NYC can be an expensive place to live but it’s not impossible to find affordable neighborhoods. These areas offer great value for your money, allowing you to spend your money on things like bodega meals and new [thrift store] outfits.
Surprisingly, Queens offers some of the most affordable neighborhoods in NYC. Located close to the more gentrified areas of Astoria and Long Island City, Forest Hills is surprisingly inexpensive.
With its rich history and wide sense of community, Harlem has something for everyone. This popular NYC neighborhood offers a quiet residential scene in the midst of a bustling culture hub. Its intimate jazz clubs and soul food institutions attract visitors from all over the city, while trendy eateries and hip bars make for an energetic nightlife scene.
In recent years, a few new affordable buildings have opened in the area, offering a range of housing options. A new development in East Harlem, for instance, offers 40 mixed-income apartments priced between $763 and $3,773 per month. It’s a great option for singles and couples who want to live near public transit, Marcus Garvey Park, and plenty of restaurants and shops.
While Harlem has come a long way, it is still important to take safety precautions. Stick to well-lit areas, avoid back streets at night, and always stay aware of your surroundings.
2. Bay Ridge
Like Brownsville, Brooklyn’s other borough to the south, Bay Ridge has seen its fair share of crime, but it’s still one of New York City’s safest neighborhoods. It’s also a very family-oriented area with inviting parks, epic views and proud homes.
A quaint neighborhood, Bay Ridge has many local Irish and Italian restaurants and shops. It’s home to Fort Hamilton Army Base and the Verrazano Narrows Bridge.
Bay Ridge’s housing stock is comprised of brownstones, tenements and townhouses. It’s also a short commute from Manhattan. It’s about 20 minutes door-to-door from Bay Ridge to the Financial District, and midtown Manhattan is just 30 minutes away. The neighborhood is serviced by the NYPD’s 68th precinct and crime rates have been dropping in recent years.
3. Greenwich Village
Greenwich Village embodies all the charm and history of New York City. It’s home to iconic institutions and a spirit like no other. This is a neighborhood where active days are blended with fun, relaxing nights.
The area is full of charming cobblestone streets, ivy covered buildings and endearing corner cafes and restaurants. It is also home to one of the most famous apartment buildings in NYC, the Friends building on Bedford Street, where Monica, Rachel and Phoebe lived on the popular 90s TV show.
Whether you’re looking for high-rise apartments with skyline views or classic Brownstones, there are plenty of options here. Plus, the area has some of the lowest crime rates in the city and residents report feeling safe in the neighborhood. This makes it a great choice for families with children and those who want to live in an upbeat and lively neighborhood. The Village is surrounded by other hip neighborhoods like Soho and the West Village.
4. Stuy Town
The storied post–World War II private housing complex of Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village, or StuyTown, has always stood apart. It was built as a middle-income bulwark against the surrounding slums, and today it remains one of Manhattan’s last bastions of affordable housing.
When owner MetLife announced its intention to sell the property in 2006 (to real estate behemoth Tishman Speyer for $5.4 billion), tenants feared they would lose their affordable homes. The purchase was eventually approved, but the deal included wild projections of residential turnover that were never met.
Under the new owner’s plan, 5,000 StuyTown units will remain regulated and available to families earning below the city’s high-income threshold of $62,000 for two-bedroom apartments. Rents will not rise above the city-set limit unless the apartment undergoes major renovations that require a new building permit and are then subject to a vacancy increase. IBO estimates that under the agreement, those changes could trigger a vacancy increase of less than 16%.
5. The Upper West Side
The Upper West Side is a great place for students and young professionals, as well as families with kids. It’s a cultural center, hosting institutions like Lincoln Center and the American Museum of Natural History. It’s also home to a number of excellent restaurants and coffee shops.
It’s a safe neighborhood with lower crime rates than the rest of Manhattan. It’s also close to Central Park, making it a popular destination for residents who want to enjoy the outdoors.
While the neighborhood isn’t as affordable as other Brooklyn neighborhoods, it is still a great option for both renters and buyers. Many buildings in the area are prewar co-ops and require applicants to jump through more hoops, such as having to show financials and seek board approval. The neighborhood also has access to the 1 train and is served by buses. Despite this, it’s still more affordable than the West Village. The area’s affluent residents include celebrities like Antonio Banderas, Jerry Seinfeld, and Ellie Kemper.
Gramercy is a neighborhood that offers a lot to see and do. The area is home to a variety of bars, restaurants, shops, and nail salons. It is also a popular choice for families, thanks to its close proximity to other fun neighborhoods like the East Village and Flatiron District.
Residents of Gramercy can enjoy the neighborhood’s beautiful brownstone buildings and picturesque streets, which give it a distinct village feel. The neighborhood is also home to the private Gramercy Park, one of only two such parks in the city.
Located just south of Union Square, Gramercy is easily accessible via the 14th Street-Union Square station and other subway lines. The neighborhood is also home to a number of popular restaurants, including Friend of a Farmer and Maialino. It is also home to the Theodore Roosevelt Birthplace, which features a restored parlor and period bedrooms. This neighborhood is a hidden gem that should not be missed!
7. Clinton Hill
The Big Apple might be known for its skyscrapers and high home and rental prices, but there are safe New York City neighborhoods with big homes at affordable prices. Whether you’re searching for a place to call your own or want to invest in the city’s future, these Brooklyn neighborhoods are worth considering.
The neighborhood of Clinton Hill is a popular choice for families thanks to its many parks, schools, and activities. The area is also home to Pratt Institute, which attracts students from all over the world.
A residential building on Clinton Hill’s eponymous avenue is accepting applications for affordable apartments. Designed by Morris Adjmi Architects, the building is rising next to a landmarked Gothic Revival church and will contain 138 units for middle-income residents earning 80 to 130 percent of the area median income. Eligible applicants can throw their hat into the ring for studios and one-bedrooms starting at $1,311/month.
8. Prospect Heights
For many Brooklyn renters priced out of Park Slope and Windsor Terrace, Prospect Heights offers an ideal alternative. Located in central Brooklyn with access to a number of trains, this family-friendly neighborhood is home to a mix of affordable multi-level brownstones and walk-up apartments. It’s also known for a diverse and deep-rooted sense of community and culture, where neighbors from across the city congregate on their streets and support one another in everything from free concert series to small business appreciation days.
This historic Brooklyn neighborhood is bordered by Flatbush Avenue (west), Atlantic Avenue (north), Eastern Parkway (south) and Washington Avenue (east). It’s the home of Prospect Park and the giant entertainment venue Barclays Center, where you can catch a Brooklyn Nets game or a major musical event. It’s also the childhood home of actor and civil rights activist Rosario Dawson and politician Shirley Chisholm, the first Black woman elected to Congress.
Originally called the Fuller Building when it was completed in 1902, this 22-story, 285-foot-tall steel-framed landmark is one of the first skyscrapers. The triangular shape resembles a cast-iron clothes iron and makes it a familiar sight in many photos and tourist attractions. Designed by Daniel Burnham, the building was built to serve as the headquarters for the Fuller Company and features the “cowcatcher” retail space at the front that is now home to Sprint and Flatiron Prow Artspace. Its unique shape has made the Flatiron a popular symbol of NYC and is often used in movies, TV shows, and advertisements.
The Flatiron and Madison Square Park area is a great place to live and work, especially if you enjoy the culture of NYC, high-end shopping, famous restaurants, and a booming business district. Its unique architecture has inspired artists and photographers like Alfred Stieglitz, Edward Steichen, and Childe Hassam as well as the Cubist painter Albert Gleizes.