Every part of moving sucks, but the most stressful and I-want-rip-my-hair-out stuff comes in the beginning, when you're trying to find a new place to call home. In New York City, where you literally have hundreds of neighborhoods to choose from, the task is incredibly daunting. But newbie search site Your Neighborhood wants to ease the pain. The start-up launched in late June, and it streamlines the process of choosing a neighborhood with a search engine that incorporates your budget, maximum commute length, and a few lifestyle preferences. Input your rent range, where you would like to live, what you like to do for entertainment, and it spits out a few neighborhoods that suit your needs.
We did a variety of different searches for both renting and buying. The site seems like it would be very helpful for people moving to New York for the first time, but for residents familiar with the five boroughs (and especially the borough in which you want to live), it seems a bit rudimentary?unless, of course, you're wildly indecisive. Nevertheless, it's still a fun tool, and will probably be more useful once users start to contribute.
There are two ways to search. The first is a Quick Search that asks whether you want to rent or buy, your budget, where you commute to, and your maximum commute time. Here's what we input:
Our neighborhood choices were East Harlem, Harlem, the Lower East Side, Morningside Heights, and Murray Hill. Each neighborhood profile has a brief description, a few photos, plus information about transit options, average rent, and landmarks in the area. There are also links to city data about schools and crime stats, and users can add comments and photos. Here's the profile for the Lower East Side:
The second search option is more detailed. We kept the same basic information as above, and input these answers:
Note that choices of entertainment are limited to restaurants, bars, lounges, theater, and sporting events, and if have a car, you have to choose how much you're willing to pay for parking. The neighborhoods we received were the exact same as the Quick Search results. Upping the rent to $2,001 to $3,000 gave us Alphabet City, Battery Park City, Chelsea, Chinatown, and Clinton.
By playing around with different options, you can understand why the site doesn't make very much sense for people familiar with the city. There are many other neighborhoods where a single Manhattan renter who likes restaurants could live for less than $3,000 other than the five listed above.
There are a few technical issues that could be improved to make the site more user-friendly. There's no simple way to modify your search; you must start all over, but there's no "Search Again" button on the results page. Natural instinct is to click the back button on your browser, but then the search page still needs to be refreshed to clear your old answers. The question answers could also be improved. We mentioned that the entertainment choices are seriously limited, and there's no option to choose more than one borough. Also, the West Village is missing from the Manhattan neighborhood list.
Your Neighborhood has potential to be useful for people who are new to New York, but it seems unlikely that it will become a go-to tool for current residents moving within the five boroughs. Perhaps if it included the number of hipsters, cronut bakeries, and annoying NIMBYs in a neighborhood, people might be more into it.
· Your Neighborhood [official]