Considering a move to New York City? See what locals have to say about what makes their city great.
The Big Apple has always been known for its 24/7 lifestyle, the iconic skyline, and the patterned grid that makes up Manhattan’s taxi-filled streets. It’s also known for extremely high real estate prices, and the demand to match.
In New York, NY, living in a neighborhood close to your favorite pizza joint or by Central Park may not be affordable, but every part of the city has something to offer those seeking a daily adventure.
With the average sales price well over $1 million and increasing steadily year over year, and average rent just below $5,000, the search for the perfect home for sale in New York, NY, may rely heavily on the surrounding, easily accessible New York City amenities and activities, versus price points alone.
New York City can be confusing to navigate for anyone seeking to move here, but learning from New Yorkers may clear things up!
1. What is your city’s source of pride?
“New York City is one of the most diverse cities in the world. Our city is the rare combination of global diversity with local charm. We represent virtually every nation in the world, while still maintaining a strong sense of community. This acceptance of diversity makes us stronger and resilient. In a sense, New York is like an amazing mix of eclectic interior decor. The beauty lies in the juxtaposition of culture.
“New York City is a diverse metropolis, full of cultural representatives from across the globe. Yet, there is one thing [that] unites this diversity. One common thread that electrifies this city serving as a source of strength during adversity. Regardless of our culture, ethnicity, or race, we are all New Yorkers. We come together in the face of disasters to care for each other and to restore the New York way of life we all embrace. Each corner of the city, from Chelsea to Coney Island is chock-full of cultural diversity, but when the going gets tough, we all band together because we are all New Yorkers.” — Jeffery Schreiner, Memoky Inc.
“Our strength, diversity, and resilience. New York is a city that is constantly being rebuilt, and this influx of new ideas and new people is what makes our city strong. NYC is a destination for not only tourists but investors, as a direct result of our stability. Our people, our diversity, as well as our markets, expanding from finance to technology over the past decade.” — Michael Rossi, Elegran
2. What makes you a true New Yorker?
“I’m a true born-and-raised New Yorker. I left for four years during college and only recently moved to Westchester three years ago.” — Matt Lesser, Leslie J. Garfield
“Lydia is really a true New Yorker, born and raised. Lisa is a Texas transplant, but after 26 years in the city, she calls herself a New Yorker. We think a true New Yorker is someone that knows how to have anything delivered, at any time of the day or night, to any locations.” — Lisa Frantz & Lydia Marks, Marks & Frantz Interior Design
“Not being afraid of life’s possibilities.” — Claudine Williams, Claudine Williams Photography
“Over the course of the past 10 years, I have lived in Brooklyn, Manhattan, and now Queens. I think what makes me a true New Yorker is my ability to navigate the subway system without having to look at a map. ;) I just know where I’m going, and I know at least five different ways to get there.” — Michael Kormos, Michael Kormos Photography
“Impatience and immunity to craziness of all sorts.” — Brandon Carter, The SquareFoot
3. What is New York City’s best-kept secret?
“I don’t think it’s necessarily a secret, but all the family-friendly activities and opportunities the city provides for children of all ages. The resources are amazing compared to smaller towns and cities.” — Michael Kormos, Michael Kormos Photography
“Probably the number of peaceful, secret gardens it has. Tudor City Greens is pretty amazing but like the rest of Tudor City is sort of hiding in plain sight.” — Brandon Carter, The SquareFoot
“The friendlier the service, the worse the food is. This sort of circles back to that whole New Yorker direct approach to life. Typically, if the staff is wasting their time with the casual pleasantries of the day, they are overcompensating for their mediocre menu. Some of the best food in this city is served by some of the ‘rudest’ servers in the industry. Again, the general misconception for the New Yorker is that they are rude and in a rush. We aren’t rude, just to the point. Here’s your food. It’s great. Next in line. Energy is spent on food quality and getting it to the customer, not necessarily on asking you how your day is going.” — Jeffery Schreiner, Memoky Inc.
4. What advice would you give to those moving to NYC?
“There’s no bad neighborhood to live [in]. They’re all different and offer different things to different people and what phase you’re in during your lifetime.” — Matt Lesser, Leslie J. Garfield
“Research your neighborhoods, and don’t just read about them! Go out and walk the neighborhood, check out the grocery stores and restaurants … get a good feel for the people as well as the amenities.” — Lisa Frantz & Lydia Marks, Marks & Frantz Interior Design
“In NYC’s fast-paced, ever-changing real estate environment, it’s important to enter into any transaction educated on the current market. Having a real estate agent on your side throughout the ins and outs of the process gives you a much-needed sense of security throughout this meaningful decision, and though you can navigate the process on your own, you will most likely save time and money finding someone knowledgeable that you can really trust.” — Tigh Loughhead, Elegran
“Hang out and feel the vibes of the neighborhoods you are thinking of moving into before you sign a lease/buy an apartment.” — Claudine Williams, Claudine Williams Photography
5. What, in your opinion, is the most up-and-coming neighborhood in your city?
“For many years now, Central Harlem has been undergoing major transformations, seeing a slew of new developments, restaurants, and nightlife transforming the area, while still keeping a cultural tie to its rich past. Hudson Yards and the Lower East Side are both undergoing a massive redevelopment at the moment and will look totally different in the coming years.” — Tigh Loughhead, Elegran
“Bushwick has very quickly become the ‘hip’ neighborhood in the past few years, and all sorts of creative types are moving into the neighborhood’s converted loft spaces, transforming them into their rustic urban villas. New dive bars, bodegas with health options, and gallery spaces continue to thrive and attract residents and visitors alike. Although Bushwick is busy thriving, a somewhat grungy heart still beats beneath its remodeled exterior. Sure, some parts of the neighborhood are still dangerous, but that can be said of any neighborhood in any city.” — Jeffery Schreiner, Memoky Inc.
“Long Island City hands down is one of the most up-and-coming neighborhoods in NYC. Modern luxury buildings abound in this area, and the shopping and boutiques are perfect for young families. Gantry Plaza Park offers an awesome boardwalk, huge open fields, awesome playgrounds, beach volleyball, and even kayaking on the weekends. Not to mention, it’s the perfect setting for family photo shoots with epic views of the Manhattan skyline at sunset.” — Michael Kormos, Michael Kormos Photography
6. What is the best quintessential New York food and where can you find it?
“Anything with chopsticks ranks high on our list! Best dumplings are in Queens and best dim sum is in Brooklyn’s Chinatown.” — Lisa Frantz & Lydia Marks, Marks & Frantz Interior Design
“That’s tough, and while we’re inclined to say pizza, we’ve noticed the biggest difference in NYC bagels from other parts of the country, probably because of the water. Some of our favorite spots include Ess-a-Bagel, Kossar’s Bialys, and Murray’s Bagels, to name a few, but sometimes, a neighborhood bagel joint, just around the corner, is somehow the most gratifying. Having said that, the city is home to any cuisine imaginable, and in our opinion, that’s what makes the NYC food scene so spectacular.” — Tigh Loughhead, Elegran
“Without a doubt, pizza. Check out St. Mark’s Place for the best $1 slice of cheese you can find in the city. And of course, you can’t leave without grabbing a falafel. You can literally find it anywhere and it’s always fantastic. Just remember, if they are being too nice, move along to the next option!” — Jeffery Schreiner, Memoky Inc.
“Some might say street meat, but after seeing numerous news stories and getting some inside information, I would not advise. Take your pick: Chinese or pizza. Dim sum: Shun Lee, and pizza: John’s of Bleecker Street.” — Matt Lesser, Leslie J. Garfield
“A bagel and cream cheese. You can find them at most food carts and all delis. They don’t compare anywhere else along the East Coast!” — Claudine Williams, Claudine Williams Photography
“I’ve got to go with Katz’s Delicatessen on Houston Street for the best pastrami sandwiches in NYC. My grandfather and other relatives would go there every Sunday. Such a great childhood memory, and can’t help but feel that is quintessential NYC!” — Michael Kormos, Michael Kormos Photography
“Hard to argue with the Middle Eastern fare of Halal Guys. A proper New York institution that you can’t get just anywhere.” — Brandon Carter, The SquareFoot
7. What’s your favorite weekend activity in or around NYC?
“This is a tough one. There are just so many amazing things to do and see in the city. If we had to choose just one, we would have to go with watching a classic movie at the Film Forum. Of course, that movie would have to include grabbing a quick bite to eat in the East Village. From Ukrainian to Ethiopian, the East Village has some of the finest world cuisine in the city.” — Jeffery Schreiner, Memoky Inc.
“The best part of NYC is being able to walk all day long and experience the streets. Eat, drink, shop, and walk.” — Matt Lesser, Leslie J. Garfield
“Governors Island is the best weekend spent in the city in the summer! Storm King Art Center and Dia:Beacon are a favorite day trip out of the city, year-round.” — Lisa Frantz & Lydia Marks, Marks & Frantz Interior Design
“There is never a lack of events in NYC at any time or during any season. However, my favorite weekend activity happens to be just outside NYC. I love taking advantage of all the hiking and trails the Hudson Valley has to offer. Just a short trip from NYC, you can take in the fall foliage from atop some great mountains and experience some tremendous views.” — Dan Toder, Elegran
“Watching my son play Little League at the Battery Park ball fields and then hanging out with my husband and friends over dinner. Simple things.” — Claudine Williams, Claudine Williams Photography
“We love making each weekend an adventure with our kids. They’re growing up too fast, so we try to plan something exciting and fun on their days off from school. As a family photographer in Midtown Manhattan, it feels only natural to us to document our lives and our children whenever we can. We love photographing our kids amidst the many beautiful and diverse settings that NYC has to offer. Some of our favorite settings to visit are Coney Island, Prospect Park, Brooklyn Bridge Park, Gantry Plaza Park, and of course Central Park. Never a shortage of adventures in this wonderful city of ours!” — Michael Kormos, Michael Kormos Photography
“Playing tennis in Fort Greene Park and walking through a farmers market or a tree-lined street on a brisk autumn morning keeps me grounded.” — Brandon Carter, The SquareFoot