So you’ve decided to take the plunge and move to New York City. Congratulations! Making your way in this city can be intimidating, but knowing where you want to settle can take much of the pressure off of your transition. There are a number of factors to consider when choosing a neighborhood in NYC, so read on for some ideas about the best areas for newcomers.
Long Island City
If close proximity to Manhattan at sub-Manhattan prices sounds good to you (and it should), LIC is a great place to call home. This former industrial hub offers a peaceful escape from Manhattan with hard-to-beat views and a rapidly growing restaurant scene. If you’re confused by the name, don’t worry. Just know that while you’re technically on Long Island (as Queens and Brooklyn are geographically part of the island), but well within the confines of the five boroughs.
This neighborhood perched at the upper tip of Manhattan will give you all the prestige of a “New York, New York” address at a fraction of the price of more southerly options. A number of pre-war buildings make for affordable lodgings for someone making their entrance to the city. One great attraction is Inwood Hill Park, the only piece of Manhattan that stands untouched as it originally was before the city became the concrete jungle it is today.
If Brooklyn calls out to you, Crown Heights has the perfect combination of culture and affordability to welcome any newcomer. Though new developments are popping up fast, the neighborhood still holds both classic charm and up and coming hotspots. A remarkably diverse region, it’s one of the few places in the city where you’re equally likely to hear Yiddish and Creole spoken on the same block.
As long you’re not intimidated by living in what’s most likely the busiest neighborhood in the city, the affordable rents in Chinatown make it a good option. While it may be a bit daunting, the proximity to cultural hubs like SoHo and the Lower East Side mean you’re never far from somewhere new and exciting. Just try not to make any major purchases on Canal Street.
You might have thought there was nowhere to get great Latin American and Chinese food, but then you didn’t know Sunset Park. For a wide variety of quality eats on a budget, it’s hard to do better than this Brooklyn nabe. Sunset is also home to the rapidly growing Industry City development, which promises a wealth of new shopping and entertainment options that’s sure to raise the neighborhood’s profile in the near future, so you’ll be glad you got in early.
New York City is steeped in the history of the skyscraper. Since the completion of the 348-foot World Building in 1890, the love affair NYC has had with iconic buildings has spanned over a century. With man’s desire to reach unyielding heights brought into view an ever-changing skyline.
The World Building (348 feet)
Since 1890, eleven structures have been cataloged as the world’s tallest building. From the 1910s to the 1930s,16 of the city’s tallest buildings were built: the Woolworth, Bank of Manhattan Trust Building (The Trump Building – 927 feet), the Chrysler Building (1,046 feet), and the Empire State Building (1,250 feet) among them. At the time each of these skyscrapers were erected, they were the tallest of their day. Today, these high rises along with three of their contemporaries represent an iconography that’s unmistakably New York.
Woolworth Building (792 feet)
A little known fact about the Woolworth Building: The bicycle storage area in the basement once led into the NY subway system. According to Jason Crowley, a building tour guide, the doors led to a “[…] passageway under Broadway to the BMT and IRT subways. The BMT is now the City Hall R stop and the IRT is the now closed off City Hall stop where the 6 turns around.That passageway was completely filled in under Broadway and no longer exists.”
Designed by Cass Gilbert and completed in 1913, the Woolworth was named after its owner in 1910, F.W. Woolworth. Woolworth bought the site for $1.65 million. Built to resemble Gothic cathedrals, the building was nicknamed “The Cathedral of Commerce” by Reverend S. Parkes Cadman. The 800 light bulbs to commemorate the opening of the tallest building of its time were turned on by then President Woodrow Wilson to great public aplomb.
Since then, the building has been a National Historic Landmark since 1966 and a NYC landmark since 1983.
Bank of Manhattan Trust Building (now Trump Building – 927 feet)
Now known exclusively as the Trump Building, the 927 foot structure was originally designed by H. Craig Severance et al. Construction of the Bank of Manhattan Building began in 1928, with a planned height of 840 feet. In an effort to be the tallest building in New York, the plans were designed specifically to be two feet taller than the Chrysler Building. Upon completion in 1930, the building was indeed the tallest, but the victory was short-lived once Walter Chrysler topped off the Chrysler Building with a stainless steel spire that had been secretly assembled. Once in place, the Chrysler Building’s height stood at 1,046 feet, defeating the Bank of Manhattan Trust Building for tallest.
Chrysler Building (1,046 feet)
Though the Chrysler only carried the title as the world’s tallest building for less than a year, it remains the tallest brick building in the world. With its Art Deco design and steel frame, it is an undeniable nod to the automobile industry. The sleek, powerful design continues to cut a striking figure across the NYC skyline. Initially intended to stand at 807 feet, designer Van Alen’s designs proved to be too grand to stand at anything less than 1,046 feet. Van Alen’s vision and Walter P. Chrysler’s auto industry money collaborated to create a pinnacle in modern architectural design.
The Empire State Building (1,250 feet)
The Empire State Building is synonymous with New York City. Like the Chrysler, the Empire State was built in the Art Deco Era fashion. Named as one of the Seven Wonders of the World by the Society of Civil Engineers, the building is a National and NYC Landmark often a favorite in Hollywood depictions of the NYC skyline.
The building was built in 1931 and was New York’s tallest until the erection of the North Tower in 1972 which stood at 1,368 feet. After the Twin Towers were destroyed during the 2001 terrorist attacks, the Empire State once again became New York’s tallest structure until the construction of One World Trade Center in 2012.
The Twin Towers (North Tower 1,368 feet, South Tower 1,362 feet)
The entire World Trade Center complex consisted of seven buildings with the “Twin Towers” being the most visible. Upon their completion in the early 1970s, the towers were the tallest buildings in the world. Located in Lower Manhattan, the two colossal buildings shown as two giant figures of industry and finance with 3,400,000 square feet of office space. The two buildings were tragically destroyed after the 9/11 terrorist attack; the other buildings in the complex were all severely damaged by the collapse of the twin towers, and were eventually demolished.
One World Trade Center (1,776 feet)
Also called One WTC or the “Freedom Tower”, the building has the same moniker as the North Tower of the original World Trade Center. One WTC is the current record holder of the tallest building in New York, the United States, and the Western Hemisphere, and the sixth-tallest building in the world. One World Trade Center began construction in 2006 and was completed in 2013. This skyscraper stands on the northwest corner of the World Trade Center.
The building takes up a 200-feet square, with an area of 40,000 square feet almost identical to the area the original Twin Towers inhabited. Constructed with glass and steel, the structure acts as a prism reflecting light and air across the skyline.
Today, New York is home to approximately 8.406 million people and 6,125 skyscrapers that stand over 600 feet. As of April of this year, almost 500 high rises are either proposed for or under construction in New York City. Throughout history, New York’s reverence of architectural design and height have colored its skyline as one of the most unique and alluring in the world.
Curious about the list of New York’s tallest buildings today? Read on here…
There are roughly 2,027 bridges in all of New York City — far too many to list in a single blog post. Of these, ten are considered historic landmarks: The Brooklyn Bridge, the Manhattan Bridge, Queensboro, Washington, University Heights, Carroll Street, Macombs Dam, George Washington Bridge, Highbridge, and Hell Gate Bridge. Each possess unique histories that make the Big Apple’s infrastructure exceptional.
NYC’s first bridges
King’s Bridge, later called Kingsbridge, was built first in 1693. It earned its name by charging everyone that crossed money, save for King’s soldiers. The wooden bridge was rebuilt in 1713 and allegedly demolished in 1917, though some maintain that it remains buried in the landfill between the Southern Bronx and Manhattan where Spuyten Duyvil Creek once was.
New York City’s oldest still-standing bridge, on the other hand, is the High Bridge, also between the Bronx and Manhattan. It was was built in 140 feet over the Harlem River in 1843 to carry water as part of the Croton aqueduct. Use of the bridge for water supply ceased in 1949, and it remained out of use for decades. In 2015, the High Bridge was renovated and reopened for pedestrian usage.
The oldest vehicular bridge in New York City is the Brooklyn Bridge, built in 1883. At the time (and even still today) the Brooklyn Bridge was considered an architectural wonder — it was the largest extension bridge in the world at a stunning 1595.5 feet long. When the Williamsburg Bridge was built in 1903, it overtook the superlative for length at 1600 feet.
The Brooklyn Bridge and Williamsburg Bridge are two of the four major bridges built along the East River between 1870 and 1910. Both the Queensboro Bridge and the Manhattan Bridge were completed in 1909.
Further into the 20th century, the George Washington and Verrazano-Narrows Bridges were completed, the former in 1931 and the latter in 1963. Both overtook the title of longest suspension bridge at the time of their opening — the Verrazano, at 6,690 feet, remains today the longest in America and the 11th longest in the world.
The George Washington Bridge is the most heavily trafficked bridge not only in the city, but the world. In a single year, the bridge accommodates over 51 million cars, trucks, and other vehicles, or 280,714 a day as of 2010.
Today, 21 major bridges connect to the island of Manhattan, with thousands more within and connecting the five boroughs. Though many claim Pittsburgh has the most bridges (as it may, per capita), New York City is otherwise only beat by Hamburg, which has as many as 2500 bridges, in total number.
Though over a century has passed, New York City’s bridges — especially the historic and record-breaking ones — remain beautiful, iconic and integral to the city. For hundreds of thousands that cross daily, treated to a spectacular view of the skyline and Lady Liberty, it’s the saving grace of their commute.
Featured image: Thomas Hawk via Flickr
The Big Apple is home to a variety of chain stores; there’s no shortage of a selection. Dunkin’ Donuts continues to lead the pack with 568 stores in the greater New York City area. That’s a 4% growth over last year with a net increase of 32 stores in the city. Even though some chain stores are competing with the abundance of Dunkin’ Donuts, the race is seemingly already won.
The one-stop donut shop has been holding the New York City title for the most stores of a chain brand for 8 years running. Yet, their growth is no accident. Dunkin’ Donuts embodies a few aspects that has paved their path towards fast growth in metropolitan areas.
D.D. stores occupy very little retail space and they’re strategically placed in high foot traffic areas throughout the city. They’ve also seen a positive ROI in their (relatively) “newer” endeavors. Even with such fierce competition, Dunkin’ Donuts has been successful with their coffee products and meal options.
After all, they also approach strategy from a high level. Dunkin’ Donuts doesn’t conquer New York City solely through Manhattan, they’ve explored all boroughs. In fact Starbucks has more stores in Manhattan than any other chain, with 220 locations. Overall, the Dunkin’ Donuts franchise has more stores collectively – 171 stores in Queens, 149 in Manhattan, 135 in Brooklyn, 80 in the Bronx, and 33 on Staten Island.
Though the Center for an Urban Future says their analysis shows that the 300 retailers that were listed on last year’s ranking expanded their New York City footprint from a total of 7,473 stores to 7,550 stores over the past year. Now more than 16 retailers have more than 100 stores across the city.
Jonathan Bowles – Executive Director of the Center – offered some insight, “For the last few years, we’ve seen minimal growth in fast-food burger joints, but newer food chains have really exploded, including Chipotle, Chop’t, Just Salad and Checkers.”
Since 2014, the amount of national chains in Queens jumped 6.4%; the Bronx had a 4.2% increase, while Brooklyn’s franchise presence grew by 3.4%. Surprisingly, Manhattan saw the least growth with only had a 0.4% increase.
More franchises in the shopping retail space are populating in the Big Apple. It’s clear that New York City boroughs are a hot commodity for these growing chain stores – but have they become too much? The balance between popular franchises and locally operated businesses is always shifting. As the landscape of NYC retailers change, so do plans for the next Penn Station.
In a shocking report from The Alliance for a Greater New York (ALIGN), the study Climate Works for All showed that just 2% of New York City’s buildings use 45% of the city’s energy.
Under the Greener, Greater Buildings Plan (GGBP) legislation, the city’s energy consumption reports can be viewed publicly. After delving through those reports, ALIGN found that a small percentage of luxury residential buildings were guilty of consuming a majority of the city’s energy. These buildings are home to an array of costly amenities, so it is perhaps no surprise that they use more energy than surrounding residential buildings.
ALIGN is an organization that focuses on fighting climate change. The organization uses public data to assess the city’s energy usage and they also have a goal of helping create a better job market. ALIGN looks to create a better New York City community with a focus on both energy efficiency and the city’s job availability. But in particular, their findings in regards to energy consumption can be very insightful towards a city wide problem.
The organization reached out to City Council in hopes of expanding the energy regulations to potentially govern city buildings. All metropolitan cities are looking to develop plans to moderate their building’s energy consumption but current GGBP laws only apply to buildings of over 50,000 feet. Under these regulations, energy audits aren’t necessarily required.
A study by the Columbia Engineering School hopes to offer some insight into approaching this problem from a foundational perspective. The school plans to create a program that will help urban planners, policy decision makers, and engineers understand the “local dynamics” of building energy use in New York City.
“The lack of information about building energy use is staggering,” said Bianca Howard, the leader of the Columbia Engineering School study and a Ph.D. student in mechanical engineering.
Columbia’s study has grown into an interactive map that allows you to view the energy usage by location, with heat spots showing areas that may consume more energy in comparison to nearby neighborhoods! This web tool is a great way to get a visual understanding of this fundamental problem.
Now that energy consumption, especially in the New York City region is becoming more of a pressing issue, new initiatives are rolling out to help regulate the energy usage from big buildings. In the long run this will make for a better community for both corporations and residential buildings.