Moving to a new neighborhood can feel like relocating to another state. Buyers can find themselves so obsessed with square footage and amenities that they forget to check out the quality of life in the neighborhood. Safety, access to the things you need, and the ability to get around are major concerns before moving. Properly check out what’s available, and you won’t make the mistake of buying a wonderful home in a terrible neighborhood.

Parks and Recreation

If you have children, you can learn a lot by visiting the local playground. Watching how parents interact with their kids, and the general atmosphere can tell you whether an area is safe or not. New York City has laws against those without children visiting a playground, but your local park can offer the same kind of sightseeing with a purpose for those without children. We sometimes overlook the importance of liking our neighbors, and parks offer neutral ground to get to know them.

Market and Food

Supermarkets carry different qualities and varieties of foods, so you can get a dose of local flavor by visiting one. Local options for quick food often come down to convenience, but do you really want to take a train or taxi to get a burrito at midnight when you’re hungry? Checking out the restaurants and bars also help give you some idea of local nightlife. Will you need to travel to find a good time?

Visit the Bodega

The bodega can tell you a lot about the neighborhood and offer some conveniences and comforts. Things to look for include:

  • Beer selection: craft beers suggest a younger crowd.
  • Ethnic foods: if you want to know what cultures you might encounter, check out the foods on offer.
  • Perks: bodegas generally offer a quick stop for coffee or a newspaper, but some are experimenting with higher quality coffee or special snacks to attract new faces.

Nearby Train Stations

The local stops can tell you a lot about foot traffic in your area and when it gets most hectic. NYC is a busy city, so you should never expect complete calm, but you can tell when rush hour hits and plan your schedule accordingly.

Take a Night Stroll

One of the best ways to tell whether your neighborhood is safe is taking an evening stroll. The later the better, with midnight being a good cutoff point. Are streets well lit, and is there enough activity among residents or incoming traffic? Do you feel safe walking alone? How much you’ll tolerate is up to you, but you’ll be thankful you took the time to ensure safety the next time you have to make a midnight run for something.

Find Important Landmarks

Important landmarks act as more than just guides, and libraries are a good example. Lots of events that help get you acquainted with your neighborhood tend to be held at libraries. Other important places to look for include schools, firehouses, and police stations.

Choosing the ideal neighborhood in New York City can seem like a daunting task, but you can learn a lot by simply scoping out the area beforehand.


Become an insider