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Areas to rent in Manhattan or Brooklyn

Areas to rent in Manhattan or Brooklyn

Old Jan 22nd 2018, 3:30 pm
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Question Areas to rent in Manhattan or Brooklyn

In the next few months we are moving for my husband's job to NYC. Unfortunately due to timings we don't have time for a scoping trip and I've never been to NYC. Friends have advised for us to avoid renting in Manhattan and many suggestions of Brooklyn, Williamsburg in particular.

I think the 'avoid Manhattan' advice has been because we live in a residentinal bit of london that's pretty calm and quiet but with good restaurants and bars. We are not 3am clubbing people, but we like good food and a nice bar.

The husband will need to commute to midtown/bryant park area, for the time being I won't work but want to live in an area with 'local' places to go during the day, coffee shops, neighbourhood cafes, local gyms etc. but also places near a supermarket. No children now, but there will be in the next 1-2 years. The pregancy thread from a few weeks ago freaked me out with no one recommending the Brooklyn hostpitals for childbirth or maternity care. I think in my head I want to live in the NYC version of Clapham/South London's nappy valley, green spaces and good community.

I've been looking at Park Slope, Williamsburg, etc, is there anywhere else we should look at? or should we look in Manhattan, or anywhere else? We don't want to live in NJ for now and want to 'experience' living in NYC.

All advice welcome! Including how to deal with realtors or how to find an apartment for rent, other than Zillow.
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Old Jan 22nd 2018, 3:40 pm
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Default Re: Areas to rent in Manhattan or Brooklyn

Easy commute to GCT from Westchester and the nicer northern bits of the Bronx, then a short walk to the Bryant Park area. I found that the saving in NYC income tax more than paid for the extra Metro-North train fare.

If you really have to live in city, then be aware that the L train from Williamsburg will be shutting down in April 2019 to at least July 2020 for post-Sandy repairs. Getting to midtown from Williamsburg will become an order of magnitude more difficult then.
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Old Jan 22nd 2018, 5:09 pm
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Default Re: Areas to rent in Manhattan or Brooklyn

LonSea, welcome to New York and welcome to everybody having an opinion on what Neighborhood to live in. I would not rule Manhattan out, every area is as expensive as each other!

If you want Clapham South I would recommend Upper West Side, Park Slope or Upper East Side. Disclaimer I have only briefly lived in UES and for commute to Midtown I would recommend UWS as slightly closer than Park Slope.

Regarding expense, you can basically find a place in any area on the same budget it is just the quality and size would greatly vary. I would estimate $3200 as base for a nice 1 bed, a true 2 bed is probably starting around $4k per month.

I currently live in a 'luxury building' (https://www.riverplacenyc.com/), I have lived here for 4 years with my wife after relocating from London. I love it, that staff, the amenitities and the value for money I have not been able to find elsewhere.
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Old Jan 22nd 2018, 5:33 pm
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Default Re: Areas to rent in Manhattan or Brooklyn

It's difficult to advise without understanding what your budget is, which will have a big impact on whether you want to live in Manhattan or Brooklyn. Although less than it maybe used to.

MY wife and I live in the West Village and we love it. To give you some context we lived in Putney before making the move. And while the West Village is definitely more cosmopolitan than Putney it feels much less urban than other parts of Manhattan.
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Old Jan 22nd 2018, 5:40 pm
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Default Re: Areas to rent in Manhattan or Brooklyn

As advised above, it depends a lot on your budget, but there it is likely that most of Manhattan is divided into areas you can't afford to live and areas that you wouldn't want to!

A one bed bed-sit the size of a shoe box is going to set you back around $2,000 minimum in Manhattan, and so you'll probably need a $2,500-$3,000 budget for rent before you're likely to find much to choose from in Manhattan.
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Old Jan 22nd 2018, 6:14 pm
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Default Re: Areas to rent in Manhattan or Brooklyn

Budget? Max tolerable subway commute? Priorities (outdoor space, nicer place, larger place, nicer area, walkability, cost)?

Budget is everything here, and what you want, may not necessarily be doable. No idea what clapham south is like nowadays so difficult to give a direct comparison.

Be aware that most places here specify a minimum 40x rent income (or 80x with a tri-state area guarantor), and you will probably need 1st month+last month+1 month security deposit to even get the keys. If you go through a broker, then they usually want one months rent as a fee. Not trying to scare you, just the reality of the situation unfortunately.

Does his company not have a relocation dept, or could put you up in corporate housing for a month or two so you can find your feet? Good (and good&cheap) places go VERY quickly and trying to do it remotely will not be easy.

Last edited by 212; Jan 22nd 2018 at 6:18 pm.
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Old Jan 22nd 2018, 7:04 pm
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Default Re: Areas to rent in Manhattan or Brooklyn

Closest to Clapham South would be the Upper West Side (nicer) and the Upper East Side (cheaper) of Manhattan or Cobble Hill/Carroll Gardens/Brooklyn Heights/Park Slope/Fort Greene neighborhoods of Brooklyn. Williamsburg is nice, but more artsy and edgy than the other neighborhoods I mentioned and I would equate it to Shoreditch.

If money were no object, for raising a family in the city, I would narrow it down to the Upper West Side of Manhattan, Cobble Hill in Brooklyn or Brooklyn Heights (very good transport links to midtown).
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Old Jan 22nd 2018, 9:07 pm
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Default Re: Areas to rent in Manhattan or Brooklyn

Originally Posted by 212 View Post
Budget? Max tolerable subway commute? Priorities (outdoor space, nicer place, larger place, nicer area, walkability, cost)?

Budget is everything here, and what you want, may not necessarily be doable. No idea what clapham south is like nowadays so difficult to give a direct comparison.

Be aware that most places here specify a minimum 40x rent income (or 80x with a tri-state area guarantor), and you will probably need 1st month+last month+1 month security deposit to even get the keys. If you go through a broker, then they usually want one months rent as a fee. Not trying to scare you, just the reality of the situation unfortunately.

Does his company not have a relocation dept, or could put you up in corporate housing for a month or two so you can find your feet? Good (and good&cheap) places go VERY quickly and trying to do it remotely will not be easy.
Very good points, the 'rental building' example above is a way to keep the costs down as you get to skip the broker fee. When I moved by company did put me in touch with a realtor who still wanted to charge 13% of annual rent.

I would advise the corporate apartment then perhaps a rental building marked as 'no fee' for the first year to find your feet and area you want to live in.

Also if not mentioned before now is the best time to get deals as it is out of season for when most people move to the city.
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Old Jan 23rd 2018, 2:12 am
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Default Re: Areas to rent in Manhattan or Brooklyn

Originally Posted by LonSea View Post
In the next few months we are moving for my husband's job to NYC. Unfortunately due to timings we don't have time for a scoping trip and I've never been to NYC.
I assume that, although you have never been to New York, your husband is at least somewhat familiar with the place.

Given that this move will be a major upheaval for both of you and given that it sounds as if you expect that you might be there for at least a couple of years, my advice is simple ...

*Make* time for a trip as soon as possible - the business of relocating to another country is far too important for you not to do that.
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Old Jan 23rd 2018, 2:28 am
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Default Re: Areas to rent in Manhattan or Brooklyn

Originally Posted by LonSea View Post
In the next few months we are moving for my husband's job to NYC. Unfortunately due to timings we don't have time for a scoping trip and I've never been to NYC. Friends have advised for us to avoid renting in Manhattan and many suggestions of Brooklyn, Williamsburg in particular.

I think the 'avoid Manhattan' advice has been because we live in a residentinal bit of london that's pretty calm and quiet but with good restaurants and bars. We are not 3am clubbing people, but we like good food and a nice bar.

The husband will need to commute to midtown/bryant park area, for the time being I won't work but want to live in an area with 'local' places to go during the day, coffee shops, neighbourhood cafes, local gyms etc. but also places near a supermarket. No children now, but there will be in the next 1-2 years. The pregancy thread from a few weeks ago freaked me out with no one recommending the Brooklyn hostpitals for childbirth or maternity care. I think in my head I want to live in the NYC version of Clapham/South London's nappy valley, green spaces and good community.

I've been looking at Park Slope, Williamsburg, etc, is there anywhere else we should look at? or should we look in Manhattan, or anywhere else? We don't want to live in NJ for now and want to 'experience' living in NYC.

All advice welcome! Including how to deal with realtors or how to find an apartment for rent, other than Zillow.
For commuting to a midtown location, you can also consider Long Island City, and Jackson Heights and Forest Hills in Queens.
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Old Jan 23rd 2018, 9:04 am
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Default Re: Areas to rent in Manhattan or Brooklyn

Originally Posted by Andrew_365 View Post
Very good points, the 'rental building' example above is a way to keep the costs down as you get to skip the broker fee. When I moved by company did put me in touch with a realtor who still wanted to charge 13% of annual rent.

I would advise the corporate apartment then perhaps a rental building marked as 'no fee' for the first year to find your feet and area you want to live in.

Also if not mentioned before now is the best time to get deals as it is out of season for when most people move to the city.
Thats a really good idea. I've been slightly confused by the different 'labels' of buildings, condo, co-op, and the differences between them. I think we want a new build and if it had outside space that would be amazing.

Unfortunately there is no chance of a recon trip. I've not yet quit my job and we need to use the time remaining to sort things out here in the UK. The current timeline means we won't move until the Spring.

I'm trying to get ahead but trying to understand the context of the rental market in NYC and figuring out costs, etc.

Thank you for all the location suggestions. Some really valid points have been raised.
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Old Jan 23rd 2018, 4:29 pm
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Default Re: Areas to rent in Manhattan or Brooklyn

Originally Posted by LonSea View Post

Unfortunately there is no chance of a recon trip. I've not yet quit my job and we need to use the time remaining to sort things out here in the UK. The current timeline means we won't move until the Spring.
You don't have a long weekend spare?

Trying to secure accommodation in NYC without first scoping the area, or at least having a chance to view the property is a recipe for disaster.

You should consider a scoping trip part of "sorting things out here in the UK". Honestly it should be near the top of the list as far as organising goes.
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Old Jan 23rd 2018, 4:30 pm
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Default Re: Areas to rent in Manhattan or Brooklyn

I lived in Williamsburg for 6 years, and left in 2015. I was right on Bedford Ave. It's changed a lot over the years. In the late 80's/early to mid 90's it was an area that cab drivers wouldn't want to drive to, then the artists moved in and it became trendy, and now it's just an extension of Manhattan really. All the local places are closing, and it's becoming pretty soulless. It's still great for a night out, but with the L train closure in 2019, I'd strongly recommend avoiding it as a place to live. I can't imagine trying to commute from there without the L, unless he wants to take whatever replacement bus they offer, or the ferry.

I also lived in Greenpoint, which was fantastic. It's fairly residential, but with a good nightlife. The commute wouldn't be too bad, as it'd just be the G train into Queens, and then changed to the A or C to get to Midtown. However, with the shutdown of the L, I'd anticipate that the G would get a lot busier. If you're close enough to the Pulaski bridge, your husband could walk over and get the 7 in to midtown, which would be an extremely easy commute. Of all the places I lived in NYC (including Manhattan), Greenpoint is my favourite.

If you want to be in Brooklyn, I'd say Park Slope, Fort Greene, Boreum Hill, Clinton Hill, and maybe Brooklyn Heights, would all be great areas to check out. As others have said, I wouldn't rull out Manhattan. You can still find good value on the UWS and UES, and personally, I think it's good for a newbie to at least experience Manhattan for a year or two.

If you're renting, you don't really need to worry about condo vs co-op, as they only really apply to owners. i.e. a condo is a unit you own outright, whereas a co-op is structured differently..kind of like the difference between freehold and leasehold. If you're renting, you might find that the rules in a co-op might be more restrictive, but I wouldn't worry about it.
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Old Jan 23rd 2018, 4:33 pm
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Default Re: Areas to rent in Manhattan or Brooklyn

Originally Posted by GeneralPowerpoint View Post
You don't have a long weekend spare?

Trying to secure accommodation in NYC without first scoping the area, or at least having a chance to view the property is a recipe for disaster.

You should consider a scoping trip part of "sorting things out here in the UK". Honestly it should be near the top of the list as far as organising goes.
I know a few people who have done that. When I moved over in 2007, I'd been to NYC quite a few times, but I just got my company to pay for a hotel for a few weeks, and then we just arranged appointments with brokers and hit as many areas and apartments as possible. Granted, our scope was Manhattan below 23rd st, but it was doable. One of my friends has been in NYC for 12 years now, and the first time he ever set eyes on the place was when his company moved him over! I wouldn't recommend securing a place remotely, but there is no reason they can't find something within a couple of weeks of arriving. The market moves so quickly.
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Old Jan 23rd 2018, 4:41 pm
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Default Re: Areas to rent in Manhattan or Brooklyn

One more point....you'll get a lot of people saying that you don't need a broker and you can just rely on Craigslist. You *might* get lucky and find something on craigslist that isn't a scam, and yes, most brokers are extremely expensive, but if you want to greatly expedite the process and get access to the best inventory, I'd use a broker. The other option is to go direct to the newer build buildings and search for 'no fee' on streeteasy.com, but even they sometimes will have a partnership with a broker and you'll pay the fee anyway.
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