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New Amsterdam Market in the Financial District (Photo: Courtesy of the NAM/Flickr CC)

6 Newest Residential Neighborhoods of New York City

Even in New York City, the most urban of American cities, there are places that aren't normally thought of as residential neighborhoods -- but looks can be deceiving as those areas are filling up with inhabitants drawn to fresh-faced condos and more local-friendly businesses

New York neighborhoods never stay the same for long — this is a city of demolition, new development, gentrification and reinvention. A city where former manufacturing warehouses become multi-million dollar loft buildings, and where everybody is chasing after the next big thing. Even residential hot spots shift, and these six neighborhoods are the newest residential neighborhoods of NYC. Might even seen-it-all New Yorkers be surprised to know that a neighborhood abutting a Super Fund site is fast gaining a rep that was formerly available only to neighborhoods with park views and excellent public transportation? They might, but let’s not forget the “only in New York” mantra applies as much to real estate as it does to celebrity folly.

 

Financial District

Financial District (Photo: Brianne Barry/CUNY Journalism)

Financial District
After September 11, no one was quite sure what it would take to bring residents back to the area, but it’s happened. The completion of the National September 11 Memorial & Museum and construction on One World Trade Center helped to bring the area to life and once again solidified its reputation as a business destination. Where office buildings once ruled the roost, however, a number of luxury high rises are now showing their plumage. Some residents are drawn to be close to Lower Manhattan jobs, but that’s only part of the story. Newer condo and rental units make up the bulk of the housing stock (there are few if any single-family homes or co-ops) and those have attracted transient single, young renters, as well as a number of upscale bars. Young families, looking for more bang for their buck, have also flocked, and trendy children’s boutiques and new preschools have followed. If you want in, the current median condo price in the Financial District is $1,247,500, according to Streeteasy. The median rental price is $3,600 a month for 761 square feet. Find homes for sale and rent in the Financial District.

 

Downtown Brooklyn

Downtown Brooklyn (Photo: Kevin Loria/CUNY Journalism)

Downtown Brooklyn
Traditionally known as the commercial district of Brooklyn, Downtown Brooklyn is a longtime home to MetroTech Center, Fulton Street Mall, Brooklyn Academy of Music and Borough Hall. A rezoning in 2004 to accommodate residential development radically changed the neighborhood and brought in a rush of towers. Two high-rises, 388 Bridge Street and 66 Rockwell Place, are about to begin renting or selling, with five more major developments now in the planning process or under construction. Many of these new developments offer two-bedroom apartments, aimed at young families moving in with children. The new residents of DoBro (as it’s sometimes called) enjoy proximity to multiple subway lines, shops and events at the Barclays Center and BAM.

The neighborhood has changed along with its inhabitants. The Fulton Street Mall corridor, once home to discount sporting goods stores and cell phone kiosks, is now dotted with comparatively high-end retailers such as Armani Exchange and H&M, and the under-construction City Point project will bring another 670,000 square feet of retail. Restaurants have shifted, too — a Shake Shack opened in 2011 and grocery store Brooklyn Fare has gourmet goods covered. As well, local parents under the auspices of Downtown Brooklyn School Solutions are pushing officials to increase the schooling options in the neighborhood. If you want in, the current median condo price is $1,145,000, according to Streeteasy. The median rental price is $3,055 a month for 719 square feet. Find homes for sale and rent in Downtown Brooklyn.

 

Long Island City

Long Island City (Photo: iStockphoto)

Long Island City
For a large part of its history, manufacturing businesses and warehouses dominated this Queens neighborhood. Attractions worth the trek from Manhattan were few, with MoMa PS1 and The Noguchi Museum considered its highlights. Then in 2001 there was a major residential rezoning, which ushered in the reign of what has become Queens’ hottest residential neighborhood. The waterfront is now lined with glassy condo and rental towers, and some of the warehouses have been converted to residential use. The high-end rentals attract young New Yorkers who want a lifestyle of ease without the hype of Brooklyn or Manhattan; the condos, many holding two- and three-bedroom units, bring in families. The city is also building a huge affordable housing development along the waterfront, Hunters Point South, to bring a more diverse population to the now-upscale waterfront. All this chic development has been at a cost to the creativity of the neighborhood: the 5Pointz warehouse, LIC’s famed “graffiti mecca” will be replaced with — you guessed it — shiny condo towers.

Despite the rush of development, the streets of LIC remain relatively quiet. M. Wells Steakhouse, one of the area’s first upmarket restaurants, caused a stir on NYC food blogs in late 2013 when it opened in an old garage on a desolate neighborhood street. A 75,000-square-foot, 24-hour Food Bazaar supermarket hung its shingle in 2013, much to the relief of residents who didn’t have many grocery options, but overall residential amenities are still a work in progress. If you want in, the current median condo price is $895,000, according to Streeteasy. The median rental price is $2,835 for 784 square feet. Find homes for sale or rent in Long Island City and surrounding Queens.

 

Times Square

Times Square (Photo: Natalia V. Osipova/CUNY Journalism)

Times Square
This popular tourist and entertainment hub in Manhattan has more permanent residents than you might think. A number of new developments have risen in the neighborhood recently, especially along the west end of Times Square, and they’re not cheap. Most developments are gleaming towers with views over the bustling neighborhood, like the Orion Condo and the Centria. Hotels, which are much more common than residential buildings in the area, offer some condo units — see the Casa Hotel and Residences. While the neighborhood has no shortage of entertainment options, especially if you’re a fan of Broadway,  it is harder to find everyday shops like grocery stores, and prices in bodegas will likely be more expensive than in less visitor-focused neighborhoods. For the best results, residents venture west to Ninth Avenue. The biggest perk living in or around Times Square is the wealth of subway options — just about every train stops here. If you want in, the current median condo price within the Midtown West area is $1,330,000, according to Streeteasy. The median rental is $3,420 a month for 750 square feet. Find homes for sale or rent in Times Square and Midtown.

 

Williamsburg

Williamsburg (Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Williamsburg
This Brooklyn neighborhood exemplifies one of the most dramatic transformations from a manufacturing district to a residential hot spot in recent NYC memory. In the 90s, Williamsburg warehouses and factories housed heavy-duty businesses and artists paying cheap rent. If it wasn’t for a steak at Peter Luger, nobody from Manhattan was crossing the river. Then, a 2005 rezoning brought uber-fancy, uber-expensive skyscrapers to the waterfront, and many of the old warehouses were either demolished or converted into lofts. What once attracted young artists now attracts hip 20- and 30-somethings with trust funds, as well as young families with children wearing hipper, pricier outfits than yours. With them came restaurants, bars and shops of every imaginable stripe and price range. Chains such as Duane Reade, CVS and Starbucks have already moved in. Whole Foods is building on Bedford Avenue, and Urban Outfitters has a four-story shop complete with liquor license and rooftop patio in the works. Very little remains of the neighborhood’s past life, and one of the biggest changes is yet to come — Two Trees’ proposed redevelopment of the former Domino Sugar Factory. If you want in, the current median condo price is $1,350,000, according to StreetEasy. The median rental price is $3,025 a month for 900 square feet.

 

Gowanus

Gowanus (Photo: Brainware3000/Flickr CC)

Gowanus
This Brooklyn neighborhood is dominated by its stinky, polluted, Super Fund-stamped waterway — not exactly grounds for a high quality of living. Back in the day, manufacturing companies operated around the Gowanus Canal (hence the pollution) with residents few and far between. Artists started moving into the old warehouses over the past 10 years, and the reinvigoration of Gowanus is still a work in progress. Testing the waters was the Third and Bond condo development, built near the canal, and it sold much better than expected. The Environmental Protection Agency’s $506 million cleanup project for the canal is projected to take 10 years, which should parallel nicely with Lightstone Group’s plans for a 700-rental unit complex, which is to include a waterfront esplanade. It’s a dramatic change that’s almost impossible to envision when you visit the area now.

The biggest splash in the rebirth of Gowanus is Brooklyn’s first Whole Foods, which opened on Third Avenue in December 2013. The neighborhood is also home to a massive shuffleboard club, among many hip bars and upscale restaurants that are starting to reach destination status (Lavender Lake, Littleneck, Runner & Stone). There are also controversial plans in the works to convert a warehouse into a nightclub and children’s music venue, in an effort to cater toward the young hip Brooklyn crowd and the nearby families getting priced out of Park Slope. Unfortunately, if you want in, you’ll have to wait for a condo to become available as there’s currently nothing on the market. The median rental price is $3,200 a month for 1,050 square feet, according to Streeeteasy.

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