Recommend me a NYC neighborhood
November 13, 2016 9:02 AM   Subscribe

Looking for suggestions for a neighborhood to live in. I'm leaning toward something in Manhattan, but may consider Brooklyn.

I'll be moving to New York soon to start a new job. I have a temporary place lined up so that I can begin looking once I'm there. Looking for suggestions on which neighborhoods will be best for me.

As far as what I'm looking for... I think I want to keep rent under $2000/month. I keep reading about the 40x rule, which I can more than comfortably do. I just may not want to go beyond this limit. I do want roommates (don't want to live alone, also to share costs, have someone to talk to once in a while). I'll be working in Midtown and would prefer a <30 min commute.

A little about me: male, early 30s, straight. In my free time I like to be active, going to the gym or playing soccer. I should mention I'm not the biggest drinker. I do do it when I'm out and about being social, but never to get drunk (I mean I've had my moments). And clubs aren't my thing either. So nightlife isn't necessarily a main draw. But I do enjoy good food (one of the biggest draws to NYC), and good company. So a super quiet/inactive area might not be best either. Perhaps a good balance, just very slightly leaning toward a quieter area? Anything else I'm missing that might be useful?
posted by villafoyager to Grab Bag (16 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
From what I can tell Brooklyn is hard, I was needing to park for a few days in BedStuy and one block away from the the busy urban industrial street (fork lifts, street people and yoga) was a perfect quiet oasis. I would dearly love to move to that block. The food was insanely fantastic.

Also it's big, be careful about logistics or you can have a brutal commute.
posted by sammyo at 9:24 AM on November 13, 2016

You should move to my neighborhood in brooklyn - Flatbush/ditmas. It's right by the Parade Grounds, which is an offshoot of Prospect Park that has a bunch of soccer fields where people are always playing. I currently pay 2000/month for a 2 bedroom.
posted by Ragged Richard at 9:24 AM on November 13, 2016

You should be able to find a roommate situation in Harlem for that budget. If your office is in Midtown West, look around the ABCD stops at W. 125th or W. 145th; the A and D run express from 125th to 59th. The gym situation in upper Manhattan is not great, though.
posted by praemunire at 9:41 AM on November 13, 2016

Flatbush is not a 30 min commute from Midtown.

For that budget, if you mean you're willing to pay 2k for your part of the apartment, you could probably swing Fort Green (Brooklyn), which is an awesome place close to lots of other awesome places and close to Manhattan, and where I'd totally live if I could afford it.

Also consider Long Island City and Astoria (Queens) if a short commute to Midtown is a major factor for you.
posted by showbiz_liz at 9:54 AM on November 13, 2016 [2 favorites]

Best answer: If you want roommates you shouldn't need to pay $2000 a month for rent. You could find a place by yourself for that much. My advice is to get a sublet in one of the neighborhoods you're interested in and explore the different neighborhoods once you get here. That way you get a feel for things but aren't committed if you don't like the first place you settled down. Make sure you have more than one train line going to where you live and check out how it relates to your work. I've lived here over 10 years now so here's my personal take:

IMHO Midtown is depressing enough to work in, I can't imagine wanting to live there. The upper west side is lovely if you can swing the rent, as well as the west/greenwich village. The LES and east village are too crazy for what you're looking for. UES is quieter but I'm not a huge fan of some of the folks that live up there. I'd definitely investigate where you can play soccer and figure that into where you live as well - I know of Chelsea piers and east river park as two outdoor spots where I've seen folks playing. If you're into nature and being outdoors at all try to find a place near a park - Central, Prospect, and Riverside are ideal.

If you are considering moving to Brooklyn beware that the some train lines (L and M) will be shutting down in the future for a while for repairs. I'd avoid williamsburg/greenpoint/south williamsburg/bushwick for these reasons, as well as there is a large drinking culture in those neighborhoods which isn't what you're looking for.

Some of the quieter neighborhoods in Brooklyn that may appeal and have changed A LOT in the last decade are prospect heights, crown heights, fort greene. Lots of gentrification have made for flipped/renovated apartments and large increases in rent. Bedstuy is going through gentrification as well but it's not as inundated yet. A lot of new condos have gone up as well if you're interested in something new (and potential shoddy construction.)

Good luck!
posted by cristinacristinacristina at 10:27 AM on November 13, 2016 [4 favorites]

Chelsea - a bit expensive but definitely doable on your budget. There are always people around, but it's never crowded. Full of restaurants. If you're further west, you'll be close to Chelsea Piers.

Murray Hill and Midtown East - a bit cheaper than Chelsea. Lots of restaurants. You'd be walking distance to work. Close to East River Park.
posted by airmail at 11:27 AM on November 13, 2016 [1 favorite]

Jersey city. Grove st. stop. Midtown in 30 mins or less, WTC in 15. Lots of restaurants and parks and cool shops and hangouts and homemade ice cream and cheap rent and trees.
posted by sexyrobot at 11:48 AM on November 13, 2016 [1 favorite]

I have a few more questions. How important is playing soccer going to be? Will being close to rec fields make your life a lot better? Would you take a longer commute to live near fields? How do you feel about bros? How do you feel about living in a very child-focused neighborhood? Do you plan on dating and if so, what kind of women do you like to date?

Normally based on what you've said, I would say Astoria was made for you, but honestly, the food scene there is not very good, especially compared to Brooklyn. (People will say this is not true; those people are wrong.) Closer to Brooklyn parks would put you farther from work. The newer buildings in Brooklyn Heights or Dumbo might be worth considering since I know there are fields near the water there. Murray Hill is an easy commute to Midtown but it ground zero for all that is bro. Etc.

Really, subletting a few places is the right answer.
posted by dame at 12:24 PM on November 13, 2016

If you're working in Midtown, I'd definitely be looking at Queens in terms of reasonable commute. Much of Brooklyn is going to be a bit of a haul, and still pricey.
posted by Sreiny at 12:25 PM on November 13, 2016

I like to be active, I don’t drink, I’m not big on nightlife, I do like good food and good company. I’m a single straight male who works in midtown. My commute is as little as 10 minutes by bike, 15 minutes by subway, 35 minutes by walking or bus. I live on the Upper West Side. My financial parameters are similar to yours, but I bought my apartment.

I think the main sacrifice involved in the UWS is the area doesn’t have the greatest reputation for restaurants but there are a lot of great supermarkets here. When I think about the neighborhoods with great restaurants, they tend to be strong in nightlife, and not great for being active. I think that’s fine, I’ll spend every day in the parks and commute to restaurants occasionally rather than the other way around.
posted by Borborygmus at 1:30 PM on November 13, 2016 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Answering some of the questions from dame:
How important is playing soccer going to be? Will being close to rec fields make your life a lot better? Would you take a longer commute to live near fields?
I imagine playing one (at most two) time a week. So it doesn't have to be a main priority. I just don't want it to be so far as to make it a deterrent. Better work commute will be a higher priority.

How do you feel about bros?
Neutral-ish. But I skew more nerdy/introverted despite my interests in soccer/fitness.

How do you feel about living in a very child-focused neighborhood?
I think I'd rather not

Do you plan on dating and if so, what kind of women do you like to date?
Yes, dating and making new friends are going to be an important part of my free time. As far as type... I'm not sure I know my exact type. Intelligence/college-educated is important. I think of myself as pretty down-to-earth, so high-maintenance or overly-materialistic types aren't good for me. (Hmm... I feel that's too generic)
posted by villafoyager at 2:56 PM on November 13, 2016

Take a look at Boreum Hill/Carroll Gardens Brooklyn. Maybe Red Hook.
posted by vrakatar at 8:20 PM on November 13, 2016

Boerum Hill or Cobble Hill in Brooklyn. Lots of activities and a more grown-up atmosphere that a lot of downtown Manhattan neighborhoods lack.
posted by greta simone at 7:33 AM on November 14, 2016

I'll wholeheartedly second the last two suggestions IF you can get a place near the train. I used to live in Cobble Hill (adjacent to the other two neighborhoods suggested above) and I really liked the area, but it took me 20 minutes to walk to the closest train, which is what ultimately made me move away.

You might also want to look at Prospect Heights, because it's very near Prospect Park (Brooklyn's Central Park), and there are likely soccer leagues that meet there. Plus it's got a lot of convenient trains, especially closer to Atlantic Terminal. Plus it's just a nice neighborhood.
posted by showbiz_liz at 8:21 AM on November 14, 2016

Another thing to consider - what kind of apartments do you like? With your budget, with a roommate, you have a fair number of choices - there are areas where the typical unit is more likely to be new construction, in old pretty buildings, have more space, be owned by a small-time landlord (pluses and minuses there...), have outdoor space like a shared roof, have appliance perks like a dishwasher or maybe even in-unit washing machine, etc...

Luckily it's a dense city and it's hard to be TOO far from a rec field, so I wouldn't worry too much about that.

Also, do you want to host/have friends come to your apartment? Then, the more convenient the better as people are jerks about traveling far from home to others' places. Are you cool just meeting centrally? Then consider your distance from restaurant-centric neighborhoods like the East Village and West Village. I'm not sure either of those are places you'd want to live, from your description, but enjoying everything that neighborhoods like that have to offer is a lot more fun when you aren't starting down an hour+ commute home afterwards.
posted by R a c h e l at 9:38 AM on November 14, 2016 [1 favorite]

One thing to consider is that to a New Yorker, "Midtown" covers a huge area. Know which subway lines you'd likely be able to commute to work on and focus your attentions on them. For example, the 1/2/3 go up the west side and the 4/5/6 go up the east side and once you get north of Canal street, they really aren't that close to each other. The 7 line cuts across town and goes into Queens, which might be worth looking at.

Vrakatar responded upthread to consider Red Hook. As a resident, I appreciate the boosterism! But I wouldn't necessarily recommend it based on your interest in a short commute time. The commute from Red Hook to Tribeca I do is usually about 45 minutes, door to door, and includes a bus ride to the subway, which can vary in it's promptness. That doesn't include additional travel time farther north into Manhattan. Red Hook does offer athletics fields and has some great restaurants but not really that many restaurants and what's available isn't that varied. I would imagine it's also not the best home base for dating or socializing widely, just because it's a pain to get to and people you meet will want to meet somewhere else, other than maybe in the summer when it gets a little more in-city touristy. It's a great neighborhood to make friends with your neighbors in, because we all see each other a lot, so there's that.

The commute is much easier by bike, which I think would gel with your interest in fitness no matter where in NYC you end up, but still would leave you a little isolated from others who won't want to bike to you, and biking around in the cold months coming up isn't everyone's cup of tea regardless.

Carroll Gardens, Boerum Hill and Gowanus have a lot of Red Hook's perks but are much closer to the subway (F/G/R lines) and also both somewhat closer to Prospect Park. I still don't think they're the best choices for you, but might be worth considering.
posted by lousywiththespirit at 10:37 AM on November 14, 2016 [2 favorites]

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