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Moving to NY. East Village?

We're moving to NY from Seattle and wondering where we should live. After initially looking at the UWS because of access to CP, we've moved out area of focus to the east village and LES because every time I visit, that seems to be where all the cool little bistros, bars and cafes are. The price seems better there too and access to Chinatown is nice. I'm going to be working from home for the most part, so cafes with internet access would be a nice alternative to our apartment. We're 30 and NOT hipsters (we're from Seattle, after all), just like to go out for great food without pretension. We also cook quite a bit at home now, though not sure that will continue while we're there.

If you were only going to live in Manhattan for a year, where would you live?

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  1. I lived downtown for 4 years, in Brooklyn for 1 and have found my home on the UWS for the past 2. It's true that we don't have the same glut of trendy eateries I had when I lived in Chelsea or the Village, but we do have the best food shopping in the city. Fairway and the occasional trip to Pioneer allows me a foie gras diet at Oscar-Meyer prices. Some weeks my grocery bill doesn't even break $30. And living off the 2-3 makes travelling to the Chelsea Market or Greenmarket a 15-min. breeze. With the extra space that comes with living in an uptown pre-war, I can have large, high-quality dinners with friends at a fraction of the cost (both financial and mental) I paid downtown.

    And while I might not be next door to some raucous organic sake-hibachi for vegans, I am only blocks away from Telepan, Compass, Sushi Gari and Earthen Oven. I am minutes away from the best lox in the world at Zabar's and Barney Greengrass and a short ride from the ethnic delights of Harlem, Hell's Kitchen or Chelsea. And at the end of the night, rather than contending with drunken crowds on my doorstep, I can walk home and sleep in peace. I honestly cannot imagine a better deal. Oh, and the cheaper rent helps things, too.

    1 Reply
    1. re: JungMann

      I think you have assessed it very well and made the right choice.
      Make your first Italian dinner Crispo.
      You will be pleased.
      Weclome to the Big A.

    2. Hi there - We recently moved from a very tiny apt in the west village, where the buildings are smaller and more charming, and everything seems to be more expensive, to a larger place in the east village. There are pro's and con's to every neighborhood. Ten years ago, the east village was a lot more seedy than it is now, and it's getting harder to find a good deal on an apt (but not impossible). If you like to cook you'll probably go through phases of eating out and cooking at home. I found shopping for produce and high quality meat to be much easier on the west side (you have chelsea market, and a stretch on Bleecker w/ Murrays Cheese + 2 butchers) than in the east village. I also work from home, and have been relying on Fresh Direct (grocery delivery; not cheap) a lot for just about everything.

      If you've been to the east village / LES and like it, then I'd say go ahead and start apt shopping here. I live between ave's B & C, and while it's not a pretty as other neighborhoods in the city, I certainly haven't had any safety issues. and like I said, you can still find a good deal. Tompkins Square Park is pretty big, and I love living right near it, esp for the dog run.

      Now on to the food - I've lived in the east village for almost 3 months, and I still feel like there is a LOT to discover... lots of hole in the wall ethnic food, and plenty of upscale foodie spots and everything in between (Degustation, Peasant, Cacio e Pepe, etc) in close walking distance too. In conclusion, if you like to go out, and feel that you're going to find yourself traveling down here often, it would certainly be worth it to live here... the year will definitely go by fast.

      Have fun & best of luck!

      1. Union Square is walking distance to East village, farmer market, west village, gramercy, meat packing, chinatown/tribeca/financial is a stop away or a leisurely walk, chelsea market, chelsea, & all the busses and train stops there including the L to williamsburg.

        1. It really depends on what you are looking for. Since you will be working from home alot be very careful about where your building in the East Village/ LES is. For example I live in a gorgeous historic building on the LES in a decent size 1 bedroom. However, I live right above a hip-hop sneaker store which often has events in their back yard. Not the easiest enviornment to work from home in. The UWS will be much quieter but has more of a suburb/ stogy NY feel than the LES/ EV. If proximity to great little restaurants is your thing then you can't beat the EV/ LES.

          1. My boyfriend and I have lived in the East Village for 2 years. we're in our 30s, not hipsters, and love the neighborhood. Moved here from SF. We try new restaurants all the time that don't break the bank, which is the best part about living here. But -- we've been looking for a new apt in the hood - and it's getting really expensive. We've seen apartments the same size as ours, going for $700 more p month. It's not impossible to find a place, but the neighborhood is becoming v expensive. You will have to compromise on what you're looking for, particularly if you want space. Also, beware of being on a street facing apartment -- most notably from Ave A. eastward -- it gets loud. especially on weekends when you have all the bridge and tunnel foot traffic and the kids hitting the bars. Just some considerations to think about. Great restaurants are a big perk, but no matter where you are in NYC - if you want a social life you will travel for good meals and drinks. We're now looking on the UWS. Hope this helps.

            1 Reply
            1. re: sugarplum599

              Thanks for the advice. We're not too picky on the place as we don't plan on being there for more than a year. I will search out an inward facing apt.

            2. I used to live on the UWS and while it is a bit cleaner, safer, and quieter, EV/LES has tons of great cafes and restaurants. There's a few threads already devoted to those with wireless, do a search.

              If you like to cook, you have access to Bowery Whole Foods, Essex St Market, and St Marks Market (secret weapon/korean deli that has far more selections than it should).

              My EV favorites:

              1. Most anywhere in the greater E.Village/UnionSq/CentralVillage/Soho area is walkable (unlike Seattle)...i'm appalled by the lack of good food on the UWS and personally think downtown is the only place to live foodwise...(before leaving the city recently, i used to live in UnionSq but would normally walk to the East Village, Soho or Gramercy to eat)...so i'd say think of anywhere in that greater Central Downtown area as opposed to the East Village only...

                Compared to Seattle, you'll love being able to walk or quick-cab to so many different options so easily...ten different Japanese izakayas? Ethiopian? 50+ very different Italian places? a dozen French bistros? -- all five minutes away by cab or ten by walking if you live in Central/East Village...

                On the other hand, you're going to miss having solid American bistro fare w/ local ingredients at reasonable prices w/ genuinely nice service -- i.e. Manhattan doesn't have a single restaurant that fits that bill as well as Matt's In the Market or Restaurant Zoe...(nor a tapas place anywhere near as good as Harvest Vine)...

                3 Replies
                1. re: Simon

                  Funny. You mentioned one of my all time favs: Harvest Vine. The owner is opening a new place in Belltown called San Sebastian. You'll have to check it out next time you're in town.

                  1. re: eternalX

                    Cool...you'll have fun in Manhattan though...my personal favs include:

                    -- Ushi Wakamaru for sushi (temporarily closed, so i hear)
                    -- Cacio e Vino (East Village Sicilian)
                    -- Grand Central Oyster Bar (only for oysters, only at the actual oyster bar, but you'll be able to get great selection of Wash/BC oysters there)
                    -- Balthazar
                    -- Lucien
                    -- Sripraphai (Queens)
                    -- NY Noodletown (Chinatown roasted meats and salt-baked squid)
                    -- Cafe Mogador
                    -- Aburiya Kinnosuke


                    1. re: Simon

                      oh, and i forgot:

                      -- Il Giglio (Tribeca, semi-fancy old school Italian)
                      -- Tides (cute trendy seafood place in LES)
                      -- Keens Steakhouse

                2. Personally my favorite area is 8th-13street between Broadway and University place. It makes me feel the center of everything.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: DarthEater

                    And the side streets through that area are very pretty,too. You have all the food and shopping you'll ever need, and the east and west villages are SO close.

                  2. I'm a 30 year old non-hipster who has lived the the East Village/Alphabet City for 6 years. I absolutely love it. There are plenty of great dining destinations, Internet Cafes & although the subway can be a bit of a pain to get to from my Ave. C Apt, the bus system around here rocks. I've reviewed quite a few of the local restaurants, you can check them out here; http://thursdayclubnyc.blogspot.com/s...

                    Jason - http://www.thursdayclubnyc.com

                    1. I have ONLY lived downtown and been here for over 10 years. Just watch out for bars/restaurant noise in the EV/LES. I'm near the Seaport and spend alot of time in the EV/LES/TriBeCa (all have some of the best food in the city and are a walk or bus ride away). Little Italy, Union Square Market (Trader Joe's is there) and Chinatown have v. good food shopping and are not far. You will see staffs from the city's best restaurants shopping at Union Square. EV has Tompkins Square Greenmarket every Sunday (smaller than Union Sq.). There is a Whole Foods on Houston, plus the Essex Street Market (already mentioned) and Economy Candy and institutions like Russ & Daughter and Katz'. Sometimes I venture to Chelsea Market or Fairway in Brooklyn. South of 14th Street is v. good for people who like to eat and cook!

                      I believe TriBeCa is now considered the most expensive neighborhood, and the restaurants there follow suit (many owned by Bouley). Two years ago a less than 600 sq. ft. alcove studio (new, with an open kitchen) with 10 ft. ceilings ran $2,000+ in my neighborhood. It is good to have a roommate, lots of disposable income, an expense account [business dinners :) ] or trust fund. Good luck!

                      1. Thanks for the replies. Ended up getting a place on Ludlow near Rivington. Can't wait to move in and start trying out the local eateries!

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: eternalX

                          Congratulations! I am out of dark chocolate (and craving it) and need to get to Economy Candy tomorrow!

                          1. re: eternalX

                            Congrats and welcome! I hope you post back with your impressions of the places we've recommended.