New York neighborhoods for expats

Moving to New York and trying to decide where in the city you would like to live can seem daunting, especially as New York boasts many different neighborhoods. We have compiled a list of our favorite neighborhoods, both in Manhattan and Brooklyn in order to give you a better idea of what to expect.



Between 14th Street and the south tip of the Island is known as Downtown in New York. Here you will find Wall Street and the financial districts. This is the centre of power, with the relaxing part of East Village, Greenwich Village, Little Italy and Soho.

These neighbourhoods are generally preferred by single expats or couples without children. Although some areas, such as TriBeCa, NoHo and Greenwich, have attracted more families due to their well-known public schools.

Downtown is quite expensive to live in; however, some neighbourhoods such as Little Italy, East Village, Lower East Side and the Financial District are more affordable. In these districts, expats can find a two bedroom, two bathroom apartment for around USD 4,000 per month.

Little Italy:

This thriving district of Manhattan is brimming with unique boutiques, restaurants, and cafes. Each September, the community hosts the Feast of San Gennaro, which is marked with several colourful parades and religious processions.


An abbreviation for North of Houston Street, NoHo is a district in Manhattan that is situated between East Village and Greenwich Village. One of New York’s most desirable neighbourhoods, it is characterised by loft apartments in transformed commercial buildings that were built from the 1850s to the 1910s. Attractions here include the Angelicka Film Center, the Joseph Papp Public Theatre, Astor Place Theatre, Hebrew Union College and the NYU Tisch School of the Arts.

East Village:

The East Village is part of Greenwich Village in New York. This area is home to many attractions, such as New York University, Astor Library and McSorley’s Old Ale House, an old pub since 1854. Ethnic restaurants dominate this district as Indian eateries line the southern side of East Sixth Street, earning the nickname ‘Little Bombay’.


SoHo, or South of Houston, is situated in Lower Manhattan. It is famous for its edgy galleries, hip restaurants and stylish boutiques. A number of upscale hotels are also found here. This is a must-see neighbourhood for any visitor or expat in New York.

West Village:

The western side of Greenwich Village is called the West Village, and is a lively area with a variety of restaurants, nightclubs, stores and galleries.


TriBeCa includes many historic streets, which are home to various culinary, architectural and cultural spots. There are many shopping, dining and artistic places and events in this area.

Greenwich Village:

Famous as the home of Bob Dylan and the haven of many other notable artists, both musical and literary, the historic area of Greenwich Village is filled with galleries, jazz clubs, crafts, dining areas, parks, night clubs and coffee shops.

Meatpacking District:

Located at the northwest corner of Greenwich Village from West 14th Street on the north to Gansevoort Street at the south, the Meatpacking District was originally a farmers’ market and then a meat market. Now, this district has a number of trendy restaurants, bars, boutiques, galleries, dance joints, and furniture and antique stores.

Financial District:

New York’s Financial District includes a number of major sights, such as South Street Seaport, Wall Street and the New York Stock Exchange, Battery Park, Trinity Church and the Woolworth Building.

The financial district is home to many medium and large-sized corporations and organisations, including landmarks such as the Gilded Age, the Federal Hall and the New York Stock Exchange

Lower East Side:

The Lower East Side, where old-world shops sit side by side with a new generation of boutiques and galleries that showcase the best of New York’s avant-garde fashion scene. Lower East Side cuisine has developed a faithful following, with some of New York City’s best Kosher-style, Chinese and Latin food establishments. Once the sun goes down, the curtain goes up on the Lower East Side’s nightlife where one can enjoy cozy lounges, local bands and poetry readings.


Known as NoLita, the North of Little Italy is an Italian-influenced district with an array of galleries, restaurants and shops. Area attractions include St Patrick’s Old Cathedral and the Puck Building.


Chelsea is a neighbourhood on the West Side of the New York City borough of Manhattan. It’s known as a melting pot of cultures and features a thriving art scene and gay community.


Midtown is located between 14th Street and 59th Street. The district reaches the whole way up to the south entrance of Central Park. As the nucleus of New York, Midtown is a bustling and thriving district, brimming with hotels, restaurants and attractions. It is also home to Times Square, Rockefeller Center, Broadway, Fifth Avenue and some of the finest shopping in the world.

This area of New York City is generally preferred by single expats or couples without children, as it is the busy part of Manhattan and good schools are rare. Midtown is considered less expensive to live in than Downtown or Uptown. In this area, expats will mostly find high-rise buildings, and should expect to pay on average USD 6,000 per month for a two bedroom, two bathroom apartment with amenities, and USD 4,000 for one without.

Theater District

New York’s Theatre District is world renowned. Located in Midtown Manhattan, it encapsulates most of Broadway’s theatres. Stretching from 40th Street to 54th Street, it also includes Times Square as well as many movie theatres, gourmet restaurants and upscale hotels.


Broadway Avenue, running the length of Manhattan from almost the southern tip of the island, is considered the most famous street of the American theatre industry. The avenue hosts many New York attractions and landmarks. It is one of the oldest streets in NYC and is also home to such landmarks as the Lincoln Center, the Juliard School of Music, Central Park and Macy’s.

Hell's Kitchen:

Once home to gangsters and a rougher element, this Manhattan neighbourhood underwent gentrification in the 1990s and is now home to Broadway actors and affluent Wall Street workers. An eclectic mix of restaurants and bars are located here, along with specialty boutiques and art galleries.


Midtown East stretches from 42nd Street north to 59th, and East of Fifth Avenue to the East River. The area is populated with some of New York’s most iconic landmarks. It is an area full of attractions and iconic landmarks.

Gramercy & Flatiron District:

Famous for its 20-story Flatiron building, Flatiron District includes a number of boutiques, retail shops and stores. The area is considered one of the popular shopping districts in New York.

The league-average ‘hood is mostly bereft of bars and restaurants despite being rebranded as the more fashionable “NoMad”.


Everything north of 59th Street is considered Uptown. Here you will find Central Park and more museums. Uptown is a mix of rich and poor and an area full of contrasts, with stylish residential areas and the more stereotyped area of Harlem.

Some of the best public and private schools in New York are located in the Uptown area, particularly in the wealthiest section of the Upper East Side and the Upper West Side. Thus, this area is preferred by families with kids.

Expats will find townhouses, pre-war buildings and some high-rise buildings in Uptown New York, and can expect to pay around USD 6,500 per month for a two bedroom, two bathroom apartment with amenities, and USD 5,000 for one without.

Upper East Side:

The illustrious Upper East Side is widely renowned for its high-quality residential living and its world-class cultural institutions. This neighbourhood is famous for being safe, green and beautiful, so it’s no wonder that the Upper East Side is easily one of the greatest neighbourhoods in Manhattan.

Upper West Side:

This upscale area lies between Central Park and the Hudson River and features some of the most expensive real estate on the planet. A plethora of elegant restaurants, boutiques and cafés can also be found on the Upper West Side.


Located located just north of Central Park and within the borough of Manhattan, Harlem has traditionally been an African-American neighbourhood since the 1920s, but it was originally settled as a Dutch village in 1658. Harlem has had its challenges but since 1995, the area has been in the process of gentrification. Its rich heritage and culture can today be observed at a number of landmarks.


Brooklyn is located southeast of Manhattan on the other side of the East River. Brooklyn is a very multicultural and multi-ethnic area. Expats will find plenty of townhouses in Brooklyn, which is reputed to be as expensive as Manhattan in the neighbourhoods where you can find the greatest schools: expect to pay from USD 3,500 to USD 5,000 per month for a two bedroom, two bathroom apartment. Otherwise, prices are about 30 percent lower in the less popular neighbourhoods.

Expats will find good public schools in the neighbourhoods listed below:

Carroll Gardens:

Carroll Garden is a great neighbourhood with tree-lined streets, beautiful brownstones with front and back gardens, a diverse array of restaurants and bars, good local delis and Italian markets.

Park Slope:

Park Slope is known for its beautiful tree-lined streets and historic brownstones, and is home to a diverse range of popular restaurants and bars. Prospect Park makes up the neighbourhood’s “back yard,” transportation is plentiful, local schools are top-rated, and the area boasts several world-class museums and cultural institutions.


Williamsburg is a neighbourhood with multiple personalities. Here, expats will find a large Hasidic Jewish community, Polish and Latino enclaves, and plenty of hipster cool. This warehouse-filled, once industrial area now has a thriving art and music scene, stellar restaurants, and some of the city’s most interesting shopping.


Since 2005, Greenpoint has expanded. In addition to the Polish influence, now many young people who have been priced out of the Williamsburg neighbourhood call Greenpoint home, facilitating the opening of great bars and restaurants.


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