So you’ve decided to pack up your bags and come to New York City, huh? Moving to NYC is a daunting task for anyone, eliciting questions like:
Additionally, the NYC housing market doesn’t make it any easier, as newcomers quickly learn how much paperwork they need to apply for an apartment, how much of a deposit they need, and just how quickly listings fly off the market. Gone are the days where one could easily move into a dingy loft in Manhattan with just a suitcase. So, with all of that in mind, where should newcomers look for apartments?
The hip and trendy, usual suspects
Like it or not, no list of neighborhoods for newcomers is complete without including the trendy north Brooklyn enclaves of Williamsburg and Bushwick. Even though the prices in these neighborhoods have shot up in the past decade — Williamsburg now has a median monthly asking rent of $3,095 — newcomers still flock to these areas in order to have easy, 24/7 access to the epicenter of the NYC upscale bohemian scene. From Bedford Avenue to Jefferson, the neighborhoods are stacked with casually trendy bars, foodie-approved restaurants, and casts of colorful characters that will make you constantly think “only in NYC.” So, rack up the roommates, and if you can find a way to afford it, why not?
But, seriously. I’m on a budget.
For the newcomer who is counting pennies and wants to get the most bang-for-their-buck without living in the Rockaways, Astoria, Sunnyside or Ditmas Park are worth exploring. Easily accessed off the N, Q, and R lines, Astoria, Queens has become the newcomer’s place to go to find something affordable and relatively spacious. With a median monthly asking rent of $2,300, it comes in far below some of its Brooklyn counterparts that have a similar vibe and reputation for lots of young people and lots of bars and restaurants.
If you’re looking for something more affordable than $2,300/month in rent, then take a look at neighborhoods in Queens and Brooklyn that are just a little bit further out from where most of the popular neighborhoods end — namely Sunnyside and Ditmas Park. What you sacrifice in transportation access, you get back in solid quality of life. These neighborhoods are ideal for newcomers to the city looking for a low-key neighborhood; they are unpretentious places that offer a little room to breath. Both will meet your everyday needs while still boasting a few known-but-local bars and restaurants. And, when compared with other neighborhoods, they are much cheaper, with a median asking rent of $2,000 and $1,900, respectively.
Classic, residential Brooklyn
If you are coming into the city, and looking for a real local, residential vibe, why not check out the iconic brownstone and townhouse-lined blocks of Park Slope, Fort Greene, or Windsor Terrace? While not exactly the best bet for the penny-pinchers — median rents range from $2,600 to $2,972 — the neighborhoods’ local atmosphere is desirable for a true Brooklyn experience. The three neighborhoods boast some of the most iconic architecture in the borough, as well as easy access to plenty of parks and green space including Prospect Park and Fort Greene Park. With more families living in these neighborhoods, they can be good places to settle for newcomers who don’t necessarily want to leave every part of the suburbs completely behind, Plus, you can still take advantage of great subway access on the F, D, 4 and 5 lines to hit Downtown Manhattan on nights and weekends.
Whether it’s calm or complete revelry you are looking for to start off your new NYC life, the city will surely not disappoint in prospects. Your best bet is to make a list of what you want out of your neighborhood, determine your must-haves and your would-be-nice-to-haves, and then go find some roommates to kick it with!