Manhattan Borough Guide Guide
New York City is one of the most famous, iconic places in the world. With thousands upon thousands of places to discover, the enormity of New York City is part of its particular charm. There are large, well-known spots like Times Square and Central Park that everyone flocks to, but then there are the smaller ones that take much more perseverance and time to discover—a cozy restaurant in Greenwich Village, a used book shop on the Upper West Side, a favorite statue or edifice. One can spend years wandering around the boroughs and have an entirely new experience every day, meeting fascinating new people from all over the world, and experiencing the best in culture, arts, and more.
At the heart of the city lies Manhattan, which is known as quintessential New York City. It is the most famous area of the city, and the one most captured on film, television, and in pop culture. It provides its citizens, as well as tourists, with the most opportunity for diversity—of people, of things to do, of opportunities. It has the most museums, theatres, and world-renowned landmarks of any other borough, as well as the most convenient mass transit. Additionally, the grid system of streets makes it the most overall easy area of the city to navigate.
When people speak of New York City, they are most often referring to Manhattan. The Empire State Building, Rockefeller Center, Times Square, Madison Square Garden, Central Park, Washington Square Park, The Metropolitan Opera, Carnegie Hall, The Russian Tea Room, Macy’s, Herald Square, the Chrysler Building…The list goes on and on.
Overall, Manhattan residents make more money than residents in any other part of the United States, with the highest per capita income in the country. Manhattan houses the New York Stock Exchange—arguably the center of the world’s financial market—the NASDAQ, and the headquarters of the United Nations. More than 2 million people—both residents and commuters—work in Manhattan, which makes it one of the single busiest places on the entire planet. These enormous influences have a sizable impact on the housing industry. Manhattan has a large amount of the United States’ most valuable real estate, with prices for residential properties recently estimated at an average of over $1400 per co-op or condo.
There is no place in America more densely populated than Manhattan, with over 1.6 million people living on 28 square miles of land (or 57 square kilometers). The sheer volume of people is one of the main reasons Manhattan has such a unique energy and vibe. It is pulsing with life and energetic people with countless hopes, dreams, and pursuits. It is also home to the most exciting places in the city, making it an extremely popular area for prime real estate in New York.
Another unique aspect of Manhattan is that it provides so many different areas for people to choose to live in, with different environments and atmospheres suited to people’s varying personalities and temperaments. Broadly divided into uptown, downtown, and midtown, Manhattan has tons of smaller, more specific divisions, such as the bustling Times Square, the wealthy, stately Upper East Side and areas surrounding Central Park, the artsy Village, SoHo, and Chelsea, the historic Gramercy Park, the Eastern-infused Chinatown, the energetic and quirky Hell’s Kitchen, and so on and so forth.
Manhattan offers seemingly endless options for entertainment and culture from the aforementioned museums and theatres to exclusive stores and boutiques, restaurants, cafes, private clubs, night clubs and more. In fact, the city has more than 5,000 restaurants of practically every style and ethnicity, about 200 art galleries and museums, such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, the Guggenheim, the Frick, the Whitney, the Museum of Natural History, which has the Hayden Planetarium, at least 39 theatrical venues, such as theatres (on Broadway and off), opera houses, ballet and modern dance companies, and that doesn’t even count the movie theatres, both wide release and independent.
What is so special about Manhattan is that it really caters to everybody, from the incredibly rich to people who earn a more modest income. If one can’t afford to live in a high rise on the Upper East Side with a panoramic view of Central Park, one might find something more manageable in SoHo or the Village. There are also, of course, people who can afford any home they want and who still find themselves drawn to different areas of Manhattan for different reasons. Some people prefer the vital, artsy, downtown vibe to the austere areas in uptown and midtown, or vice versa. All places promise different experiences and communities, and most importantly, all are convenient to one another, thanks to the subway, bus systems, and ubiquitous taxicabs.
Manhattan is also a unique in how many beautiful places it offers its residents, both natural and man-made. On the natural end of the spectrum, it boasts three rivers—East River, the Harlem, and the Hudson, as well as over 2,500 interspersed green acres, most famously Central Park, which accounts for 843 of these acres and attracts thousands of people every day. This world-famous park is a green oasis of sorts in the city’s urban landscape that gives people a chance to get a taste of nature within the confines of Manhattan, while jogging, walking their dogs, or just relaxing and reading.
As far as man-made beauty, Manhattan has countless gorgeous buildings, from both Mets (the Museum and the Opera) to the Empire State and Chrysler Buildings to Rockefeller Center to St. Patrick’s Cathedral to the Guggenheim to thousands of residential and office buildings with facades both classic and modern, and beautiful old theatres. It also has thousands of statues, small parks, art installations, and more. In short, it is an almost perfect place to live.