city living By Graham Wood in amNY.com
Many New Yorkers looking for a real-estate deal may reflexively scratch Manhattan off their list, writing it off as a borough where only beneficiaries of hedge funds and trust funds can afford to put down stakes.
Well, think again. Maybe you can take Manhattan.
“There’s this initial sticker shock with Manhattan,” said Gary Malin, president of realty firm Citi Habitats. “But the Park Avenue and Madison Avenue price points are not the same as other places [in the borough]. Sometimes there’s perception, and then there’s reality.”
Though the limelight is often on luxury lofts with panoramic views of the skyline, many Manhattan neighborhoods pack serious bang for your buck. You just have to scout them out. Apartments for rent in Manhattan vary in price greatly.
“You have to sometimes have a pioneering attitude,” Malin said. “Just because you always hear about a certain neighborhood doesn’t mean there aren’t other good neighborhoods.”
So, aspirants to a 212 phone number, here’s where you should be looking:
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• Get a uniquely local vibe. “There’s not a Starbucks on every corner,” Edgette said.
• There’s a sense of community. “There’s a home feeling,” Edgette said. “Everyone’s really proud to be here.”
• The bounty of Tompkins Square Park. “There aren’t a lot of parks downtown with big open spaces and free concerts,” Edgette said.
• Wear earplugs at night. The East Village is filled with bars that are open late every night.
• Hope you’re not claustrophobic. You’re not paying for space in this neighborhood
• You’ll never go hungry again. “There are lots of grocery stores for people who cook every day,” Lui said. And if you’d rather dine out, you could eat at a different restaurant every night.
• Need a little retail therapy? Clothing stores and other shops are all over the place — and it doesn’t have to break the bank.
• Don’t bring a car. It could take up to an hour to find a parking space, Lui said.
Congestion, congestion, congestion. “It’s too busy, especially on the weekends,” he said. There’s a lot of foot and car traffic, so the noise may prove irritating.
Hold your nose. The fish shops and other grocers can produce a rather pungent odor that’s difficult to escape.
• Business is booming. With new eateries clamoring for space on Amsterdam Avenue, “it’s starting to be called ‘restaurant row,’” Pinder said. “And one of the most recognizable restaurants in America calls the neighborhood home: Tom’s Restaurant, whose exterior was featured in “Seinfeld.”
• Living there is a walk in the park. The neighborhood is wedged between Morningside Park and Riverside Park, and not far from Central Park.
• It’s a “college town.” Morningside Heights is home to Columbia University, the Manhattan School of Music and a host of other well-known institutions.
• Keep it down. There are a lot of businesses with outdoor seating as well, so “if you’re on a lower floor on a busy avenue, it might be loud,” Pinder said.
• Call it an early night. Nightlife isn’t exactly bustling in the area.
• Peace and quiet. Without subway noise, “it’s quieter than other neighborhoods,” Turkewitz said.
• It doesn’t suck to have a car. If you’re a driver, there are plenty of places to park.
• Businesses are flocking to the area, with a Shake Shack recently opening on East 86th Street, joining a Fairway grocery.
• Disruption from the construction of the Second Avenue Subway line has given residents fits.
• Wear comfortable shoes. “You have an average 15-minute walk to transportation,”
• Want to commune with nature? This is one of the last places to do it in the city of concrete, with areas like Inwood Hill Park — Manhattan’s last natural forest.
• You might actually get to know your neighbors. “You get the more residential feel of suburbia while still getting an urban atmosphere,” Edry said.
• It’s family-friendly with a top-notch school district, Edry said. “It’s becoming more and more stroller central.”
• Grab some reading material. Only the No. 1 and A trains service the area, so if you commute to downtown often, you’re in for a long ride.
• Face it: It’s no SoHo. “You don’t get the same commercial amenities as downtown.”
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