The 5 best neighborhoods for new New Yorkers
Welcome to New York City! Making the choice to move to a new city is monumental, but no city can feel as overwhelming or as exciting as New York. Whether you’ve moved here for school, work, or just for a new experience, the first thing you’ll want to establish in your new home is your neighborhood. New York City has hundreds of them spread across 5 boroughs — Manhattan, Queens, The Bronx, Brooklyn, and Staten Island — and each has their own distinct architecture, culture, and pros and cons.
If you’ve been to New York before you might be familiar with the more popular ones, like SoHo or Times Square, but you shouldn’t let what you know limit your apartment search. Keep reading to learn more about our favorite neighborhoods for new New Yorkers, and if you’re apartment hunting, check out our coliving homes. Our all-inclusive suites and built-in community make moving to New York City and exploring your new neighborhood easier than ever before.
Highlights: Centrally located with easy access to lower and midtown Manhattan on the train, plenty of parks and waterfront views, a wide array of restaurants, bars, and shopping, and every service you could need from health food stores to yoga studios
Williamsburg is one of Brooklyn’s most popular neighborhoods and has seen a huge swell in development over the past decade. Located on the East River, this busy neighborhood is just a 5 minute train ride away from Manhattan, and its shopping, restaurants, and nightlife make it an active weekend destination for thousands of New Yorkers. Williamsburg’s main street, Bedford Avenue, is home to an Apple Store, Equinox, Whole Foods, Sephora, and a Duane Reade (New York’s version of a Walgreens.) But alongside these global chains, the neighborhood still maintains a local feel, with everything from dog-friendly dive bars to a wide array of unique vintage stores.
View this post on Instagram
Highlights: Highly walkable, close to public transportation and other, popular neighborhoods, diverse range of local businesses from bookstores to boutiques
Hop on the L, M, or J train to reach Ridgewood, Queens. This neighborhood is about 30 minutes outside of Manhattan and has a distinctly different feel from the borough, with many single-family homes, families, and more local businesses than national chains. The quiet tree-lined streets offer a peaceful escape from busy city life, while still providing residents with great restaurants, grocery stores, and nightlife. Although many families live in Ridgewood, many young professionals are also moving to the area for its strong community and more affordable housing.
Highlights: A classic Brooklyn aesthetic (it’s the set for many Spike Lee movies), a 20 minute train ride into Manhattan, on the border of many other great Brooklyn neighborhoods, highly walkable, plenty to discover and enjoy
If you’re looking to start your life in New York City in a quintessential Brooklyn neighborhood, Bed-Stuy is for you. Situated between Williamsburg, Bushwick, Crown Heights, and Clinton Hill, this neighborhood is perfect for anyone who loves to discover new food, new neighborhoods, and new cultures. Bed-Stuy’s tree-lined side streets are lined with classic brownstones, while it’s main avenues offer everything from some of the borough’s best fried chicken, tropical tiki bars, and vintage-meets-coffee-shops. It’s also a short walk or train ride away from some of Brooklyn’s most famous institutions, like the Brooklyn Art Museum (aka BAM), the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens, and Prospect Park – the largest park in the borough.
Highlights: Proximity to Central Park, universities, and easy-to-access public transportation, an amazing cultural scene, historic architecture and institutions, highly walkable
Our only Manhattan neighborhood on the list, Harlem can’t be overlooked when you’re finding a new home in New York City. You might already know Harlem for the Harlem Renaissance and the Apollo Theatre, but the neighborhood still stands as a birthplace for art, music, and cultural change. It’s close proximity to Central Park and easy access to the commuter train gives residents plenty of space to escape the city’s high-rises, while its many subway lines can take you anywhere across Manhattan. For students, Harlem is also an ideal neighborhood — it’s home to CUNY, Columbia, and Barnard.
Long Island City
Highlights: On the East River with plenty of waterfront parks, easy transportation to Manhattan and lower Brooklyn, thriving arts scene, plenty of new housing, and great Indian food
We’ll be honest: Long Island City might not be the most obvious option for new New Yorkers. It certainly isn’t the city’s most popular neighborhoods, but it is one of the fastest growing. It’s art scene has made it a weekend destination for years — it’s home to MoMA PS1, MoMA’s contemporary art institute and one of the largest in the U.S, and the SculptureCenter, a space dedicated to contemporary sculpture art. There’s also an active brewery scene, and the city has invested in the neighborhood’s riverfront parks, creating beautiful spaces to walk, exercise, or unwind. New developments are also starting to pop up in some of the neighborhood’s more industrial areas. With lower price points but similar amenities to high-rises in nearby Williamsburg, these buildings are perfect for new New Yorkers looking to live well while being part of a growing community.