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How to Pick a Neighborhood in NYC

Brick pavement and cars

If you are relocating to New York, you cannot underestimate the importance of knowing how to pick a neighborhood in NYC. This, to a large extent, will determine the perception you end up having of not just the neighborhood, but the city itself.

More importantly, the location of your neighborhood has a huge impact on virtually every aspect of your life, particularly the social and economic side of things.

In other words, your neighborhood literally influences your quality of life.

Here are some important factors that should inform your decision on how to pick a neighborhood in NYC.

 

Cost

New York is an expensive city to live in. Therefore, in a bid to make their “perfect Manhattan apartment” dream a reality, many people find themselves overstretching their finances. Don’t fall into this trap.

You can find a better value in the outer boroughs that home some wonderful emerging neighborhoods, and you’ll be grateful each month when you see how much you manage to save.

As well, given the competitive nature of the rental market in New York, some people find themselves overpaying for an apartment just so they can avoid the grind of apartment searching.

This is another costly mistake you need to avoid. Experts advise not to spend more than 30% of your income on rent.

 

The Vibe

The best way to get a sense of how a certain neighborhood feels is to take a saunter around the area.

Spend some time walking the neighborhoods you are eyeing. Visit both in the day and at night as some neighborhoods can transform drastically when the sun goes down.

Not everyone can take the time to visit in person, of course. If this is you, one way to get the general feel of the area is to find locals (online or through friends) who can give you forthright, unbiased opinions.

Good thing is, this is not something New Yorkers shy away from!

 

Commute Times

This is one of the best pieces of advice on how to pick a neighborhood in NYC.

As one of the best-served cities in the world when it comes to public transportation, you should take full advantage of New York’s transport system to get around.

A neighborhood that is in close proximity to the subway and/or bus line allows for more convenience in terms of beating the daily commute to work or school. It also encourages friends to come visit you in your new pad.

 

Lifestyle

Lifestyle factors differ from one renter to another, and these are important to inform your choice of neighborhood.

If you are a growing family, a neighborhood with good schools in the area should be a priority. Pet owners may prefer a neighborhood with ample green public space. Young professional women might prioritize safety and thus a secure neighborhood with good lighting and around-the-clock bodegas makes sense.

Avoid getting sucked into the need to rent the first nice affordable apartment you come across and instead make your move based on the most important factors to you.

 

Space

Due to its population density, personal space isn’t the most abundant resource in NYC.

Consider your lifestyle when choosing a neighborhood.

If you work from home, are one to get claustrophobic, or loves throwing a dinner party once in a while, opt for neighborhoods in Brooklyn or Queens that make it possible to spread out even more.

A backyard space or rooftop patio can also make smaller apartments more manageable.

 

Noise Levels

Last on our tips on how to pick a neighborhood in NYC is one factor most people often overlook: noise levels.

New York has all types of neighborhoods to choose from. They vary from tranquil ones ideal for peaceful morning runs to buzzing ones where apartments aren’t too far off from the happening spots.

When choosing your neighborhood, it is good to be realistic about the noise levels you are willing to put up with.

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