New York City has several areas to live in which are favored by expats. These areas are mostly located in the borough of Manhattan, which is a tourist magnet and a major hub of business and commercial activity in New York City.
Midtown East (http://www.eastmidtown.org/)
Midtown East is a mix of commercial and corporate enterprise as well as distinct residential neighborhoods. It stretches from 30th Street East to 59th Street on the east side of the city and it encompasses neighborhoods such as Murray Hill, Sutton Place and Beekman Place and Tudor City. Some of New York’s most famous buildings are located here starting with the beaux art Grand Central Terminal Building located on 42nd Street and Park Avenue, the unique Chrysler Building on 42nd Street and Lexington Avenue, the beautiful Hemsley building on Park Avenue between 45th Street and 46th Street, the MetLife building and of course the tallest building in North America, the Empire State Building on 34th Street and 5th Avenue. Citigroup also has its head quarters at an imposing structure on Lexington Avenue between 53rd and 54th Streets.
Sutton Place and Beekman Place, bordering the East River, are New York’s little piece of London and they are filled stucco residences which are reminiscent of Belgravia in London. These are some of the most sought after addresses in New York and the co-op boards in these buildings are extremely picky about whom they let live there. Many of the buildings located in Sutton Place are co-ops with well tended gardens and views of the East river. There are three public parks in the area as well.
The U.N. building is located on 45th Street and First Avenue in Midtown East and as a result, a number of diplomatic missions are also located in area as well. The area is also well served by public transportation as it has the major transportation hub of the Grand Central Terminal located within its environs.
Midtown East has one international school located within its boundaries, the Lyceum Kennedy, which is located at East 43rd Street. Both the UNIS International School and the British International School are located close by on East 25th Street and East 23rd Street respectively.
The area is also well served by many supermarkets like the Morton Williams markets at Second Avenue and 48th Street and four D’Agostino stores which are located at 35th Street and 3rd avenue, 38th Street and First Avenue, 53rd Street and First Avenue and 56th Street and First Avenue. Midtown East also hosts a greenmarket which is held at the Dag Hammarskjöld Plaza during the summers.
Restaurants & Cinemas
A plethora of restaurants can be also be found in the area along with cinema houses like the United Artist Theater Circuit, located on 56th Street and Third Avenue.
The major sports facility is the green oasis of Central Park which has one of its many entrances at Fifth Avenue and 59th Street. The area also has several private tennis clubs like the Manhattan Plaza Racquet Club (http://www.manhattanplazaracquetclub.com/), the Town Tennis Club which is located on 56th Street and the River Club, located on Sutton place and 52nd Street. Branches of popular gyms like the New York Sports Club, Equinox and the Health and Racquet Club are also located within its boundaries.
The Upper East Side
The original “chi –chi” neighborhood of the of the Big Apple is also known as “Gold Coast” or the “Silk Stocking” district as it is home to many of New York’s oldest and wealthiest families. The Upper East Side encompasses an area from the East River to Fifth Avenue, from 59th Street to 96th Street. The real estate palette is a mix of huge, prewar co-ops especially along Park Avenue, town houses (single or multifamily homes) and mansions lining Park, Madison and Fifth Avenues. From Lexington Avenue onwards the East river is a mix of post and prewar co-ops, condos and walkups (apartment buildings without elevators).
This residential neighborhood is largely populated with families that have children and is often described as a “stroller heaven” as Bugaboo strollers, with moms or nannies in toe, cruise the wide tree-lined avenues and streets. This area, which is home to New York City’s mayor and other celebrities, is extremely safe and well suited for families with children.
The area is also home to some of the world’s best known museums like The Museum of Metropolitan Art (the Met), The Solomon R Guggenheim Museum, The Frick Collection and The Whitney Museum many of which are located along a stretch of Fifth Avenue which is commonly known as Museum Mile.
The only down side of living on the Upper East Side is the fact that the area is only served by one major subway line, the green line trains 4, 5, 6. These trains tend to get extremely crowded during rush hours. Other connections to some parts of the area are also provided by the trains of the yellow line (N, R, W) and the Orange Line (the F and the V trains). However, all this is set to change in the future as currently the Second Avenue Subway Line is under construction through the Upper East Side and when it is completed it promises provide better connections from the Upper East Side to the rest of the city.
The Upper East Side abounds with some of New York City’s most elite private schools and it also has within its boundaries has one of the city’s best public schools (P.S. 6). As for International schools, the Upper East Side is home to the Lycee Francais, located on 75th Street and York Avenue, and the La Scuola d’Italia, located in the heart of ‘Museum Mile’ at 96th Street and Fifth Avenue.
As the Upper East Side is essentially a residential neighborhood it is served by numerous branches of the city’s main supermarket chains like the Food Emporium (http://www.thefoodemporium.com/), Gristedes (http://www.gristedes.com/), MortonWilliams(http://www.mortonwilliams.com/) and D’Agostino (http://www.dagnyc.com/). Apart from these main supermarkets (http://www.uppereast.com/grocers.html) the area also has several specialty stores like Graces Market Place (http://www.gracesmarketplace.com/), The Butterfield Market (http://www.butterfieldmarket.com/) and Citarella (http://www.citarella.com/) which are extremely popular with the area’s residents. The Upper East Side is also home some of the city’s most expensive and exclusive stores which are largely located along Fifth and Madison Avenues.
Restaurants & Cinemas
Despite being a residential neighborhood, the area is peppered with a large number of dining establishments which are generally located along Second, Third and Lexington Avenues. Similarly the area has several movie houses (http://www.uppereast.com/theatres.html) which are located within its boundaries.
The major sports facility is Central Park, but the area also has other parks like the Carl Shurz Park which borders the East River and has a walking and bicycle path, and the Queensboro Oval which is located under the Queensboro bridge on York Avenue between 59th Street and 60th Street, and is used as a location by softball leagues. The Asphalt Green (http://www.asphaltgreen.org/), located on 90th and 92nd Streets and York Avenue, and the 92nd Street Y (http://www.92y.org), located on 92nd Street and Lexington Avenue, are the other prominent recreation centers that are located within the Upper East Side of Manhattan. There are numerous outlets of other gym and fitness center chains.
The West Village
The West Village is one of the most coveted residential neighborhoods of New York City. The West Village which extends from 14th Street to Canal Street (from North to South) and from Seventh Avenue to the Hudson River is largely considered to be an extremely fashionable neighborhood populated by actors, celebrities, students, writers, and artists. The real estate scenario in this area is dominated by old world town houses and low rise buildings that are located on many quiet, tree-lined streets. These edifices give way to towering glass towers and modern buildings as you approach the Hudson River.
The West Village has served as a backdrop for countless Hollywood movies as the area is peppered with quaint bookstores, cafes, boutiques, restaurants and music clubs which give it a distinct feel of a European city. This charming ambience is a great attraction for many expats who gravitate towards the area in huge numbers even though it does not have an international school within its boundaries. The area is also popular with college students as NYU (the New York University) is located within close proximity to the West Village.
The area is mainly served by the trains of the Blue Line (A, C, E) and the L Train all of which arrive and depart at a hub located at 14th Street and 8th Avenue. The trains of the Red Line (1, 2, 3) also serve the area at another hub at Christopher Street and Sheridan Square which also hosts the PATH trains that provide connections to New Jersey. The area is also well served by cross town buses which help connect the West Village to various other parts of the city.
The West Village doesn’t have any international schools but the area is equipped with a highly ranked public school in the form of the P.S. 41 Greenwich Village. The closest international school to the West Village is perhaps the Dwight School which is located on 89th Street and Central Park West and is accessible by a forty minute ride on the subway. However, if you don’t mind commuting to the east side then UNIS, the British International school and the Lyceum Kennedy are all within easy reach of the West Village as well.
Though the West Village houses many branches of New York City supermarkets, most of its residents tend to venture out to supermarkets like The Whole Foods Market, The Garden of Eden (http://www.edengourmet.com/) and Trader Joe’s which are located in and around the area of Union Square that is located within close proximity to the West Village. Additionally Union Square is also home to a year round greenmarket which is extremely popular with not only residents of the West Village but with New Yorkers from all over the city.
Restaurants & Cinemas
The area of the West Village offers a plethora of entertainment options as it has within its environs one of New York City’s prime dining and partying areas – The meat packing district (http://www.meatpacking-district.com/) which is home to stylish hotels, trendy restaurants and nightclubs and ultra-chic boutiques. As for cinemas, the West Village has the Quad Cinema which is an offbeat film house that shows several international and independent movies.
The area is served by several small parks and public playgrounds but a major patch of green located near the West Village is the Washington Square Park which is located at the foot of Fifth Avenue in the heart of Greenwich Village. Recently the city unveiled a new parks facility for the area in the form of the Highline (http://www.thehighline.org). There are several gyms and fitness centers dotted throughout this area.
The Upper West Side
The Upper West side of Manhattan is a locale which has long been popular with the “intellectual” and “cultural” set of New York. Luminaries from the celluloid world such as Diane Keaton, Dustin Hoffman, and Michael Douglas have all called the Upper West Side home their home at some time or the other. Perhaps its most famous resident was John Lennon who lived at an imposing building known as the Dakota which borders Central Park. The Upper West side stretches from 59th Street to 110th and has Central Park and Riverside Drive on its borders.
The real estate is a mix of grand buildings with balustrade balconies along Central Park West, restored charming brownstones between Amsterdam and Columbus Avenues and luxury condominiums such as the Ritz Carlton Central Park South, The Trump International at 1 Central Park, and Trump Place on Riverside Drive. The apartments on Central Park West with their uninterrupted views of Central Park are some of the most expensive in the city.
Central Park West, Riverside Drive and West End Avenue are the prime residential areas of the Upper West Side while Amsterdam, Columbus and Broadway have a host of commercial establishments such as restaurants, retail stores and theaters.
The Upper West Side is served by a network of subways and buses. It can be accessed by three main subway lines the 1, 2, 3 trains that belong to the Red Line that runs along Seventh Avenue and Broadway, the B & D trains of the Orange Line that run along 6th Avenue and Central Park West and the A and C trains of the Blue Line that chug along Central Park West.
The Upper West Side, like the Upper East Side, has many great schools like The Anderson School (P.S. 9), a public school for gifted children located on West 84th street and The Collegiate School for Boys, a private school which was founded in 1628 and is the oldest school in the USA, located on 78th street and West End Avenue. Columbia Grammar and Preparatory School, located on 93rd Street is another fine private school that is located in the area. The Dwight School which is located at 89th Street and Central Park West is the area’s main international school that offers the International Baccalaureate curriculum.
The area is well served by many supermarkets like the Whole Foods Market which is located at Time Warner Center (http://www.shopsatcolumbuscircle.com/) and the Fairway Market, Zabars, Citarella and the West Side Markets which are all located on Broadway.
Restaurants & Cinemas
The Upper West Side is equipped with many entertainment options as it has several great institutions within its boundaries, like the magnificent entertainment complex of the Lincoln Center (http://new.lincolncenter.org/), the American Museum of Natural History and the Children’s Museum of Manhattan (http://www.cmom.org/). Restaurants of all types can be found in the Upper West Side, these eating establishments range from expensive and high end restaurants that are located in the Time Warner Center and hotels like the Mandarin Oriental to more moderately-priced restaurants which are located along Amsterdam and Columbus Avenues.
The Upper West Side is well served by a number of cinema houses like the Lincoln Plaza Cinemas which show artsy, indie films and the AMC Loews 84th 6 and The AMC Loews Lincoln Square 12 and IMAX which show regular, commercial fare.
The area is served by two major parks, Central Park and the River Side Park but it also has a plethora of recreation facilities in the form of outlets of the city’s major gyms like Equinox, the Health and Racquet Club and the New York Sports Club.
Brooklyn Heights (http://www.brooklynheightsassociation.org/)
The Brooklyn Heights area of New York City, in Brooklyn, has traditionally been an exclusive and highly coveted neighborhood. The area that is designated as ‘Brooklyn Heights’ stretches from Fulton Street near Brooklyn Bridge to Atlantic Avenue in the South and from the East River to Cadman Plaza Park.
Montague Street, Columbia Heights and Pierre Point Street are home to some of the most prestigious addresses which take the form of brownstones (terraced houses made of a brown Triassic sandstone) and pre war co-op buildings. The imposing Hotel St George on Hicks street was once a 1000 room hotel with a ballroom and salt-water swimming pool. Today it has been transformed into a complex of buildings which has now been co-opted. The Brooklyn Heights Promenade offers majestic views of Manhattan and the East River and properties bordering the Promenade command high prices because of the view that they afford. The Heights have been a favored abode of investment bankers due to its close proximity and connectivity to Wall Street. Other inhabitants of the area include actors, playwrights and young families who have also moved to Brooklyn Heights over the years in search of more space.
Brooklyn Heights, which is home to many stunning buildings like the Brooklyn Historical society, Borough Hall and the US post Office and Court house, has been deemed as a Historical district of the New York by The Landmarks Preservation Commission.
The Heights are very well connected to Manhattan, Queens and the rest of Brooklyn as the number 2 and 3 trains of the Red Line serve the Clarke Street Station while the subway lines namely the M,N,R,W,4,5, and the 2 and 3 trains serve the major transportation hub of the Borough Hall station . Further the A, C, F trains serve the Jay Street station. The area is also served by the New York Water Taxi at the Fulton Ferry terminal. These water taxis make commuting to Wall Street from Brooklyn Heights a breeze. Apart from these trains and water taxis the area is also served by a wide network of Brooklyn buses.
Brooklyn Heights has some of the best schools in the city and this is a major draw for families if they can afford to move to the Heights. PS 29 and PS 8 are some of the area’s best known public schools while the St Ann’s school that is located here is thought to be one of the best private schools in the city. The Brooklyn Friends School is a private school located in Brooklyn Heights that offers the International Baccalaureate program.
Brooklyn Heights is served by branches of the city’s main supermarket chains like Key foods, D’Agostino and Trader Joe’s and it also has a branch of the specialty grocery store the Garden of Eden.
Restaurants & Cinemas
Most of the restaurants in this primarily residential neighborhood offer casual dining but since the area borders the more restaurant-heavy neighborhoods of Boerum Hill and Cobble Hill, residents of Brooklyn often choose to head out to these areas to take advantage of their diverse offerings. Similarly establishments like the Brooklyn Heights Cinema, the Henry Street Theater, the United Artist Theater on Court Street offer a wide range of entertainment options as does the BAM Rose Cinema which is located nearby at Atlantic Avenue.
The children of Brooklyn Heights have many a play ground to frolic in as the area is well equipped with public playgrounds like the Squibb Play Ground, the Harry Chapin Playground and the Pierre Point Play ground.
Apart from these main areas to live in there are other certain areas in New York City which do have a substantial number of expatriates as well. One such area is Roosevelt Island which is a favored abode of expats who work at the UN.
Roosevelt Island is a two mile long island between Manhattan and Queens. In the early 70s it was called the Big Apple’s Little Apple and today it is home to approximately 9000 residents. Many of the occupants of the high rises on Roosevelt Island are mainly U.N. staff as the island is located within close proximity to Midtown East location of the U.N.
Developers were initially given tax breaks by the City to build on the island. Today the real estate scenario of the island is dominated by high rise buildings most of which offer rentals. Given its proximity to Manhattan, the island’s developments surprisingly don’t have much individual character. They are built in a standard, uniform almost soviet like pattern. Prices of apartments are not much less than Manhattan even though the Island is rather insulated and bears a rather gloomy air.
The atmosphere on the island is reminiscent of a small town as there is only one main drag called appropriately the Main Street. All shops and businesses are located on this street which is enclosed to protect the residents from the elements.
Roosevelt Island is accessible by tram way from Manhattan’s 60th street and 2nd avenue, by car through a bridge on 36th avenue and Vernon Boulevard in Queens and one subway line F.
The island does have one public school and two private schools, one of which is a special needs school and the other is a pre-school called the Roosevelt Island Day Nursery.
A Gristedes mega shop is the only supermarket that is located on the island.
Restaurants & Cinemas
Dining options are severely limited as there are few restaurants on Roosevelt Island. The entertainment options are also very limited on the island which does not have a movie theater.
There are a few recreational facilities such as the Octagon Tennis courts, The Octagon soccer field, The Sports Park with a swimming facility and the Tony Capobianco Field. The West View Apartment Complex has a swimming pool open to all the residents of the island.