Top Neighborhoods in Manhattan

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You’re moving to New York. You want to live on the famous island–Manhattan island. You’ve heard horror stories about crazy rents and apartments that have no closets–apartments the size of closets. Where’s the best place for you?

Despite its relatively small size, Manhattan is a diverse place with neighborhoods as different from each other as apples to oranges. Bottom line: there’s a little something for everyone.


Let’s start at the top: the tippy-top. Manhattan’s streets are numbered from the 210’s down to the single digits, and south of that the streets have names. At the top of the island is the neighborhood of Linwood, a section of the city that stretches from the upper 210’s down through the 190’s. Linwood is relatively ignored by the most hot and trendy inhabitants of Manhattan, which makes it a haven for low-rent seekers and those who like the quiet life. Looking for a neighborhood with good grocery stores? Don’t mind a long(dish) commute? Want to save some money? Linwood is for you. It’s not sexy, it’s not even pretty–but those who like it love it, and a lot of renters become buyers.

Washington Heights

Below Linwood, ranging from around 155th street through 190th, is the ungentrified neighborhood of Washington Heights. Populated by low income and middle income families seeking cheaper rents, Washington Heights has a great deal of racial and ethnic diversity. 10 minutes closer to the center of Manhattan from Linwood, this neighborhood still has the benefit of (relatively) cheap rents that Linwood has. Some parts of Washington Heights are more clean-cut than others, but the relative safety of this neighborhood has improved in recent years. This is a good neighborhood for recently graduated college students who need to pinch pennies.

Upper East Side and Upper West Side

Moving down the Manhattan ladder, we come to the Upper East and Upper West Side. These two neighborhoods are like opposite sides of the same coin. While the Upper East Side is a neighborhood traditionally populated by the insanely rich, the Upper West Side is traditionally populated by the very well-off. This might shock you, but the less-than-rich can live in both of these neighborhoods–particularly on the Upper East Side. Look for good deals in the blocks set farther away from the subway and farther away from mid town. Both neighborhoods are safe and brimming with culture, good bars, great restaurants and plenty of grocery stories.

Murray Hill

Conveniently located, impressively cute and accessible to the middle and lower parts of Manhattan, Murray Hill is the neighborhood for young urban professionals, families and couples who want to live somewhere safe, quiet and affordable. Bordered on the northern edge by 40th street and on the southern edge by 34th street, Murray Hill is a typical neighborhood on the eastern side of Manhattan.

Lower East Side

Back in the day, the Lower East Side was a sketchy neighborhood populated by old tenement buildings, dark alleys and grungy movie theaters. In modern times, it’s one of the trendiest parts of New York City, characterized by a vibrant night life, semi-affordable apartments and more than a few resident celebrities. This arty, quirky neighborhood has a little something for everybody–broke college students, young urban professionals, the absurdly rich.