It all depends on whether you care more about location, square footage, Long-Term stability, Or a quick turn around sale.
If you can hook us up with some ideas as to what your goals are, perhaps we can answer your question better.
I would add that the 3 factors that seem to be likely to make an impact on property values in hyper-local neighborhoods in the coming years are:
a. development at Ground Zero bringing in huge numbers of new corporate employees to a neighborhood with limited residential supply
b. massive development at the westside rail-yards in Hells Kitchen.
c. the operation of the new Second Ave subway. Until it actually starts moving people from north to south, I don't think it will have much impact on prices or values but once it does start rolling, I think from Second Ave to the East River we are going to see values rise.
That's not to say that these are the "best deals" but it does suggest that investing in these areas now might offer a higher level of appreciation for those who can wait than purchases in stable locations would offer.
it all depends on what you mean with "the best deal".
Buying an apartment is both a very important investment decision and a very important life decision.
Is the Best deal the amount of space you will get for your money, a lower price per square foot?
How long are you planning to stay in the neighborhood? Do you want to buy in an up and coming neighborhood and are willing to live through construction and current lack of transportation for a few years to be able to see the value of your property rise significantly, years from now, or do you want/need certain things right now?
I agree with Richard, buying a property ''on sale" can be like buying a dress "on sale". If you are willing to wear that cheaper dress for a while waiting for it to come back in style, you will be able to get a great price now, if not, a better deal for you is to buy into a nice neighborhood.
My advice would be to start working with a buyers broker who can guide you through the process and help you find the best deal for you!
How about a different option for you that no one has mentioned yet. As good as Manhattan is, many people are just priced out of it. Have you ever considered Long Island City, its a 7 minute commute to midtown, you have much better views looking at the city, as opposed to you living in the. Lots of new construction, the area is growinig and changing at a quick pace and is probably one of the best investments you can make now.
Let me know if you need more info, they have tours I can set you up with.