Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Priced out of Downtown? Here are the best options in the boroughs

I know that everyone comes here to live in Manhattan here. But what do people who live here do when the landlord raises the rent to an amount that you just can't afford anymore? For those that are new to the city and the market reality of the prices and space here has just smacked you in the face, I have some areas that you will want to consider.

Williamsburg
This is the first place people mention when considering going away from the traditional areas on Manhattan to live. It's hipster vibe, trendy shops and cafes make people gush for days. I lived here for a year and it was decent. There is almost too much to do along Bedford Ave. Cool bars, great restaurants and McCarren park are the pluses of the neighborhood. The subway access if you are close to the L train and no further than Lorimer is actually superb. The problem is that rents here are starting to mirror Manhattan places now that it is a known hot spot.
http://newyork.timeout.com/section/williamsburg

Harlem
This was once an area that people feared. With a huge expanse by Columbia, Bill Clinton coming to town and the lack of acreage on Manhattan Island as a whole, this area is enjoying a new Harlem Renaissance. The rents here are lower than areas below 96th street (but hurry, because they are rising), the commute downtown is not that bad (try to get a spot near an express train) and the food and shopping options are plenty. Your getting the Manhattan zip code, but if you are smart, can pay borough prices. The trade off is less drunk frat kids stumbling around the streets for EVERYBODY hanging out on the streets. From Grandma's and Grandpa's to young children staying out way past their bedtime, this area of NYC is super diverse and becoming more and more gentrified by the week.
http://newyork.timeout.com/section/harlem

Astoria
I have stayed here off and on at times. My father lived here when I was young. This is a great area that looks close on the map to Manhattan, but if you are not right by the subway, it can be a bit of a trek on the late night. The area is becoming trendy and so the prices are nearing Manhattan prices, though you MAY have more flexibility in terms of requirements and negotiating a deal. MAY is the operative word. Dining options are mostly Greek as there is a heavy Greek population in the area. This is the first destination for most when considering the outer boroughs.
http://newyork.timeout.com/section/harlem

Jackson Heights
This area is a hidden jewel of the boroughs. If you don't know, now you know. This is a great area for keeping the costs down. This is a diverse area in Queens with great subway access if you can get a place in the 70's to 80's and not too many avenues away from Roosevelt Ave. In some ways, it can actually be a shorter commute than Astoria if you work it out the right way. I lived here for over five years and loved it. Great food, cheaper prices than Manhattan or Astoria and only a 30 minute commute to Manhattan max.
http://newyork.timeout.com/section/jackson-heights

Park Slope
After Williamsburg, this is usually the next place on peoples map when considering BK. The Brooklyn Heights area is always first on the list, but with it's superior subway access and closer to Manhattan than parts of Manhattan location, it is the one area of the city that is truly across the river with city prices. So heads turn to Park Slop as the next viable choice. There is a great neighborhood feel, great school systems for those families with or having children. Good dining options and a short trip to the city make this a solid value.
http://newyork.timeout.com/section/park-slope

That's the five top areas that people consider when leaving the traditional areas of the Upper West or East sides, midtown to downtown. I have one more bonus area that is perhaps the best jewel in all of the boroughs. The mainstream writers haven't caught up to this old school native yet though. To find out about that one, you will have to go with me ;-)

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