New York City - Neighborhoods
• Financial District Lower Manhattan below Chambers Street. Long the center of the American economy, the Financial District is full of impressive turn-of-the-century buildings and is a hive of activity during the day. At night it clears out considerably, though it is becoming an increasingly residential area, giving it more flavor than it has had in the past.
• Tribeca South of Canal, East of West Street, West of Broadway. Tribeca (which stands for the 'TRiangle BElow CAnal') is a former industrial area that has been turned into a fabulously expensive and celebrity-laden neighborhood, replete with fantastic restaurants. Unlike SoHo to the north, Tribeca is not over-filled with shoppers on weekends, and Greenwich Street could be mistaken for the main street of a beautifully preserved small town
• Chinatown Centered around Mott Street. This is the largest immigrant enclave in the United States, and it is still growing. The name 'Chinatown' is a bit misleading as immigrants from a variety of Asian countries populate the area. There is food galore, and most of it costs less than the tax you would pay in other parts of the city. It's also a bargain center for shoppers, and haggling is de rigueur, especially on Canal Street. English is not the primary language here, so unless you speak Cantonese, be prepared to be confused.
• Little Italy Mulberry Street in Chinatown. Little Italy exerts a powerful tug on the American imagination, partly because of the Godfather movies, but most of the Italian immigrants have long since left for other areas. The strip on Mulberry Street is crowded with Italian restaurants and groceries, many of which cater to tourists rather than locals. The Feast of San Gennaro in the second week of September is definitely worth a visit.
• Lower East Side South of Houston, East of Bowery, North of Canal. Formerly the center for Jewish life in New York, the Lower East Side fell into disrepair in the middle of the 20th century, only to be rejuvenated by the Hispanic community (visitors may hear the neighborhood referred to as 'Loisaida'). It is increasingly becoming a trendy nightspot, with hipsters living cheek-by-jowl with aging Puerto Rican immigrants. Unlikely though it may seem during the day time, at night the LSE is filled with gourmands and partygoers.
• SoHo South of Houston, West of Centre, East of West Street. The ultimate urban gentrification story, SoHo was a rundown industrial area until the 1960s, when artists began inhabiting its spacious and then-cheap lofts. After the artists came the galleries, then the celebrities, then the shoppers, and now the visitors. Filled with gorgeous cast-iron architecture (Greene Street especially), SoHo is a great shopping and dining destination, even if many of the artists have moved on.
• Greenwich Village South of 14th, West of Broadway, North of Houston. Probably the most famous neighborhood in the United States, Greenwich Village (also known as the West Village or just the Village) has maintained its charming bohemian character despite becoming incredibly expensive. Home to New York University and countless twenty-somethings, the Village is also popular with families. Its crooked and narrow streets are full of beautiful brownstones, great stores, and fabulous restaurants. The Meatpacking District in the far northwest of the Village has become the neighborhood people love to hate, as it is full of trendy restaurants, upscale shopping, and suburbanites in for a good time.
• East Village South of 14th, East of Broadway, North of Houston. The edgier version of Greenwich Village, the East Village is popular with college students and suburban teenagers in the city for a weekend. Despite those strikes against it, it's a great neighborhood, with many delicious restaurants. St. Marks Place is the most visited stretch. Tompkins Square Park, formerly a homeless shantytown, is charming.
• Gramercy/Flatiron/Union Square North of 14th, South of 34th, East of Broadway. Centered around three parks--Union Square, Gramercy, and Madison Square--this area is full of lovely little pockets. Park Avenue South has become a restaurant hotspot, while Irving Place maintains its quiet and charming atmosphere. Third Avenue is popular with the bar crowds.
• Chelsea North of 14th, South of 34th, West of Broadway. The city's gallery scene has left SoHo for Chelsea and is now centered around 10th Avenue in the 20s. While Chelsea has gone upscale in recent years, it retains its vibrant gay scene, and boasts many great restaurants.
• Murray Hill North of 34th, South of 42nd, East of Madison. Probably the quietest neighborhood in all of Manhattan, Murray Hill has many lovely townhouses inhabited by Midtown office types and UN diplomats. Not a whole lot happens in Murray Hill, which is just how its residents want it.
• Midtown North of 34, East of 8th, West of Madison, South of 59th. Midtown is probably the only area of Manhattan that cannot be said to be residential. It is full of offices, theaters (Times Square is here, after all), and shopping, and the real estate is so expensive that only corporations or people with pied-a-terres can live here. That said, an increasing number of condos are popping up in the area, though it's too soon to tell how that will impact its character.
• Hell's Kitchen North of 34th, South of 59th, West of 8th. Though real estate brokers tried to change the name of the neighborhood to 'Clinton,' New Yorkers have wisely stuck with the more appealing Hell's Kitchen. A fairly derelict area until recently, Hell's Kitchen is undergoing major gentrification, and has numerous restaurants and nightspots on 8th and 9th Avenues.
• Upper West Side North of 59th, South of 96th, West of Central Park. Home to countless registered Democrats and baby strollers, the Upper West Side is packed with gorgeous brownstones and magnificent apartment houses. If you are a regular reader of the New York Times or have ever made a reference to Visconti in casual conversation, the Upper West Side is for you.
• Upper East Side North of 59th, South of 96th, East of Central Park. This is the ritziest neighborhood in New York, where all of blue-blooded high society (as well as wealthy upstarts--P.Diddy lives here) calls home. The buildings are beautiful, the stores are expensive, and kids are away at Choate and Andover.
• Morningside Heights North of 96th, South of 125th, West of Morningside Park. Home to Columbia University and several other schools, Morningside Heights has a distinctly shabby genteel intellectual atmosphere. The stretch between 96th and 106th had been fairly quiet until recently, when real estate brokers began pouncing on it.
• East Harlem/El Barrio North of 96th, South of 125th, East of 5th Avenue. A jarring contrast from the patrician Upper East Side to the south, East Harlem is a major center of Hispanic culture in New York, and is full of great Latin American restaurants. Like Harlem proper, it is increasingly becoming populated by wealthier types on the lookout for the next big real estate deal.
• Harlem North of Central Park, East of Morningside Park, West of Fifth, South of 145th. The center of black cultural life for most of the twentieth century, Harlem is a vibrant and energetic neighborhood that has become popular with West African immigrants in recent years, resulting in a variety of good and inexpensive restaurants. The beautiful brownstones of Harlem have become popular with real estate investors.
Adapted from WikiTravel under the Wiki License
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