If you are anything like my wife and me, you may have decided that NYC is the place for you long-term. The big bad city beats you down time and again, and you come back stronger with every stumbling block. You gain strength and resolve where others lose momentum and succumb to loneliness in the crowd of 10 million people; you are more in love with Gotham than ever. You envision yourself living in Manhattan for the rest of your life - building a community of friends and acquaintances in your neighborhood; settling into a career and finding hobbies that keep you happy and fulfilled; locking down your “regular” doctors, dentists, therapists, and personal trainers; adding a furry friend to your life; or even growing your family and putting down roots.
Whatever your vision for the future looks like, you might now be at the point where you say to yourself, “I don’t intend to leave NYC any time soon; I am in love with this city.” My wife and I are certainly in that headspace at the present time. However, we are not financially liquid enough to buy an apartment at present, and likely won’t be for quite a few years. I’m sure many of us are in the same boat; it is very difficult to find a decent apartment for sale under $500k in Upper Manhattan, and between a sizeable down payment and hefty closing costs, you need a lot of liquid assets in the bank to begin seriously thinking about buying. So, is there a neighborhood in Uptown NYC that encourages more long-term growth of your community and lifestyle, while offering you a chance to save $$$ to put towards the purchase of your future home? My answer is a resounding YES! My wife and I moved to Inwood (the northernmost neighborhood of Manhattan) 6 months ago, and I can honestly say we love it wholeheartedly and envision ourselves staying in our current Inwood apartment for at least 5 years. Here are my top five reasons why you should choose Inwood for your next rental apartment if you are wanting to put down roots in NYC but you are not yet able to buy:
Accessibility - Inwood is a small, tight-knit community that sits between two major subway lines; the A train and the 1 train. These trains run all the way from Upper Manhattan/The Bronx to deep Brooklyn and intersect with all other train lines in the city at some part of their journey. Because Inwood is so small you are never more than a 6-minute walk away from either train (I live around the corner from the 1 train, but if I need the A, I only have to walk for 6 minutes!), so you literally have all 5 boroughs of Manhattan at your doorstep. And despite the stigma that Inwood is “so far Uptown,” in reality, the journey to midtown is only 30-35 minutes via the A train, 40 minutes via the 1. Adding 5-10 minutes to your daily commute seems a small price to pay for Inwood’s multitude of benefits (and much cheaper price tag). Inwood is also one of the easier neighborhoods to have a car in; there is lots of street parking (though you have to be scrappy to get a spot), but there are also tons of parking garages with reasonable monthly fees by NYC standards. You are in immediate proximity to four major highways; the Major Deegan Expressway (to the Bronx and Westchester/New York State), FDR Drive along the East Side of Manhattan, Henry Hudson Parkway on the West, and a 10-minute drive to the George Washington Bridge (New Jersey). You can be out of the gridlock of NYC in 5-10 minutes and get wherever you need to go; not many other neighborhoods can boast that kind of access to the “outside world.”
Parks - Inwood is home to three GORGEOUS parks all in short walking distance - Isham Park, Inwood Hill Park, and Fort Tryon Park (home of the Cloisters; a part of the Metropolitan Museum of Art!). Each has its own best qualities, which I encourage you to explore on your own, but all three share these commonalities; they are beautiful, quiet, lush, and offer an escape from the hustle and bustle of NYC. I often walk 5 minutes from my apartment to Inwood Hill Park just to clear my head, feel closer to nature and practice mindfulness. If you want to build a life for yourself in NYC, you need to find places of calm and rest. There are also public basketball courts, baseball diamonds, bodyweight fitness equipment areas, tennis courts, and numerous winding paths, so you can get your workout in for free every day, no problem!
Cost - Inwood is without a doubt the most budget-friendly neighborhood in Manhattan, but don’t think that means the apartments are small or gross. Quite the opposite! In fact, in my 7 months in the real estate game, I have been hard-pressed to find a bedroom in Inwood that didn’t have space for at least a queen bed and didn’t have a closet. 1 bedrooms can range from about $1700-$1900, and you can find some insanely spacious 2 bedrooms for $2000-$2300. Tons of landlords in Inwood are realizing Inwood is the new “it” neighborhood, and are following suit by implementing stellar renovations in their apartments coming back on the market. Paying less rent means putting $$$ away for your future home, wherever it may be. And while you are saving, you might as well have plenty of space to move around in and build a home for yourself!
Shopping - Inwood boasts a large array of quality grocery stores, including Fine Fare, C Town, and Associated Supermarkets. You are also only two stops away from the Target at 225th Street, and this is a real honest-to-goodness full-size Target for all you skeptical Midwesterners reading this! You are three stops away from a BJ’s wholesale, so stocking up in bulk is no issue, with a cheap and quick cab ride home. Speaking of wholesale, one of my favorite places in Inwood is Flair Beverages. It is a wholesale beer and soda warehouse that generally caters to restaurant owners across the city, but it is open to the public, and you are 100% entitled to the fantastic discounts to be found inside. From $8 craft beer six-packs to $2 soda six-packs, you will feel as if you’ve found a portal to prices from cheaper parts of the USA! There is also no shortage of major pharmacies in the neighborhood, as well as a Planet Fitness, the nicest quietest Starbucks I know in Manhattan, GameStop, Foot Locker, and many other shops along the main commercial thoroughfare, Dyckman Street.
Dining - From cafés to bars to restaurants, you never have to leave your neighborhood to have a memorable night on the town. Some of our favorite spots include: Tryon Public House (excellent selection of rotating drafts and great burgers!), Tannat (Wine bar with wonderful slow-cooked meals), MamaSushi (sushi and Asian cuisine with a Latin flair!), The Park View (trendy sit-down cafe with awesome cappuccinos and almond croissants), and John’s Fried Chicken (the ultimate comfort food!).
Need any more convincing? Feel free to email me at email@example.com; I will talk your ear off about how great Inwood is!
By Michael Lasris February 26, 2020
One of the perks of living in Uptown Manhattan is the plethora and variety of restaurants. While each neighborhood has its selection of great eateries...