Find Your Place: The Best Neighborhoods in NYC
When it comes to finding the "best" neighborhoods in NYC, it all comes down to you. What are you looking for? What do you want to feel when you step out your front door? One person's "best" neighborhood might be somebody else's least favorite, but this is the beauty of New York: there's something for absolutely everyone somewhere in this city.
Today we're looking at 4 of the most beloved neighborhoods in New York to give you a better sense of where you might want to live if you're moving here. If you already live in NYC, hopefully these notes will remind you of neighborhoods you've forgotten about and inspire you to rediscover them - or even move to them
The Upper West Side
Stretching from 59th Street to roughly 110th Street, the Upper West Side offers great nightlife, peace and quiet during the day, and perfect access to Central Park. If you've seen Only Murders in the Building, you'll no doubt already have a great image of the neighborhood in your mind: tree-lined streets and lovely cafes on every corner.
Though the Upper West Side feels much mellower than the other neighborhoods we'll discuss, it also feels energetic and inspiring, especially on an early autumn evening, when everyone's heading to a picnic in the park or to happy hour at The Mermaid Inn. Our movers especially love stopping into Zabar's when they're in the neighborhood. They also love just how beautiful, comfortable, and classic every single building is.
One thing the Upper West Side has that almost no other neighborhood does is that everyone who lives there seems to absolutely love it, and everyone who visits seems to want to move there ASAP. The Upper West Side is ideal for young families, especially ones with children about to start school, because both the public and private schools in the area are terrific. It's a perfect spot to start a mellower, more suburban-type life in your late 20s or early 30s while also staying right in the heart of the city.
If you're already feeling UWS vibes, head to StreetEasy here to check out the listings.
If you walk south from the Upper West Side for about an hour or so, you'll wind up in Greenwich Village. The neighborhood has some of the most interesting sights in the city, Including Washington Square Park, MacDougal Street, and the Stonewall Inn. Its history, spanning from the whaling days to the 60s to the LGBTQ+ movement, is one of the richest of any area in town.
Greenwich Village has always attracted artists, including Bob Dylan, who used to perform in the Gaslight Cafe, which is now The Up & Up. It's still a haven for creatives, who hang out in Caffe Reggio, the White Horse Tavern, and Blue Note Jazz Club.
The streets are even cozier than in the UWS, which has made for some challenging but exciting moves for our crew, and the nightlife tends to continue until morning. Because NYU is in Greenwich Village, there's a young spirit surrounding the area, and it always feels like something new is happening inside the historical buildings where students and artists live. Keep in mind, though, that Greenwich Village isn't as cheap as it was in the 50s.
It's become one of the most exclusive neighborhoods in the city, but it's possible to get lucky with a rent-controlled apartment. The area is ideal for people of any age who love to experiment with different foods and venues, but keep in mind that there isn't as much space to raise kids as in the UWS or Williamsburg.
If you're looking for endless fun and history, Greenwich Village is your place.
The Lower East Side
Even further down from Greenwich Village, on the southeast corner of Manhattan, is the Lower East Side. It played an important role in the history of immigration in NYC, and this is captured movingly at the Tenement Museum. It remains a vibrant hub to this today, offering some of the best music and food in the city.
The Lower East Side definitely feels like a lively neighborhood, but it's slightly more spread out than Greenwich Village. Spots like Lucien and Katz's are favorites among new and longtime residents alike, and Chinatown is one of the most fun places to go grocery shopping and try new dishes. The punk scene gained ground at places like the Bowery Ballroom, which is still a great place to check out new sounds.
As it's one of the most popular and up-and-coming neighborhoods for young professionals and creatives in their early to mid-20s right now, we're in the LES all the time. And although it's further from Washington Square Park and Central Park, the Lower East Side has Tompkins Square Park and a ton of little gardens that give the area a calming, airy feeling among the cars and chaos.
We can't forget Brooklyn! Williamsburg is right across the East River from the Lower East Side, but it feels like a completely different world. Like most of Brooklyn, it's a kind of city-suburb hybrid full of brownstones and green spaces.
There's still plenty of city-type stuff to do in Williamsburg, like going out to restaurants and concerts, but there's way more peace and quiet than even the Upper West Side. Williamsburg is a go-to neighborhood for families who want to be in the city but not in the city. Prospect Park is nearby, too, which rivals Central Park in size, so it's a kind of self-contained world with the added bonus of being right next to Manhattan.
Moving families into brownstones in Brooklyn is one of our favorite projects, because it's an exciting mix of a slow, suburban move and a rushed, urban one. Though living outside Manhattan might not be for everyone, if you're looking to get out of the hustle and bustle a bit, and are ready for the commute, Williamsburg is the ideal spot to start looking for places.
We definitely haven't covered all of NYC in this blog, but hopefully you've gotten a sense of how some of the most popular neighborhoods differ from each other and can use these notes as a jumping-off point for further research into schools, doctor's offices, etc.
Choosing a neighborhood can be a really difficult decision, but you should know that wherever you end up living, nothing in this city ever feels out of reach. The subway system is incredible, and at the end of the day, when you're here, the entire city is your neighborhood.