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The 20 Best Places to Live in New York

Great Neck Gardens

New York, New York… the state so good they named it twice. Well, not quite, but there’s no denying the worldwide reputation of the US’s 4th most populous state. While NYC may have the lion’s share of tourists, sights, and cultural attractions, there’s much more to New York than just the Big Apple. For those looking to turn their love affair with NY into something more permanent, there’s a great range of options covering everything from peaceful laid-back towns to vibrant, dynamic neighborhoods. To give you some inspiration, we’ve rounded up 20 of the very best places to live in New York.

20. Menands

Kicking off our roundup is the pretty suburb of Menands. With the average home costing just 204,100, it ranks as one of our most affordable entries… although don’t confuse affordability with a lack of desirability. With an abundance of amenities and attractions, a strong local economy and a great range of schools, there’s no doubting its merits.

19. Brooklyn Heights

The affluent, residential neighborhood of Brooklyn Heights in NYC has some excellent amenities and service at its disposable, including beautiful brownstone properties, landmark buildings, lots of green spaces, great schools and a thriving local economy. Throw in a welcoming, pleasant vibe, a low crime rate, and the beautiful Brooklyn Promenade, and you can understand why so many people are prepared to pay the $987,843 it takes to land a property here.

18. Prospect Heights

With the average cost of property at Prospect Heights reaching just short of a million, there’s no doubt it’s one of the most expensive places in NYC to live. It’s also one of the most enjoyable – its crime rate is one of the lowest of any New York neighborhood, while its warm community is both educated and affluent (most have at least a bachelor’s degree and an average income of $108,608). Amenities are numerous and parks and green spaces are bountiful. All in all, a very solid addition to our lineup.

17. Syosset

According to Livability, the New York City suburb of Syosset is the perfect place to break in your new shoes, due to its WalkScore of 48.0322. Asides from walkable streets, the suburb also offers highly rated public schools, low crime, an easy one-hour commute into the city, some excellent shopping areas, and plenty of green spaces. While the average property price of $627,000 may sound intimidating, it’s nicely counterbalanced by a median household income of $155,661.

16. Greenville

Ranked by Niche as the #1 in Best Places to Live in Westchester County, Greenville is unquestionably a highly desirable place to live- as evidenced by its whopping $905,200 median property price. Considering the significant cost of moving in, you’d think there’d be an equally significant number of attractions- and you’d be right. Despite its relatively small size, the range of amenities, services, and attractions on offer are excellent, as is the crime rate and commuting access into the financial hub of New York (something which no doubt explains the mammoth median income of $212,042).

15. Kensington

Kensington may only have a population of 1,131, but it’s punching far above its diminutive size when it comes to things like top rating schools, commuting access, amenities, and recreational spaces. While it may cost 7 figures to buy a property here, you’re unlikely to hear too many residents complaining about the cost of living considering most earn over 160k.

14. Williamsville

As one of the safest places to live in Buffalo, the suburb of Williamsville makes a hugely attractive choice for families and singletons alike…. which a quick glance at some of the accounts from local residents on Niche more than corroborates. “Having lived here for the past 4 years, I can wholeheartedly say this little village is one of the nicest and safest places in the Buffalo area. I attended Williamsville South High School during the remaining three years of my high school career and will never forget the memories that still positively affect my current life. Go Bills and Go Sabres!,” says one, while another adds, “ After living here for more than a decade, I have come to love the community. Very clean and safe town invested in their schools and community programs. There's really nothing you need that isn't in the town.”

13. Manhattan

It had to make its appearance eventually… as the city's economic, administrative, cultural and historical center, there’s no question that Manhattan, the most densely populated of the five boroughs of New York City, is a world-famous name. But a great place to live? Apparently so… at least if the great range of top schools, an abundance of job opportunities, stunning array of cultural and entertainment venues, year-round calendar of events, and clean, walkable streets are anything to go by. Just don’t expect this kind of desirability to come for free- most properties will cost around $915,300.

12. Massapequa Park

As The Crazy Tourist notes, the delightful community of Massapequa Park on Long Island ranks as one of the best places in New York for families to settle. As well as offering an easy commute into midtown Manhattan via the Long Island Railroad, the town offers an affordable array of housing options (with the median price coming in at around $463,800, a more than reasonable price considering the state’s ever-increasing property prices), safe, clean streets, a welcoming community, and no shortage of indoor and outdoor entertainment options.

11. Greenwich Village

If you think of folk singers and beat poets when you hear the name Greenwich Village, prepare to be surprised. These days, the bohemian coffee shops have been transformed into upscale bistros, and while there may still be an abundance of record shops and vintage stores lining the streets, there’s an underlying air of luxury and wealth beneath the artsy vibe. Ranking as one of the richest places in NYC, don’t expect to buy a property here for much less than $944,806. For that, you can expect a vibrant community with a wealth of things to see and do, as well as a low crime rate and booming local economy.

10. Great Neck Plaza

Affordable housing (most properties come in for around $338,900), low crime, unemployment and poverty, an affluent population earning around $74,303 per household, great schools, an array of parks and recreational purists, and a good number of shops, eateries, and night venues… with attractions like these, it’s little wonder the suburb of Great Neck Plaza is one of the most desirable places in New York for families.

9. Battery Park City

Battery Park is set in a prime location along the Hudson River, offering easy access to the hustle and bustle of the city, but with the added luxury of the peace afforded by its close proximity to the waterfront. With plenty of green spaces, pet-friendly parks, and streets that are safe enough for kids to ride their bikes without worry, it’s an excellent place to raise a family. That said, you’ll need to have a pretty big income at your disposal if you choose to live here- with the average property retailing for a jaw-dropping $1,143,983, this is no place for the cash-strapped.

8. Financial District

Before we get into the reasons why the Financial District makes such a desirable place to live, you may want to pause to consider the average property price. For anywhere with enough space to swing a cat, you can expect to pay around $1,227,948. If that proves too daunting a figure to get past, you may want to move swiftly on… or you could pause again to consider the justification for such a huge sum. Perhaps it’s the incredible proximity to some of the highest paying jobs in NYC (to put this in context, most residents enjoy a median income of $134,906)? Perhaps it’s the incredibly low incidence of crime? Or could it be the chance to enjoy easy access to the hustle and bustle of Manhattan without having to live there? Whatever it is, there’s no denying this is one seriously exclusive, and seriously desirable, place to live.

7. Chelsea

Thanks to Chelsea’s large, diverse community of 65,359 residents, there’s a youthful buzz and vibrancy about this New York City neighborhood that can’t fail but get under your skin. Housing may be expensive (expect to part with around $883,503 for a property to buy and $2,074 for a property to rent), but the extensive number of amenities, fabulous nightlife, safe streets, excellent job prospects (most people manage to bring home around $111,665 in income), exemplary schools, and bustling but welcoming community more than make up for it.

6. Brighton

The Brighton suburb of Rochester has a list of attractions as long as your arm: supremely affordable housing (don’t expect a good-sized property to come for much more than $171,800, almost 15k less than the national average), a very low incidence of both violent and property crime, an above-average median income of $70,567, excellent job opportunities, a fantastic school system, great recreational activities, and an extremely family-friendly vibe that allows kids to play in the streets without parents fretting.

5. Murray Hill

See an A+ rating on Niche, and you know you’re in for some treats. The treats in the case of Murray Hill, a 28,954 strong neighborhood of New York City, include a thriving local job market , an expected median income of $124,354, a highly educated population (47% have a bachelors degree while another 34% have a masters), a low incidence of crime, exemplary schools, a great selection of bars and restaurants, and a calm, welcoming vibe.

4. Great Neck Gardens

The small suburb of Great Neck Gardens may only have a population of 1,240 residents, but it’s got more than enough to keep a population 10 times that number happy. The average price for a property may be a rather steep $892,700, but you’re unlikely to hear too many complaints about the cost of living when you consider the excellent quality of life the suburb affords its residents. As well as an unfeasibly low crime rate, poverty and employment rates are both tiny, and the only thing bigger than the median income of $195,865 is the mammoth number of green spaces and recreational amenities on offer.

3. Kips Bay

As one of the most desirable neighborhoods in New York City, you’d expect the cost of living in Kips Bay to be through the roof. In fact, home prices aren’t too bad for NYC, with just $376,379 netting you a very decently sized single-family home. For that, you can expect an abundance of top-scoring schools (Stuyvesant High School, Townsend Harris High School, Bronx High School of Science, High School Math Science & Engineering at The City College of New York (CCNY), and Baccalaureate School for Global Education all score top marks for test scores and graduation rates), a great range of outdoor and indoor recreational facilities, all the shops, bars and restaurants you could wish for, and a job market that supports the very respectable median income of $90,299.

2. Jericho

The small suburb of Jericho offers an outstandingly attractive list of benefits: its crime rate is low enough to barely warrant a mention; its local economy and excellent commuting links keep average incomes at around $156,029; its schools are all top scorers; while the community is diverse and welcoming. Obviously, living in such a desirable location doesn’t come for free: expect to pay $732,100 for a property to own, and $1935 for one to rent.

1. Cayuga Heights

Considering the ever-increasing nature of New York property prices, homes in Cayuga Heights are comparatively reasonable at just $367,900. Rental properties are equally attractive at just $1,154. As well as affordable housing, this desirable town of 3,779 residents offers a close knit, welcoming community, excellent schools, an extensive range of amenities, and a crime rate that sits well below the national average. Factor in a job market that affords the very respectable median household income of $108,365, and you can well understand why Cayuga Heights is considered such a desirable place to live.

Liz Flynn

Written by Liz Flynn

Liz Flynn has worked as a full-time writer since 2010 after leaving a career in education. She finds almost all topics she writes about interesting, but her favorite subjects are travel and food. Liz loves the process of researching information, learning new things, and putting into words what others who share her interests might like to read. Although she spends most of her time writing, she also enjoys spending time with her husband and four children, watching films, cooking, dining out, reading, motorsports, gaming, and walking along the beach next to her house with her dog.

Read more posts by Liz Flynn

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