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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.


Theatre District & Broadway Shows

New York City's Theater District (sometimes spelled Theatre District, and officially zoned as the "Theater Subdistrict") is an area in Midtown Manhattan where most Broadway theatres are located, as well as many other theaters, movie theaters, restaurants, hotels, and other places of entertainment. It extends from West 40th Street to West 54th Street, from west of Sixth Avenue to east of Eighth Avenue, and includes Times Square.

It also contains recording studios, record label offices, theatrical agencies, Music Row, ABC Television Studios, Duffy Square, Shubert Alley, the Brill Building, and Madame Tussauds New York. Although 42nd Street had become seedy in the 1970s, with x-rated movie houses and peep shows, the neighborhood was later improved with the closing of many of these businesses.

The Broadway Theater District is a popular tourist attraction in New York City. According to The Broadway League, Broadway shows sold approximately $1.081 billion worth of tickets in calendar year 2012, compared with $1.037 billion for 2010. Attendance in 2012 stood at 12.13 million.

For more information and what is showing, you can visit 

http://www.broadway.com/shows/tickets/ .


Chelsea community in New York

Last week we visited East Village in lower east side. Today we would like to show you the Chelsea community on the west side. 

Chelsea is a neighborhood on the West Side of the borough of Manhattan in New York City. The district's boundaries are roughly 14th Street to the south, 30th Street to the north, the western boundary of the Ladies' Mile Historic District – which lies between the Avenue of the Americas (Sixth Avenue) and Seventh Avenue – to the east, and the Hudson River and West Street to the west. To the north of Chelsea is the neighborhood of Hell's Kitchen, also known as "Clinton," to the northeast is the Garment District, to the east are NoMad and the Flatiron District, to the southwest is the Meatpacking District and to the southeast is the West Village.

Chelsea is divided between Manhattan Community Board 4 and Manhattan Community Board 5. It contains the Chelsea Historic District and its extension, which were designated by the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission in 1970 and 1981, respectively, and added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1977, expanded in 1982 to include contiguous blocks containing particularly significant examples of period architecture.

The neighborhood is primarily residential, with a mix of tenements, apartment blocks, city housing projects, townhouses and renovated rowhouses, and its many retail businesses reflect the ethnic and social diversity of the population. The western part of Chelsea has become a center of the New York art world, with many art galleries located in both new buildings and rehabilitated warehouses.


What to Do in Chelsea?

Chelsea Market

Chelsea Market is home to over 30 restaurants, food stores and shops, and we have out favorites. Grab a table and indulge in some delicious treats at Amy’s Bread as you watch their bakers whip up their pastries by hand through the glass windows. If you’re looking for something hot, Sarabeth’s Bakery has quite the unique breakfast menu, though we like their pumpkin waffle is the best.  The Filling Station sells extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and sea salts all in bottles that they encourage their customers to re-use. (Tip: If you return for a “refill” you will receive a 10% discount).


High Line Park

Gansevoort Street to 20th Street on 10th Avenue


This New York City staple, located on a formerly abandoned elevated railroad track, offers more than just fabulous waterfront views. The public park built on a 1.45-mile-long elevated rail structure, running from Gansevoort Street to 34th Street, offers public  art, family and entertainment programs. Check out their events calendar for more info.


Expat US is also located in Chelsea! If you have any question, welcome to call or visit us at 135 West 29th Street Suite 1104 between 6th Avenue and 7th Avenue.

Great Savings in Woodbury

When you move to New York City, you will find that Woodbury Common Premium Outlets will be a great choice close to the city for great savings! This is an outlet center located in Central Valley, New York. The center is part of Simon Property Group / Premium Outlets and takes its name from the town in which it is located. Opened in late 1985, expanded in 1993, and again in 1998, the center now has 220 stores occupying more than 800,000 square feet and is one of the largest contiguous outlet centers in the world. Due to its size, different areas are color-coded to help visitors orient themselves, on weekends trolleys are available to transport shoppers from the parking lots and around the center.

Due to its proximity to New York City, Woodbury Common is a major attraction for foreign tourists visiting the region. Japanese tourists seem to have been overtaken by Chinese tourists as the most frequent foreign visitors.

Tour buses and shuttles make daily trips from New York City, the center employs a staff of interpreters, and currency exchange and foreign shipping services are available on site. Guests are greeted in several languages including Japanese, Spanish, French and Portuguese.

Weekends are a good time for shopping here as there are trolleys available to take you and your purchases to where you parked. Get ready to get some genuinely good deals, as the Woodbury Outlet Mall is known as a Mecca for bargain hunting. Merely a hour north of the New York City you can expect to find almost every designer brand on the market for anything from fashion apparel, to home wares, to electronics, to toys for kids. Some favorites include Polo Ralph Lauren, Burberry, Fendi, Armani, Gucci, Elie Tahari, Coach, Dolce & Gabbana and plenty of more.

To get to Woodbury Outlet, the drive is pretty easy. Take the New York State Thruway (I-87) to exit 16, Harriman. Other options for those who can’t or don’t want to drive is to take Metro-North on weekends, or the GrayLine or Brief-line bus lines (845-928-4000) from the Port Authority terminal. The trip is about an hour with no traffic.

Note that when you take one of the buses, you get a coupon book worth the value of the bus ticket. At Woodbury Outlet official site you’ll also be able to register for a VIP club that will give you access to exclusive coupons and more, which you can print or pick up at the customer service desk in the food court area. The mall is open daily from 10 A.M. to 9 P.M., with shortened hours on important holidays.

Building credit in the United States

Activities that U.S. citizens take for granted, such as applying for a new job or purchasing insurance, are more challenging for immigrants due to their lack of a U.S.-based credit history. Those who lack a credit history are a "wild card" for banks since banks do not have access to a credit history with which to assess the immigrant's risk level.

Your credit report and scores will not transfer to another country when you move. Even countries that share certain credit bureaus, such as Canada and the U.S., do not transfer credit records from one country's system to the other. Immigrants to the U.S. must build credit from scratch to qualify for credit-based services.

1. Apply for a secured credit card. Because secured credit cards are specifically designed for those with poor credit or no credit, approval often isn't contingent on a credit check. You must make a cash deposit which then serves as your spending limit on the card. When the credit card company reports the account to the credit bureaus, the credit bureaus will create a file in your name.

2. Ask a loved one with established credit to add you to a credit card account as an authorized user. The cardholder's credit company will then add the account to your credit report. Provided he pays his credit card bills on time, the positive payment history associated with the credit card will help boost your new credit rating.

3. Borrow against your own money. You can apply for a personal loan with your bank and, provided the money in your bank account meets or exceeds the loan amount, you can use your bank account as collateral. By placing a hold on your bank account for the total loan balance the bank eliminates its risk of financial loss. This often renders an extensive credit history unnecessary.

4. Pay your creditors on time. Creditors report missed payments to the credit bureaus and they show up on your credit report. Not only do missed payment notations leave you with a lower credit score, they signify that you pose a higher than average lending risk -- leaving you paying your creditors higher interest charges than an individual with untarnished credit.

The following tips will tell you how to use the secured credit card to build your credit and finally get an unsecured credit card.

1. Shop around, but don't apply for more than one at a time. The more credit inquiries on your report, the worse it looks to potential creditors. Credit cards, secured or not, come in a wide variety of terms. Find one with a low, non-fluctuating Annual Percentage Rate, as well as a low Periodic Rate. Beware of introductory offers that start with low rates and jump after a short time to unreasonably high fees. Remember, the fine print on the credit card offer is more telling than the splashy headline.

2. Start with a low available balance. Put only what you can afford into the card. Add funds to a newly obtained card only after your bills are paid. You can begin improving bad credit with a secured card starting with available funds as low as $25 or $50. If the secured card offer you're considering requires a higher deposit than you can reasonably afford, pass it up and keep looking.

3. Use no more than half of the available balance. Even though you have access to the funds, the idea is to use but not drain the card. Credit agencies will look at the card's usage, including available credit. If you pull out the available balance almost as quickly as you put it in, your credit score will not improve.

4. Pay bills with the card only when you can immediately replace the funds. Always pay credit cards, secured or not, in full before the due date. The best way to accomplish this is by not using the card unless you have replacement funds. If you use the card without the ability to replace the funds, you're simply hoping the money will appear within 30 days. Be proactive, not reactive, to keep your credit repair plan on track.

5. After several months of re-setting your secured card without incident, consider depositing additional funds to the card. Repeat Steps 3 and 4 with the higher credit limit. This improves your credit score without allowing you in over your head.

For more information, please visit http://www.expat-us.com


How to Bring a Dog into the United States

Bringing your dog into the United States can be exciting and troublesome. It’s very important to get fully prepared before departure and after arrival.

To bring your furry friend into the United States, you'll need: a suitable travel crate, water containers to attach to the crate, newspaper or "doggie diapers" for inside the crate, a blanket or dog bed, a dog "passport" or the equivalent proving that your dog's vaccines are up to date, and an official veterinary health certificate.


1. Book your pet's flight at the same time you book your own flight to make sure there's space on the flight for your dog. Airlines have a maximum number of animals that they are allowed to transport per flight. If your travel agent can't arrange it for you, you'll need to phone the airline's reservation department directly.

2. Get directions on where to take your dog on the day of the flight (it will be somewhere in the cargo section of the airport), and get the name and phone number of the person who will be responsible for receiving your dog at the airport and processing his papers. This will save time and confusion on the day of travel. Some "dangerous breeds" are restricted from traveling on certain airlines or from being imported into certain states. Check this information with the airline if you think there's a risk that your dog's breed may be an issue.

3. Acquire the travel crate, sometimes called a "Pet Limo". The airline requires the crate to be sufficiently large for the dog to be able to stand up inside and turn around.

4. Talk to your dog's vet to make sure that your pet's vaccines are up to date. You will also need your vet to provide your dog with a health certificate. Depending on which country you're in, your vet may advise you to microchip your dog before traveling. This may even be a legal requirement.

5. Ensure your dog will have water during the journey. You may be advised to hang a dish of water on the door of the crate. This is not, however, the most efficient way to ensure that your dog doesn't suffer from thirst during the journey. Please see tips below on a better system of providing water.

6. Get to the airport really early because you will need to take your dog to the cargo section.


1. Do not tranquilize your dog! Tranquilizers make dogs feel vulnerable, confused, and disorientated. He will be calmer if he feels completely in control of his faculties.

2. The usual water dishes that hang on the cage door simply don't hold enough water for a long journey, and the water is easily spilt during the hustle and bustle of traveling. If there's a flight transfer during your journey, you can stick a sign on your dog's crate asking for him to be given water during the stopover. Remember that, depending on the place of stopover, the person reading the sign might not speak English! If you're traveling from Europe, Zurich is an especially good place for a long stopover because the dogs are always removed from their crate and given food, water, and exercise during the wait for their connecting flight. Without a doubt, however, the best way to ensure that your dog doesn't suffer from thirst during the journey is to teach him to drink from the kind of water bottle that is commonly attached to rabbit and guinea pig cages. It is extremely easy to teach you dog to drink from one of these bottles: simply make sure that he is watching you, and then drink from it yourself. Try taking your dog out for exercise, getting him good and thirsty, and then drink from one of these bottles before offering it to him. Use the biggest size you can find, and consider using two if your dog is very big. In the States, they actually sell large sized bottles of this type specifically for dogs. They may also be available in Europe.

3. Leave an item of your clothing or even an old shoe inside the crate with your dog. Your scent will provide him with comfort during the stress of the journey.

4. Make sure there's a name tag on your dog's collar with contact numbers in both countries - the one you're leaving and the destination country. It's better to be prepared for any eventuality, however unlikely.

5. Dog travel crates are extortionately expensive, and searching the classifieds for a secondhand crate may be worthwhile. You may also want to post your own ad either in the paper or at your vet's clinic stating your interest in buying one secondhand.

6. On the day of travel, double check that you have all your dog's papers before you leave for the airport. With all your own luggage, passport, tickets and other last minute details to think about, it's very easy to forget to pick up the doggie passport or health certificate!

7. If your dog is the type to get cold very easily, consider putting a sweater on him when he travels. The area of the plane where the dogs travel is said to have a controlled temperature suitable for live animals, but some tiny dogs like Chihuahuas feel cold in temperatures that may feel comfortable to a Rottweiler.

8. Put chew treats in the crate for your dog to help pass the time.

9. If a microchip isn't compulsory, you might want to consider getting your pet chipped *after* you've relocated to the States.

Please pay attention to the regulations of CBP (Customs and Border Protection) and TSA (Transportation Security Administration). Here are 2 useful links:

Pets - Dogs, Rabies vaccines


Pets - Shipping dogs as Cargo by plane


You should also visit the official website of CBP and TSA for more instructions.


For more information, please contact Expat US at http://www.expat-us.com

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