Many people dream of moving to New York City, and Manhattan in particular. However, those who are new to New York City house-hunting don't realize the tremendous variety of options available, not only in terms of price, but neighborhoods as well.
I'd like to explore several of the neighborhoods in Manhattan and what you can expect to buy there. For the sake of this comparison, I'm going to stick to one price point, $750,000, which is close to the median price of a Manhattan home, in order to see if there is any difference in the amount of "house" your money can buy in different areas of the city.
Midtown Manhattan contains such iconic landmarks as the Empire State Building, Rockefeller Center, and Times Square. As far as being in the middle of the action, it doesn't get much better than this. Most of the available housing units in Midtown are in high-rise apartment buildings, as Midtown has one of the highest concentrations of skyscrapers in the world.
In Midtown, our $750,000 price point can buy you a very nice studio apartment like this one, just steps away from Rockefeller Plaza and the Theater District. At 591 square feet, this is big for a studio, and there are also many 1-bedroom options in our price range that are of similar size and features.
2. Upper West Side
The Upper West Side is the area west of Central Park between West 59th Street and West 116th Street, and is a primarily residential area. The Upper West Side is home to many of NYC's cultural landmarks, such as The Lincoln Center, the American Museum of Natural History, and the Beacon Theater.
Your housing dollars go a bit further here, and at our price point you can get an 800 square foot 1-bedroom like this one, featuring high ceilings and very nice city views on a high floor.
3. Upper East Side
The Upper East Side is the area to the east of Central Park between 59th and 96th streets. Like the Upper West Side, it is an upscale, primarily residential area. The Upper East Side is one of the most affluent neighborhoods in the city, and is home to such cultural attractions as the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Guggenheim Museum.
There are a ton of options in this neighborhood, even if you need a little extra space. For $740,000, you can buy this 2-bedroom coop with spacious rooms and an updated kitchen.
4. Lower Manhattan
The southernmost area of Manhattan, Lower Manhattan, contains several neighborhoods including the Financial District (Wall Street) and the World Trade Center site. The area around the Financial District is not the most densely populated residential district in the city, but does have a good selection of places to live.
Most of the available homes listed in Lower Manhattan are 1-bedroom condos, with many of them "loft-style" like this one. The open concept floor plan, high ceilings, and high-end features seem to be the norm for the area, not to mention high-end amenities in most condo buildings.
Short for "South of Houston Street", SoHo is well-known for its many artists and art galleries, as well as for its trendy boutique shops. SoHo has a distinct architectural style, with the highest concentration of cast-iron buildings in the world.
SoHo is a very expensive area, and there actually aren't any current listings in the 700-750k price range, so I had to stretch the budget a bit. $760,000 in SoHo will buy you this nice, but very small, 446 square foot studio. It's the smallest home on the list, but it is in a very desirable location.
6. Greenwich Village
Known by many as simply "the Village", this is mainly a residential neighborhood of Manhattan, on the southwest side of town. There is a large college presence here, as the Village is home to New York University.
The Village has a lot of homes available, many in prewar (older, smaller) buildings, like this 1-bedroom coop built in 1926 that has an awful lot of character combined with modern touches.
This large neighborhood in the northern section of Manhattan stretches to 155th street, and has been one of largest cultural centers in the city. In this very diverse section of the city that is just a short subway ride away from any of the iconic New York attractions, you can stretch your dollars a lot further than in other neighborhoods.
For example, our budget can buy you a very spacious (1200 square feet) 2-bedroom condo that is just a few years old, featuring an open concept floor plan and excellent city views.
Foolish final thoughts
There are dozens of other neighborhoods throughout the city, and this is by no means meant to be an exhaustive list. This is meant to give you an idea of the larger neighborhoods of the city and the types of homes that can be found in each. There is no such thing as cheap in New York, but every neighborhood has plenty to do within walking distance and is just a short ride on the subway from everything else the city has to offer.