The big apple is not only one of the main tourist destinations worldwide, but requires several days to explore. Therefore it is not right saying “I’ll stay anywhere, is just for one day”. Most tourists come to New York for 5 to 7 days. It is not only that staying in a nice and well communicated area is important for sleeping; choosing a vibrant neighborhood full of restaurants and places to go out will allow us to enjoy the city even more than if we go rushing from one attraction to the next.
UPPER EAST SIDE (UES)
The area that I know best is the one I most recommend:
- The prices of accommodation are expensive, but the value for money is the best on the island.
- There are many good, nice and cheap restaurants, you won’t have time to check them in a week. I have stayed here twice, 40 days in total, and it took me over 20 to start repeating places.
- Major attractions nearby: Central Park and the Met. I like to go running, so having Central Park next to me seems a luxury.
- Location: you can go walking some day to the upper area of Midtown, but the truth is that it is far away, you’ll have to take the metro. The green lines (4, 5 and 6) are very useful (the yellow Q is less practical), and the stations are only 10 minutes walk from the York and the 1st.
- There is a very good atmosphere, although posh sometimes. It is a primarily residential area of upper-class New Yorkers. The feeling of insecurity is nil, even in the middle of the night.
- Downside: the shopping cart: there are many small charming shops and D’Agostino supermarkets, which are the most expensive in the city. There are no markets or other cheaper places to buy food, which is no good in case we are staying in an apartment.
UPPER WEST SIDE (UWS)
The twin of UES on the west side. For those of one side or the other, there is no middle point: the UES people will tell you that their neighborhood is much better than the other and those in UWS will tell you exactly the same. My opinion: I like the UES more, but I admit that they are practically the same:
- Prices, quality / price, number of restaurants that rock, excellent atmosphere, security and location, all very similar.
- Nearby attractions in this case are Central Park and the Museum of Natural History. There is another green area, although in my opinion it can not compete to Central Park, the Hudson River Greenway.
- The metro is very well represented (better than in the UES) by the red lines (1, 2 and 3), blue (A and C) and orange (B and D).
- The UWS has a slightly more alternative atmosphere than the UES, which in some areas, mainly Park Avenue, seems to elitist. This is beneficial when buying; there are some markets and less expensive shops (although less expensive does not mean cheap).
For those who can afford it, no doubt this is the best site:
- Prices: the most expensive in the city, of course.
- Restaurants: many, of all prices and types. Also here is the Korea Town.
- Attractions and location: the best. Consider that part of the money that is invested in the accommodation we will save it in public transport. Walking distance:
- For those who do not walk a lot: the Flatiron, Madison Square Garden, Empire State Building, Macy’s, Bryant Park, Times Square, Rockefeller Center and MoMA.
- For those who walk a lot: practically any other point of interest in Manhattan.
- Avoid a small Broadway section between 28th and 25th Streets.
- The main drawback: it is very busy at all times.
GREENWICH VILLAGE AND NOHO
It is the equivalent of UES and UWS south of Midtown.
- Prices of accommodation, restaurants, good atmosphere (more similar to the UWS, it has an alternative mood), everything equals the two neighborhoods previously mentioned.
- Location and attractions, at walking distance:
- For those who do not walk too much: it is not your neighborhood, because there is no attraction really close.
- For those who walk more: you can reach both Downtown and most of Midtown in about 30 minutes.
- Metro: red lines (1. Lines 2 and 3 only stop to the north and south of the neighborhood) and blue (A, C and E); orange (B, D, F and M) at its northwest end.
The NoHo (name that comes from “north of Houston Street”) is actually the westernmost part of Greenwich, bordering the East Village. It’s just Lafayette Street and the crossways ending there. Lafayette is a trendy street, but not as expensive and exclusive as it seems at first glance. It is one of the most popular places for Sunday brunch, but it is so small that there is hardly any accommodation.
SOHO AND NOLITA
We continue with the batch of small sub-districts with rare names that so much like the locals.
SoHo, as you suppose, comes from “south of Houston Street” but it is not what is just south of Noho, it is all that is south of Greenwich. In turn, what is immediately south of NoHo is NoLiTa, which comes from “north of Little Italy”, but belongs to SoHo, not to Little Italy. Yes, a mess.
This area I like it less as far as accommodation is concerned:
- Prices: expensive, because SoHo considers itself bohemian. You’ll have to search a lot, because many of the apartments will be old; some owners know that there is so much art lover who will want to stay in this area they don’t really invest money in their apartments.
- Soho is in some way in no man’s land, and yet its location is good.
- It is very close to Little Italy and Chinatown, and a short distance from Downtown.
- This area is more focused on art galleries and shopping than on restoration, but the restaurants of Greenwich are a short distance to the north, and to the south is the same, this time with TriBeCa.
- The most useful metro lines are red 1, blue (A, C and E) and yellow (R and W, and slightly less N and Q).