I hope you are well. Manhattan has about a 1% vacancy rate amongst rental units, so virtually all of if is good for rentals. However, if you are talking about renting a unit you buy, before you move in, then there are huge differences between buying a condominium and a Co-op. Long story short,(a local saying), Co-op's can be highly restrictive, to the point of not allowing rentals.
Regarding the Civic Center; I believe you are refering to the City Hall area. I personally feel it is one of the best areas. The area to the West of City Hall is called Tribeca, (Triangle below Canal), which stretches to the North and South of City Hall. This was a warehouse and Manufacturing District into the 1950s and 1960's, serviceing long ago removed shipping docks. The buildings are generally smaller and beautifull. There are also some dramatic per war office buildings,( pre World War II), which are mostly converted to residential. The area,bounded by Canal, Broadway, the Hudson River and the World TradeCenter, is mostly landmarked and has Zoning restrictions which limit height., (which limits supply of buildings). This is a quaint area. Additionally, there are many parks and recreational activities. Also, all subway lines have stops on Chanbers Street, (the Nrothern Street of the Civic center), so there is easy access to the rest of the city and it's bouroghs. This area tends to rent and sell higher than to the East and South East of City Hall. Which also have many of the same logistacle advantages of Tribeca and is called the Seaport and the Finacial Districts. These are also great areas; however, as the zoning is much more liberal, and the areas have less landmarking; so there is much more supply and the prices tend to be lower.
iIn any case, if you are looking for professional help, I have over 20 years of NYC Brokerage experience and I would be happy to be of service.
Peter Howard, Associate Broker
Charles Rutenberg, LLC
127 East 56th Street
New York NY, 10022
917 414 5093