How to Pick a Neighborhood in NYC

Why am I moving to New York?”  That is the question that you need to ask yourself when you start looking for a neighborhood.

There are many other questions that you will have to answer so that you can narrow down your search- but “why am I moving to New York” is a great starting point.

Knowing why you are moving enables you to know where you should be moving. NYC Neighborhoods all have something very different to offer. In many ways, your happiness and success while living in New York City depend upon you picking a neighborhood that caters to your interests and intended lifestyle.

Once you pick a neighborhood – and sign a lease – it can be very difficult and expensive to move; which is why you need to get it right the first time.

In order to begin the process of figuring out which neighborhood is right for you– here are a couple questions that you should ask yourself.

Did you move here to focus on your career and expect to work long hours?  – You should look for a neighborhood that is quiet and close to your place of work so that you can get some rest.

Is socializing, networking and forming new relationships important to you?  You will want to live near the neighborhoods that your ideal crowd hangs out in so that you don’t have to spend too much time commuting every day.

Popular Lively Neighborhoods

  • The East Village
  • The Lower East Side
  • The West Village
  • Murrary Hill
  • Williamsburg
  • The Meatpacking District
Popular Quiet Neighborhoods

  • Upper West Side / East Side
  • Gramercy Park
  • Tribeca
  • Chelsea
  • Prospect Heights
  • Morningside Heights

How Much Can You Afford to Spend
Picking a neighborhood that is within your budget should be a no brainer.  Many of the city’s social activities require that you have lot of disposable income to spend on them.
Those concerts, bars, museums and restaurants all cost money- which you won’t have if you make the mistake of living an apartment that is too expensive for you.

3 Things That you Should Avoid:

#1 Super noisy apartments – When I first moved to the city, I lived in an apartment that was directly above 3 separate bars.  You are probably wondering “how could it be above three bars” –  and I am still a  little confused by that to this day.  But it was.
That apartment was NEVER quite.  Ever.  It was tough to sleep with top 40 club music coming through the floor boards at 3:00am every night.
If you get up early for work every day and need your sleep, you do not want to be in this situation.

#2 Apartments in social dead zonesIf you are coming to NYC with big plans to be a social butterfly, then you do not want to live in a social dead zone.
My second apartment in NYC was in the upper, upper east side- where there is VERY little going on in terms of nightlife.  Especially during the week.  I ended up riding the subway 30 minutes each way just to go out –  not fun.  Or spending $15- $20 on a taxi every time – Not cheap.

#3 Catching more than 2 different trainsThe big downside of taking public transportation is actually waiting for the train / bus to get there.  Often the wait can be as long, or longer than the ride itself.  What you want to avoid are commutes that require you to catch 3 or more forms of public transportation.  For each train you need to catch, you should factor in 10 minutes of waiting time-  3 trains = 30 minutes of waiting time.  Not cool. If you know where you will be working- look for apartments in neighborhoods that won’t require you to make so many transfers.

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