Neighbhorhoods in your budget
New York is a "city of neighborhoods," but the difference in average rents among them can be extreme. So find some neighborhoods in your price range, and check them out.
Nothing beats walking the city to learn the pace and feel of different areas. Spend some time walking around different neighborhoods, and remember that a neighborhood bustling during the workday may be a ghost town at night. A good way to tell if a neighborhood empties out at night is if there are grocery stores nearby. If there aren't any, chances are good that it's not very residential.
Unless you work from home - and maybe even if you do - you'll want to consider proximity to the subway and bus system when deciding on a neighborhood. If you take a place far from the subway, you could end up regretting it in the dark, cold days of winter or the long, hot days of summer
Tired of walking?
Take a video tour of different neighborhoods on RentingNewYork.tv.