OT - Where to Live in NYC This Summer

Submitted by bluebyyou on May 20th, 2010 at 5:57 PM

My son and his GF, both Michigan grad students, have summer internships in NYC.  My son's internship is at NYU's school of medicine.  They are checking Craigslist, but I was wondering if anyone had any outside the box suggestions.  High on the list is living in a safe area.  

Figure some of you New York City Wolverines might know of something.

Thanks for your help!



May 20th, 2010 at 6:25 PM ^

Bklyn and Qns are cheaper than Manhattan and can be very safe places to live.  Astoria is a very nice and safe place and is very quick to Midtown and wouldn't be too bad to get to NYU's medical center.  As for Brooklyn, I'd suggest Park Slope, Carrol Gardens, Boerum Hill, Dumbo and Brooklyn Heights.

If money really isn't an issue, then Murray Hill in Manhattan is legit and is bascially where the NYU medical center is located.  There are a lot of recent college grads living there and it apears to be very safe.  The Upper East Side is also a quick trip on the 4/5/6 trains to the medical center area.  it is also safe, but a bit bland, IMHO.

Places I would generally avoid in Brooklyn:  Fort Greene, Clinton Hill, Bed Stuy, Crown Heights, Prospect Heights.  They can all be very, very nice places to live, work and hang out, but can also be quite sketchy.  I have a gut feeling that with the NYPD cuts, this is going to be a hot summer.   Rental agents also like to be very generous with neighborhood boundaries in these neighborhoods to put a positive spin on location.  The same generous boundary issue is very prevalent with Williamsburgh and Bushwick. 


May 20th, 2010 at 7:30 PM ^

It is also a little off and largely seems to be based on personal preference. As a resident of Ft. Greene, you are totally off base in your assessment of the area, particularly in lumping ft. green and clinton hill into the same category as Bed Stuy. You clearly are either a resident of new york, or where once a resident, but some of what you pose as fact is purely speculation and is not quite accurate. Predicting a "hot summer" is absurd. Yes fort greene borders on some sketchy areas, but having live here for 2 years and in NYC for 6, it is, in my opinion, a wonderful place to live. The generosity that agents tend to have is lumping areas like bedstuy into ft. greene and clinton hill. They do this because ft. greene is a nice place to live. 

Now that i've got that out of the way, I can give another view on what you've said above.

The most important thing to think about with New york neighborhoods is that what one man considers the best neighborhood in the city, another man will hate. For reasons that range from the type of people that live there to the type of nightlife and restaurants that are available.  

In my opinion, Murray hill is one of the least appealing neighborhoods in the city because it lacks culture as well as quality restaurants, and the general feel of the neighborhood is a frat party. The same can be said for the upper east side - if your son is like me, he would regret living in either. Additionally, Astoria is very nice, but also probably not the NY experience that a temporary resident would be hoping for. 

My recommendation to someone coming just for the summer would be to get a place in manhattan, and enjoy being a new yorker for the summer. Pretty much every neighborhood below 95th street is 100% safe, so where you choose outside of that is largely dependent on the person. My favorite manhattan neighborhood is the east village, and that would be close to both NYU's campus and the medical center so that is my recommendation. The upper west side is also a very nice place to live, but I would rather raise a family there then spend a summer in my 20s. 


May 21st, 2010 at 10:27 AM ^

I actually live in Clinton Hill and had lived there and in Ft. Greene for over 10 years.  I guess that you missed the part of my post where I said that those bklyn neighborhoods can be very, very nice places.  I, too, love Ft. Greene and Clinton Hill.  Otherwise I wouldn't have lived here for a decade.  I fully hope that it isn't a "hot" summer and that my prediction of one turns out to be "absurd".  But it seems to have been trending that way with the crappy NYC economy and downsizing of the NYPD (incl. the 88th pct.). 


May 21st, 2010 at 10:50 AM ^

I know that the neighborhood was a totally different place 10 years ago, and it is interesting to hear that you've been in the area for so long. Ft. Greene has actually weathered the recent downturn in the economy and  real estate quite well, and continues to see pretty vibrant and rapid growth in commercial areas such as restaurants. The best aspect of the neighborhood is the beauty of the buildings, and the lack of new residential development - with the exception of the fringe condos. 

Oddly enough, I think that sometimes long time new yorkers perception skews toward the negative based on history of the area whereas someone that has lived there for a shorter period of time isn't blurred by memories of the past. The gentrification of Ft. Greene will only continue. I do agree with you that it would probably not be the best choice for someone unfamiliar with the city though.

Thanks for the response.


May 20th, 2010 at 6:42 PM ^

Columbia's dorms are available. Lived there last summer. Right on campus, pretty nice place. The Tom's that's sign is famously on Seinfeld is down the street. 1 line stop right next to campus. Have a bathroom and kitchen in each room. Singles and doubles available in 5 person suite. 

LSA Superstar

May 20th, 2010 at 7:08 PM ^

Shtheva's suggestion was good, but what would be even more affordable and better would be to stay immediately on the other side of Morningside Park. It's just as accessible to public transit but it's "in Harlem" so people's fears get carried away with them. I live right on the other side of the park and the neighborhood is gentrifying at a terrifying pace but rents and still low; a two minute walk puts me in a neighborhood with rents 500-600 dollars more expensive a month.


May 20th, 2010 at 8:08 PM ^

So, I'm guessing you didn't hear the gunshots around the end of June in that area, haha.
I was up looking out my window at about 430-5 am, shooting the breeze, when I hear two gunshots, and three or four men running off in every which direction. Don't know what happened, but that kind of made me glad I lived up on my side of the park.


May 20th, 2010 at 8:34 PM ^

My vote is look for a place around 14th Street East.

If your son is working/interning for a medical school I assume he's going to want to be maximally available, on call, whathaveyou.  The school's in a neighborhood called Kip's Bay - if you picture the Manhattan grid (Street numbers get higher as you go north, Avenues going west), he'll be working at 29th st. and 1st ave., right on the East River. 

Right off the bat, bring running shoes because its a great run along the river.  Also, Central Park, obviously.  Surrounding neighborhoods of Kips are Gramercy Park (due west a couple blocks), Murray Hill (north-west to about 38th and lexington), East Village (heading south), Lower East Side.  From Gramercy up to Murray Hill (22nd St. through 39ish along 2nd and 3rd Aves.) you'll find a lot of pubs playing 80s music, Irish pubs, recent grad hangouts, bridge-and-tunnel hangouts.  Nothing striking here really, unless you can afford to ritz it up in a Gramercy brownstone a'la Madonna.

In East Village, LES you used to be able to get a good feel for NY's pink underbelly, but all the hipsters moved to Williamsburg, Brooklyn.  Too far south-east it can be a little shady (don't walk to the Williamsburg Bridge).  The village and LES neighborhoods may have NYU dorms for grabs, and will definitely have cheap eats (NYU campus closeby), fun college bars, fun NY restaurants.  More of a NY experience.  Around St. Mark's Place up to 14th Street between 1st Ave and 2nd there are a lot of fun places; gin joints, big Irish pubs, lounges, and cheap drinks.  Budget.  Perfect for an intern.

Also, music scenes around 14th street (Webster Hall) and downtown (Bowery Ballroom) aren't too bad a trek if you're around 14th Street east.  Union Square is pretty legit for food options in all directions, and the park at union square can have some cool art peddlers or produce sales going on.  That, and you're only the L train away from Brooklyn, so you can hang in Williamsburg, which is hipster central, but in a good way (I think at least).  I love Williamsburg, lots of great bars, great laid back people.  Williamsburg Music Hall kicks ass. 

14th Street East for a Kips commute, definitely.  Just hop on the 6 at Union Sq., get off at 28th or 33 and Park/Lex.  Walk east to the Med School. 


May 20th, 2010 at 9:12 PM ^

East Village would definitely be a fun place to be for the summer. I lived there for four years. Some parts of it definitely walk the line from trashy good (think your favorite dive bar) to trashy bad (think the Meatpacking District or downtown Las Vegas) but there are still tons of great bars, venues, and places to eat. To be near the action while avoiding being directly overrun by the nightlife hordes you could look for somewhere north of 14th Street and east of Park Ave.

If you have a little more $$$, the West Village is a little cleaner and quieter but just as central and packed with stuff. If you have a little _less_ $$$ Williamsburg is hoppin' and makes for an easy L-train commute to the NYU/Bellevue area (M15 bus y'all).

But really, the good thing about New York is that there is an entire thriving nabe for almost any combination of interests and preferences.

Moe Greene

May 20th, 2010 at 9:21 PM ^

what about hangin' with our old buddy Chunks the Hobo? Doesn't he summer in NYC before getting back to Ann Arbor for football season??

Surely Chunks would have room in his cardboard palace for another Michigan Man!!


May 20th, 2010 at 10:34 PM ^

Hey everyone, I will also be interning in New York at an architecture firm.  The firm's office is located in  Long Island City, NY‎  near the Queensboro Bridge and PS1 museum. I will be there from July to October (weird months for sublets, I know).  But I am out there on my own dime so I am looking for something reasonably priced, but in a safe neighborhood as well.  Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thanks  


May 20th, 2010 at 11:56 PM ^

live in Queens, particularly Astoria. Greenpoint and Williamsburg would also be convenient to your job - they're "post-industrial" neighborhoods that have sprouted a ton of bars, restaurants, etc. they trend a little artsier than most places in manhattan.

as far as safety, none of the inner NYC (i.e. manhattan and near to manhattan) neighborhoods have high crime rates. don't be dumb (don't fall asleep on the subway or stumble home drunk alone on a dark street waving your iPhone and wallet around) and you'll be fine.


May 21st, 2010 at 12:39 AM ^

One friend in my building (good UWS neighb) was looking for a new roommate-- own room, but don't know if she wants a couple.  Another contact would be more willing to accept a temporary job in China if he knew he had his apt. sublet (good East Side neighb).  I can check, but probably shouldn't share specific info on an open forum.  Was just at NYU med center this afternoon, not that that helps.  But it reminds me that it's easier to get to from the East Side (where it is) than from the Upper West Side.  (But the seekers are no doubt young enough to walk the few long blocks from the subway.)  I now read that others have mentioned the Lower East Side, but Alphabet City-- the A, B, C & D Aves East of 1st Ave, North of the Lower East Side and South of 14th St. -- can be very reasonably priced and lots safer than in the old days (because people who were priced out of Soho and the Village headed there instead of crossing the bridges), and you can take the 1st Ave bus (M15, as mentioned above) directly up to the Med Center's front door.  A great place for 20-ish folks, lots of inexpensive and quirky bars and restaurants. 


May 21st, 2010 at 8:39 AM ^

Is this some sort of paid internship? I thought interns in New York lived in old refrigerator boxes in grimy alleyways in the hopes that when they've polished enough corporate testicles, they'll get their 300K a year.


May 21st, 2010 at 9:29 AM ^

Thank you to everyone for their, as usual, good advice.  I was also thinking about checking with the Wolverine alumni group in NYC just in case.


May 25th, 2010 at 11:04 AM ^

To try to figure out the best place to live in NYC, check out http://www.nabewise.com.  Actually, a company founded my Michigan alum Ann Baldinucci.  

You can enter in your requirements in the NabeFinder, it's neighborhood finding tool, but if all you care about is safety, they have that as well:


Good luck, generally most of NYC is safe these days so don't worry too much.