Why this article about neighborhoods in New York? Well, when I went to New York, the first questions I asked myself were:
- Are there any dangerous neighborhoods in New York?
- Where to feel the real city that lives of New York City?
- Which area to walk quietly?
- Which district for my hotel in New York?
- Where are the best restaurants in New York?
To prepare well for my stay, I usually make a small study of the different neighborhoods to understand and locate the places in advance. So, I can better navigate on the spot and choose my hotel in the best area to stay in New York. Here are the main informations that I could synthesize to understand how New York districts are organized.
New York Neighborhoods – The 5 New York Boroughs on the map
I will schematize by saying that New York City is organized in 5 big districts : Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, Bronx and Staten Island.
These 5 boroughs are themselves composed of several sub-districts.
New York Neighborhoods – Manhattan
Manhattan is known around the world as the heart of New York. It is the richest district of the city in which are one of the largest financial places in the world but also the seat of the UN, many corporate headquarters, large universities …
The main areas of Manhattan are Downtown, TriBeCa, SoHo, China Town, Lower East Side, Greenwich Village and East Village.
Manhattan is one of the most interesting boroughs for tourists but above all one of the safest in New York. That’s why my hotel was located in the heart of Manhattan (see my article: Which hotel to choose in Manhattan?).
New York Neighborhoods – Brooklyn
Brooklyn has become a fashionable residential district. This borough remained independent for a very long time and was not incorporated into New York City until 1898.
It is also a place where are located high crime areas and therefore dangerous for tourists …
Brooklyn is Ssoutheast of Manhattan on the other side of the East River.
The famous Brooklyn Bridge connects this neighborhood to Manhattan. Its sub-districts are numerous, but here are the most famous:
- Dumbo located between Manhattan and the Brooklyn Bridge
- Williamsburg (a hotspot for art and nightlife)
- Coney Island (facing the beach and known for these amusement parks)
- Brooklyn Heights and Park Slope are residential and green neighborhoods
New York Neighborhoods – The Queens
Residential and industrial, the Queens is the district where are the two main airports of the city, JFK and La Guardia.
Geographically, the Queens is located East of Manhattan, north of Brooklyn and south of the Bronx and consists of many neighborhoods or districts: Long Island City (LIC), Jackson Heights, Flushing Northeast, Forest Park, Jamaica, The Rockaways …
Unfortunately, the vast majority of tourists do not go to the Queens. They go there to reach the airports but do not go there to visit it.
Yet, making a real visit to the Queens is definitely worth it because each neighborhood of this borough has its typical shops, traditional cuisine and its own parties and events … in short its own identity!
New York Neighborhoods – The Bronx
Located north of Manhattan Island, the Bronx is considered the poorest neighborhood in New York City. But in recent years, this district is changing. Indeed, the city’s policy does everything to make the Bronx much more attractive.
In the 70s, this district was one of the most dangerous in the world (high crime, drug trafficking, clan war …). And it is still a “hot” district of New York where you do not have to hang around in the evening or at night.
This is where the Puerto Rican community settled. The suburbs of University Heights and Morris Heights are mostly inhabited by the Dominican population, and Woodlawn maintains a large population of Irish.
I think that if this area deserves a visit, the best is to do it by bus with a city tour: https://www.gonytours.com
New York Neighborhoods – Staten Island
It is the least integrated neighborhood in New York City, if only because of its geographical distance. Indeed, it is located south of Manhattan is separated from the state of New Jersey by the Strait of Kill Van Kull. This borough remains primarily residential.
This peninsula is in front of the Statue of Liberty. Ferries are cheaper there than in Manhattan. Note that it is the closest borough to Newark International Airport. Therefore, staying at Staten Island is an important time and money saving for this airport.
By cons taking a hotel in Staten Island for sightseeing in Manhattan can be complicated and you will lose a lot of time …
In addition, its main neighborhoods (Port Richmond, Mariners Harbor, West New Brighton, Livingston, New Brighton, Tottenville, New Springville) have no special interests for tourists.
A nice hotel in Manhattan ? Look at : Which hotel in Manhattan?
My best hotel deals : Cheap hotels New York