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Want to Live Near a Superstar? 8 Neighborhoods the Stars Call Home

Want to live (or just hang out) with New York's most famous citizens? This is where the city’s recognizable residents found home sweet home

New York’s celebrities are just like us, riding the subway and bringing the kids to the playground. And, if you can afford the mortgage, buying into the city’s exclusive neighborhoods can make you just like them. Several neighborhoods have emerged as celebrity hot spots, and for good reason. Downtown spots like SoHo and Tribeca are more visible celebrity destinations, and are home to such superstars as Justin Timberlake and Beyonce and Jay Z. The Upper East and West Sides are picks for some of the more settled New Yorkers like Woody Allen and Tina Fey. And of course, Lena Dunham’s picked up property out in Brooklyn – but not in the neighborhood you may think. Sure, none of these neighborhoods are cheap, but can you really put a price on hobnobbing with an Oscar nominee at the co-op board meeting?

(Photos: Jason Merritt/Getty Images (Allen), Frazer Harrison/Getty Images (Harris), Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images (Fey))

Neil Patrick Harris

Harlem may seem like an unlikely celebrity hot spot, and with a median listing price of $729,000 it’s definitely not the priciest neighborhood in Manhattan. But Harlem is full of history, charm and some drop-dead gorgeous brownstones. The low-profile family neighborhood also serves as a nice escape for a celebrity not looking for attention. Neil Patrick Harris previously had a condo in the area, and recently set a neighborhood record when he paid $3.6 million for a four-story, 8,000-square-foot brownstone. Housing prices are, of course, starting to rise to meet that record. A fully renovated townhouse (including a swank backyard) on a Morningside Heights block is on the market for a price that rivals Harris’s: $3.2 million. See homes for sale in Harlem

Tina Fey
Upper West Side

The Upper West Side, just like the Upper East, is a destination for Manhattan’s elite. But it wasn’t always that way – unlike the other side of Central Park, the UWS had its share of hard times in the 60s and 70s (Mad Men fans may remember Peggy’s short time as a homeowner here). The neighborhood is much safer today but retains a more casual and bohemian vibe than its neighbor to the east. But that doesn’t mean just anyone can live up here. Entry into co-ops along Central Park West is no easy feat and prices for townhouses reach into the millions (the median listing price for properties is $1.5 million). For a star like Tina Fey, an acclaimed and recognizable celebrity who still presents herself as an everyday New Yorker, the Upper West Side is the perfect neighborhood. She owns a co-op on Riverside Drive, a scenic boulevard on the very western end of the neighborhood. Central Park West, this is not – Riverside Drive offers a more under-the-radar, but no less beautiful living environment. There’s a three-bedroom co-op for sale at 11 Riverside Drive, a lovely but not particularly swank space, asking $3.695 million. See homes for sale on the Upper West Side

Woody Allen
Upper East Side

Where else does Woody Allen belong but New York City? Although his recent films have strayed away from the city he’s helped make so famous, Woody Allen keeps strong roots in the Upper East Side. The neighborhood has historically been the home to Manhattan’s wealthiest (Donald Trump, Joan Rivers and Michael Bloomberg also call the neighborhood home), with elegant, well-preserved brownstones and exclusive co-op buildings lining the streets, all leading to Central Park. The city’s finest museums and hotels also line Fifth, Madison, and Park avenues. Apartments tend to be more reasonable than stand-alone homes, bringing the median price here to around $1.8 million. If you want to live like Allen in a townhouse in the Carnegie Hill section of the neighborhoods, there is a charming clapboard house for sale for $8.25 million. See homes for sale on the Upper East Side

(Photos: Al Bello/Getty Images (Jay-Z, Beyonce), Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images (Parker, Broderick), John Shearer/Getty Images (Thurman), Christopher Polk/Getty Images (Timberlake), Neilson Barnard/Getty Images (Dunham))

Uma Thurman
Gramercy Park

Gramercy Park is a neighborhood that revolves around exclusivity, so of course it’s a haven for celebrities. This is one of New York’s smallest neighborhood and grand, longtime institutions like the National Arts Club lend the neighborhood an air of history and purpose. The housing stock includes some historic row houses, larger co-op buildings and a few newer condo developments and the median listing price of $1.225 million. But what gives the neighborhood its cache is the actual Gramercy Square Park. The two-acre garden is the city’s only private park and only the surrounding residents get a coveted key (they also pay an annual fee, which starts at $7,500 a year per lot, for the privilege). According to a 2012 New York Times article, there are just 383 keys to the park. Uma Thurman, along with many other celebrities, writers, politicians and socialites, are among the lucky few who can open the gate. Thurman owns an apartment in a pre-war co-op building right on the park, on Lexington Avenue, and there’s a three-bedroom, two-bathroom duplex unit in the building currently on the market. So how much for an apartment that includes a key past the park’s wrought iron gate? $3.2 million. Homes don’t come up for sale in Gramercy Park that often, but there are many available listings in neighboring areas like Murray Hill

Sarah Jessica Parker
West Village

Carrie Bradshaw started a revolution in the West Village, with her charming, modest brownstone apartment (fictionally located on the Upper East Side, actually located on Perry Street) and a guilty pleasure for Magnolia cupcakes. Back in the Sex and the City days, a writer could at least dream to afford the West Village. Nowadays, the type of person who can afford this neighborhood are… Sarah Jessica Parker. She, along with her husband Matthew Broderick, and countless other celebrities love the quiet cobblestone streets lined with leafy trees and gorgeous, well-preserved townhouses. It’s the perfect neighborhood for a celebrity to disappear into a quiet life in the city. And they don’t have to leave the neighborhood for much. Bleecker, the main drag, is a hot bed for designer boutiques and chic restaurants like Red Farm and Waverly Inn. The median price for the neighborhood is $2.395 million, but if you want to live like a celeb you will have to pay more. A four-story townhouse on Charles Street with a historic brick facade and a sleek, modern renovation is currently on the market for fit for $7.995 million. See homes for sale in the West Village

Jay Z and Beyonce

Jay Z and Beyonce are arguably music’s most famous couple, with some serious roots in New York City (Jay Z was a Brooklyn kid, after all). They reside in this downtown neighborhood, where glassy condo developments rise next to historic old warehouse buildings. Once an industrial hub, TriBeCa is now known for lofty, luxurious apartments that celebs love. So it’s no surprise that the median list price for a neighborhood property is $3.5 million, one of the highest in the entire city. Jay and Bey were early adopters of TriBeCa loft living: Jay Z closed on a seventh floor penthouse unit in a converted 1929 brick warehouse way back in 2004. The raw space came with 8,000 interior square feet, 3,000 square feet of terraces, and a price tag of $6.85 million. Blue Ivy likely has lots of playmates in the area, and the neighborhood is known for its high ratio of families and fashionable children. If you’re interested in joining the hip hop couple in their luxe Tribeca life, there’s a unit up for sale in the building. The three-bedroom, two-bathroom loft is a steal for $5.95 million. See homes for sale in TriBeCa

Justin Timberlake

SoHo may be one of New York’s most recognizable neighborhoods, but it’s not really the first one that celebs flock to. It’s hard to escape the spotlight among the shoppers on Broadway. And unlike the West Village, the housing inventory here also offers little in the way of private townhouses and quaint cobblestone streets. Nonetheless, there are high-end loft apartments and shiny condo developments among the commercial properties, as well as celeb-friendly restaurants like Balthazar and exclusive clubs. JT owns a penthouse in the SoHo Mews, a newer condo development with floor to ceiling glass windows. There aren’t any units left in the building to buy, but you can rent if you can spare $13,500 a month. This unit comes with three bedrooms, three baths, and a huge-for-New-York 1,865-square-feet. See homes for sale in SoHo

Lena Dunham
Brooklyn Heights

Lena Dunham has become a household name thanks to her Girls alter-ego Hannah Horvath, who lives on the cheap in Greenpoint, Brooklyn and barely scrapes by. In real life, Dunham’s life is a little more put together. Instead of a cheap rental shared with roommates, she lives in a modest co-op apartment at the Mansion House, in Brooklyn Heights. Known as “America’s first suburb,” this is definitely an adult neighborhood of New York’s most youthful, hippest borough and a surprising choice for a twenty-something star. The quiet blocks are lined with historic brownstones and there’s not a dance club in site. It’s also one of Brooklyn’s most expensive areas – the median listing price comes in around $1,164,500. The Mansion House, despite the fancy name, is actually not that expensive. There’s currently a one-bedroom, 900-square-foot co-op for sale asking just $745,000. See homes for sale in Brooklyn Heights

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