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The Best New York City Neighborhoods for Renters Right Now

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Some renters prioritize living in a new building over having cultural amenities nearby, while other renters just want to save some dough while still living in a neighborhood their friends have heard of. Whatever the case, New York City's got millions of rentals with more arriving in droves every day in neighborhoods whose offerings to prospective tenants run the gamut. From neighborhoods with fawned-over starchitecture to neighborhoods that are off the beaten path, read on for some insight about what 'hoods are prime for renting in right now, before they become too hot for their own good.

Downtown Brooklyn

The hot, hot heat rising off of Downtown Brooklyn is undeniable. While the area is on the precipice of change,er, gentrification (as if it were a night and day thing), it's still being identified by the Furman Center as a crucial neighborhood to de Blasio's affordable housing plan even as shiny new towers are on the rise. It's like a regular ol' rental bonanza in the 'hood: a Downtown Brooklyn Partnership report identifies over 6,500 apartments built in the neighborhood since 2005, with over 9,000 apartments expected by 2018. The rental tower at 66 Rockwell Place has already arrived, and City Point bringing it soon with 690 rentals, of which 125 will be priced below market rate. Following close behind is AvalonBay's massive new rental tower that will have 861 apartments asking from $2,890. It'll be the borough's tallest tower, beating out the nearby 388 Bridge Street which also recently introduced a slew of new rentals and condos to the area.

Along with all the new development comes a bunch of neighborhood amenities, insofar as an Alamo Drafthouse, City Target, and a new Eataly-style market are amenities. The neighborhood may also become home to a 21-acre greenway called the Brooklyn Strand that will connect the area's less walkable streets by way of pedestrian and bike lanes spanning between the Borough Hall subway stop and the waterfront surrounding the Brooklyn Bridge. Now that's something to be excited about.


While the more obvious choice in the area might be Long Island City, where it seems like listings appear every day for one of its new towers (we're looking at you, QLIC), the Queens neighborhood's northern, unassuming neighbor is the more prudent choice for budget-conscious renters. StreetEasy says Astoria's average price per square foot is just $736 compared to Long Island City's $1,120, meaning the neighborhood's rentals are hella cheaper. The median cost for a one-bedroom rental in Astoria is $1,975, where Long Island City's median one-bedroom is nearly $1,000 more per month at $2,800. StreetEasy lists about 650 apartments in Astoria up for grabs at the moment, which far outnumbers LIC's 354.

Sure, Astoria isn't known for being the best-looking neighborhood, but it's got some great cultural amenities, like the Noguchi Museum, Socrates Sculpture Park, Museum of the Moving Image, and not to mention some great tasty and cheap eats. There's also Astoria Park, which has the city's largest public pool. Perhaps one of the best parts is that, for being tucked away, it's still close to it all at just a 15-minute subway ride from Midtown on the M, N, Q, or R, which all run through the neighborhood.

Midtown West/Hell's Kitchen

For perennial renters with a few extra dollars to burn, patience is the name of the game in Midtown West, where a few major and highly-anticipated rental developments are in the works. Moinian's Sky is rising at 42nd Street on Eleventh Avenue and will be the city's largest rental building when complete, with a whopping 1,175 apartments starting at just $868 (for the affordable units, of course, which are accepting applications through mid-July.) Just to Sky's north on West 57th Street is Via, better known as Bjarke Ingels's tetrahedron, which will bring no less than 709 rentals with great bragging rights to the neighborhood.

Just behind Via is Durst Organization's 597-apartment Helena, now renting from $2,850 for a studio. Durst is also developing the 65-apartment Frank which will sit like a "small anchor or punctuation mark" alongside Helena. It hasn't been confirmed whether the 65 apartments will be rentals or condos, but YIMBY's guess is with rentals.

As if this all was not enough action, TF Cornerstone is working on their massive West 57th Street development which will rise across the street from the tetrahedron. The development will very nearly rival Sky in size, with 1,028 apartments, but whether they'll be rentals or condos hasn't been announced yet.

Lesson here: get in the ground floor, before prices in the neighborhood go up, up, up.

Prospect Lefferts Gardens

New development is abuzz in Prospect Lefferts Gardens on the eastern border of Prospect Park and south of Crown Heights. The neighborhood is braced to receive over 1,000 new apartments in the coming years in buildings that break the mold for the enclave that was, until now, largely untouched by developers. Consider the neighborhood's brand-spankin'-new 23-story tower an omen of things to come: it is the tallest building ever constructed in the neighborhood, and will have 254 market rate and below-market rate apartments.

StreetEasy cites the median ask of a two-bedroom rental in the neighborhood as just $2,000, which is a sweet deal for those the neighborhood is already wooing from Park Slope and Prospect Heights. (Ah, so that explains this hipster childrens clothes consignment store and that bespoke bakery and coffee shop.) In addition to its relatively low rents and tons of new units, the neighborhood could be no closer to Prospect Park and the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens. So long as commuters don't mind the extra time spent on the 2, 5, B, Q, or S when all of their friends decide PLG is too far of a schlep, then it's a solid neighborhood to consider.

Financial District

An unlikely candidate for residential no more, the Financial District is welcoming tenants with open arms. Seemingly in synch with the redevelopment of the World Trade Center, the neighborhood has transformed from a 9 to 5 destination into a place people actually want to stick around after dark. Along with an influx in condos—hello, The Beekman Residences—the neighborhood is or will be home to a slew of rentals in part housed in the city's aging—and lovely—office towers. The Art Deco stunner at 70 Pine Street, formerly the AIG building, is due to start leasing its 644 amenity-laden rentals any day now. Not convinced of FiDi's resurgence yet? Here's something else: the owners of the West Village's perennially hot Spotted Pig just announced that they're opening a "glamorous" rooftop venue at 70 Pine, which is sure to draw former neighborhood detractors.

The neighborhood's access to transportation is arguably better than Midtown's, with the PATH, 1, 2, 3, A, C, E, 4, 5, J, Z, N, R, and Staten Island Ferry all converging in its boundaries. In addition to being home to one of the most significant sites and museums in America, it is home to the city's oldest park. Dare we mention it's also the location of Manhattan's only Denny's, which serves booze, no less? Believe it, things are happening in the Financial District.
· All Renters Week 2015 coverage [Curbed]