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Moving to NY. Suggestions on where to reside based on chow?

I'm leaning towards moving to NY as my company is based there. As a single, 30 something guy, my choice of potential neighborhoods isn't defined by schools, family, etc. The office is midtown, so just about any area is fair game.

So if I used chow as a factor in where to live, would you have any suggestions?

We're not talking about being nearest the top 5-star eateries. Rather, being of much simpler means and income, I'm more interested in variety of both food and prices. Also a variety of options beyond restaurants... good grocers, farmer's markets, street food, take-out, etc. I like cooking/eating at home as much as eating out. No need for $30 meals... I'm just as impressed by a $3 Indian food snack or a nice Vietnames sandwich. Love ethinc. Love spicy. Great food is everywhere in NYC. There are great swaths of ethnic streets.

The question is: Where are some suggested places to live where you can walk out the door and have a wide mix of tastes to explore?

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  1. Boerum Hill Brooklyn has a really exciting restaurant scene (newish) and near to some great mid-eastern restaurants as well as Sahadi the fantastic emporium of all things culinary.

    1. Don't move to the UWS if you're looking for food. Fairway and Zabar's are excellent, and Telepan, et. al. are good, but in general the restaurants are pricey and mediocre. Access to Central/Riverside Parks, good subway service, and a nice, safe neighborhood are great. But as far as being a foodie, ehhh..... not great.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Marine Engineer

        I agree - nice parks, architecture on the UWS, not a lot of food offerings.

      2. an easy question. Nothing beats Broadway in Flushing, Queens for bargain ethnic variety.

        1. Avoid the Upper East Side. It's incredibly boring, bland and overpriced for food.

          (I would actually say that generally, the west side beats the east for food.)

          1. If you truly care about nothing but food, probably somewhere near Jackson Heights in Queens is your best bet for variety and excellent cheap ethnic (of pretty much every stripe). There was an article in the NYTimes recently about this:

            Sticking with Manhattan, your best bet is somewhere near Union Square. You've got the most amazing Greenmarket and Whole Foods if you feel like cooking, and no shortage of tasty restaurants within walking distance. Plus, you've got great access to all the major subway lines to whisk you away to other delicious destinations.

            2 Replies
            1. re: oolah

              i second Union Square (although i'm biased because i live there)...while none of my absolute favorites are within four or five blocks, almost all the others are within walking distance: for example all the East Village places mentioned below are walkable from UnionSq, but if you lived on say, Ave.B, it's a longish walk to Gramercy Park, or to any convenient subway, or some W.Village spot....from Union Sq, you get those plus many others because you are a ten or so minute walk from: the East Village, Soho, West Village, Gramercy Park, etc...and as mentioned above, the Greenmarket and Whole Foods are highly convenient...

              But one of my favorite things about living here is that i can walk two very short blocks to the 4/5 express train, which is a mere ONE stop to get me to the Grand Central Oyster Bar, so travel time from my door to fresh Alaskan/NW/etc bivalves is about 20 minutes...on a cold day like today, it's warmer and quicker and comfier to get there than walking 2+ blocks in any other direction...

              1. re: Simon

                Union Square -- its the Gourmet Ghetto.

                Markets: Whole Foods, Trader Joes, Garden of Eden, Jefferson Market, Citerella and Japanese Sunrise Market (real close) and of course the Union Square Farmers Market (reason enough alone).

                Restaurants: Union Square, Craft, Tocqueville, Fleur du Sel, Casa Mono, Otto, etc etc etc. Thats on the pricey side, but its very close to East Village, for great cheap eats, such as the ramen at Momofuko, and the West Village, ditto.

                How does anyone live uptown?

            2. East Village /Alphabet City is a hood full of good/cheap chow and it's near other chowish hoods...WV, Chinatown etc.

              5 Replies
              1. re: nyufoodie

                I'm thinking East Village, but the part of the Lower East Side below Houston is probably better for REALLY cheap eats nowadays. It's all close, though. I live in the East Village, and most any part of Chinatown is within a 20-minute walk. With the way things are going, though, with all those ugly luxury highrises being built, I wonder whether I'll be priced out of my neighborhood in 5 years...

                1. re: Pan

                  I'd say try to find an EV spot nearest to Houston and 1st St (Nexus of the Universe accdg to Seinfeld). It puts you in the center of a lot of great cheap eats and have easy access to the F train, crosstown houston bus and the M9 and M14 bus that will bring you as far as the West Village, Union Square and down to LES and Chinatown. You'll have access to the Union Square Market (14th St/Broadway), Wholefoods, Essex Market on Essex St and Chinatown - where everything is really cheap...I used to live right beside the Nuyorican Poet's Cafe on 3rd and Ave. B and it definitely felt like I lived in chow heaven.

                  1. re: nyufoodie

                    Also don't forget that the Avalon Chrystie Whole Foods on Houston and Bowery is "coming soon."

                    1. re: kathryn

                      HAHA...so how long has that sign been there, now...2 years, about?

                      1. re: Melanie

                        I think the plan was wait for 70% occupancy for Avalon Chrystie and it's sister building on Bowery before opening the Whole Foods.

              2. I love my area--lower (almost W Village), eastern Chelsea. I'm in easy walking distance of Union Square shopping, W Village, Chelsea, Chelsea Market, Soho, and on a warmer day, LES and E Village.

                1. Brooklyn or Queens for sure

                  1. I live on the far west edge of the lower east side and I have to say, I feel like I live in a culinary mecca. Just blocks from Chinatown, E.Vil, Nolita, Noho, Soho, Little Italy, and of course the LES. Lost of tasty and cheap eats in the area.

                    1. I would say below 9th street east of 2nd has the most diversity, flavor and reasonable prices. Go below Houston a feew blocks as well.

                      1. Depending on your budget and other tastes, I would say East Village if you want to stay in Manhattan (lots of stuff right there, including Katz's, and very close to Chinatown, LES, Greenwich Village, and not far from midtown (STEAK!).

                        If not Manhattan, then you might try Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn, for lots of old world Italian stuff and its own increasingly happening restaurant scene. Won't be much cheaper than the EVill, but you might get a little more space and the streets are thronged with tourists....

                        1. I live in Chelsea, and am very satisfied with the range of food options within walking distance. However, I think that the East Village is THE part of town that is up-and-coming with its diversity of food options and lots of places to eat that are very affordable.

                          You've got a wonderful predicament, choosing where to live based on food....while the rest of us poor schlubs have to worry about things like the affordability of housing.

                          1. What about 9th ave in the 40s? Just about every single cuisine represented with hole in the wall restaurants, a couple of good gourmet meat, cheese, and fish places, a decent larger place in Amish Market, and I thought I heard something about a greenmarket opening up there?

                            1. 5th Ave and its environs in Brooklyn! I agree with marine engineer & spigot on the UWS & UES.

                              1. Another vote for 9th Ave. in the 40's. Easy access to the more upscale places on Restaurant Row, (46th), the 99 cent pizza slice (40th), quiet local joints on 10th Ave. (Druids, Clinton Grille, River), and a very wide mix of international cuisine on 9th itself. Thai. Cajun. Carib. You name it. Not to mention the annual Ninth Avenue International Food Festival (mmm).

                                1. Another vote for the East Village here! I live there right now and I have to say that being able to walk to the Greenmarket, Trader Joe's, and Whole Foods is great. The other markets around leave much to be desired, although St Marks Market on St Marks is a pleasant surprise. And, well, there's always FreshDirect.

                                  I would say that the only thing the East Village doesn't have is a single, great, (French-style) bakery. Although if you combine Birdbath (City Bakery), Black Hound, Taralucci e Vino, Moishe's, and Cafe Zaiya/Panya, you're pretty well covered in terms of baked goods (there's also another noteworthy bakery on Avenue B, can't remember the name). And you can always walk to Soho for Ceci-Cela or Balthazar. I only wish that there were a killer cupcake place or chocolatier about.

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: kathryn

                                    oh but there is a killer cupcake place nearby! sugar sweet sunshine on rivington just east of essex (ave A south of houston) has, in my opinion, the best cupcakes in manhattan. their brownies are delicious too.
                                    i also vote for the EV - there's a great mix of upscale (Heart, I coppi, bao 111) and dirt cheap (otafuku, nicky's, hummus place) and everything in between.

                                    1. re: EVchickadee

                                      I love Sugar Sweet Sunshine but since it's south of Houston that doesn't really count as East Village in my book.

                                  2. Tastyjon, you are a true Chowhound - to want to move to a neighborhood, based on food amd restaurant choices, is impressive.

                                    If I could afford to, my first choice would be the West Village. There are so many good restaurants in this fun neighborhood plus Mom and Pop food shops on Bleecker Street (Faiccos, Murray's Cheese, Ottomanelli and Florence butchers plus Gourmet Garage). Plus the WV is close to other neighborhoods like the East Village which was also recommended here.

                                    My second choice & third choices would be the Lower East Side and the East Village. Here you'll get the trendy restaurants plus a wonderful assortment of 'ethnic' restaurants. The Lower East Side is close to Chinatown.

                                    My fourth choice is the Flatiron district which is close to the Union Square farmers market. The choice of fresh vegies and fruit is amazing depending on the season.

                                    Keep in mind that Manhattan is a walker's city so if you're in one of the above listed hoods, you are never that far from good eats.

                                    1. West Village
                                      Union Sq/Flatiron
                                      East Village/LES (if you don't mind the sounds of nightlife esp. on weekends)

                                      1. i think its also very important to know where NOT to live based on food. So, i recommend that you dont live in Murray Hill/Kips Bay - unless you love "baseball cap" bars and pubs.

                                        1. carroll gardens for cozy atmosphere and value
                                          chinatown for crazy exotic food and endless cheap eats
                                          east village for atmosphere, diversity and affordability
                                          jackson heights for overall diversity (mexican, indian, korean, peruvian) and cheapness
                                          avoid chelsea and upper west side!

                                          1. You are a true Chowhound! I'd say... live in midtown and walk to work. But make sure you live near the E or F and near the N trains. You will be able to get to all the following places in 20 minutes: Chinatown (by N express) , Jackson Heights, Astoria, and most high-end Manhattan places. Flushing (change to 7 at Queensboro Plaza) is 30 minutes away.

                                            3 Replies
                                            1. re: Brian S

                                              Thanks everyone. All the suggestion have been great. I was there last week and my boss, a lifelong resident, insisted on walking to all of our appointments. Our office is around 48th St (and 7th) and we walked to Washington Square for one, and the next day to Cooper Square - so I'd say that anything within a 40 minute trek is fine with me if living in Manhattan. I like hoofing it for exercise, so it's no biggie.

                                              But if the burroughs or NJ should be in the cards, so be it. I should have mentioned that being raised in the Southwest, I have a particular fondness for Mexican and New Mexican fare... so the above-linked NY Times article mentioning the taco stand perked my taste buds!

                                              1. re: tastyjon

                                                So your office is right near the N and the F. You can be in Chinatown or Jackson Heights (Mexican!) in 20 minutes.

                                                1. re: tastyjon

                                                  Brooklyn!!! And specifically: Carroll Gardens, Cobble Hill, Boerum Hill, Park Slope!
                                                  I worked in midtown for years and was always happy to escape to the calm and quiet out of Manhattan. Work downtown now, so my commute is SWEET! But to the main point...the food! So much going on in all the neighborhoods mentioned above. No good Mexican or New Mexican (my personal fave, grew up in Santa Fe), but that's why I have green chile shipped a couple times a year!

                                              2. if you can make it happen i would strongly recommend union sq ,
                                                the greenmarket is an unreal resource (besides fresh local produce;
                                                grass fed beef,bison,lamb
                                                free range poultry,baked goods,cheese,fish,ect.....
                                                also, there is a feeling of community among farmers,purveyors,local chefs (of which i had met with;in the AM) that is great & can only be had by live there or going offen.
                                                good luck


                                                1. you could also do washington heights for mexican and dominican. what it lacks in variety it makes up for in good subways (25 min to your work) and great living space -- also amazing cuban sandwiches, roast chicken and cafe con leche. But truth be told, if I were a bajillionaire I would live in a brownstone in the West Village close to Murrays Cheese and the Union Square greenmarket

                                                  1. east/west village or chelsea would be my first choices . i'm up on the uws and will quickly agree there's not too much going on up here... with some great exceptions.

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: nativeNYer

                                                      Union Square by far. As many others have mentioned there are so many excellent places in the area. within approx 5 blocks of me are WF, TJ, Gotham, USC, Strip House, Casa Mono, Zen Palette, Candela, Coffee Shop, John's of 12th st, Chomp, Bite, and many that i'm leaving out. Head over to 2nd avenue for some great places that wont cost too much.
                                                      Let me not leave out the best bagel place in the city, Bagel Bob's on University.

                                                      Definitely stay away from the UWS.

                                                    2. I would day 9th avenue in the 40's is hot as is the east village. Upper west side is no good. Union square is great if you're loaded (with money I mean).

                                                      1. Union Square gets my pick.Your only several stops from everywhere. Almost all public transportation stops there and your within walking distance of great dining places. You can even grab a bite 4am in the morning in the neighborhood.

                                                        5 Replies
                                                        1. re: csw

                                                          But midtown is only five minutes away from Union Sq by subway, or a really nice hour's walk along Fifth Ave. or Broadway.

                                                          1. re: Brian S

                                                            Midtown pales in comparison to lively union square..especially during the weekends. Nice to have everything downstairs. Plus its only a 30-40 minute walk to chinatown.

                                                            1. re: csw

                                                              Of course. But from Midtown you can get to Astoria, Jackson Heights and Flushing really quickly by subway.

                                                              1. re: Brian S

                                                                Haha, but by 5 minutes less only. You can say the same about going into brooklyn; 5 minutes quicker. On 14th street. you have more train/bus options and its least likely they will skip that station on the weekend schedule. I know its going to be hard to convince each other since were pretty diehard about locations haha. Plus theres enough fresh food markets within close proximity to avoid nasty Gristedes.

                                                          2. re: csw

                                                            I'd say if you can afford it, live downtown, since your work is in Midtown. Otherwise you'd get so "midtown" you might as well live in the burbs.

                                                          3. I live in Kips Bay/Murray Hill. THE Culinary Wasteland. But my movie theatre rocks! I would likely move here only because the EAST VILLAGE & LOWER EAST SIDE are a quick bus ride down 2nd Ave. As for chowhoundish neighborhoods, I'd look in these places and in this order:

                                                            EAST VILLAGE
                                                            UNION SQUARE
                                                            LOWER EAST SIDE
                                                            WEST VILLAGE

                                                            And yes, we are in the Manhattan board, so leave the other boroughs out of it.

                                                            ;oP j/k

                                                            1. I would highly suggest around the greenwich village area...LOTS of great food in the area because of the close proximity of NYU and Cooper Union, and many many more upscale restaurants because of the bar, lounge, club scene down there...


                                                              1. Gotta be Boerem Hill/Cobble Hill/Carrol Gardens area in Brooklyn. (Basically south of Atlantic Avenue, between Henry Streets and the Gowanus Canal.)

                                                                Great young restauranteurs opneing their first place keep the neighborhood places fresh and interesting, great market places and a decent scene for a single guy.

                                                                Esposito on Court Street for sausage, Italian combo heros and the best eggplant parmigiania in the world.

                                                                Closer to Atlantic Ave puts you closer to more subway options but raises yoru rent. The other side of Atlantic is Brooklyn Hieghts. That raises your rent a lot!

                                                                1. Since it sounds like money is not an issue, you could be happy in the East Village or Brooklyn Heights. I however, prefer not to pay $4000 a month for a 400 sq foot shoe box, so I will suggest Jackson Heights, in Queens, a quick ride on the E,F,V,R, or #7 train.

                                                                  my other suggestion is the 5th Avenue vicinity of Park Slope Brooklyn. However, if you go deeper into Brooklyn down 5th Avenue, you can get a much larger apartment in close proximity to both Latin and Asian communities with decent eats.

                                                                  Further afield but also of note is the Red Hook section of Brooklyn. A long walk from the Subway but a lovely neighborhood with up and coming restaurants, nightlife, a Fairway and the Red Hook Ball Fields, a fantastic pan latin food fest every weekend during semi-pro soccer season.

                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                  1. re: MaspethMaven

                                                                    Actually money is an issue. I have a moderate income. By no means am I getting into a 3 bedroom loft witha gym/pool. In fact my research tells me I can probably get by for a while with a studio or small one bedroom in the city... if I'm not getting suckered. Your suggestions are great.

                                                                    1. re: MaspethMaven

                                                                      Fairway is great. Don't forget that great brew pub in Red Hook! Their pizza is good too. I have to go all the way to Cornelia Street Cafe to get their beer on this side of the river.

                                                                    2. Although food is a major factor, you should also consider your personality. Here's my take:

                                                                      East Village for more casual/lively/young feel and you enjoy the bar scene. Seems like people are always out and about
                                                                      Union Sq if you don't mind being surrounded by college students and commotion. In my opinion, Union Sq in theory sounds like a great place to live, but practically it's become a madhouse
                                                                      Gramercy (my hood) if you like things to quiet down a little. It's close to Union Sq, Chelsea, 6 train ride to Chinatown, steps away from Curry Hill and a number of dependable staples and Irish bars in the neighbourhood
                                                                      Chelsea if you like to eat out a lot and enjoy wine bars / club scene (depending how far West in Chelsea).

                                                                      And trust me, once you are living in NYC, you will not want to hoof anywhere that takes 40 minutes (and neither will your friends) so pick a place near the N/R or 1/9 trains!

                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                      1. re: iloveguacamole

                                                                        The 1/9 line is horrible. It was the only train I could take in h.s. and college. Transferring to it was a b*tch. Its infrequent and slow. I'm glad those days are over.

                                                                      2. hell's kitchen may also be an option for you. lots of good restaurants nearby and rents are [supposedly] less expensive . it's also a central location.

                                                                        1. Union Square, East Village/LES or Financial District (getting overpriced because it is now "trendy" and getting a lot of press). My neighborhood markets are overpriced (Jubilee, Zeytuna). I can walk to Chinatown and Little Italy to buy food (nothing beats fresh pasta and mozzarella on Sunday AM). East Village/LES is a short M15 bus ride away (Essex Street Market, Economy Candy, Veniero's, Peter's of PR Coffee, Little India for spices, Sunday year round Tompkins Square Greenmarket, cheaper eats). Warehouse Wines/Broadway Panhandler short subway ride. Union Square Market/Trader Joe's one subway stop. Also, downtown has some great restaurants (Bouley, etc.). A studio downtown will average $2,000+/month. Outer boroughs might be more in the $1,000+/month range. If you like quiet living, LES/Hoboken watch out for bars and on John Street downtown some rentals are all 20 somethings/college.