Which New York City Neighborhood Should You Live In?

If you’re new to the city, it can be daunting trying to choose the right neighborhood to move to. Between Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Jersey–there’s plenty of options with different pros and cons. Blaire and Serena showed us the tree-lined charm of the upper east side, and led us to believe the steps of the Met were the hottest place for gossip. Lena and her cohort in Girls made us think Brooklyn was where we’d find ourselves. And years of history class drew us to the stories engrained in Harlem. So how do you decide which one to call home?

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Keep reading to find your perfect neighborhood fit–all with Bedly apartments ready to book.

Bushwick

There’s been plenty of chatter around this neighborhood the past few years. With art galleries popping up seemingly overnight and (more) affordable rent, Bushwick has gained a lot of traction with recent college grads. Stay in the area to explore one of the 50 new galleries or hundreds of private artist studios. Stop at Roberta’s for arguably the best pizza in New York City. Grab a drink at a funky bar (like Art Deco style bar, the Narrows), or catch a show at places like Silent Barn—which is both an exhibition gallery and music venue.

Cook up some healthy grub with ingredients hand selected from local farmers’ markets or Bushwick Food Coop. Throw a party at your spacious new digs, or hop on the B or F train to be in Lower Manhattan in no time. If you like exploring your creative side, packing in a full social life (that’s filled with more than just alcohol), and doing cartwheels in your massive bedroom—Bushwick is for you.

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Williamsburg

Williamsburg is the Bushwick of yesteryear. It’s been nearly a decade since this neighborhood officially gentrified, and by this point it’s more Manhattan-eque than Brooklyny. It still has the cool vibes that come with being in an outer borough, but it’s chock full of bars, restaurants, and 20-something year olds. Window shop for artisan and handmade goods. Gaze across the New York City skyline while standing on the waterfront or one of the many rooftop bars. Dance the night away at Output or pretend it’s summer in the middle of December at Battery Harris.

If you’re a recent college grad or just looking to keep your social life as active as your day job—Williamsburg might be the neighborhood for you. You’ll be tempted to stay out all night 5 days a week, but there’s plenty of coffee shops and delis to help you survive that morning hangover.

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Bed Stuy

Bed Stuy (Bedford Stuyvesant) is the quiet sister of the aforementioned Brooklyn hoods. Think less grit, more charm. The tree-lined streets pave the way for charming brownstones. Much of the neighborhood is landmarked so has maintained a late 19th-century vibe. Most buildings are also only four or five stories so you have plenty of sky for stargazing or sunshine catching. Visit one of the many historic churches, stroll the annual art fair in Fulton Park, or catch a free jazz show at Herbert Von King Park (designed by the same duo who envisioned Central Park). Stop to smell the roses at a community garden or just walk the quaint neighborhood streets.

If you’re looking for charm, history, and a quiet escape from the hustle and bustle of the city, take the A, C, J, or M over to Bed Stuy.

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Crown Heights

This neighborhood also dawns charming brownstones but has a little more going on for night life than nearby Bed Stuy. Crown Heights is full of recent college grads and young couples, partly due to the quickly evolving restaurant/bar scene. Visit Berg’n, a gigantic beer hall with BBQ from Mighty Quinn’s and other fare from Samesa, Ed & Bev’s, and Lumpia Shack. Spend the day at Franklin Park, a neighborhood beer garden with games, DJ, fireplace, and loads of outdoor space. Or jam out to a show at Friends and Lovers, an old warehouse converted into a music venue/bar (if that doesn’t scream “Brooklyn” I don’t know what does).

Crown Heights is great if you enjoy a night out with friends but also need an easy commute into Manhattan for work each day. With conveniently located 4, 5, 2, and 3 trains getting to the east or west side of the island is a breeze.

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Upper East Side

If you’ve always dreamed of living in NYC and are dying to give Manhattan a try, the Upper East Side is a great place to start. It’s quiet, full of trees (Central Park is basically your backyard), easily accessible from all parts of Manhattan, and has plenty of bars and restaurants to make you never want to go below 86th street. And thanks to the edition of the recent Q train, getting to the west side has never been easier.

Spend the day at the Met, or cross through the park and visit the American Natural History Museum on the other side. Go for a run along the east river or sunbathe in Sheep’s Meadow (Central Park). Shop around 86th street at Urban Outfitters, Loft, Lush, and all alike. Buy organic groceries at Whole Foods or dine out with friends. This neighborhood has so much going on you might forget the fact that your apartment is probably a bit smaller than those found in an outer borough.

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Harlem

Just north of the Upper East Side is Harlem—full of history and home to an ever-expanding food scene. Dine at famed restaurants like the Red Rooster, or catch live music at Harlem Nights Bar. You’re close enough to walk to the tip of Central Park or enjoy one of the other many parks scattered around Manhattan’s northern most point. Quickly jet away to the Bronx or Westchester or zip down on the 2, 3 train to lower Manhattan.

Bonus: if you rent with Bedly, your Harlem apartment likely comes with a private balcony. Who needs park space when you can enjoy fall in the city right from your own apartment?

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Jersey City

Last on our list is Jersey City—technically not in New York but an easy commute into Manhattan and visible across the Hudson. This neighborhood has been growing rapidly, just behind neighboring city, Hoboken. Jersey City’s restaurant and bar scene continues to grow as more and more people hop across the river. Bike through Liberty State Park or lounge in the grass while taking in the views of the New York City skyline. Grab Caribbean food at Harry’s Daughter or seafood at Just BeClaws. Go dancing at Miss Wong’s or sip cocktails at The Archer. Looking to go out in Manhattan? The path train or ferry can take you there in no time.

Some of Bedly’s Jersey City apartments even come with private backyards or game rooms decked out with ping pong and pool tables. But the best part of living in Jersey City? Unlike all other neighborhoods on our list, if you live in Jersey City you don’t have to pay New York City tax—saving potentially thousands of dollars each year.

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Still not sure which neighborhood is right for you? Take our quiz to find out!

And lucky for you, Bedly has apartments available to rent today in all of the neighborhoods listed above. Grab a suitcase and a toothbrush, these units come move-in ready with flexible lease cycles. Book now at Bedly.com

Photo credits in order of appearance: Flickr, New York Times, TimeOut, Corcoran, Franklin Park, NotQuiteMade, Mariott Traveler, Expedia

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