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Location, location, location. In New York, that real estate cliché rings especially true. It’s why brownstones in the West Village cost…well, what brownstones in the West Village cost. So when evaluating your next, non-millionaire Gotham move, it’s important to consider all the things that make a neighborhood home: friendly residents, green space, dining options and, most important,the ease of your commute—because no one wants to sit stand on the subway or get stuck in traffic for longer than absolutely necessary. Here, a few neighborhoods with convenient commutes you may not have considered but probably should. 

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windsor terrace brooklyn

Windsor Terrace, Brooklyn

If you’ve been priced out of Park Slope—or you’re just looking for a quieter and less expensive option—Windsor Terrace might be your next move. The streets of this sleepy, family-friendly neighborhood are bordered by Prospect Park on one side and Green-Wood Cemetery on the other. It’s 30 minutes on the F train to Lower Manhattan.

The neighborhood is narrow, just nine blocks wide, with a quaint small-town vibe. It’s also picturesque with landmarked buildings, treelined streets and architectural gems. Filmmakers love it, which is why it has even served as a backdrop in movies such as The Amazing Spider-Man and Dog Day Afternoon.  

Ordinances prevent a lot of high-rises, so you’ll find mostly townhouses, row houses, prewarbuildings and single-family homes. Rents are on the rise—the median for a one-bedroom is $2,150—but still hundreds lower than other popular neighborhoods in the borough. This spacious and renovated one-bedroom is just a block and a half from Prospect Park and can be yours for $2,100.

morningside heights
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Morningside Heights, Manhattan

News flash: Manhattan is generally expensive. You’ll get more for your money if you head to Upper Manhattan—specifically, the gem of all Manhattan neighborhoods, Morningside Heights. The largely residential area above the Upper West Side is famously home to Columbia University and Barnard College, and spans 15 blocks from the Hudson River to Morningside Park.

Broadway, the neighborhood’s main thoroughfare, is brimming with restaurants, bars, shops and bookstores—with more opening every day. The charming residential Claremont Avenue has some of the most handsome buildings in the entire nabe, but our favorite thing about Morningside Heights is that it’s home to a number of historical sites. The stately St. John the Divine (the largest cathedral in the United States), Grant’s Tomb and Riverside Park all call it home.

Commute-wise, the 1 train runs down Broadway through the center of the neighborhood. Or you can catch an A express from 125th Street and make it to midtown in 20 minutes or less. One-bedroom apartments average $2,550—a far cry from the prices found in other Manhattan neighborhoods. This one-bedroom ($1,875) with a bricked fireplace needs a little reno, but it’s just a block from the 125th Street station and a total deal by New York standards. And this fully updated option has two bedrooms for a cool $2,300.

sunnyside queens

Sunnyside, Queens

This Queens neighborhood has been (time and time again) called a hidden gem. It’s no longer much of a secret, but with an easy commute to Manhattan, affordable housing options, diverse shopping and dining, and friendly neighbors, Sunnyside is most certainly still a treasure. Plus, it’s about 15 minutes from Manhattan via either of the 7 train’s two stops on Queens Boulevard.

It’s also a haven for immigrants. Historically Irish, Sunnyside still flaunts its roots with a popular St. Patrick’s parade every March and a selection of old-school Irish pubs. Like the rest of the borough, it’s now home to immigrants from all over and to the authentic—and delicious—variety of ethnic food that comes with that diversity. For nightlife and dining, the bars and restaurants along Queens Boulevard and Greenpoint Avenue are a draw, as is the Sunnyside Greenmarket on Skillman Avenue every Saturday.

The median rent for a one-bedroom in Sunnyside is $1,850, according to StreetEasy—more than $1,000 less than similarly sized apartments in nearby Long Island City. For $1,900 a month, this gut-renovated one-bedroom, with new appliances and hardwood floors, is just a block from the 40th Street subway stop. The neighborhood lacks a public park (a common complaint among residents is a lack of green space), but if you snag an apartment in the historic Sunnyside Gardens complex (like this renovated one-bedroom), you’ll get a key to the Queens version of Gramercy Park.

weehawken nj
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Weehawken, New Jersey

Right across the Hudson River from Manhattan at the foot of the New Jersey Palisades is Weehawken. The town is a short ten-minute drive to midtown through the Lincoln Tunnel without traffic; with the usual traffic, it’s more like 20. Residents can easily access Manhattan via NJ Transit buses or even quicker via the NY Waterway ferry, which has two separate terminals along the Weehawken waterfront. The ferry drops you off in midtown after just an eight-minute ride; getting to FiDi by water takes about 30 minutes. There’s also the Light Rail,which zips south to trendy Hoboken and Jersey City.

One of Weehawken’s biggest draws is, by far, its views. Nicknamed the Gold Coast, it has unobstructed, panoramic views of the Manhattan skyline from both the river’s edge and the cliffs above due to well-kept building restrictions. The waterfront has been steadily developing with a recreation park and new condos and rentals. Wealthy New Yorkers once kept summer country homes here, and if you’re a Hamilton fanatic you probably know that Weehawken is home to the Dueling Grounds made famous by Aaron Burr and Alexander Hamilton.

Jersey may be known for its suburbs, but in Weehawken you get luxury living and waterfront views for less than you would in NYC—without giving up the metropolitan feel of the city. New builds, like this high-end 800-square-foot one-bedroom ($2,410), are popping up all along the waterfront, and many of the developments here include an amenity not often found in the city proper: a pool.

jackson heights queens
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Jackson Heights, Queens

In the northwest part of the borough, the vibrant neighborhood of Jackson Heights is a popular choice among young professionals and young families. The median age is 35, and the average rent for a one-bedroom apartment is $1,750, according to StreetEasy. A 20-minute ride on the 7, E, F, M or trains from Roosevelt Avenue makes for a breezy commute into Midtown.

Home to a mostly immigrant population (comprising more than 70 nationalities), it’s a true multicultural neighborhood with lively Hispanic and South Asian communities. Consider it if you like diverse dining options—Colombian on Roosevelt Avenue, curry and samosas in Little India and Tibetan fast food on 74th Street—and a lively street scene.

Originally built in the early 1900s as a planned garden community, Jackson Heights is still home to a charming historic district, Renaissance and Tudor-style buildings, and prewar co-ops with private interior gardens. This $1,799-a-month one-bedroom rental has an open floor plan, recessed lighting and big windows that let in a lot of natural light. 

With additional reporting by Kristen Boatright.

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