25 Safe, Affordable Neighborhoods in New York City

Posted on Nov 20 2016 - 10:00am by Extra Space Storage

There’s a reason people move to New York City. It’s a city of big dreams and even bigger skyscrapers. It’s home to some of the most famous businesses, entrepreneurs, moguls, fashionistas, athletes, artists, and entertainers. It’s the Big Apple, the City That Never Sleeps, the Capital of the World!

But for people who’ve never lived in NYC before, it can be a bit of a culture shock. This is especially true when it comes to finding both a borough and a neighborhood to live in. NYC has never been a city known for its safety or affordability. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t areas that provide the big city experience while also offering low crime rates and affordable home prices.

Below, we’ve compiled a guide to the safest, most affordable New York City neighborhoods—organized by borough—with information on home prices (for renters and buyers), crime rates, and what makes the community special.

THE BRONX

Skyline view of Throgs Neck in The Bronx, NY

Photo by MTA New York

City Island

Home Price: $2,625 median monthly rent; $470,000 median purchase
Crime Rate: 65% lower than national average
Perfect For: Families, retirees

Located in Long Island Sound just off the coast of The Bronx, City Island embraces the ideals of small-town charm—even though it’s just up river from Manhattan. Once the home of a major shipyard, this Bronx neighborhood has fewer than 5,000 residents and is a favorite among families and retirees who want to live in a tight-knit community with affordable housing, good schools, humble dining and entertainment, and low crime. In other words, it’s a far cry from the busy and loud Manhattan lifestyle.

Country Club

Home Price: $2,850 median monthly rent; $505,000 median purchase
Crime Rate: 18% lower than national average
Perfect For: Commuting professionals, families, retirees

Though it lacks the diverse shopping and dining of other neighborhoods in The Bronx, Country Club is beloved by its local residents for its low-key suburban living and waterfront properties. Between Eastchester Bay and I-95 from Middletown Rd. to Layton Ave., this neighborhood has a good mix of apartments, condos, and single-family homes. With great views of Eastchester Bay, close proximity to Pelham Bay Park, and peaceful community streets, Country Club is the perfect place to get away from the city while still being within driving distance!

Morris Park

Home Price: $1,900 median monthly rent; $457,000 median purchase
Crime Rate: 21% lower than national average
Perfect For: Commuting professionals, families, retirees

The Bronx is known for its cozy, community-focused neighborhoods, and Morris Park is no exception. It’s a great area to settle down, raise a family, or retire. The neighborhood is near the Bronx Zoo, the New York Botanical Garden, and Eastchester Bay and has plethora of pizzerias, Italian restaurants, and mom-and-pop bakeries in the area, thanks to its deep Italian-American roots. And you can’t forget the neighborhood’s famous Columbus Day Parade, which draws people from all over New York City!

Throgs Neck

Home Price: $1,500 median monthly rent; $415,000 median purchase
Crime Rate: 32% lower than national average
Perfect For: College students, commuting professionals, families, retirees

A peninsula in The Bronx surrounded by Westchester Creek, the East River, and Long Island Sound, Throgs Neck is a relaxed and friendly middle-class neighborhood. Residents—who spell it “Throggs” Neck—live in apartments, condos, single-family homes, and multifamily homes and enjoy the area’s excellent Italian restaurants, shops and nightlife on East Tremont Ave., and water activities like fishing and boating. Throgs Neck is also home to the State University of New York Maritime College, so the area is convenient for marine and naval students who want to live close to campus.

Woodlawn Heights

Home Price: $2,500 median monthly rent; $497,500 median purchase
Crime Rate: 14% lower than national average
Perfect For: College students, commuting professionals, families, retirees

Tucked away from other neighborhoods in The Bronx between the 1,186-acre Van Cortlandt Park and the historic Woodlawn Cemetery, Woodlawn Heights (more commonly called Woodlawn) is quiet and feels like you’re stepping out of New York entirely. In fact, the area is often referred to as “Little Ireland” because of its large Irish-American population. It’s a proud heritage that’s reflected throughout the neighborhood, especially on Katonah Ave., where you’ll find four-leaf clovers all over the walls, windows, and signs of shops, pubs, and restaurants. The neighborhood offers a good variety of walk-ups, apartments, single-family homes, and multifamily homes and has quick access to I-87 and the Metro-North trains.

BROOKLYN

Skyline view of Sunset Park in Brooklyn, NY

Photo by dominic

Bath Beach

Home Price: $2,300 median monthly rent; $715,000 median purchase
Crime Rate: 56% lower than national average
Perfect For: Commuting professionals, singles, families, retirees

A historic neighborhood with breathtaking views of the Lower Bay, Bath Beach is great for anyone who likes to take in the local sights and sounds. What was once a summer resort-like area for the wealthy is now a quiet, waterfront neighborhood with a diverse community, well-maintained rowhouses and single-family homes, and a variety of independent mom-and-pop businesses. The waterfront in particular is popular with residents who exercise and take leisurely strolls, though the beaches have been mostly paved over. Nevertheless, anyone looking to move out of the city and into a more family-friendly area should consider Bath Beach simply for its affordable housing and excellent schools.

Bay Ridge

Home Price: $2,300 median monthly rent; $844,500 median purchase
Crime Rate: 71% lower than national average
Perfect For: College students, commuting professionals, singles, families, retirees

Small town in a big city. That’s Brooklyn’s Bay Ridge in a nutshell. Beautiful, tree-lined sidewalks with rowhouses and single-family homes make up the majority of the area, but there are plenty of apartment complexes and a few Colonial-style and Tudor-style houses in the neighborhood, too. Like most neighborhoods in Brooklyn, Bay Ridge loves to host parades and street fairs so its residents can meet and mingle! And you’ll find all kinds of restaurants and cafes representing different cuisines from around the world, as well as amazing local bars and pubs that never feel unfriendly.

Bedford-Stuyvesant

Home Price: $2,595 median monthly rent; $627,500 median purchase
Crime Rate: 33% lower than national average
Perfect For: Hipsters, commuting professionals, families, retirees

Bedford-Stuyvesant (or Bed-Stuy, as locals call it) is about as Brooklyn as they come. Homes are mostly rowhouses and brownstones, though it’s not impossible to find apartments and condos. But it’s the low price tags and the practically untouched pre-1900s architecture of those rowhouses and brownstones that attracts new residents. Despite the area being a mix of young professionals, families, immigrants, and retirees, it’s one of the tightest neighborhoods in Brooklyn. This is a community that’s truly all about community. Your neighbors have your back and encourage you to be an active member of the community—and you can’t miss out on all of the Bed-Stuy block parties and street festivals!

Kensington

Home Price: $1,550 median monthly rent; $799,000 median purchase
Crime Rate: 71% lower than national average
Perfect For: Hipsters, commuting professionals, singles, families

Gorgeous Victorian-style homes and brick rowhouses are what you’ll get in Kensington. This Brooklyn neighborhood may have embraced the English district it’s named after in terms of appearance, but the area is incredibly diverse! Among its residents, you’ll find Mexican, Polish, Haitian, Ukrainian, Pakistani, and Russian immigrants, as well as amazing cuisine from all over the world and more than 20 different languages spoken throughout the area. With good food, great shopping, and several outdoor spots like Prospect Park, this is a neighborhood you won’t be disappointed with.

Sunset Park

Home Price: $1,900 median monthly rent; $387,800 median purchase
Crime Rate: 44% lower than national average
Perfect For: College students, commuting professionals, singles, families, retirees

Brooklyn’s Sunset Park is beloved by its residents, who claim that the neighborhood is almost like stepping ten decades back into NYC’s past. It’s an area that hasn’t been gentrified by younger, hipper generations, so the walk-ups, condos, and single-family homes you’ll find in the area still have the old-school charm that’s been lost in other areas throughout Brooklyn. Though the neighborhood isn’t as trendy with its shopping and restaurant options, it does offer affordable housing and great views of the Upper Bay, the Statue of Liberty, and Manhattan’s skyline. And since there’s a large Asian population in Sunset Park, the neighborhood does have an awesome Chinatown (the first in Brooklyn, as a matter of fact)!

MANHATTAN

Skyline of Upper East Side in Manhattan, NY

Photo by angela n.

East Village

Median Rent: $3,045 median monthly rent; $1.8 million median purchase
Crime Rate: 71% lower than national average
Perfect For: Foodies, hipsters, young professionals, nightlife enthusiasts

If you’re looking for a Greenwich Village-type neighborhood without the Greenwich Village price tag, East Village is for you! Along the East River between Houston St. and 14th St., this lower Manhattan area is home to all kinds of eclectic hidden gems. Thrift shops, antique stores, cafes, restaurants, dive bars—you name it! Though it’s a fairly chill neighborhood during the day, it does get louder at night due to the area’s bar scene, so it’s probably not best for families looking to settle down in a quiet area. However, if you want a taste of New York’s Bohemian side, then East Village is perfect for you!

Harlem

Median Rent: $2,050 median monthly rent; $736,000 median purchase
Crime Rate: 31% lower than national average
Perfect For: Families, young professionals, artists, musicians, retirees

Between the East River and the Hudson River from 96th St. to 155th St., you can find the historic Uptown neighborhood of Harlem (which is further divided into Central Harlem, East Harlem, and West Harlem). Though the area has been defined by its contributions to New York’s arts and culture over the years, Harlem isn’t the place to move if you want the fast-paced lifestyle of Lower Manhattan. This community-focused neighborhood is better for those looking to lay some roots and raise a family. Spacious homes, cheap rent, and friendly neighbors is what you’ll find in this Manhattan neighborhood.

Lower East Side

Median Rent: $1,700 median monthly rent; $1.2 million median purchase
Crime Rate: 21% lower than national average
Perfect For: Foodies, hipsters, young professionals, nightlife enthusiasts

Like its neighbor East Village, the Lower East Side (LES) also embraces New York’s entertainment, dining, and nightlife. Located in Downtown Manhattan between Houston St. and South St. from East River to Bowery, the area is known for being a magnet for creative types with its modern shops, contemporary art galleries, and bars and clubs focused on live music! Even though LES is getting younger and more diverse, there are plenty of longtime residents who help maintain the old-school community feel of the area. It’s not exactly a quiet area, though, so it’s not ideal for families with young children.

Murray Hill

Median Rent: $2,900 median monthly rent; $1.1 million median purchase
Crime Rate: 71% lower than national average
Perfect For: College students, young professionals, established professionals, families

Murray Hill is one of the safest and most affordable neighborhoods in Midtown. Situated between the East River and 6th Ave. from 23rd St. to 42nd St., the area is convenient for college students and professionals who want proximity to Grand Central Station and the New York Public Library. Murray Hill also has a more down-to-earth residential feel compared to neighborhoods in Lower Manhattan, making it a better option for families who want the city landscape without the crowds and noise epitomized by nightlife.

Upper East Side

Median Rent: $4,495 median monthly rent; $1.3 million median purchase
Crime Rate: 71% lower than national average
Perfect For: Families, established professionals, retirees

Often described as a “suburb within the city,” the Upper East Side (UES) moves slower than the rest of Manhattan and offers spacious yet affordable living. Between Central Park and the East River from 59th St. to 96th St., this New York neighborhood is perfect for anyone who wants a quieter area with larger homes, good schools, parks and community centers, and low crime. Though accessing NYC’s dining and entertainment isn’t as easy in Upper Manhattan, the proximity to Central Park and Museum Mile is fair trade for those in UES.

STATEN ISLAND

Annadale

Median Rent: $1,250 median monthly rent; $619,900 median purchase
Crime Rate: 48% lower than national average
Perfect For: Families, retirees

A cozy neighborhood on the southeastern side of Staten Island, Annadale is a great choice for anyone who wants to live within commuting distance of Manhattan but far enough away that it’s quiet. This Staten Island suburb offers a good range of affordable living spaces: apartments, condos, single-family homes, and multifamily homes—though the homes in Southeast Annadale are considered “higher-end.” While the area doesn’t have as much to offer in terms of dining and nightlife, it does have Blue Heron Park Preserve, a city park at the heart of Annadale with ponds, wildlife, and excellent views for walkers and joggers.

Bay Terrace

Median Rent: $1,550 median monthly rent; $441,000 median purchase
Crime Rate: 48% lower than national average
Perfect For: College students, commuting professionals, families, retirees

Nestled between Great Kills and Oakwood, you’ll find Bay Terrace. This Staten Island neighborhood on the East Shore is small, quiet, and offers residents affordable apartments and single-family homes. Bay Terrace also has the Staten Island Railway—which leads to St. George Ferry Terminal—running through its heart, so it’s easy for college students and professionals to commute to Manhattan. What the area lacks in shopping and dining, it makes up for with proximity to Great Kills Park, which has beautiful beaches, wildlife viewing, and plenty of trails for walking, biking, and jogging.

Great Kills

Median Rent: $2,200 median monthly rent; $425,000 median purchase
Crime Rate: 48% lower than national average
Perfect For: Commuting professionals, families, retirees

With close proximity to Great Kills Park and Great Kills Harbor, an abundance of restaurants and shopping, a tight-knit community with great schools, and unique housing, the neighborhood of Great Kills is a favorite among Manhattan transplants. It’s one of those neighborhoods where people settle down and never want to leave. While the commute to Manhattan isn’t necessarily short, the train runs through the heart of the neighborhood, leading to St. George Ferry Terminal, making living on the island easy enough for those who work in Manhattan.

Prince’s Bay

Median Rent: $2,650 median monthly rent; $530,000 median purchase
Crime Rate: 71% lower than national average
Perfect For: Commuting professionals, families, retirees

Spacious Colonial and Tudor-style homes are the major draw of Prince’s Bay in Staten Island, though they’re not the only style of homes available to residents. With a good mix of old and new homes, people across all stages of life can find an apartment, condo, or house that fits their needs and styles. The area is also excellent for anyone who wants more greenery, as Prince’s Bay is home to Wolfe’s Pond Park and Lemon Creek Park, both of which take up the majority of the neighborhood. There’s also a station for the Staten Island Railway, which makes commuting to and from Manhattan quick.

St. George

Median Rent: $2,850 median monthly rent; $475,000 median purchase
Crime Rate: 26% lower than national average
Perfect For: Young professionals, singles, families, retirees

With great views of the bay and beautiful old homes on steep hills, you might think St. George is a little slice of San Francisco in New York. It’s no wonder why this Staten Island neighborhood is a favorite among NYC residents looking for a safe, affordable and fun place to live outside of Manhattan. St. George is home to great schools, well-maintained public parks, an ample selection of local restaurants and craft beer bars, and the Staten Island Yankees. And, of course, St. George has a ferry terminal that offers residents and visitors free trips back and forth between Staten Island and Manhattan, so it’s in a great spot for young professionals who work in the city and anyone else who wants to be close, but not too close, to the action.

QUEENS

Kennedy Bridge in Astoria, Queens, NY

Photo by Gabe Shore

Astoria

Median Rent: $2,250 median monthly rent; $662,500 median purchase
Crime Rate: 38% lower than national average
Perfect For: Commuting professionals, singles, families, retirees

Space—and a lot of it—is what you’ll get if you move to Astoria! Though the area isn’t known for having “pretty” exteriors, the apartments, townhouses, multi-family buildings, and luxury condos you’ll find in this popular Queens neighborhood often offer upwards of 800 square feet of living space. It’s a good bang-for-your-buck neighborhood when you’re on a budget, and commuting to Manhattan is easy! Astoria is also home to fitness-friendly and family-friendly parks, like Astoria Park, which has a great view of the East River and the Robert F. Kennedy Bridge (and has been featured in several movies and TV shows).

Jackson Heights

Median Rent: $2,500 median monthly rent; $610,000 median purchase
Crime Rate: 31% lower than national average
Perfect For: Commuting professionals, singles, families, retirees, LGBTQ

An older neighborhood in Queens, Jackson Heights has beautiful, old exteriors and a good mix of private and co-op gardens. While there are several trains running through the neighborhood, the commute to Manhattan isn’t as fast as other areas like Astoria. However, Jackson Heights is close to LaGuardia Airport, which makes it ideal for anyone who frequently travels. It’s also one of the more diverse areas of Queens with large populations of people who identify as Latino, South Asian, and LGBTQ. So if you’re looking for a quiet area with a welcoming community and excellent ethnic cuisine, move to Jackson Heights!

Laurelton

Median Rent: $2,500 median monthly rent; $450,000 median purchase
Crime Rate: 36% lower than national average
Perfect For: Families and retirees

You won’t find modern high-rises in Laurelton. This cozy Queens neighborhood is all about the small-town residential feel—to the point where it almost seems out of place in the New York City metro. But that’s not a bad thing! Despite having fewer homes available for rent and fewer dining and nightlife hot spots, Laurelton has some of the best home purchase prices in the borough! You can find classic Tudor-style homes with gorgeous gardens in the $300,000 to $500,000 range. It’s the perfect place to raise a family or settle down for retirement. And though it’s a bit removed from everything else, Laurelton does have a train station with lines running through Queens to Brooklyn and Manhattan, and it’s just north of JFK Airport.

Ridgewood

Median Rent: $2,200 median monthly rent; $592,500 median purchase
Crime Rate: 35% lower than national average
Perfect For: Commuting professionals, families, retirees

Ridgewood is an affordable and roomier alternative to Brooklyn. In fact, this Queens neighborhood is just on the edge of Brooklyn, so it shares a lot of the same attributes—tree-lined streets, convenient commutes to Manhattan, and a variety of homes that appeal to young professionals, families, and retirees alike! While Ridgewood does have several shopping districts and quirky restaurants that provide plenty to do in the area, residents are close enough to trendy neighborhoods like Williamsburg that a quick trip isn’t a hassle!

Sunnyside

Median Rent: $2,100 median monthly rent; $547,309 median purchase
Crime Rate: 41% lower than national average
Perfect For: Commuting professionals, singles, families, retirees, LGBTQ

“Old-school” is how many residents of Sunnyside would describe this Queens neighborhood. In the 1940s, the area was popular among artists and writers who wanted to raise families outside of the city, and you can still see their influence in the area today. It’s a community-focused neighborhood with residents from all different backgrounds and commercial areas filled with local bars, restaurants, and mom-and-pop shops! And if you’re looking for a home with character, you’ll love Sunnyside’s pre-war apartments and rowhouses.

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Home Prices & Rents via Trulia.com. Crime rates via AreaVibes.com. Demographics via StreetAdvisor.com.

All images have either been provided by a listed organization or are licensed under the Creative Commons.