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.