Wednesday, April 21, 2010

What's Your Favorite Neighborhood?

New York Magazine's feature on the 50 Most Livable neighborhoods in New York City has a lot of people talking. In particular, the magazine's ranking of seven brownstone Brooklyn neighborhoods in the top ten has given Brooklynites a lot to brag about, and has inflamed Manhattanites (among others) who thing that Brooklyn gentrifiers just go around smelling their own farts and complimenting each other on how awesome their neighborhoods are.

The reason the rankings turned out as they did is because of the way that the rankings emphasize a neighborhood's cost. Brownstone Brooklyn neighborhoods would strike most people as relatively expensive, but a $2,300 2-bedroom apartment in Park slope or Cobble Hill is still $1,000 a month or more cheaper than a similar apartment in the Village, or on the Upper East or Upper West sides. People who live in Manhattan come to take those prices, but a $3,500 or $4,000/mo 2-bedroom strikes most people as startlingly expensive. Brownstone Brooklyn neighborhoods are more expensive than Queens, Staten Island, or outer Brooklyn, but they're still cheaper than any neighborhood south of 125th Street in Manhattan, and though they may have slightly less shopping and nightlife than the neighborhoods in Manhattan, they have more than Queens and Staten Island. The question really boils down to what you consider to be the ideal neighborhood, and New York Magazine answered it, somewhat predictably, with the non-controversial "happy medium."

The article got me thinking - where would you live if you won the lottery, and could afford to live anywhere? (The question is not limited to New York)

Follow-up question - where would you live, assuming you do not win the lottery, but merely become very successful in your chosen career path?

For instance, if I won the lottery and could live anywhere, I would live on Columbia Heights, but since I don't plan on ever actually being able to afford a $15 million riverfront home, a more realistic goal, if things go right, is to live in a Brownstone between Seventh Avenue and Prospect Park West, between Lincoln and Garfield, or on South Elliot, South Portland, or South Oxford Streets, between Fort Greene Park and Fulton Street.


Ellen said...

As a Manhattanite, I am not distressed about Brooklyn's domination of the top 10. I expect New York has gotten or will get a fair amount of angry letters but they know to whom they speak.

I am distressed, however that my neighborhood placed below New Dorp, Staten Island. I have to think that determination was made purely on cost, because I don't know anyone who would prefer to live in Staten Island over Manhattan -- commute-wise, culture-wise, amenity-wise. (If anyone here would, please tell me why.)

8yearoldsdude said...

see, the whole thing is a farce designed to generate uninformed debate (hipsters on foodstamps!). the outcome of ranking is based almost exclusively on how the model is constructed and parameterized. this was parameterized for maximum linking internets

Wade Garrett said...

8yearoldsdude - I disagree. I don't think that, if they were going to try to create controversy, that they would rank Park Slope #1 and Cobble Hill, Brooklyn Heights, Carroll Gardens, etc in the top ten. Everybody likes those neighborhoods. Its just a question of whether the cost of the fancier neighborhoods in Manhattan would knock them out of contention. You are correct to say that the formula they use happens to favor the Brooklyn neighborhoods, but that just doesn't look like a list designed to generate controversy.