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Great Neighborhoods: New York

Photo courtesy of the NYC &
CompanyŚConvention & Visitors

New York, thought by several to be the greatest city in the world, packs lots of excitement into one of the planet's most densely crowded geographical spaces. That makes it one of the most challenging places to live in the country.

Made up of five boroughs—the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island and the center, Manhattan—New York City has a broad range of home prices. On Manhattan, the average home price is $1.1 million. For the five-borough region, the median home price is about $380,000.

While Manhattan’s attraction remains powerful, high prices and cramped conditions can make living with children, pets or even automobiles a challenge. In a city where the monthly rent on a parking space can easily cost $250, housing prices can be out of reach.

Prices may become softer in many neighborhoods, but the drops come from ridiculous heights: The average rent in the trendy East Village quadrupled between 1996 and 2000. In that neighborhood and other popular areas, expect to pay around $2,200 monthly for a studio and $3,000 for a tiny one-bedroom.

In urban areas, apartments are the standard housing stock and are available for rent and for sale. A full, three- or four-story townhouse normally starts at $1.25 million and spirals quickly upward. Apartments for sale may be part of a "co-op," basically a corporation in which individual apartment owners hold shares. A co-op involves a monthly fee—separate from your mortgage—called "maintenance," which normally ranges from $500 to $1500 monthly—depending on the size of the apartment—and which covers property taxes, upkeep and other expenses.

In much of the greater New York City area, yards are small if present at all, and driveways are even rarer.

For the New York area, we chose four alluring neighborhoods in the boroughs and the 'burbs. Our selections include Brooklyn's historic and picturesque Park Slope district; three interconnecting neighborhoods in the historic but less expensive downtown Jersey City, NJ the tree-speckled hills of the longstanding cultural center Montclair, NJ and the bucolic riverside setting of artist-oriented Nyack, NY.

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