General Question

haleyray07's avatar

Safest AND Cheapest places to live as close to Manhattan as possible?

Asked by haleyray07 (225points) January 31st, 2012

I am planning on moving to New York within the next year. I am young and have never lived in a large city before so I wanted to make sure I was in a safer neighborhood. I know Manhattan apartments are out of my budget, but I’d love to be as close as possible. My budget is cheap…no more than 1200 a month and in a cleaner, safer neighborhood close to Manhattan…is this even possible??

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26 Answers

ArabianKnightress's avatar

Thats a tough one to answer. Push comes to shove you can move next door into Staten Island. That is where most people live who work in NY City. Your comute will be very easy. Staten Island offers Buses, Train, Ferry to get you over to NY City. Plus you will have a safe and quiet place to live. If you cannot find what you are looking for in NY then I would look at Staten Island as my next option. Good luck to you! :)

ArabianKnightress's avatar

…speaking from experience.

JaneraSolomon's avatar

Living in the NYC vicinity always means trade-offs between cost, safety and distance. Newark, Hoboken and Jersey City are quite a bit cheaper than the city but not that safe. (But “safe enough” that Trump has been putting up new apartment complexes there). Northern Westchester towns like Irvington are safe and relatively inexpensive but will involve a long commute time. Similarly a number of the towns further to the West like Maywood NJ, or East like Westbury Long Island. Commuting distance involves not only time, but also commuting expense, a number of such towns will cost you perhaps $20/day between a train and bus fare.

Pandora's avatar

Pelham Parkway and Fordham and Parkchester up in the Bronx where safer neighborhoods when I was growing up and was mostly made up of Italians and White people so there was always more cops protrolling the area. Now that was over 15 years ago. I don’t know if its still is the same. But most of the people who worked in Manhattan and wanted something larger than a tiny box apartment, lived up there. I know there was a lot of development after I left in the Northern Section of the Bronx. Typically the further way away you are from the heart of Manhattan the cheaper it is. Plenty of public transportation to take you anywhere so distance isn’t such a big deal. The closer you get to manhattan the smaller the apartments become and more expensive, unless you move to a cheap place that is terribly run down. Then you don’t have to worry about people hurting you, but rather the rats walking away with you as you sleep. The lower sections of the Bronx has the slums (again, I don’t know how much has changed) and the west side of manhattan on the upper west to lower west has a lot of slums.
Queens has its good and bad parts, but the good parts is mostly family areas and not so cheap.
Same for Brooklyn and the Bronx
Staten Island is a long comute in and is anything but cheap.
Jersey also mostly homes in the new areas.
Go by the colleges. Most of those will have cheaper areas or at least you may be able to find a roomate to cut cost between you till you find something you really want.
Or find a realitor. They actually hold the best apartments. The best apartments don’t advertise in the papers.

haleyray07's avatar

In my searches the closest cheapest areas to Manhattan are Washington Heights/Inwood areas. I have never been to these areas…anyone have feedback about these neighborhoods??

gorillapaws's avatar

Excluding white-collar criminals stealing billions of dollars, the general rule is that people who commit crime are poor. What follows from that is that poor people will tend to live in areas where rent is cheap. As a result, it’s nearly impossible to find cheap and crime-free in any major city.

Pandora's avatar

Wow. Like I said things can change but Washington Heights was a place I would avoid and I grew up in the slums in the Bronx.
I’m not familiar with Inwood.
Do talk to a realator. My sister got two of her apartments through one in the bronx and ended up in some nicer areas. No place in NYC is crime free but some neighborhoods tend to have less violent crimes. They can help you narrow down your search to the safer and more affordable apartments to rent.

sevenfourteen's avatar

Personally I have never lived in NYC however some things you may have to consider in figuring out if it’s possible:

As previously said you’re definitely going to have to figure out what you’re willing to “give up” and “take on” in addition to simply wanting to live in/around Manhattan. You’ve got to consider not only safe and cheap but transportation, roommates, and even a stable job to pay for the unexpected apartment problems. My sister just moved to the Upper East Side in Manhattan which is a very nice area and definitely safer (mostly artsy/business dwellers) however she’s in a college dorm so her rent/tuition is different.

As @JaneraSolomon said you can always actually live in NJ and commute (not too far in some cases) however then you have to consider the price of travel. Something that I have trouble with when I visit the city is always having to bring everything with me that I will need for the day and planning for the unexpected during the day. You might have to consider this as well if you were to live further away since you may not be able to just “run home” for whatever you may have forgotten and need.

haleyray07's avatar

Yeah, I did read that the Washington Heights/Inwood areas have really started to make a come back since about 2007.
I will be with a roomate and am def. willing to live in a studio as long as it can fit 2. As long as its not completely dirty or violent areas I am ok with it.
Just an easy quick commute to Manhattan and not outrageous pricing is basically what I am shooting for.

janbb's avatar

The closer in to the city you are the less safe it is likely to be so you will have to make some trade-offs. There are some great neighborhoods in Brooklyn and some cheap ones; the more gentrified ones are going to be more expensive but cheaper than Manhattan. My son has friends who live in Washington Heights/Inwood and are happy there. You might also find some decent not-too-expensive neighborhoods in Queens – a lot of folks who are priced out of Manhattan and now Brooklyn are living in Queens.

jca's avatar

I live in Westchester and I can tell you that a studio in Westchester will run you around $800 a month. You might be better off with a one or two bedroom which will be aroun $1200–1300 a month. Westchester towns are about a 40 minute ride by Metro North to Grand Centeral. Westchester has lots of towns and a few cities, safety depends the neighborhood you live in. Yonkers is the city right above the Bronx, and Yonkers has lots of bad spots and lots of nice spots. There are two Metro North lines that run through Westchester, and you can google the cost from the various towns to NYC. You also have to factor in whether or not you are going to drive to the station or walk. Westchester has a great public transportation system. You could bus it into NYC also, or take the bus to the train, depending on where you live in relation to the station.

Northern Westchester is more rural, and also a longer ride and more money for train to NYC.

I used to go out with a guy who lived in Inwood. It’s a nice place, used to be a big Irish section (lots of Irish bars there still), now there is a big Dominican population there. Not sure what an apartment will cost you there. Probably the same time it takes you to get to Grand Centeral by Metro North from Westchester, it will take you to get to Grand Central by subway from Inwood.

nyboy718's avatar

you can get a great apartment in Brooklyn for under $1,200. And it’s under 1 hour to travel to Manhattan by train, depending on the neighborhood.

go to:

you can separate it by neighborhood on top (Brooklyn, Queens, etc.)

under housing, click apts, and then by-owner apts. (unless you want to pay broker fees)

safe neighborhoods include, Sheepshead Bay, Park Slope, Midwood, Bay Ridge, etc. all these are easily accessible by train and bus. If you want to be more closer to the city, then check out Brooklyn Heights, Williamsburg, etc.

YARNLADY's avatar

My suggestion is try to find an apartment to share until you get a good idea what you want.

mrrich724's avatar

Manhattan and cheap don’t go together . . . in case the answers so far haven’t painted that pic for you.

HungryGuy's avatar

No. You’re not gonna get anywhere in Manhattan on $1200 a month. Well, you might find a single room up in Harlem for that, but, well, er, uhm…

Still, apartments are available in your price range in the outer boroughs, and are a short subway ride into Manhattan (but they go fast, so you have to jump on it when you find one you like, no shopping around). Check out

You could also go into New Jersey and take the Path train into the city, but that’s not quite as convenient, and you have to deal with paying income taxes to two states if you live in NJ and work in NY.

Eureka's avatar

@haleyray07 My son lived in Inwood in 2009 and 2010. It is a nice place to live – kids going to school in uniforms, farmers market on the street on summer weekends, nice park. People put things out on the major corners downtown as a sort of recycling center. There is a grocery store, and some nice places to eat.

The down sides – a long way from Midtown. And,I don’t think you can find a place for your budget. Son had a third floor walkup, in which you literally had to go outside to see what the weather was like – and neighbors who had big dogs, and played salsa music from 6 pm on Friday, to 6 pm on Sunday. He did have three rooms and a bath, but it was almost 1500 a month, plus utilities.

Forget having a car. There is no place to park. But Inwood is in Manhatten, and is/has a nice neighborhood feel – with a lot of different nationalities of people. There are a lot of Dominicans there – the President of the Dominican Republic has a house there. And there is still a large Irish population. Try the coffee at the Carrot Top bakery on Broadway. Best coffee in the state!

I would skip Washington Heights, if i were you. But there are some fantastic places to eat, there – if you know where to look.

Charles's avatar

It’s probably like Safe, Cheap, Close: Pick any two.

If it is safe and close, it isn’t cheap.
If it is safe and cheap, it isn’t close.
If it is close and cheap, it isn’t safe.

marmoset's avatar

The one thing I can say: you can’t know until you visit in person. At the point when you’re actually close to signing a lease, you MUST visit the building in question both daytime and nighttime to get a feel for it. Also, Washington Heights and Inwood are part of Manhattan, so I’m not sure what you mean by Manhattan (maybe you mean Midtown, the center of Manhattan). It’s absolutely worth your while to scout in person—5 minutes in a neighborhood will tell you more than all the googling you could do.

marmoset's avatar

Read and re-read Eureka’s mention of the weekend-long salsa blasting. That’s the #1 reason you must visit as much as you can before signing a lease. Many buildings in more affordable areas have a HORRIBLE noise culture that will not change, and you don’t want to be surprised by that.

jca's avatar

When I was going out with the guy who lived in Inwood, I slept over once (otherwise, he always stayed at my house) and it was so noisy at night. I am used to total quiet at night, where I live there’s nothing going on at night – it’s the country. Down there, people were on the street, hanging out, cars driving, horns honking, people coming out of bars at all hours. Morning time came, you hear the garbage trucks, cars, doors, all over again. I guess you get used to it, you must, because you do have to sleep eventually!

haleyray07's avatar

Thanks for all the feedback…I’m going in March so hopefully I can check it out then. I’m torn now between Inwood (since it is part of Manhattan) and checking out the boroughs (Brooklyn, Broncs, ect.) It all seems pretty easy to travel into Midtown.

jca's avatar

Bronx is spelled with an “x” at the end, not “ncs.”

Eureka's avatar

It is always a good idea to visit the same neighborhood at different times of the day. What looks calm and quiet in the daytime can turn into a disaster at night.

HungryGuy's avatar

@haleyray07 – Right. It is incredibly easy to travel throughout Midtown, or anywhere else in NY. The subway goes just about everywhere you’d want to go. Buses are as ubiquitous as taxis. Although taxis in NYC are incredibly expensive, it’s easy to hail one most of the time just about anywhere in midtown or lower Manhattan. Also, it’s illegal for them do to so, but some drivers will refuse to go up to Harlem or parts of the Bronx. You’re never far from somewhere to eat 24/7, although lower Manhattan is a ghost town on weekend evenings and most restaurants downtown are closed on weekends.

marmoset's avatar

Also, remember in the outer boroughs you are way closer to Manhattan in TIME if you live near an express stop (even if living near that stop puts you farther from Manhattan in DISTANCE).

MellisaTurner's avatar

You can find good 1-bedroom apartments in good parts of New Jersey for under $1000. The further out, the cheaper. Avoid Westchester and Nassau Counties—they’re pricey—as are the good parts of Hudson County (NJ). Queens and parts of Brooklyn can give you good deals. Good luck.

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