My Neighborhood – Hoboken, New Jersey

Written by Peta Arthurson

See why moving to Hoboken was a winner with former AWNY Vice President Peta Arthurson.

 

My husband and I stumbled upon the neighborhood of Hoboken and at first we completely freaked out. We had never planned on moving to NEW JERSEY!!! That’s a whole different state, and train system! But, if you read along with me you will see why I think its been our best neighborhood so far!

Upon recently expanding my family to include our new baby girl Matilda, my husband and I knew we wanted a little more space at but with affordable rent, and non- negotiable outdoor space for our dog (there was no way could I walk him at night in the dead of winter with a newborn if my hubby was away for work!) And of course we wanted all of this without moving to Westchester or some other upstate NY or Long Island location. I’m pleased to report we found it in Hoboken, New Jersey, just a short distance from Manhattan.

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Peta, husband Shane and baby Matilda on Matilda’s first Snow Day – Dec 2016

 

Where is Hoboken?

Hoboken, New Jersey is right across the Hudson river and is bordered by Weehawken to the North and Jersey City to the South & West. The streets are on a grid similar to Manhattan with the cross streets being numbered from 1st (downtown) to 14th (uptown) and some president’s names like Washington, Adams, Madison, Monroe.

Transport in Hoboken

Hoboken is essentially in line with Houston and 23rd streets of Manhattan and getting into the city is quick and easy. The PATH train runs regularly from 33rd street to Hoboken and the ferry runs to 42nd and World Trade Center. In fact, if you work downtown, the ferry takes only 5 minutes. There are also buses, with NJ Transit operating between the Hoboken Bus Terminal and Port Authority Bus Terminal in Manhattan. We also have a light rail system connecting Jersey City to Weehawken and beyond.

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My New York Neighborhood: Upper West Side

By Kim Broughton

Moving from Sydney to Manhattan was exciting and dangerous.

The first challenge was to determine which neighborhood to live but in fact this was a favorite old game between my husband and I:

Are you Upper West Side? Or Upper East Side?

There is no right or wrong; some days I am UWS, some days I feel UES.

So why did I move to the UWS?  Lets be really practical…

We bled money paying for a Real Estate Broker who swore that the UWS was the best place to be with a young family.  There are many family friendly neighbourhoods in Manhattan, however the UWS has some definite benefits; especially if your little one is at home with you, all day without a backyard!

  • Proximity to Central Park and Riverside parks and playgrounds
  • Kid venues: NY kids club, Kidsville, Museum for children, the Natural History Museum, Lincoln Centre
  • Kid friendly restaurants: the diners won’t glare at you when you sit down and whip out the iPads, and the waiters bring crayons to the table. Plus, they offer cocktails too so everybody wins
  • Schools: There are good schools (public and private) located on the UWS. It’s a predominant reason why this neighbourhood is so popular – do note that there is a lot of competition to win a place at these schools.
  • Its stroller-friendly. I mention this because if you have a stroller, wide footpaths with proximity to a subway is so important for your sanity. I plowed the snowy footpaths of Broadway and West End Ave with my trusty Mountain Buggy and lived to tell the tale.
  • Harry’s shoes on Broadway, not quite Manolo but very convenient
  • Barnes and Nobles on Broadway….I know Amazon is taking over the world but I still love a good bookstore

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My Neighborhood: Greenpoint, Brooklyn

AWNY member and newly appointed Events and Membership Manager for AAA, Anna McCrea, tells us about her local area, Greenpoint. 

Where: Greenpoint is located in the northernmost point of the New York City borough of Brooklyn and is bordered by Williamsburg to the south and Long Island City, Queens to the north.

The Vibe: Known as Little Poland, Greenpoint is home to a large Polish immigrant and Polish-American community. This means AMAZING bakeries and butchers! My landlord and flat-mate are both Polish immigrants and I have never met more generous and open-hearted people (while also blunt and straight-to-the-point). Recent years have seen an influx of young students, artists and musicians move into the area due to the climbing rents of neighboring Williamsburg, so there is a fun hipster feel with great new bars, boutiques and brunch spots. With McCarren Park on the southern border you will also find an abundance of dog walkers, sporting groups, people on picnics, and couples pushing prams.  Over all it has a very chilled, family-friendly and relaxing vibe.

My Greenpoint picks: My favorite things about Greenpoint include the farmers markets at Msgr. McGolrick park, the string of Polish bakeries on Nassau Avenue, Greenpoint Fish & Lobster Co. for fresh produce or an intimate dine-in experience, Café Grumpy for a great flat white (also frequently featured in the TV show Girls), and the Australian-export No Lights No Lycra, the weekly feel-good dance party in the dark held at a local church basement on Russell Street. NLNL was something I went to regularly back home in Brisbane for a cheap and healthy weeknight activity, so I love having it right around the corner from me in New York.

Transport: Unless you are prepared to walk 15-20 minutes down to the Bedford L stop, the only line that runs through Greenpoint is the G, which is known for being slow and unreliable. However if weather is good, the walk by the park is great, and that I can get to most places in Manhattan within 30-40 minutes (this walk may not be as enjoyable in winter though).

What Greenpoint may lack in transport options is made up for with its parks, cafes and overall clean and friendly feel. Next time you are in Brooklyn pop up and pay Greenpoint a visit!

My Neighborhood: Long Island City (LIC)

Written by Peta Arthurson

Long Island City (LIC) is my second New York neighborhood (we were previously in the FiDi) and I definitely have a love/hate relationship with it. While it has spectacular views, amenity-laden apartment buildings, and great parks, it does lack the gritty Manhattan vibe. It’s very new and safe, but it can be much colder than Manhattan in winter due to the brutal East River winds. For most of the year, LIC slips under the radar. That is until 50,000 people descend on July 4th to grab the best fireworks viewing spots (a little-known secret)!

Where?

LIC is the westernmost residential and commercial neighborhood of Queens, directly opposite midtown Manhattan. You’re looking at it when you see the Pepsi Cola sign. It is noted for its rapid and ongoing residential growth and gentrification, its waterfront parks, and its thriving arts community. It is bordered by Astoria to the north, the East River to the west, Hazen Street/49th Street and New Calvary Cemetery in Sunnyside to the east, and Newtown Creek to the south.

Access to LIC is via the 7 train and transport is wonderful because you can transfer to any subway line as it runs across 42nd street stopping at Grand Central, Bryant Park and Times Square. The E train is also a 15 minute walk away. The East River Ferry runs across to 34th Street and downtown through Brooklyn to Wall Street.

The vibe

I live in the Center Boulevard area of LIC, where buildings are new and shiny and most apartments have amazing Manhattan views. Common amenities in the buildings include gyms, roof decks, bbqs, pools, and cinema rooms.

The area is still very new and is still finding its own identity. It is very family friendly with the Gantry State Park running along the foreshore. We have basketball courts, children’s playgrounds and lots of grass and trees! It is often nicknamed Dog Island City because there are so many dogs in the area and we have just got our 4th dog park within walking distance of my building.

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My Neighborhood: Chelsea

 

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Written by Zoe Potter

I fell in love with Chelsea on my second day in New York. In fact, I fell in love with New York when I was in Chelsea, walking the High Line in fall. This was the New York that excited me, a place of urban innovation, a mixing of old and new, brave, bold, different.

Where?

Beside the Hudson River on the west side of downtown Manhattan, Chelsea’s boundaries are 14th Street to the south, 34th Street to the north and 6th Avenue to the east.

Bordered by the Flatiron District, NoMad to the east, Hell’s Kitchen to the north, and Meatpacking District, Greenwich Village and West Village to the south, Chelsea is a short walk from the delights of downtown, without the exorbitant rents, and it’s close to Midtown but still feels like a residential neighbourhood. With the luxury of two subway lines, on 7th and 8th Avenues, it’s easy to get uptown, downtown and across town to Brooklyn and Queens.

The vibe

The neighbourhood has all the best attributes of New York: a great vibe, plenty of nightlife, dozens and dozens of restaurants from casual eats to Michelin stars, and every amenity you need within a one block radius.

Chelsea’s unique style, derived from its industrial past and the dramatic renaissance the area has undergone in recent years, sets it apart from other neighbourhoods.

It began with art

From the 1990s, art galleries drawn to Chelsea by cheap rents drove the area’s resurgence. Chelsea is the centre of New York’s art world with over 200 galleries in west Chelsea, many of which occupy converted factories and warehouse spaces.

A neighbourhood transformed  

A series of projects completed in the past 20 years have transformed neglected vestiges of a manufacturing past into innovative public spaces. The adjacent Meatpacking District has undergone a similar metamorphosis from a leftover manufacturing district home to drug dealing and other illicit activities to a vibrant centre of high-end fashion, dining and nightlife.

An old biscuit factory

The Chelsea Market opened in 1997 in the refurbished former Nabisco factory which once produced Oreo cookies. Occupying a whole block on the corner of 9th Avenue and 15th Street, the steampunk interior design retained the feel of the old industrial site, with artefacts from its past life strewn about in between the gourmet food stores and restaurants which now attract millions of visitors every year.

An old railway

The High Line is the star of Chelsea’s post-industrial revitalisation, attracting nearly five million visitors each year and amplifying the neighbourhood’s gentrification. The disused elevated railway was redesigned and planted, opening in 2009 as a 1.45 mile long park and walkway which runs from Gansevoort Street in the Meatpacking District to 34th Street. The project recalls the park’s former use by displaying old railway tracks and uses vegetation inspired by plants that grew on the abandoned tracks. Rolling sun loungers made from parts of the old railway look out across the Hudson – you have to be quick to get one of these on a sunny afternoon.

A new home for the Whitney

Capitalising on the High Line’s popularity, the Whitney Museum of American Art moved to its new location at the southern entrance to the High Line. Designed by Renzo Piano and built at a cost of $422 million, the new building opened on 1 May 2015. The collection includes works by Edward Hopper, Willem de Kooning , Jackson Pollock, Andy Warhol and Georgia O’Keeffe.

A new hotel

The Standard Hotel was built over the High Line in 2009, adopting a gritty design to reflect the industrial feel of the area. The rooftop bar, Le Bain, has breathtaking views of downtown Manhattan and the Hudson River. The Standard was the scene of the infamous elevator incident between Solange Knowles and Jay-Z in May 2014.

These days the Standard is more famous than the neighbourhood’s original grande-dame, the Chelsea Hotel on 23rd Street where Arthur C. Clarke wrote 2001: A Space Odyssey, Jack Kerouc penned On the Road, and where a who’s who of the twentieth centuries’ artists, writers and musicians resided at various times.

A place to play

The Chelsea Piers were once the city’s premier passenger ship terminal – it was here that the Titanic was scheduled to dock in 1912. As times changed the piers were used as cargo terminals and then fell into disuse. Reborn in 1995 as a huge sports and entertainment complex, the piers now offer everything from swimming pools to year round ice skating rinks to a golf driving range. It also has the Frying Pan, a lighthouse boat retrieved from the bottom of a river and resurrected into a floating bar.

An urban oasis

The Hudson River Park extends from Battery Park up to 59th Street, incorporating reclaimed piers, sporting fields, green spaces and pedestrian and bicycle paths. The great wide expanse of water and sky and the sunset view across to New Jersey are the perfect escape from the pressure of the city streets.

Visit!

Chelsea’s dynamic past and evolving present make the neighbourhood an exciting place to call home. Old is interwoven with new, gritty adjoins shiny, and the result is a neighbourhood that is fast-paced and friendly, eclectic and alive, and full of character, culture and cool.

So, if it’s been a while, or if it’s your first time, jump on the A, C, E, 1, 2 or 3 and visit Chelsea.

Photo credit: Zoe Potter