Alternative areas to rent in NYC
As we and another great British export both know, you can't always get what you want.
What you want, in this case, being a charming, spacious apartment in a doorman building in one of Manhattan's most desirable areas. Unsurprisingly, that's what everyone else wants too. We're no economists, but we know that excess demand pushes prices up to a level that'd make The Donald himself puff his cheeks out.
But y'know what? You're smarter than that. While everyone else is Googling how many months their left kidney will secure them in that West Village brownstone, you're hatching a plan to live 10 minutes away at a fraction of the price.
Hold on - you're not? Well, let's see if we can persuade you. The criteria? We're looking for places a maximum of 10 minutes away from your dream location by mass transit (with no transfers involved) and are decent areas to live in their own right.
You want to live in: West Village
You should try: Hoboken
Travel time: 10 minutes (PATH train, 1 stop)
OK, by encouraging you to live in another state we're probably not easing you in gently here.
Hear us out. Part of the reason Manhattanites speak so disparagingly of the 'bridge and tunnel crowd' has to be jealousy. As a Hoboken resident your rent is (relatively) minuscule, you get a breathtaking view of the Manhattan skyline on your way to the PATH train station and you're at Christopher Street (in the heart of the West Village) in under 10 minutes. 10 minutes! We've waited longer to cross the street, let alone the Hudson.
We're not gonna lie - not many movies have been shot in Hoboken, and they did only name it once. But it's got a laid-back suburban feel, there's the legendary venue/restaurant Maxwell's for when that 10-minute journey is too much of a stretch, and there's a true community feel that hasn't been wiped out by the real estate boom. The best of both worlds?
We think so.
You want to live in: Upper East Side
You should try: Astoria
Travel time: 10 minutes (N Train, 4 stops)
Weirdly the UES is one of the less hair-raisingly expensive parts of the island these days, but you'd still be a downright liar to describe it as reasonable. Want to get close to the action without paying the prices? We hear you.
If sheer proximity is the name of the game, you could live in Long Island City. But as you don't strike us as the masochistic type, give Astoria a shot instead. Yup, another 'cross a river and slash your rent' play - Astoria is just over the East River in Queens, a mere 4 stops from Lexington Avenue 59th Street on the N train.
The original game plan might be to get as close to the UES as you can afford, but we're willing to bet you'll end up loving Astoria in its own right. Why? An insane number of awesomely diverse restaurants, grocery stores that aren't Gristides, and freakin' Sesame Street is filmed here. Anything else?
You want to live in: Williamsburg
You should try: Bushwick
Travel time: 8 minutes (5 stops)
The fact that we're now looking for cheaper alternatives to Williamsburg - itself a proxy for the Lower East Side just a few years ago - is a sure sign that this whole neighborhood turnover thing is getting crazy.
As rents are getting higher than the cranes erecting luxury condos around McCarren Park, more and more realtors are taking advantage of Brooklyn's ill-defined neighborhoods and stretching 'East Williamsburg' to breaking point. But we say: be proud to proclaim "I'm moving to Bushwick."""
Why? Because you're actually a few years late to the party already. Public money has been pouring into the area since its nadir in the 1990s. Five stops on the L train from Bedford Avenue will take you to Morgan Avenue, which is right by Knickerbocker Avenue - the main focus of the recent regeneration efforts. And the area around Morgan is showing all the signs of hipsterization as well as regeneration. There's a loft hostel that boasts free fondue, a pizza restaurant/venue that's been visited by Bill Clinton, and a vegan-friendly cocktail bar. The riots of the 1970s this ain't.