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The Big Apple, the State of New York, is a fascinating place to visit! To understand it better, we bring you a guide. Keep reading to find out more!
Situated at the mouth of the Hudson River in southeastern New York State, New York City is a city and a port, widely regarded as the most prominent city in the United States. It is also the most distinguished American metropolis known as The Big Apple!
The exciting thing about New York City is that it is a collection of several different neighborhoods spread over the city’s five boroughs, each with its own distinct culture and lifestyle.
We shall further look into these in detail in this article, but first, let us clarify some basics!
What is a Borough?
The term borough, in theory, refers to a self-governing walled town, but in fact, the term is used in a variety of ways.
In England and other English countries, a borough is an administrative division. In the United States, a borough is a level of municipal government below the state level. Seven of fifty states of the USA currently use this term and concept of the borough, New York being one of them.
Five Boroughs of NYC
Five boroughs, named Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island, The Bronx, and Manhattan, make up the famous New York City!
Each of these boroughs is coextensive with a New York State county, making New York City one of the few municipalities in the United States with numerous counties. The Bronx and Queens are known as Bronx County and Queens County. While Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Staten Island are referred to as New York County, Kings County, and Richmond County.
Each of them has an independent Borough Hall, the chief administrative building of a borough.
It would also be helpful to know that all the boroughs, excluding Manhattan, are called’ outer boroughs.’
A Complete Guide
The original boundaries of New York City were Manhattan Island and the other surrounding islands that made up New York County.
The city’s expansion annexed East Bronx and West Bronx in 1874 and 1895. Collectively forming the Borough of the Bronx, they were consolidated with New York County.
All 5 boroughs came into existence in 1898, when New York County, Kings County, a portion of Queens County, and Richmond County were united into one municipal administration under a new city charter. This created a new amalgamated metropolis, the modern New York City, and abolished all earlier municipalities.
In 1914, Bronx County was created and subsequently separated from New York County, and each borough became coterminous with a county as a result.
Now, coming back to the present, here is what you are looking for!
They are so different that just moving from one borough to the next could feel as if you are moving between other countries!
There are dozens of neighborhoods in each of New York’s five boroughs, each with unique experiences, lifestyles, and landscapes. The following is a rundown.
Manhattan is the first on the list for you to explore!
Manhattan is the picture people have in their minds when thinking about New York City. With magnificent skyscrapers, yellow taxis, fancy museums, The Empire State Building, and the famous Central Park, Manhattan is everything New York City stands for!
Even though it is prevalent and densely populated, Manhattan is a tiny island in the middle of the five boroughs of New York City, bounded by the East River, along with the Hudson and Harlem Rivers.
Despite its small geographical size, Manhattan has dozens of neighborhoods, and each of them offers a range of living costs, various lifestyles, and a diverse population.
Manhattan is mainly divided into Uptown, Midtown, and Lower Manhattan. Further divided within these three regions are numerous neighborhoods, the most famous of which are the:
– Upper East Side
Now you might be familiar with the Upper East Side if you have watched Gossip Girl! But for those of you who missed out on that experience; we have got you covered!
Part of Uptown Manhattan, located on the right side of Central Park, the Upper East Side has traditionally always been New York City’s most affluent neighborhood.
Housing New York treasures and some of its most famous landmarks such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art and Madison and 5th Avenues, the Upper East Side will provide you with a movie-like experience!
The neighborhood is also home to the United Nations and several historical sites!
– Upper West Side
Located on the other side of Central Park, the Upper West Side is yet another notable neighborhood of Manhattan!
The Upper West Side has some great sites to visit, including various museums and the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts!
The neighborhood also provides you with a great view of the city through the New York City Skyline!
– Greenwich Village
In Lower Manhattan, Greenwich Village will give you the classic New York feel!
The neighborhood is home to the prestigious New York University and Washington Square Park! One can also wander around the West Village and visit some jazz clubs!
For all the “Sex & The City” fans, Carrie Bradshaw’s apartment is also located in Greenwich Village!
The most populous 5 boroughs of NYC (New York City) in Brooklyn, located west of Manhattan and connected to the island via the iconic Brooklyn Bridge!
Home to affluent families and hipsters alike, Brooklyn has much of Manhattan’s cultural clout and weight but a more laid-back atmosphere.
Compared to the hustling and fast-paced neighborhoods of Manhattan, the neighborhoods in Brooklyn are more relaxed, providing enough room to breathe.
Some prominent Brooklyn neighborhoods are:
– Park Slope and Prospect Heights
These two neighborhoods are located on the west and the north of the beautiful Prospect Park.
They are predominantly occupied by young, affluent families and even working professionals.
Both Park Slope and Prospect Heights are quite beautiful, and you will find plenty of green spaces such as the Barclays Center, the Prospect Park, and the Union Hall.
This place was once a haven for struggling artists and young creatives but has evolved into a peppy neighborhood. There is a flourishing art and live music scene in Williamsburg, as well as an abundance of artisanal items and foods, which you can surely enjoy!
The area is also known for its elegant stores, trendy cafes, and buzzy restaurants, which attract the young and fashionable.
The nightlife scene is enlivened by dance clubs, trendy bars, and music venues, and the riverfront gives breathtaking views of Manhattan!
The southernmost and the largest borough of New York City, Queens, is the most ethnically diverse of the New York City boroughs. This ensures an incredible variety of cuisines and art in the borough!
Queens neighborhoods have a laid-back, suburban vibe, but they’re still close to the big-city amenities you crave.
Here are some of the noteworthy neighborhoods of Queens:
Located in the western Queens area, Sunnyside is within walking distance of the Empire State Building and features excellent pubs and thrift stores!
The region has a more suburban feel due to the wider variety of housing styles available, such as apartments, houses, and condos.
Astoria has become a popular neighborhood among young professionals who tend to look for lower rents without sacrificing easy access to the city.
The neighborhood is just a train ride away from Midtown Manhattan and allows you to enjoy all of the benefits of New York City without the hassle of commuting!
The Socrates Sculpture Park is one of the main highlights of this Queens neighborhood.
4. The Bronx
Located north of Manhattan, The Bronx is one of the five boroughs of New York and the only borough part of the United States mainland, aside from Manhattan.
This New York City’s northernmost borough is a unique place, a world of its own, the home of the New York Yankees and the cradle of Hip Hop.
You can witness this incredible culture by visiting the numerous landmarks of The Bronx, such as the Yankee Stadium, the Bronx Zoo, and the Pelham Bay Park!
Some of the famous and significant areas and neighborhoods of The Brox are:
– South Bronx
South Bronx is a popular area of the Bronx County as the famous Yankee Stadium and the Bronx Documentary Center are both located here, on the Grand Concourse.
The wide-street shopping district is also located here!
Being a key location in the birth and emergence of hip-hop music and culture, you will also get an opportunity to take a tour of significant landmarks in the origin of hip-hop in this region!
The Edgar Allen Poe Cottage and the New York Botanical Garden are some of the highlights in this area, made up of a few neighborhoods surrounding Fordham University.
This is a popular neighborhood for students migrating to NYC because of its proximity to Fordham University and inexpensive living costs.
We know what you are thinking, and no, this neighborhood is not the same as the one from “Riverdale,” The CW show.
Located along the Hudson River, Riverdale is one of the Bronx’s more expensive and safest neighborhoods, with tree-lined streets and residences that have a more suburban vibe to them.
5. Staten Island
New York City’s southernmost borough, sometimes referred to as the “forgotten borough,” Staten Island is the borough with the most suburban feel of the 5 York City borough.
The residents of Staten Island enjoy a suburban, family-oriented lifestyle, and some of the major attractions include a magnificent zoo, botanical gardens, and backyards with pools.
The Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge connects Staten Island to Brooklyn, while the Staten Island Ferry connects Staten Island to Manhattan. The Staten Island Ferry is a free commuter ferry and popular tourist attraction that offers unobstructed views of the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, and Lower Manhattan.
Some prominent Staten Island neighborhoods include:
– Great Kills
This neighborhood is home to many families drawn to the region by the excellent schools, park, and beach access, and jogging and bicycling paths.
Even though this particular neighborhood is located quite a distance from Manhattan. It has its unique offerings, such as the Great Kills Park, part of the Gateway National Recreation Area, located in the neighborhood’s southeast corner.
The park is surrounded by other private marinas, a beach, footpaths, fishing and bird-watching areas, sports fields, and the Nichols Marina.
– St. George
St. George is a prominent and well-known Staten Island community. It’s where the Staten Island ferry enters and departs for Manhattan, giving it the island’s most exemplary city access and fantastic views of the Manhattan skyline.
It’s also one of Staten Island’s busiest and liveliest neighborhoods, all taken care of city council. There’s also some excellent Italian cuisine, Empire Outlets, and the St. George Theatre in the neighborhood.
If you wonder which one would be better than the other boroughs, it could be a tricky question. All boroughs are diverse places, significantly differing in various aspects, so the answer to the question depends on your taste and preferences.
So think about it. What do you mean by the best and most populous borough?
You might be someone who prefers the hustle and bustle and the fast-paced life of Manhattan, or you could be someone who prefers the seclusion of Staten Island, life in flushing meadows Corona Park, historic Richmond town, Coney Island, or long island city. We have provided you with quite some information about them, hopefully making this decision easier for you.
Let us know in the comments section, which, according to you, is the best among the New York City’s boroughs!
Last Updated on November 4, 2023 by Namita Soren