 1/5
  • Safe & Sound 1/5
  • Clean & Green 1/5
  • Pest Free 1/5
  • Peace & Quiet 1/5
  • Eating Out 2/5
  • Nightlife 2/5
  • Parks & Recreation 1/5
  • Shopping Options 4/5
  • Gym & Fitness 1/5
  • Internet Access 1/5
  • Lack of Traffic 1/5
  • Parking 1/5
  • Cost of Living 2/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 4/5
  • Public Transport 5/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 1/5
  • Childcare 1/5
Just now

"Smelly and congested, true to its canal roots"

Canal Street got its name because back in the day of horse-drawn carriages and primitive sanitation systems, the street actually had an open sewer running down the middle of it. It can't be hard to imagine how the less than adequate sanitation of the time might have led to several typhoid epidemics over a number of the summers of the late eighteen hundreds. “The City” back then meant mostly whatever's below SoHo, with the north part of Manhattan still a swampy wilderness. These days, Canal Street is a non-stop traffic jam, with car traffic that pours in from Jersey via the Holland Tunnel, and pours out on the other side at the Manhattan Bridge. It's just non-stop unpleasantness, really. You can go shopping here, for a distinct type of cheap merchandise, including “Rolex,” “Gucci,” and “real pearls, guarantee!” hawked by vendors who pack their wares into tiny street-side cubicles. One recent trend was for young women by the droves to stand around with laminated pictures of “designer” handbags. I'm guessing you would pay too much for one, and then either follow them to another location to get your handbag, or else some peon would go fetch it from a stash around the corner. In any case, I heard there was a raid a couple of weeks ago and the police pretty much swept the street for illegal vendors, so they've vanished overnight. I'm sure it won't take long before a new trend emerges.

Every kid who ever passed through the halls of an art school in the city of New York has heard of the fabulous Pearl Paint on Canal Street, a six-story wonderland of art supplies for students and professionals alike. There are also a couple of specialty Asian grocery stores I like to go to, but for the most part I try to avoid this smelly, congested street as much as I can.
Pros
  • great NYC energy
  • jewelry shops
  • Knock off shopping
Cons
  • Crowded
  • Dirty
  • Traffic
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Tourists
  • Students
3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 2/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 4/5
  • Nightlife 2/5
  • Parks & Recreation 3/5
  • Shopping Options 2/5
  • Gym & Fitness 4/5
  • Internet Access 2/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Parking 1/5
  • Cost of Living 2/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 4/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
  • Medical Facilities 5/5
  • Schools 4/5
  • Childcare 3/5
Just now

"Old fashioned melting pot"

To me, East Broadway's most dominant visual aesthetic is the brick-park feel of the huge housing developments all over the area, which unfortunately out-shout the quiet charm of some of the smaller residential buildings. Originally intended as lower-income housing, these towers never were, and never will be beautiful, no matter how many of them they deregulate and put on the market. That said, it doesn't get more international than this: the Iglesia Cristiana, the United Hebrew Community of NY, and the Ling Liang Evanagelistic Mission, are all within a couple of blocks of each other. About as melting-pot as it's possible for a melting pot to melt, you could say. Much less visible are a couple of reportedly good art galleries, though you'd have to know where to look for them, plus Bar 169, a decent establishment that attracts the hipper crowd in the area. I passed the West Side Arts Coalition, the Mazur Theater, plus a brownstone with a hand-made sign in the window that read “The Paper Bag Players.” So culture is definitely happening here, but in the odd interstices, and for a select crowd. By the way, East Broadway has nothing to do with Broadway proper, either geographically or in terms of atmosphere, a detail which can be confusing for newbies.
Pros
  • a real melting pot of different cultures
  • traditional LES street
Cons
  • ugly housing developments
  • out of the way
Recommended for
  • Families with kids
  • Students
1/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 1/5
  • Safe & Sound 5/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 2/5
  • Eating Out 1/5
  • Nightlife 1/5
  • Parks & Recreation 3/5
  • Shopping Options 1/5
  • Gym & Fitness 1/5
  • Internet Access 2/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Parking 2/5
  • Cost of Living 1/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 5/5
  • Public Transport 5/5
  • Medical Facilities 5/5
  • Schools 5/5
  • Childcare 1/5
Just now

"Pompous name for a piece of concrete"

I had to smile to myself when I first saw the Avenue of the Finest. It was a grim and rainy morning, and I had to take care of some official business downtown, in the general area that includes the courthouses, the social security offices, immigration, and a couple of detention centers. If you have to be in this area, chances are it's for some serious official purpose, so you might not be feeling especially fine or expecting this whimsically named street. I'm guessing it refers to the Police Department, which is the building that connects the two fragments of the street together, otherwise it's hard to wrap your head around the logic of why the two apparently disjoint pieces of street share this particular name. Mostly, you just want to move on out of the area as quickly as you can. If you're downtown on a lark, you will see two kinds of buildings: either the purely functional boxes that often have a serious case of the uglies, or else monumental architecture intended to inspire awe and respect. If you start to feel like a mere speck among such architectural behemoths as populate this downtown space, it's not by accident. At least you can feel pretty safe from being mugged around here, hunh?
Pros
  • only here if you have official business with the courts
Cons
  • impersonal
Recommended for
  • Families with kids
  • Tourists
5/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 4/5
  • Nightlife 4/5
  • Parks & Recreation 2/5
  • Shopping Options 5/5
  • Gym & Fitness 2/5
  • Internet Access 3/5
  • Lack of Traffic 4/5
  • Parking 3/5
  • Cost of Living 1/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 5/5
  • Public Transport 5/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 2/5
  • Childcare 2/5
Just now

"In an artful flux"

It's hard to tell how this area will change in the future, whether it will go the gaudy, Disney-development route or maintain a more artful, high-end elegance. Let's just say that for this week, for this particular New York minute, Great Jones Street is a delight of tasteful and quirky shops, on a little strip between the Bowery and Lafayette. Partners & Spade is a gallery that has not only unusual pieces of art, but also assorted other stuff—antique globes, wooden chests filled with I-don't-know-what, vintage police illustrations of guns—and is very browser-friendly. Japan Premium Beef is the most aesthetically sophisticated butcher shop I've ever seen, though the prices are also rather sophisticated for your average beef needs. A new home design shop, The Future Perfect, with all kinds of pieces I want, want, want, looks to be the newest addition to the specialty shops on the street. You get the impression these kinds of unique stores might not be around a year or two from now, but that's no tragedy, because a new batch of quirky and delightful shops might come along soon enough to replace them. One certainly hopes that will be the future fate of Great Jones Street, but who knows how development will go. Great Jones Cafe is reliable, and a very decent place indeed to have some simple fare.
Pros
  • parking garage nearby
  • cobblestone streets
  • great lofts
Cons
  • noisy
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Tourists
  • Hipsters
  • Students
  • Trendy & Stylish
1/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 1/5
  • Pest Free 2/5
  • Peace & Quiet 1/5
  • Eating Out 4/5
  • Nightlife 3/5
  • Parks & Recreation 1/5
  • Shopping Options 2/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Internet Access 3/5
  • Lack of Traffic 1/5
  • Parking 1/5
  • Cost of Living 2/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 5/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 3/5
  • Childcare 3/5
Just now

"Noisy Chinatown crossroads"

Unmistakably a crossroads, the Bowery, East Broadway, Mott Street, plus a couple of smaller streets, all converge here, in a confusing tangle that somehow also forms a mid-point between the mouths of the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges. It's all soot and honking horns around this square; I can't imagine being a resident nearby and stepping out into this kind of madness every day. The noise level is barely bearable. There's a statue of General Lin Zexu at the center of the square, which, until only recently when I took the trouble to cross the street and find out for myself, I used to believe was a likeness of Confucius. I'm not quite as confused about Confucius as you think, though, because nearby there is indeed the Confucius Plaza housing cooperative, a 44-story mega-housing development owned almost entirely by Chinese Americans. Someone told me—yes, I know this must be an urban legend—that if you go to Confucius Plaza at 7 in the morning, you will see a crowd of people all practicing Tai Chi in the open air, with everyone in sync. The thought of it is so wonderful, I just had to pass it on, though I'd love for someone to write in and either verify or deny this.
Pros
  • central location
  • good restaurants
Cons
  • noisy Chinatown street
  • crowded
  • traffic
Recommended for
  • Tourists
  • Students
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 5/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 1/5
  • Eating Out 2/5
  • Nightlife 2/5
  • Parks & Recreation 2/5
  • Shopping Options 5/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Internet Access 3/5
  • Lack of Traffic 1/5
  • Parking 1/5
  • Cost of Living 1/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 5/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 2/5
  • Childcare 1/5
Just now

"Broadway for SoHo and NoLita"

If you're a nearby resident like me, then you think of Broadway as the place where you go to the bank to make a routine deposit, or the place where you pop in to Muji to buy some socks or a canvas handbag. You definitely don't think of Broadway as more than a functional street you cross to get somewhere else--namely SoHo or NoLita--where the truly sexy shops can be found. You mostly steer clear of Broadway altogether on weekends, to avoid the infuriating glut of sidewalk traffic, since everybody and their mother comes out to mega-shop. Okay, so if do happen to be everybody and their mother, and you're hoping to do some quality shopping on the weekend, you'll appreciate Victoria's Secret, and Bloomingdale's, and Prada, and a lot of affordable shops like Muji and Mango. I truly love the wacky exotics--plastic eyeballs, woven mats, fuchsia busts of Mao-Tse-Tung--which you can pick up on the lower level of Pearl River Mart, but maybe that's just me. You most certainly can spend an afternoon going in and out of the shops on this bit of Broadway—sigh, so many people do, in fact, exactly this on weekends. Just do yourself a favor and go to one of the side streets for eats, there's nothing you'd want to ingest on Broadway proper.
Pros
  • great shopping
  • major thoroughfare, central location
  • major restaurants and bars
Cons
  • tourist mobs
  • crowded
  • congested
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Tourists
  • Hipsters
  • Trendy & Stylish
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Pest Free 2/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 3/5
  • Nightlife 2/5
  • Parks & Recreation 2/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Internet Access 3/5
  • Lack of Traffic 4/5
  • Parking 3/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 5/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 2/5
  • Childcare 2/5
Just now

"Home of independent theater, an endangered species"

This is probably not the place for a diatribe about how America treats its artists, but I think the fact that two independent theaters have operated here for more than 20 years deserves at least a passing nod. The Ohio Theater, barring a miracle, is destined to be no more by the summer of 2010 because of new ownership. The Performing Garage, aka the Wooster Group, is still alive and kicking, though certainly on the endangered species list. Isn't it grotesque that actual, practicing artists who have something to say might be run out of this area by “art” dealerships, the kind where you can get your portrait painted with your favorite breed of dog for a couple of grand? Deitch Projects is an example of a high quality art gallery, also an increasingly rare species here, and a holdout from when the art world used to rule SoHo. Wooster Street is going, going, nearly gone to the lure of commerce. There is nothing to do for it but to shop, or else park your car at the corner with Grand, and then go shop. Too bad, really. The converted industrial buildings, with their enormous windows and gorgeous metal detailing, makes this area distinctly beautiful. It can seem eerily deserted at night.
Pros
  • high end shopping
  • downtown theater venues
  • parking garage for easy access
Cons
  • dead at night
  • expensive apartments
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Tourists
  • Hipsters
  • Trendy & Stylish
1/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 1/5
  • Safe & Sound 2/5
  • Clean & Green 1/5
  • Pest Free 2/5
  • Peace & Quiet 1/5
  • Eating Out 1/5
  • Nightlife 1/5
  • Parks & Recreation 2/5
  • Shopping Options 1/5
  • Gym & Fitness 1/5
  • Internet Access 2/5
  • Lack of Traffic 1/5
  • Parking 1/5
  • Cost of Living 4/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 2/5
  • Public Transport 2/5
  • Medical Facilities 2/5
  • Schools 1/5
  • Childcare 1/5
Just now

"Trying hard to find poetry here"

Market Slip is just a patch of street that connects Market Street with the East River Parkway. It is a totally functional entity with almost nothing to say for itself. It is flanked on one side by a parking lot and on another side by a playground. Behind you and very dominant in the landscape are the brown brick behemoth buildings that are a telltale sign of low-income housing developments. Un-pretty is a gentle word for them. In front of you is the East River Parkway, roaring and impersonal, a raised highway that will leave an indelible impression of urban blight if you're not careful. Okay, but I'm a poet of possibilities, so I would urge you to look out at the magnificent view of the Brooklyn Bridge, as it originates nearby and rises up to those elegant arches. This is real drama, this view. If you can somehow take the imaginative leap of moving under the highway and straight through to the other side (watch how you cross and hold your nose because it seems to perpetually smell of urine) then you have earned the right to stand at the railing to the East River and look out at spectacular view of Brooklyn as if you owned the place.
Pros
  • views of brooklyn and the bridge
Cons
  • no personality
3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 2/5
  • Pest Free 2/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 2/5
  • Nightlife 2/5
  • Parks & Recreation 1/5
  • Shopping Options 1/5
  • Gym & Fitness 2/5
  • Internet Access 3/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Parking 1/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 3/5
  • Medical Facilities 2/5
  • Schools 2/5
  • Childcare 2/5
Just now

"An anthropological expedition"

Standing at the beginning of Market Street, looking just under the Manhattan Bridge at a bewildering array of flashing plastic toys for sale and varieties of dried mushrooms in bins, some woman approached me with an aggressive “Where are you going?” and pressed an inter-city bus service brochure into my hand. Apparently, the only reason a non-local would have for being on Market Street is if he's trying to catch an economy bus to Boston or Philadelphia. This is a street with a very distinct character, though not a street you'd really be able to recommend to visitors. Walking downtown from the Manhattan Bridge, you might get the feeling you're not in Kansas any more. After a point, the signs are not translated into English, and the flashy kind of Chinatown gives way to an old-style brick-and-iron sooty Chinatown that feels like it's from another century. This is the real deal Chinatown, where real people raise real families, and have built community ties that go back for generations. You won't exactly feel welcomed here, and I imagine that's how the locals want it. There's not a lot to do but just move along, till you cross the East River Parkway and get a look out over the water at Brooklyn.
Pros
  • an old style neighborhood street where not a lot has changed
Cons
  • visitors not necessarily welcome
5/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 2/5
  • Eating Out 3/5
  • Nightlife 5/5
  • Parks & Recreation 2/5
  • Shopping Options 4/5
  • Gym & Fitness 2/5
  • Internet Access 2/5
  • Lack of Traffic 4/5
  • Parking 2/5
  • Cost of Living 1/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 5/5
  • Public Transport 2/5
  • Medical Facilities 2/5
  • Schools 1/5
  • Childcare 1/5
Just now

"A beauty on its way to high-priced ruin"

Something about Bond Street just strikes my eye the right way. Maybe I'm a sucker for cobblestoned streets and the distinctive industrial architecture you only see in SoHo, with that majestic iron detailing and enormously generous window count. Yes, and “majestic” is certainly the appropriate word here. The designer clothing shops are stylish in the way stylish is meant to be—just a tad understated and with the kinds of price tags that will literally quicken your pulse. Do I miss the SoHo mall-crowd scene in this two-block stretch of superb urban paradise? No, I do not. Do I want to live on this street? I want to do more than live on this street: I want to move here and make designer babies, really and truly. The only thing that stops short these wistful fantasies of mine? A certain new luxury development at 40 Bond that looks like someone had an accident with a box of brand name macaroni. No, I don't say this because I'm somehow un-artistic, but because the building is plain wrong in so many important ways, including the trying-too-hard category. I only wish the responsible parties had chosen to perpetuate this expensive piece of blight upon anyplace other than this truly, authentically beautiful street, which had previously integrated the old and the new with graceful ease. You have to wonder how Bond Street will eventually weather the developers, given something this tacky. we'll just wait and see.
Pros
  • gorgeous buildings
  • Cute street
  • High end shopping
Cons
  • The ghastly condos
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Tourists
  • Trendy & Stylish
3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 2/5
  • Safe & Sound 5/5
  • Clean & Green 2/5
  • Pest Free 2/5
  • Peace & Quiet 2/5
  • Eating Out 2/5
  • Nightlife 2/5
  • Parks & Recreation 2/5
  • Shopping Options 2/5
  • Gym & Fitness 1/5
  • Internet Access 3/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Parking 3/5
  • Cost of Living 2/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 5/5
  • Medical Facilities 1/5
  • Schools 1/5
  • Childcare 1/5
Just now

"Taking care of business street"

There's nothing especially inviting about Centre Street for the average urban mope. Moving downtown from its origin at Broome Street, you'll see two parking garages, one municipal and one private, plus a whole lot of wholesalers. Below Canal Street you get a spate of government buildings, including the Civil and the Criminal Courthouses, as well as a couple of Appeals courts and Detention Centers—yes, that means jails. All of these official buildings have an imposing presence of a sort, but you get the feeling you don't really want to be here unless you're on official business. This is a place too homely to really invite pedestrian traffic, and too imposing to make you want to linger. Parallel streets Broadway and Lafayette are better for driving anyway. For whatever it's worth, the building that houses the Chinatown Planning Council near Broome Street has those cool stone lions out front and a feel of real Beaux-Arts architecture. I also rather enjoyed the ornate East Bank building at the Canal Street corner, if you're into that kind of thing. If you're ever trapped on this street on official business, there are a lot of small dumplings places on the side streets that offer lunchtime relief.
Pros
  • impersonal
  • major thoroughfare for traffic
Cons
  • parking garages
  • not much distinctive personality
2/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 2/5
  • Pest Free 2/5
  • Peace & Quiet 2/5
  • Eating Out 4/5
  • Nightlife 5/5
  • Parks & Recreation 1/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Internet Access 3/5
  • Lack of Traffic 4/5
  • Parking 1/5
  • Cost of Living 2/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 5/5
  • Public Transport 5/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 3/5
  • Childcare 3/5
Just now

"What in the world happened here?"

I can't say I'm nostalgic for the days when St. Marks Place was overrun by barely-pubescent punks begging for change, probably so they could buy themselves more hair dye. Nor for the freaks and geeks atmosphere of walking down this particular little stretch of the city, and the high likelihood of getting in a long, rambling conversation with someone with bloodshot eyes and a slur. Nor for the reports of unspeakable deeds being committed at St. Mark's Hotel, though I can't vouch for the accuracy of such reports. Nevertheless, St. Marks had a very specific identity which seems to have disappeared overnight. Apparently, the Japanese have taken over St. Marks, and with a vengeance. You have your udon joints and your sushi joints, and your Japanese dessert joints, with tasty edible things in an assortment of pastel colors. You have your specialty Japanese grocery open all night and all kinds of knick-knacks and tourist kitsch for sale in stalls. You can buy bongs by the dozen and stock up on pot-leaf T-shirts. How did this all happen and why? One of those mysteries of urban development, I guess, though I'm not feeling entirely enthusiastic about it. Maybe I just need more time to get used to this much good sushi. A bit further on you can find the Yaffa Cafe, “Open all nite 7 days a week,” a place whose décor I can only describe as East Village gothic.
Pros
  • great asian food
  • Great bar scene
  • Tons of energy
Cons
  • creepy touristy kitsch is the new punk on this old punk street
  • loud at night
  • Dirty
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Tourists
  • Hipsters
  • Trendy & Stylish
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 5/5
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • Clean & Green 4/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 4/5
  • Eating Out 3/5
  • Nightlife 4/5
  • Parks & Recreation 3/5
  • Shopping Options 5/5
  • Gym & Fitness 4/5
  • Internet Access 3/5
  • Lack of Traffic 4/5
  • Parking 1/5
  • Cost of Living 1/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 4/5
  • Public Transport 5/5
  • Medical Facilities 2/5
  • Schools 2/5
  • Childcare 3/5
Just now

"A haven at a crossroads"

For a street positioned at the very crossroads of three major neighborhoods in the city of all cities--SoHo, Chinatown, and the Lower East Side--this street is small, charming, and feels surprisingly intimate. Just one block away, the Bowery roars with traffic, and at its northern end Elizabeth Street meets another major thoroughfare, Houston Street, but you wouldn't know any of that, walking down this lovely and improbable little haven. Some of its quirks include three good Spanish bars and a masonry yard full of huge statues and decorative stone work. The suffocating presence of too-stylish people from SoHo is certainly felt, but for all their propensity to take over the restaurants and bars on other nearby streets, such trend-seekers still haven't completely reached into the heart of Elizabeth Street. Most lost tourists are likely to ask you if you know the way to Little Italy, but locals know that Little Italy is more of a historical idea than a real place. What is real is an understated, yet strong Spanish presence among the old-time residents, who give Elizabeth Street and the micro-area within a block of it, a certain grounding. Unlike the bar and brunch crowd on weekends, they have lived on this street for years and take the noise laws seriously. The street is their home, after all, and not their weekend playground. The price difference between rent-stabilized apartments and newly renovated apartments of the same size can be as much as $3,000 a month for a one-bedroom deal. This should tell you something about the highs and the lows, the old and the new, that coexist here.
Pros
  • Plenty of nearby clubs and bars
  • Stylish social scene
  • Tons of artsy boutiques
Cons
  • crowded on weekends
  • Increasingly expensive
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Tourists
  • Hipsters
  • Students
  • Trendy & Stylish

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