New York

There are two hundred neighborhoods in New York (more or less). But we hear about the same few over and over. Don’t tell us Long Island City got expensive. Don’t tell us the South Bronx got a new bar. Don’t tell us East New York is the last frontier. We all know that. And there’s no such thing as a frontier.

Let’s compare the neighborhoods. All the neighborhoods. Metric by metric, toe to toe. Affordability, commute times, walkability, crime and open space. And see – all style sections aside – how they stack up.

The Best Neighborhoods in New York, 2015
I. Superlatives
II. Everybody Now
II. Basically Mike Bloomberg & Beyoncé
IV. The Best Places to Rent
V. The Best Places to Buy
VI. The Worst

……….

I. Superlatives

Cheapest Rent
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Eastchester, Bronx
Last year: Hunts Point, Bronx

Cheapest to Buy
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Port Richmond, Staten Island
Last year: St. Albans, Queens

Shortest Commute
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Midtown South/Koreatown, Manhattan
Last year: Financial District, Manhattan

Most Walkable
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Chinatown, Financial District, Flatiron, Fulton/Seaport, Gramercy, Greenwich Village,
Little Italy, Midtown, Midtown South/Koreatown, Noho, Nolita, Soho, Turtle Bay (tie)
Last year: Little Italy, Chinatown, NoHo, Flatiron, SoHo, Greenwich Village (tie)

Safest
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Tottenville, Staten Island
Last year: Tottenville, Staten Island

Most Open Space
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Inwood, Manhattan
Last year: Inwood, Manhattan

Renting Is Way Cheaper Than Buying
#1 West Harlem, Manhattan
#2 Greenpoint, Brooklyn
#3 Harlem, Manhattan
#4 Bushwick, Brooklyn
#5 Nolita, Manhattan

Buying Is Way Cheaper Than Renting
#1 Parkchester, Bronx
#2 Fordham, Bronx
#3 Shore Acres, Staten Island
#4 Concourse, Bronx
#5 Port Richmond, Staten Island

II. Everybody Now

Sure there are the five physical boroughs of New York but then there are the boroughs of the mind. Like the Manhattan that ends at 110th street or extends to Marble Hill. Or the Dumbo that, as far as price and walkability go, might as well be in Manhattan. The Sunnyside that might as well be in Brooklyn. The Brownsville that might as well be part of the Bronx.

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Vinegar Hill has one restaurant. Roosevelt Island has a one subway station. For where you can walk, those (literal and figurative) islands sure cost a lot of money.

But boy is Mott Haven a bargain.

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Reading along the righthand border of the pie slice, you can find the most expensive neighborhoods for each increasing band of commute time:

Tribeca, Civic Center, Battery Park City, Vinegar Hill, Clinton Hill, Park Slope, Forest Hills, Kew Gardens, Shore Acres, Hollis, Manhattan Beach, Riverdale

And then, along the left side, their counterparts – the least expensive neighborhoods with the same commutes:

Fulton, Lower East Side, Stuyvesant Town, Prospect Heights, Mott Haven, Bushwick, Brownsville, Morrisania, St. Albans, Arrochar, Todt Hill, Eastchester

And boy is Mott Haven a bargain.

151228_chartcrime

Staten Island and Queens dominate the safest neighborhoods, while upper Manhattan has a lock on neighborhoods with the most open space. Inwood Hill Park alone is 23% of Central Park’s size. And no horses.

But boy is Mott Haven – actually, Mott Haven doesn’t do so well on either of these metrics. You have to make concessions somewhere.

III. Basically Mike Bloomberg and Beyoncé

The Best Neighborhoods If Money Is No Object
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#1 Chinatown, Manhattan
#2 Noho, Manhattan
#3 Murray Hill, Manhattan
#4 Washington Heights, Manhattan
#5 Upper West Side, Manhattan
#6 Lower East Side, Manhattan
#7 East Harlem, Manhattan
#8 Harlem, Manhattan
#9 Financial District, Manhattan
#10 Flatiron, Manhattan

Money is an object. Money is all the objects.

IV. The Best Places to Rent

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#1 Harlem, Manhattan
#2 Washington Heights, Manhattan
#3 Hamilton Heights, Manhattan
#4 Manhattanville, Manhattan
#5 Sunset Park, Brooklyn
#6 Inwood, Manhattan
#7 East Harlem, Manhattan
#8 Ridgewood, Queens
#9 Morningside Heights, Manhattan
#10 Mott Haven, Bronx

Like last year, Upper Manhattan dominates the best neighborhoods to rent, occupying 7 of the top ten slots. The best neighborhood in Staten Island is St. George – #80 of 200 neighborhoods, overall.

V. The Best Places to Buy

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#1 Washington Heights, Manhattan
#2 Ridgewood, Queens
#3 Inwood, Manhattan
#4 Concourse, Bronx
#5 Hamilton Heights, Manhattan
#6 Harlem, Manhattan
#7 Sunnyside, Queens
#8 Sunset Park, Brooklyn
#9 Bay Ridge, Brooklyn
#10 Borough Park, Brooklyn

The best neighborhoods for buyers this year orbit northern Manhattan and southwest Brooklyn. Bonus points: both areas are elevated, so you’ll still have a place to live when the Red Hook IKEA is ceded to the mer-people. The best neighborhood for renters on Staten Island is the best neighborhood for buyers on Staten Island – St. George, just outside the ferry terminal. Total mer-people potential.

VI. The Worst

Midtown continues to have the high crime rates, low affordability and lack of green space that earned it the lowest spot in last year’s rankings. But this year’s lowest ranked neighborhood succeeds where Midtown fails and fails where it succeeds, boasting New York City’s longest commute times and lowest walkability score.

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Breezy Point, Queens is the worst.

It is, however, the best place in New York to be a piping plover.

Rent: Average prices per bedroom, Trulia. Purchase price: Price per square foot, Trulia. Commute: time to Times Square and Wall Street on public transportation, 9am Monday morning, Google Maps. Walkability: Walk Score. Safety: nyc.gov. Open space: Department of City Planning. Images: Google Street View.

Where do we go now? The eternal question. The rent has gone up again so it’s back out, further and further out, looking for a place we can afford that’s not too far from work and a place to get non-egg sandwich food items after 10pm.

Manhattan is a mausoleum for millionaires. Brooklyn is a borough of brands instead of neighborhoods. Queens is for drivers, the Bronx is too far from our friends, and that one guy who moved to Staten Island – no one’s seen him since. But the city is huge. There must be places to go.

Here they are.

The Best Neighborhoods in New York, 2014
I. The Best
II. The Best Places to Rent
III. The Best Places to Buy
IV. The Worst

……..

I. The Best

What’s important in a neighborhood? And what can we measure? How much it costs to live there. How long it takes to get there. How walkable the neighborhood is, how safe it is, and how much open space it has. Parameter by individual parameter – which neighborhoods are best?

Cheapest Rent
huntspoint
Hunts Point, Bronx

Cheapest to Buy
stablans
St. Albans, Queens

Fastest Commute
fulton
Financial District, Manhattan

Most Walkable
noho
Little Italy, Chinatown, NoHo, Flatiron, SoHo, Greenwich Village (tie)

Safest
tottenville
Tottenville, Staten Island

Most Open Space
inwood
Inwood & Washington Heights, Manhattan

II. The Best Places to Rent

One factor won’t make our decision. We pretend we’re more complicated than that. Combining five factors – weighing rent, commute time and walkability three times as much as safety and open space – into a single score will reveal, hype and friends and articles aside, the top ten places where we ought to be renting in New York.

drumroll.aiff…

maspeth
#10 Maspeth, Queens
Best place for dinner according to Yelp: Forno Pizzeria E Trattoria (Italian)

flatlands
#9 Flatlands, Brooklyn
Best place for dinner according to Yelp: Ashoka Indian Grill (Indian)

ridgewood
#8 Ridgewood, Queens BEST IN BOROUGH
Best place for dinner according to Yelp: La Taqueria Kermes (Mexican)

sunsetpark
#7 Sunset Park, Brooklyn
Best place for dinner according to Yelp: Tacos El Bronco (Mexican)

greenwood
#6 Greenwood Heights, Brooklyn BEST IN BOROUGH
Best place for dinner according to Yelp: Lot 2 (New American)

hamilton
#5 Hamilton Heights, Manhattan
Best place for dinner according to Yelp: Harlem Public (New American)

harlem
#4 Harlem, Manhattan
Best place for dinner according to Yelp: Seasoned Vegan (Vegan)

eastharlem
#3 East Harlem, Manhattan
Best place for dinner according to Yelp: Cafe Olin (Mexican)

inwood
#2 Inwood, Manhattan
Best place for dinner according to Yelp: Beans and Vines (New American)

#1 #1 #1 #1…

washheights
#1 Washington Heights, Manhattan
Best place for dinner according to Yelp: Saggio (Italian)

HONORABLE MENTION
Best in the Bronx: #16 Morrisania
Best of Staten Island: #37 New Dorp

III. The Best Neighborhoods in New York (for Buyers)

Buying? We’ll swap out average rents with average purchase price per square foot. Six of the top ten neighborhoods make the list for both renters and buyers.

jamaica-hills
#10 Jamaica Hills, Queens
Musical legacy: This, apparently

canarsie
#9 Canarsie, Brooklyn
Musical legacy: The Fat Boys

hamilton
#8 Hamilton Heights
Musical legacy: Duke Ellington

greenwood
#7 Greenwood Heights, Brooklyn BEST IN BOROUGH
Musical legacy: Paul Jabara (in death)

murrayhill
#6 Murray Hill, Queens
Musical legacy: Robert Moog (Flushing)

concourse
#5 Concourse, Bronx BEST IN BOROUGH
Musical legacy: Kool Herc (Highbridge)

eastharlem
#4 East Harlem, Manhattan
Musical legacy: The Ronettes

ridgewood
#3 Ridgewood, Queens BEST IN BOROUGH
Musical legacy: Cause Co-Motion!

washheights
#2 Washington Heights, Manhattan
Musical legacy: MIMS

#1 #1 #1 #1…

inwood
#1 Inwood, Manhattan
Musical legacy: Lionel Mapleson

HONORABLE MENTION
Best of Staten Island: #23 Dongan Hills

IV. The Worst Place to Live in New York

For both renters and buyers, the numbers agree.

midtown

Midtown is the worst.

Rent: Average prices of one and two bedroom apartments, Streeteasy and Zillow. Purchase price: Price per square foot, Streeteasy and Zillow. Commute: time to Times Square and Wall Street on public transportation, Google Maps. Walkability: Walk Score. Safety: WNYC Crime Map. Open space: Department of City Planning. Images: Google Street View.