New York City, the most populous city in the USA, is home to around 8.4 million people. The city counts 1100 parks, 100 museums, 400 galleries, 400 theatres, around 100 skyscrapers, 3500 churches, 18,000 restaurants and 12,000 taxis.
New York City is famous for its colourful mix of ethnicities. A good third of New Yorkers have European heritage, about a quarter are African American or Latin American, and 10 percent come from Asia. Eccentrics, intellectuals, the marginalised, the rich and beautiful, Wall Street bankers, actors, artists, and buskers–New York City welcomes them all. In Midtown Manhattan, everything starts much earlier and much faster than elsewhere in the world. Political, economic, and cultural trends start here. Even those who believe they know New York are constantly surprised. The city has its own pace, and anyone who doesn’t keep up will be left behind. New York is a city like no other, as unfathomable as coloured air.
Manhattan is almost a synonym for New York City, even if it is only one of the city’s five boroughs. Manhattan benefits from the most famous of the sights, including Broadway, Times Square, the Empire State Building, Central Park, Wall Street, and the artists’ havens of Soho and Greenwich Village. In addition, it is home to world-renowned museums, exclusive luxury hotels, and the ethnic quarters of Little Italy, Harlem, and Chinatown.
East Village is characterised by pre-war walk-up buildings that have been renovated and are today residential buildings. New residential buildings have also been added. It used to be the home of squatters, punks, hippies und bikers; however, New York University (NYU) coupled with increasing incomes in Manhattan have transformed the scene: students, artists and first-jobbers have today moved in, with East Village seeing the opening of hundreds of boutiques, art galleries, bars and restaurants. St. Marks Place and Second Avenue are particularly busy. Despite its blossoming, East Village has remained relaxed, meaning that outsiders still feel welcome in this classic quarter.
Lower East Side
The Lower East Side was once one of the most densely populated areas in the world, despite its low-rise buildings, and for more than a century and a half it was also one of the poorest quarters in New York. Immigrants here started right at the bottom. Today, the area is a melting pot of culture and culinary magic, the creative force of which inspires the whole city. Cosy cafés, rusty fire escapes, and gloomy alleys give the Lower East Side a charm which is hard to ignore. Apartments in the area are mainly in the walk-up buildings near the East River. Following major conversion work, the Lower East Side presents some of the most exciting property offers in the city.
Upper East Side
The Upper East Side is the most elegant residential area in New York. Classy townhouses primarily characterise the city’s appearance on the west side near to Central Park. Towards the north and east, the residential area is more typical; this is where New York’s middle classes live. You can find cheaper rental apartments east of Lexington Avenue.
Sandstone houses dating from the 19th century line narrow streets–for once not straight–giving this city quarter a cosy, colonial atmosphere. But the relaxed impression is deceiving; West Village is a fast-paced quarter with a lot of activity. The cityscape here is characterised by terraced houses, traditional artists’ lofts and new residential tower blocks boasting views of the Hudson River. The Meatpacking District with it countless restaurants and opportunities for going out is the most modern part of New York. The popularity of the neighbouring areas of Soho und Chelsea in the south and north has further boosted the attraction of West Village and driven up property costs.
Chelsea consists mainly of residential blocks and lofts in converted warehouses. Chelsea’s western part was once industrially angular until it was enlivened in the nineties by numerous small art galleries. Of these, it is predominantly the high-quality art galleries that made their mark, such as the Gagosian Gallery, David Zwirner, Gladstone Gallery and Haunch of Venison. Particular attractions in Chelsea are the High Line (the former goods train line is today the High Line Park), the Chelsea Market with its wealth of restaurants and shops, and the Chelsea Piers. The attractive location, between Hell’s Kitchen, the Garment District and Meatpacking District, makes Chelsea a highly sought-after residential area.
The majority of SoHo (South of Houston Street) is part of the protected Cast Iron Historic District, a district characterised by richly adorned cast-iron house façades and cobblestoned streets. Located away from the hustle and bustle of Broadway and Spring Street, it is calmer in SoHo’s picturesque streets. When the artists moved into SoHo in the seventies, the district quickly became sought-after, and the prices for the large lofts began to rise. Although some creative types still inhabit the lofts, celebrities, models and bankers have also made SoHo their home. The quarter is known for its expensive boutiques and charming atmosphere. At night, it attracts a young crowd into the pleasantly restrained and easy-going bar scene.
In the last twenty years, Harlem, in the area below 125th Street, has experienced an incomparable building boom: studios, lofts and luxury apartments have shot up. Restaurants, concert halls and theatre galleries have kept pace, and a growing number of former Downtown residents have moved into the increasingly attractive Harlem. Throughout the building boom, historic churches, elegant terraced houses, museums, and jazz clubs, and thus the charming original character were kept.
Midtown, despite its crowded streets and honking taxis, is a unique highlight, famous for its architecturally important buildings, the quirky micro-quarters such as Koreatown, Little Brazil, and the Fashion District. From Times Square to the Broadway shows, up in the sky on the Empire State Building and the Rockefeller Center, walking along Central Park South or Fifth Avenue with its luxury boutiques, there is enough to do and see here for days and weeks. Midtown is also the home of Carnegie Hall and the MOMA. High-rises and luxury buildings with concierges dominate the residential scene here, and apartment prices are impressive.
Central Park is surrounded by the most sought-after streets: Central Park West, Central Park South and Fifth Avenue. The small number of apartments here offer breathtaking views. Furthermore, in addition to the leisure facilities and the relaxing green spaces of Central Park, the area boasts a number of museums, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Frick Collection, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and the Museum of Natural History. Buyers wishing to live in this area should also explore the Upper West Side and Upper East Side, both of which are popular residential areas. Some of the higher buildings boast wonderful views of the Park.
Brooklyn is famous for its historic sandstone houses, pretty brick villas with their neat front gardens, and attractive new residential buildings. The high-rises behind the tree-lined streets of Brooklyn Heights form a classic 20th-century city image. Businessmen and women bustle in and out of the marble office buildings, with the area growing quieter after 5.00 p.m. The footpath over Brooklyn Bridge, which has linked the district to Manhattan since 1883, is breathtaking. Since the young and creative types discovered Brooklyn, both its popularity and property prices have risen sharply.
Queens is the giant of New York’s five boroughs. The district stretches from the aspiring area of Long Island City, which offers a magnificent view of Manhattan, to the wetlands of Jamaica Bay. In no other district of the USA do so many different nationalities live in such close proximity. Queens is becoming an increasingly popular top cultural destination. There are some outstanding museums here, including the contemporary MoMa P.S.1 Art Center and the American Museum of the Moving Image. The two largest New York airports, JFK International and La Guardia, are also located here.
The Bronx is the northernmost borough, a quarter of which is park landscape–more than any other metropolitan region in the country. The southern part of the Bronx offers the most impressive Art Deco architecture in all New York. The houses in the Grand Concourse–a north-south link designed on the model of the Champs-Élysées–were built in the thirties in the Art Deco and Streamline Moderne styles. In addition to the many public buildings, theatres, and hotels, many elegant residential buildings were also built. The Bronx is famed most of all, though, for its world-famous baseball team, the New York Yankees. The Bronx Zoo is home to more than 4000 animals, who live in natural environments that simulate climatic conditions like the Himalaya highlands and the rainforests of the Congo for the benefit of its inhabitants. Many of the species have long been extinct in the wild.
Staten Island is in the southwest. Even though the island is easier to reach by car, the 25-minute crossing by the free Staten Island Ferry is worthwhile. It guarantees breathtaking views, not just of the skyline of Lower Manhattan, but also the Statue of Liberty and New York Harbour. This green city quarter boasts over 170 parks and is very varied. The St. George region offers art galleries and bars; south of that is Little Sri Lanka, which tempts visitors with seductive aromas. The historic Richmond Town, on the other hand, is a true-to-detail recreated historic village that is reminiscent of the colonial Williamsburg. Francis Ford Coppola filmed the two-part film The Godfather in Staten Island. Amongst the most impressive technical highlights is the 1298-metre-long Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, linking Brooklyn with Staten Island.