Q. How can you tell you’re talking to a New Yorker?
A. When you ask her where she lives, she answers “Hell’s Kitchen.”
She doesn’t say “New York,” or “Manhattan” or “Midtown” or even “Clinton” — the official name for this Manhattan ‘hood. No, she says “Hell’s Kitchen.” (Or if she’s a lifelong New Yorker, she might even be more specific and say, “43rd, between 10th and 11th.”)
Yes, we New Yorkers love our neighborhoods, and we’re filled with neighborhood pride. In fact, we’ll be happy to tell you why our neighborhood is the best… even if we’ve only lived there for two weeks.
Maybe it comes from living in a city with more than 8 million other people, but we love to break down our chaotic, swirling metropolis into neat, easily identified blocks. (It helps that most of the city is designed on a grid, with numbered streets and avenues.) Each of these neighborhoods has earned its own unique, and distinct personality. And though no two New Yorkers will ever agree on precisely what that personality is, here’s a general guide for any of you newbies to NYC or other Manhattan-0-philes:
Bustling by day, sleepy by night. The heart of the area is Wall Street, financial capital of the world, including the Stock Exchange and the famous bronze bull. But it’s also home to the newly completed One World Trade Center and the 9/11 Memorial, not to mention South Street Seaport, home to shopping, restaurants and an impressive view of the Brooklyn Bridge.
Formerly an immigrant neighborhood, now it’s Manhattan’s hipster paradise, packed with dive bars, live music venues, and funky art galleries. A great place to wander and soak up the ambiance of indy shops and restaurants.
Every fashionista’s fantasy neighborhood. Once dominated by artists’ warehouses, SoHo is now home to every high-end boutique the retail world has to offer. Come to shop, stay to play.
Formerly the city’s Gay Mecca, this ‘hood is now known for high brow lofts, shopping and art galleries, as well as the High Line, an elevated public park and exhibition space created on the tracks of a former rail line.
Formerly a sketchy (and even dangerous) area, Midtown West, as it’s sometimes referred to, is now rather swank, as well as being the heart of NYC’s LGBT community, with over a dozen gay bars and clubs. But it’s also a popular ‘hood with young families, sexy singles, and those who work in Broadway Theater. And it’s a tourists’ dream, with Restaurant Row, Times Square and the Great White Way.
Bold-faced names and world-class art centers collide in this classic residential neighborhood, also known as the “Gold Coast.” It’s home to the Met, the Guggenheim and the Whitney, among other top museums.
A family-friendly residential neighborhood with all of the perks (but not quite the price tag) of its counterpart across Central Park. Local landmarks include Lincoln Center, the Museum of Natural History and of course, that big park.
One of Manhattan’s most culturally rich neighborhoods, Harlem is home to the Cotton Club and the Apollo Theatre, as well as a wide variety of restaurants, from authentic soul food to high-end global cuisine. It’s undergone massive gentrification over the past decade and is quickly becoming one of the most popular places to live.
Tour the exquisite Cloisters museum and gardens, take in a Columbia University Lions game at Wien Stadium, stroll through beautiful Inwood Hill Park or enjoy the authentic and mouth-watering paella at Mamajuana Café.
So which NYC neighborhood is the best? Well, New York Magazine recently published their list of the Most Livable Neighborhoods in New York ,and according to them, the Lower East Side is tops among Manhattan ‘hoods. Click here if you want to see the rest of the list.