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Old 10-14-13, 05:23 PM   #1
jyl
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130th St & 5th Ave, NYC?

A good friend, a young lady from France, is doing an internship in NYC from Jan-June next year. She is using the local Alliance Francaise to look for a room to rent. Most of what they have is either north of Centrak Park (Harlem) or there is some chances of Brooklyn (not sure where). One place she's been offered is at 5th Ave and 130th St, and she asked me what I thought about the location. She'll be taking the subway daily to downtown.

I don't know NY in detail, so I ask you guys. Would you recommend a 25 y/o woman live in that area, or should she keep looking?

I was thinking that in some parts of Brooklyn she could even use Citibikes (obligatory bike content).

Any thoughts you have would be very appreciated. This young lady is kind of my "French daughter" so I'd like to steer her right.
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Old 10-14-13, 05:42 PM   #2
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This area of Manhattan us changing rapidly, for the better. I would a little safer it was just a little bit more north, But I would be concerned if my daughter moved there
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Old 10-14-13, 05:52 PM   #3
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I checked on street view on Google Maps, and as I suspected it isn't the best of areas. While NYC is generally safe, she wouldn't have any fun living there and would always be nervous. The biggest problem is that living in any nice part of NYC is expensive. Have her look in Brooklyn and get back to me on what she finds. I'll give you a good assessment.

I would ask my wife if we could take her in, my teenage daughter spent a summer in France, but we just had a big argument about having someone else come live with us. We live in Brooklyn in an area where the younger post-college crowd has started moving in.
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Old 10-14-13, 06:04 PM   #4
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I was in NY last week and poked around Bedford St in Brooklyn, that seems like a fun and changing area. We also walked from Prospect Park north, that also seemed nice. Hipsters moving in ?

I've never been in the area where this apartment is, have only been in the area down the hill from Columbia Univ. It didn't feel like it would be a comfortable place at night, but what do I know.
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Old 10-14-13, 06:22 PM   #5
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If there are other options besides 130th st; I'd choose others.
Although some parts of Brooklyn aren't very nice either.
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Old 10-14-13, 07:01 PM   #6
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Look at Jersey City or North Bergen.
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Old 10-14-13, 08:31 PM   #7
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There are lots of nice areas in Brooklyn to look. If you have any specific streets I'll let you know how they are, and give some info on the surrounding area, night life, vibe, likely cost, Citibike coverage (very important to the young now in NYC) and whatever else I can come up with.

Oh, and Columbia University area is fine.

I wouldn't recommend anywhere outside of Manhattan or Brooklyn or maybe the part of Queens closest to Manhattan (Astoria or LIC) to someone coming from outside the country. There just wouldn't be much to do.

Last edited by zacster; 10-14-13 at 08:37 PM.
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Old 10-15-13, 04:02 AM   #8
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jyl, I'll see if I can take a spin up there and take a look.

The area that citibike covers is still small, and I'd guess most or all of it is unaffordable.

I'll speak with my wife about having a French intern stay with us. We've done similar things in the past. We are Francophiles, so it could be fun.
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Old 10-16-13, 01:20 PM   #9
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Okay, NYC follks, can you give me any thoughts you have on a couple more places? I suggested she ask for Brooklyn options and this is what she is being sent:

First, a room in a place at Herkimer St and Kingston Ave in Brooklyn (Herkimer is a block north of and parallel to Fulton). This looks to be on a subway line. I took a look on Google Streetview and it seems okay?

And a cheaper room at Lafayette Ave and Lewis Ave in Brookyn. This is farther from any subway line and looks a touch less prepossessing on StreetView.

Thanks. Of course, if you or yours ever needs someone to check out a place (or a bike) local to me, I'll gratefully repay the favor.
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Old 10-16-13, 05:21 PM   #10
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Nope, she wouldn't feel safe at either place. These are both in Bedford-Stuyvesant, but there are nicer parts of Bed-Stuy. If these are the only choices, I'd go for Lafayette and Lewis. A colleague of mine stayed at a hotel near Kingston and didn't feel safe at all. He didn't ask me before he booked.

No Citibike at either location. If you go to the Citibikenyc website, you'll see the coverage, and this corresponds to some desirable areas in Brooklyn. In Manhattan it ends at 59th St, so you can't use that as a guide there.

What is her budget?
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Old 10-16-13, 06:07 PM   #11
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$800/mo for a single room, is her budget. The place on Kingston is a bit above, the other one is below.
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Old 10-16-13, 06:44 PM   #12
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$800, hmmm. That's not a NYC budget. I've e-mailed my neighbor that has been renting out rooms in his house, mostly to young women, asking whether there is any availability. It's a pretty low-key setting, a big house, a quiet block, subway nearby (across the street), restaurants and bars a short walk away, a young crowd in the apartments amongst the long-time home owners like myself. My neighbor remarried and moved into her Manhattan apartment and hasn't decided on when to sell his house yet. Google Dorchester road and Marlborough road in Brooklyn to get a sense.
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Old 10-16-13, 08:30 PM   #13
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$800/mo for a single room, is her budget. The place on Kingston is a bit above, the other one is below.
For that kind of money, she's going to be needing a roommate situation, no matter where she goes really. In addition to the neighborhoods others have pointed out, Queens has some nice ones, including Astoria. The "catch" with many of the outer boroughs is that you really need to go check out them out to see what's available, as many landlords don't work with brokers. But for the shoe leather, you'll save a fair amount of money.
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Old 10-17-13, 08:35 AM   #14
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$800/mo for a single room, is her budget. The place on Kingston is a bit above, the other one is below.
In the Bronx she could get a whole apt. for that.
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Old 10-17-13, 08:42 AM   #15
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these areas in brooklyn are safe, enjoyable and affordable. but a bit further away from manhattan.
bay ridge
bensonhurst
dyker heights

park slope is a bit younger/cooler, and closer to manhattan. she might be able to find something here also
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Old 10-17-13, 02:41 PM   #16
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I wandered up to 130th St and 5th. It's very attractive and feels safe. Surprise! This is in the area of Harlem that is being gentrified. I had a long phone call on a bench in a playground. It was lovely. So was Madison Ave.

Pictures are here.

Some buildings that fell to neglect are still visible and are under renovation. It's remarkable.

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Old 10-17-13, 04:10 PM   #17
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I wandered up to 130th St and 5th. It's very attractive and feels safe. Surprise! This is in the area of Harlem that is being gentrified. I had a long phone call on a bench in a playground. It was lovely. So was Madison Ave.

Pictures are here.

Some buildings that fell to neglect are still visible and are under renovation. It's remarkable.

I thought about riding up there myself today, but I needed to get home. That area does have the 4/5 trains to get downtown too. I would choose that over either place mentioned in Brooklyn, but if it were my daughter, and that will come soon enough, I'd be a little nervous, not that I don't believe you.
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Old 10-17-13, 05:21 PM   #18
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Thanks to you guys. I hope she gets it.
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Old 10-21-13, 02:40 PM   #19
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I was in Central Park yesterday doing hill repeats and I thought that I'd take a swing by. I rode up Lenox Ave from the park, and then across 130th to 5th, then down 5th. I would say that it is OK up to 130th, but beyond that looked less nice. 130th itself is lined with brownstones on one side and houses on the other side in a style unlike anything else I've seen in NYC. There looked to be plenty of cafes and restaurants centered around 125th St as I expected since it is THE main street of Harlem. I turned down 5th and went by a house/building where 2 young women were coming out, and I think speaking French (there was another woman speaking on her phone in Spanish drowning them out). It wasn't so nice, but I wouldn't expect Versailles either.

Basically it is as Tom described.
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Old 10-22-13, 06:32 AM   #20
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Some parts of Harlem were to be absolutely avoided years ago. Things are different now.

I went to high school in Harlem. While waiting at the bus stop, one day, someone pulled a gun on someone else. Yikes.
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Old 10-22-13, 08:17 AM   #21
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see what the area is like on friday night
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Old 10-22-13, 10:12 AM   #22
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$800/mo for a single room, is her budget. The place on Kingston is a bit above, the other one is below.
As someone who lives in Crown Heights Kingston can get awfully rough. As a male in my mid twenties who has lived in NYC for a few years I wouldn't want to live there.
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Old 01-12-14, 07:26 PM   #23
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Just an update - my friend took the place in Harlem, her intern visa came through, she's off on her adventure now. Thank you to everyone for your help and info!

I'll see her on my next biz trip to NYC and am interested to hear what the new Harlem is like.
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Old 01-12-14, 08:22 PM   #24
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I'd be interested in what she thinks of it.
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Old 01-21-14, 08:16 AM   #25
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Would she like a family dinner downtown with us? My wife and I can give her tips on living in NYC. What kind of work is she doing here?
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