Archive for the ‘Neighborhoods’ Category

10 Best Neighborhoods to Invest in for 2012

Thursday, December 15th, 2011

Recently, Neila Deen, our director of sales and business development, was asked to talk about her “next hottest nabe” for the NY Daily News’ “Ask A Broker” column. This question made for a great article, and also sparked some intense discussion around the office. While everyone has their personal favorite up and coming area, we managed to stop arguing about the price per square foot in Brooklyn versus the Upper East Side long enough to put together a list of New York City’s next hottest neighborhoods.

Bushwick (Brooklyn) – While most of downtown Brooklyn has already seen new development and price jumps, a good value can still be had in Bushwick. Williamsburg became hot because is was a short ride on the L to the East Village, and the same logic applies to Bushwick’s close proximity to Williamsburg, which has become the new epicenter of cool. With it’s close proximity to Williamsburg and easy subway connections for commuters, Bushwick is well on its way to being the next big thing.

Yorkville (Manhattan) – While first time buyers have been deserting Manhattan in favor of Brooklyn, and with prices skyrocketing in areas like Williamsburg and Dumbo, Yorkville is poised for a comeback for those who want an easy commute and great housing stock. With some of the lowest prices per square foot in Manhattan below 96th Street, and the Second Avenue Subway under construction, now is the time to buy.

Grand Concourse (Bronx) – Recently designated landmark status, a grand history, Yankee Stadium and a huge concentration of Art Deco architecture make the Grand Concourse area of the Bronx a neighborhood ready for a resurgence. Prices are very low and could see a significant increase as the city implements redevelopment plans including a waterfront park, lofts, shops, hotel and recreation. And where else can you get a renovated classic 7 with open views for $300K? With excellent transit options already in place, the Grand Concourse has major “hot nabe” potential.

Red Hook (Brooklyn) – Ikea and Fairway Market have already set up shop here. There’s prime, waterfront property available for luxury development. The biggest stumbling block at this point is the Culver Viaduct Rehabilitation project, which has the subway to Red Hook shut down until 2012. Red Hook’s potential is contingent upon this project wrapping up in a timely fashion and subway service being restored to the area.

Clinton Hill (Brooklyn) – Another favorite neighborhood for families, Clinton Hill is seeing a rapid upswing in retail and residential development as well as renovation on many of the brownstone lined streets. Neighborhood schools have active parent participation, and the area is still relatively quiet and family friendly. With close proximity to trendy amenities in Downtown Brooklyn and Fort Greene, Clinton Hill is well on its way.

Greenpoint (Brooklyn) – Formerly an industrial area, Greenpoint was rezoned by the city in 2005 to provide for conversion to residential and retail. Home to McCarren Park, extensive luxury developments, and proximity to other, well-established areas of Brooklyn (namely, Williamsburg), make Greenpoint an attractive buy.

LIC (Queens) – Long Island City boasts a tremendous amount of prime waterfront, luxury development, studio space and art galleries. Restaurants and retail continue to flood the area and the streets are filled with stroller pushing families. Commuting to midtown Manhattan is a breeze, making LIC a no-brainer.

Sunnyside (Queens) – Nestled between LIC, Astoria, and Woodside, Sunnyside is only a 15 minute subway ride to midtown, but has a very strong residential feel. For those that want quiet residential streets, but to still have close proximities to the funky areas of Long Island City, Greenpoint and Williamsburg, Sunnyside is ideal. And with prices in Long Island City on the rise, it only makes sense that Sunnyside is next.

Rockaway Beach (Queens) – Billed as a lower cost, less bourgeois alternative to the Hamptons, Rockaway Beach is a surf town in New York City. Reminiscent of Williamsburg at the beginning of its upswing, Rockaway Beach has a young, hip vibe, with cheap property. Restaurants, food stands and nightclubs continue to open up as demand increases, and word is spreading that Rockaway Beach is a cool destination accessible by the A train.

Flatiron (Manhattan) – The Flatiron neighborhood is the epicenter of New York’s white hot Silicon Alley, and with the New York Tech scene now overtaking Boston as the second biggest start-up area, this neighborhood is on the rise. Fueled by venture capital, the companies are hiring at a pace that exceeds the rest of the city, and have attracted great services, restaurants and amenities to an area that used to play second fiddle to it’s neighbors Gramercy and Chelsea. As hot as the Flatiron neighborhood has been, it will only get better in 2012.

New York City Neighborhoods – Greenpoint

Monday, December 12th, 2011

Brooklyn’s northernmost neighborhood, Greenpoint is nestled between Williamsburg to the south, Newton Creek to the north and the East River to the west. Formerly farmland, Greenpoint underwent a period of heavy industrialization in the 19th century. Signs of gentrification began to appear as early as the 1980’s.  Greenpoint’s 2005 rezoning from industrial to residential coupled with the climbing price of nearby Williamsburg real estate has brought an influx of younger residents. However, a long time Polish neighborhood, Greenpoint still retains its middle-class, multigenerational flavor.

Greenpoint has seen in increase in retail, dining and nightlife, particularly along Franklin Street, but it’s also convenient to the trendy hotspots of neighboring Williamsburg. There is also plenty of green space with access to McCarren Park and smaller McGolrick Park.

While there are many low-rise buildings, including  three family townhouses, the area has experienced a development boom and offers many new condos. The neighborhood enjoys a safe, family feeling with high rated schools and in terms of real estate prices, there are still good deals to be had.

Greenpoint residents who need to commute should plan to use the bus, as subway service to the area is limited to the G line, which does not run into Manhattan.

photo via owenfinn16

New York City Neighborhoods – FiDi

Tuesday, November 22nd, 2011

At Manhattan’s southernmost tip, bordered by Fulton to the north, Broadway to the west and the East River to the South and East, the Financial District (FiDi) has experienced tremendous residential growth in recent years. Though FiDi is best known for being home to Wall Street, its main artery is actually Broad Street. The area is referred to as FiDi because it is home to the New York Stock Exchange, the Federal Reserve Bank and the world headquarters of numerous major financial institutions.

While FiDi used to be largely a business district, with a low number of full time residents, recent conversions of office buildings to apartments, new development buildings and the addition of major high end retail and restaurants, the residential population of the area has more than quadrupled. And a surprising number of these residents are families and married couples.

FiDi has also become a major tourist hub with attractions such as the 9/11 Memorial, Trinity Church, the Museum of American Finance, the Police Museum and the Federal Hall National Memorial. The amount of tourists visiting FiDi each day is second only to the number who visit Times Square.

Commuting to and from FiDi is a snap, with 14 subway lines, busses, ferries, PATH service and easy freeway access.

Photo via JGNY

MoMA’s Material Lab: A Kid-Friendly Oasis in the Heart of Midtown

Wednesday, November 16th, 2011

Guest post by Monica Storch

Although New York City is a mecca of cultural institutions sure to enrich and entertain any city tot, I’m often reticent to bring my 3 1/2 year-old daughter Sadie to a museum because I fear she will (1) be bored and/or (2) destroy priceless works of art. I was particularly hesitant to take her to MoMA, with its large-scale exhibitions and brightly-colored modern art that would surely attract her attention and grabby hands. I needn’t have feared, as MoMA has clearly anticipated this and addressed it with the addition of their absolutely spectacular Material Lab, a family-friendly environment where kids can explore, create and, most importantly, touch everything!

Located in a separate area of the Museum (i.e., completely set off from the breakable items), the Material Lab features a variety of engaging interactive activities designed to allow kids to explore the ways in which materials are used in art. The showpiece of the Lab is a brightly-colored wall featuring a series of “Discovery Boxes,” each of which contains samples of a touchable material such as wood, paper, metal, cardboard, or velvet. Kids can open doors on the wall and remove a Discovery Box to explore on the floor. During our visit, Sadie and her friend Misha had a blast opening the doors and pulling out each container, then going through each and every piece of material in the box and trying to figure out what it was. Surprisingly, they were also very good about putting each box away when they were done with it (hmm, maybe I need a Material Lab at home)! (more…)

New York City Neighborhoods – Carroll Gardens

Monday, November 14th, 2011

Carroll Gardens is a Brooklyn neighborhood that runs from 15th Street to Union Street and Fourth Avenue to the BQE. It is an area of tree-lined streets with brownstones, made unique by the fact that many of the Brownstones are set back 35′ from the street to allow for front gardens. In addition to the historic brownstones, there is also a significant amount of new development in the area, making for abundant housing choices. Carroll Gardens has an abundance of shopping and dining, and Carroll Park provides family friendly open space.

Carroll Gardens borders the Gowanus canal, which, due to recent clean up efforts has seen a return of wildlife and recreation. The Carroll Street bridge over the Gowanus canal is the oldest surviving retractile bridge in the United States and connects Carroll Gardens with Park Slope. Transportation options for commuting from Carroll Gardens include the F and G trains.

Forest Hills – Commuter’s Paradise

Wednesday, November 9th, 2011

Guest post by Katy Chiu

Do you think a Manhattan zipcode is the only viable option when your office is in “the city”? Think again. My Queens neighborhood is just a hop, skip, and a jump from any midtown location, and will offer you far more square footage bang for your buck.

We have four subway stops here in Forest Hills. One services strictly local trains, two offer only express, and one has it all. We are reached by the R,M,F, and E trains. An E train picked up at the 71st/Continental stop can be at 53rd and Lexington in roughly 20 minutes, less time than it would take to reach the same spot from many locations in Manhattan.

Forest Hills is also home to a Long Island Rail Road station. It is not only a visually stunning setting surrounded by the charming architecture of Station Square. Our stop provides above-ground, handicap-accessible access to a train that will have you at Penn Station in about 15 minutes. (more…)

Halloween Festivities All Around The City

Monday, October 24th, 2011

Guest post by Alicia Harper

Celebrating Halloween with a preschooler in the city that never sleeps can be loads of fun. Seriously, it’s like the best. time. ever. When my son Aiden was a mere toddler, I was able to dress him up in the cutest costumes known to man, take him to child-friendly places and spaces, and relish in the “oohs” and “aahs” he’d receive from mere strangers. Now that he’s a preschooler, he’s way above the “oohs” and “aahs” of complete strangers (not me though). Instead, he chooses his own costume (Buzz Lightyear seems to be his preference this year) and takes Manhattan – and some parts of Brooklyn – by storm.
One of the first things that we did this month was head on over to Madison Square Park in Flatiron to check out their Fall Kids Fest. Boy, was it so much fun with all the arts and crafts, live music, face painting, and cotton candy. Aiden was able to debut his Halloween costume and enjoy the costume parade. Total sweetness! Right across from Madison Square Park, in the Flatiron Plaza, was the Creepy Crawly Craft Fair where local artists showed both kids and adults alike how to make unique Halloween crafts and decorate pumpkins. Aiden was hard at work as he decorated his pumpkin and I was one proud single momma! (more…)

Why Do We Live Here?

Wednesday, October 19th, 2011

Guest Post by GayNYCDad

My son and I enjoying a boat tour of Manhattan.

I live where I do by necessity. I am gay and wanted to raise a child, I thought the safest place for all involved would be Manhattan.

In order to have the space needed to get our stamp of approval from the social worker, we moved from a studio in Chelsea to a 2 bedroom apartment on the east side of New York City into a community called Stuyvesant Town, a large group of buildings built right after WW2 for returning vets.

We loved Chelsea, our location was 1 block from the #1 train line, we were perfectly situated. And furthermore, the neighborhood had tremendous amounts of coolness attached to it. The east side had nothing, or so we thought.

Within a day of moving to the east side, we knew we had made the right decision. We quickly learned we were a short walk from a great amount of activities and fun. And, most importantly, the restaurants in the East Village were fantastic! We were happy we had moved, and I was incredulous at the amount of space I now had in Manhattan, it was a dream come true to have a 2 bedroom apartment in the heart of the greatest city in the world! (more…)

Imagination Playground: An Innovative and Whimsical Adventure in Lower Manhattan

Tuesday, October 18th, 2011

Guest Post by Monica Storch

I grew up in the suburbs of Los Angeles, where going to the playground meant running around in the grass, swinging over pristine white sand and sharing the play equipment with no more than 10 or 12 other kids at a time. My daughter Sadie’s New York City playground experience could not be more different from that of my youth. Manhattan playgrounds are crowded, utilitarian structures built among a sea of concrete with (usually) nary a blade of grass in sight. Which isn’t to say that our playgrounds are bad, just that they are a bit more rough-and-tumble and that our kids likely experience a few more bumps and bruises as they elbow each other for space than their suburban counterparts (I like to think Sadie will be a tough, independent woman as a result!). Every once in awhile, however, Sadie and I stumble upon a playground that is so unique it really could only exist in New York City. Today was one of those days, as I had the distinct pleasure of exploring an entirely new concept in New York City playgrounds – Imagination Playground.

Located at Burling Slip at the South Street Seaport, this brand-spanking-new playground is a true New York City gem. Designed by architect David Rockwell to encourage child-directed, unstructured free play (so crucial to a child’s development), the playspace allows kids to constantly reconfigure their environment using giant foam blocks, mats, wagons, fabric, crates and more. During my visit, I watched in awe as each child found a unique way to express his or her creativity, whether by swinging in canvas slings, jumping across foam shapes in the water feature, building a cascading water channel, working a series of masts and pulleys, checking out the “listening forest”, pushing wagons through the sand or creating and tearing down structures made of vibrant blue foam blocks. It really made me wish I was a kid again so that I could join in the fun! (more…)

Keeping a Car in Brooklyn

Wednesday, October 12th, 2011

When my husband and I talked about moving to Brooklyn, we always assumed that we would give up our car. We weren’t sure who all the cars belonged to anyway, because nobody we knew had a car in NYC, and everybody told us it was just easier. But here we are, nine years later, and we still have a car. So what happened? Kids happened.

I like to blame my kids for a lot of things – my missing waistline, my lack of sleep, and our need for a car (a station wagon, no less). But of those things I think only the car really is their fault. From carpooling kids to Tae Kwon Do lessons to buying a huge amount of supplies for school fundraisers to bringing a sick kid to the hospital in comfort to enrolling the kids in a summer camp on the other side of Brooklyn, I can’t imagine not having a car with kids. But so many of my friends do it, so I know it’s possible. And with the availability of Zipcars and sites like, we may have made a different decision in 2011 than we made in 2002.

When trying to decide whether or not to ditch your car at the Brooklyn Bridge, here are some things you should consider, kids or no kids.