Williamsburg....the home of the hipster.

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How to know which New York neighbourhood suits your personality

Published May 2nd, 2017

So you wanna go to New York? Maybe you want to see it for the first time and just get the lay of the land, maybe you’ve been once or twice before and now you want to take a deeper dive into the intricacies and quirks of each neighbourhood, or perhaps you’re looking at having a shot at becoming a real New Yorker yourself?

Either way you’ll want to make like Goldilocks and know a little about each different neighbourhood, and perhaps try a bit of each before settling on just the right one.

So the question remains, which New York neighbourhood will you fit in best?

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Greenwich village, one of New York's most historic neighbourhoods.
Greenwich village, one of New York's most historic neighbourhoods.

Manhattan

The Financial District - Rich finance types

With Wall Street just around the corner it’s no surprise that the area is populated with many working in the financial sector. FiDi as it’s also referred to hosts a number of historic sites like the September 11 Memorial and Museum and access to Ellis Island, the Statue of Liberty, and the Brooklyn Bridge.

Greenwich Village - Bohemians and gay men

Known as a bohemian enclave for many years, Greenwich Village still retains some of that character but high real estate prices have changed the neighbourhood slightly in recent. Sarah Jessica Parker is one of the many celebrities that call the Village home.

Chelsea, West Village and Meatpacking District - Gay men

Many of the city’s major galleries are located in Chelsea, as does much of its large gay population which migrated from nearby Greenwich Village. This makes for a lively cultural scene with many bars and clubs in the Meatpacking District next door.

East village and Lower East Side - Hipsters

This downtown neighbourhood is densely packed with some of the best restaurants and bars in the city hence why it continues to entice young creative professionals.

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New York City historic apartment building windows and fire escapes in the East Village.
New York City historic apartment building windows and fire escapes in the East Village.

Midtown East and Murray Hill - Recent college grads and frat types

In the mid-1950s this area boomed with office space in the form of tall skyscrapers to rival Wall Street and since then the suits have stuck around the area. Murray Hill is the more residential neighbourhood that houses many of those wearing said suits.

Soho, Nolita and TriBeCa

The former factories and tenements of the area have attracted a creative and tech crowd of the independently wealthy. Also known as trust-fund babies.

Chinatown and Little Italy

Locals who have been in the same rent-stabilised apartment for years live next to young creatives who wish they could afford to be in Soho.

Upper East Side -Old money

It won’t come as a surprise that the 10021 zip code is the most wealthy in the world, that being the Upper East Side. It also hosts the greatest concentration of the world’s best museums than anywhere else on the globe. Needless to say the women (and their husbands and children) are wearing the latest designer collections.

Upper West Side - Young professionals, mostly women.

A lot of med school students and young professionals populate the very suburban feeling neighbourhood which boasts having the American Museum of Natural History, the New York Historical Society and Central Park nearby.

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Just another stylish New Yorker out for a low key stroll in the West Village.
Just another stylish New Yorker out for a low key stroll in the West Village.

The Outer Boroughs

New York resident Thomas Mei, gave a brief yet rather to the point breakdown of two the outer boroughs on the Q&A platform Quora in case you’re interested in visiting somewhere other than just Manhattan, which you obviously should:

Brooklyn

“Williamsburg - Hipsters

Greenpoint - Hipsters

Brooklyn Heights - Techies

Carroll Gardens, Prospect Heights, Park Slope - Former Hipsters turned parents

Bushwick - A formerly bad neighborhood soon to be overrun by Hipsters

Red Hook - A formerly bad neighborhood soon to be overrun by Hipsters

Brighton Beach - Russians

Bensonhurst - Italians and Jewish

Anywhere else in Brooklyn - either really poor and/or dominated by an ethnic group

Queens

Astoria - Hipsters, performing artists, couples enclave, Greeks and Arabs

Long Island City - Well to do families

Forest Hills - Couples, young families, Jewish

Bayside - Upper middle class suburb dominated by white people and Koreans

Flushing - Chinese and Koreans

Anywhere else in Queens - either really poor and/or dominated by an ethnic group”

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Home of the hipsters, Williamsburg, Brooklyn.
Home of the hipsters, Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

The Bronx

Then there’s The Bronx. To be honest the most redeeming features of this borough are Yankee Stadium, The Bronx Zoo, the New York Botanical Gardens and well-known restaurant Arthur Avenue. It certainly isn’t one of the most shining neighbourhoods to live in or visit for much else. #sorrynotsorryBronx

There are so many different stereotypes that fill the various niches of each of the five boroughs that make up nyc but it’s important to remember that these are in fact just stereotypes and that obviously people of all sorts of different backgrounds and interests populate each.

You may share interests with one area’s stereotypical demographic but like the architecture and coffee shops of another, so take each generalisation as exactly that, a rough generalisation.

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Sam Aldenton

Sam Aldenton is a travel writer, digital content creator (read: takes photos/videos with her iphone and sometimes a real camera) and former retail and youth trend forecaster. When she's not off discovering the world’s best pizza (an obsession picked up from her 4-years in New York), she makes her home in Brisbane, Australia. Follow her on Twitter or Instagram at @samaaldenton.