What Are the Pros and Cons of Living in Each Borough of NYC?

New York City is one of the most diverse and exciting cities in the world. With five distinct boroughs – Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx, and Staten Island – each one offers its unique advantages and disadvantages.

Click on the sections below to see the pros and cons of living in each borough of NYC.

Thinking of buying in NYC? Reduce your closing costs with a buyer agent commission rebate from Hauseit.

Table of Contents:

Manhattan Pros

Living in Manhattan is the quintessential New York City experience for many. The convenience, culture, history and prestige afforded by living in Manhattan are hard to top anywhere else in the city.

With everything at your fingertips, you don’t really ever need to leave Manhattan.  It’s the most densely populated borough in NYC.

215 Bowery was constructed in 1872 as the New Amsterdam Savings Bank, and it subsequently served as the headquarters of Germania Bank from 1878 to 1989 before it moved to its newly-built headquarters at 190 Bowery. Built on an irregularly narrow corner lot at Rivington Street and The Bowery, 215 Bowery features an Italian Renaissance facade which was carved from from sandstone quarried in Ohio in the late 19th Century.

Here are some pros of living in Manhattan:


Manhattan is by far the most convenient borough to live in for working professionals. Most large companies are headquartered in Manhattan. Going to work doesn’t require anything more than a short subway ride, and you may even be able to walk to your office. 


Manhattan is home to Broadway, Central Park, countless museums and thriving art, music and restaurant scenes. From Harlem uptown to the Lower East Side in the heart of lower Manhattan, each neighborhood offers a unique take on culture, food, art and city life.


Manhattan is home to numerous street festivals, parades and events throughout the year.

Live downtown? Enjoy The Feast of San Gennaro 2022 in Little Italy in September, or partake in the NYC Pride March or the NYC Village Halloween Parade. The Jacob Javits Convention Center hosts numerous events throughout the year, such as the New York International Auto Show in the spring.

Are you into art? Stop by opening night of new exhibits in the numerous galleries of Chelsea and the Lower East Side.


Manhattan’s variety and sheer number of restaurants and bars is unbeatable. Virtually every type of cuisine and style of eatery exists in Manhattan. 

Enjoy a variety of cuisines by visiting Little Italy, Chinatown or Koreatown. Travel uptown to sample soul food in West Harlem or Mexican, Dominican and Puerto Rican cuisine in East Harlem and Washington Heights.

Sample the renowned bistros, taverns, and trattorias of the West Village and Greenwich Village. Partake in the trendy and refined dining scene of SoHo, NoHo, Tribeca, Nolita and Flatiron.


Living in Manhattan carries a certain prestige which is unrivaled. This is especially so with people who don’t live in New York City. Living in Manhattan, you’ll be a lot more likely to be remembered by friends and family who happen to be passing through the city.


Living in Manhattan is unrivaled from a convenience standpoint. It’s quite easy to travel throughout Manhattan and to other boroughs using the Subway because all lines run through Manhattan. Moreover, a Citibike station is never more than a few blocks away.

You’ll have easy access to Long Island, the Hudson Valley and New Jersey from train and bus connections at Grand Central and The Port Authority Bus Terminal. There are also a plethora of ferries which can take you to Queens, Brooklyn, Staten Island, New Jersey and the Bronx.

Compare living in Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn, the Bronx, and Staten Island. Pros and cons of living in each borough of New York City.


Manhattan’s energy is unmistakable and unsurpassed by any other borough of NYC. Simply put, it feels exciting to live in Manhattan.

While you may find the occasional densely populated street or neighborhood in Brooklyn or Queens, nothing matches Manhattan in terms of consistent foot traffic, buzz and the feeling of being at the center of the action. While Manhattan slowly shape shifts into different neighborhoods as you walk around, the energy is unyielding.

Manhattan Cons

Living in Manhattan certainly has its dark side compared to the more tranquil outer boroughs.

From dirty streets and overpriced everything to your landlord raising your rent at every possible occasion, Manhattan can be overwhelming and simply unbearable at times.

Here are the cons of living in Manhattan:


Manhattan is by far the most expensive borough in NYC. Everything from rents and restaurants to your tailor will cost more in Manhattan compared to other boroughs.

That being said, not every Manhattan neighborhood is priced like SoHo. Rents are generally lower uptown, and you may even be able to find a good deal through an affordable housing lottery or by securing a rent stabilized apartment.


The sheer population and density of Manhattan makes it the dirtiest borough of NYC in our opinion. Piles of trash on the streets, rodents and rats are a common sight in Manhattan.

While avenues and major thoroughfares are particularly dirty, side streets with less commercial activity can often be quite clean and picturesque.

You can reduce the risk of having rodent issues by following these tips when conducting your home search.


Manhattan is extremely loud at all hours. Even if you live in a garden-facing apartment with new windows, there’s no way to fully eliminate the sounds of sirens, horns and people screaming late at night.

If you’re particularly sensitive to noise, avoid Avenues and street-facing apartments. You should also avoid older buildings since they typically have less insulation between floors and less effective windows (unless they’ve been replaced).

Airport Access

Getting to JFK or LaGuardia from Manhattan is an increasingly expensive and time consuming slog.

Accessing either airport via public transit takes a long time and can be quite uncomfortable, especially if your journey overlaps with rush hour. Moreover, various subway lines and stations in NYC are consistently closed on the weekends for repairs, so chances are that you’ll have to plan for a time consuming and confusing/uncomfortable detour if you’re heading to or from the airport over the weekend.

Taking a taxi isn’t much better either. For starters, they’re obscenely expensive. The flat rate from Manhattan to JFK recently increased to $70, and most taxis are far from luxurious. NYC taxis often have dilapidated suspensions which obviously needed to be replaced a long time before you hopped in the backseat. As a result, a $70 journey often feels considerably less comfortable vs. taking the subway (assuming you snag a seat). It’s for this reason that many New Yorkers avoid taking Taxis to airports at all cost, even if it’s faster than the subway (which is rarely true to begin with).

What’s better than paying a small fortune while sitting in stop and go traffic for 1.5 hours in a taxi which needed new shocks 100,000 miles ago?


Parking in Manhattan is very expensive and hard to come by. Garage parking is routinely $500+ even when factoring in the Manhattan Resident Parking Tax Exemption. Moreover, most garages charge extra for SUVs and ‘exotic’ cars.

Be prepared to get charged extra even if your SUV is a 20 year old beater or your ‘exotic’ car is simply anything with a Porsche badge regardless of actual value.

Save 2% On Your Home Purchase

Save thousands on your home purchase with a buyer agent commission rebate from Hauseit

Brooklyn Pros

Brooklyn is the perfect version of NYC for many. The borough is quieter, greener, less expensive and no less culturally fulfilling than its Manhattan counterpart.

Moreover, Brooklyn offers a multitude of diverse neighborhoods for you to explore. Unless you work in Manhattan, there’s really no need to leave Brooklyn.

Here are the pros of living in Brooklyn:


Brooklyn is just a short subway ride away from Manhattan. Numerous lines connect Brooklyn to Manhattan. You can even bike into the city via the Manhattan, Williamsburg or Brooklyn Bridge. The borough is awash with Citibike stations.


Brooklyn is home to a thriving restaurant, nightlife and art scene, with numerous galleries, studios, and exhibitions. Brooklyn’s industrial areas such as East Williamsburg are also home to a variety of tradespersons and light manufacturing companies.

If you’re looking to refinish your vintage Herman Miller lounge chair or Sputnik Chandelier (that you may have found in someone’s trash pile) or procure custom metalwork or woodwork, you won’t have to travel very far.

Lower Cost

Rents and general living expenses are lower in Brooklyn compared to Manhattan.

Many New Yorkers who want a quasi-Manhattan style of living for less money often gravitate towards Brooklyn neighborhoods such as Williamsburg, Park Slope or Greenpoint.

However, be warned that rents and home prices in the most central Brooklyn neighborhoods are often priced comparably to Manhattan.

For example, the average price per square foot of a condo in Williamsburg, Brooklyn is actually higher than in Manhattan’s Financial District!

Relaxed Lifestyle

Brooklyn offers a calmer and more manageable lifestyle compared to Manhattan. There are fewer people and considerably more trees and green spaces. Brooklyn also has some of the most beautiful architecture in the form of historic buildings and a seemingly endless number of townhouses.


Brooklyn is home to countless events throughout the year. These include:

  • Brooklyn Book Festival: an annual book fair featuring author talks, panel discussions, and book sales

  • Brooklyn Folk Festival: a celebration of traditional and contemporary folk music, dance, and storytelling

  • DUMBO Arts Festival: a weekend-long celebration of art, music, and culture in the DUMBO neighborhood.

  • Brooklyn Film Festival: an annual film festival showcasing independent and international films

  • Brooklyn Bridge Park Movies with a View: a summer series of outdoor film screenings in Brooklyn Bridge Park

  • Brooklyn Pride Festival: a celebration of the LGBTQ+ community with parades, parties, and performances

  • Brooklyn Children’s Museum: various events and exhibitions focused on children’s education and entertainment

  • Brooklyn Flea: Brooklyn’s largest flea market for vintage, design, antiques, collectibles, and food, open every Saturday and Sunday.


Brooklyn is known for its diverse culinary offerings, with a wide range of restaurants and food trucks serving up delicious food from around the world.

Smorgasbug, the largest weekly open-air food market in America, is located in Williamsburg and Prospect Park.


Brooklyn is home to several beautiful parks, green spaces and beaches, providing a welcome respite from the hustle and bustle of city life. There are countless ways to enjoy the outdoors as a resident of Brooklyn: 

  • Hike or bike through Prospect Park

  • Walk the boardwalk at Coney Island Beach

  • Play sports at McCarren Park in Williamsburg

  • Visit the Brooklyn Botanic Garden

  • Walk the Brooklyn Bridge

  • Explore the Brooklyn Museum or the New York Transit Museum

A Full Service Listing for 1%

Sell your home with a traditional full service listing for just one percent commission.

Brooklyn Cons

Brooklyn’s tree line streets and more relaxed vibe are a breath of fresh air compared to Manhattan, but living in Brookyn isn’t without its downsides.

Here are the cons of living in Brooklyn:

Rents and Cost of Living

Rents in Brooklyn neighborhoods closest to Manhattan are very high. In fact, rents in prime Brooklyn neighborhoods such as Williamsburg often match or exceed Manhattan pricing. In other words, Brooklyn isn’t always as cheap as you’d expect. 

That being said, you’ll almost always get more for your money in Brooklyn (larger apartment, extra bathroom, etc.) even if your rent is comparable to what you’d pay in Manhattan.

Aside from rent, the cost of living in prime Brooklyn neighborhoods is on par with Manhattan. The price of a nice meal in Williamsburg or Greenpoint is more or less the same as what you’d pay in Manhattan.


The NYC subway layout is mostly geared towards taking commuters to and from Manhattan as opposed to traveling within Brooklyn. It’s quite inefficient and time consuming to go from one side of Brooklyn to another (or to parts of Queens) using the subway. The difficulty is compounded on weekends when there are frequent closures due to track maintenance.

Be prepared to take a taxi/Uber or Citi Bike for travel within Broooklyn.

Social Scene

If you live in Brooklyn, be prepared for your Manhattan friends to regularly decline your social invitations to visit Brooklyn. You may be able to persuade your friend to visit you in Williamsburg, but anything further out will be a struggle.


While garage parking is less expensive in Brooklyn compared to Manhattan, street parking is still very hard to come by. We wouldn’t recommend moving to Brooklyn solely because you plan on buying a car.


Don’t expect Brooklyn to be any quieter than Manhattan. Expect to hear the usual NYC soundtrack of sirens, screams and commotion at all hours.

If you’re sensitive to noise, consider a street with fewer commercial establishments and look for a garden (back) facing apartment as opposed to something which overlooks the street.

Queens Pros

Queens is New York City’s largest borough both in terms of population and land area. It’s an incredibly diverse borough with just about everything on offer.

Queens boasts a diverse population and a variety of cultural experiences, with easy access to transportation and a range of neighborhoods to explore. Like any other place, living in Queens has its advantages and disadvantages.

Here are the pros of living in Queens:


Queens is the most diverse borough of NYC and arguably one of the most diverse urban areas in the entire world.

From Flushing to Astoria, the borough is filled with unique neighborhoods, each with its own unmistakable identity.

Cheaper Rents

Rents are much lower in Queens compared to Manhattan or Brownstone Brooklyn. Keep in mind that there are large variations in rents by neighborhood given the size of the borough.

For example, Long Island City rents are comparable to Manhattan whereas rents in Jamaica or any neighborhood further from the city center are considerably lower.

Airport Access

Another key benefit of Queens is its proximity to JFK and LaGuardia Airport. If you’re a frequent traveler, you’ll save a lot of time throughout the year by living in Queens instead of Manhattan.

Many buyers who would otherwise prefer the Manhattan lifestyle often settle on Long Island City due in part to the ease of airport access and the Manhattan-like quality of life.


Queens has numerous parks and green spaces, including Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, Forest Park, and the Queens Botanical Garden, providing plenty of opportunities for outdoor recreation and relaxation.

There are also several beaches in Queens:

  • Rockaway Beach: located in the Rockaway Peninsula, this popular beach stretches for over 11 miles and is known for its surfing and beach sports. 

  • Jacob Riis Park Beach: located in the Rockaway Peninsula, this beach is known for its historic beach houses and large swimming area.

  • Breezy Point Beach: located in the Rockaway Peninsula, this beach is known for its beautiful views of the Atlantic Ocean and the New York City skyline. 

  • Fort Tilden Beach: located in the Rockaway Peninsula, this beach is known for its serene atmosphere and is a popular spot for birdwatching. 

  • Little Bay Park Beach: located in Bayside, this beach is known for its beautiful views of Little Neck Bay and is a popular spot for swimming and picnicking. 

  • Astoria Park Beach: located in Astoria, this beach is known for its beautiful views of the East River and is a popular spot for swimming and picnicking. 

  • Flushing Meadows Corona Park Beach: located in Flushing, this beach is known for its large swimming area and is a popular spot for picnicking and beach sports.

Cultural Events

Queens is home to many cultural events and festivals throughout the year, including the Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival, the Greek Independence Day Parade, and the Queens International Film Festival.

Queens Cons

New York City’s largest and most diverse borough isn’t without its fair share of disadvantages.

Here are the cons of living in Queens:


Large swaths of Queens have no subway access. While you’ll pay less to live in an area with subpar subway access, this means you’ll spend more time commuting. You’ll be at a significant disadvantage if you’re a Manhattan office worker or if you frequently commute to other boroughs for social activities.

Traffic and Congestion

Queens is a heavily populated area, with many people commuting to and from the borough for work. This can lead to heavy congestion, especially during rush hour.

Queens is the largest NYC borough by area and is home to over 2,000,000 people.


Queens as a whole isn’t as pretty as Manhattan or Brownstone Brooklyn. While there are certainly plenty of landmarked buildings and beautiful areas, most of Queens looks pretty monotonous from an architectural standpoint.

Save 2% On Your Home Purchase

Save thousands on your home purchase with a buyer agent commission rebate from Hauseit

Bronx Pros

The Bronx’s excellent transportation options and lower cost of living make it an excellent place for New Yorkers to call home.

Here are the pros of living in the Bronx:

Cheaper Rents

The Bronx has some of the most affordable housing options in New York City. This makes it a great option for people with a limited budget or those who simply want to save money on rent.

While rents in the Bronx aren’t cheap, they’re certainly a lot cheaper than Manhattan. Your rent money goes a lot farther in the Bronx compared to other Boroughs.

For example, you’ll pay the same rent for a renovated 3 bedroom apartment with a bonus room and an in-unit washer/dryer in the Bronx as you would for a bare bones studio or small one bedroom in parts of Manhattan.


The Bronx is known for its diverse population, much like Queens. You won’t sacrifice on culture by choosing the Bronx over any other borough of New York City.

Parks and Attractions

The Bronx has a number of parks and green spaces, including the New York Botanical Garden, Van Cortlandt Park and Pelham Bay Park, which is the largest park in NYC. There are numerous hiking and biking trails as well as golf courses. This makes it a great place for outdoor enthusiasts to live. The Bronx even has its own beach: Orchard Beach.


The Bronx is well-connected to the rest of New York City, with multiple subway lines and bus routes. This makes it easy to get around and explore the city while benefiting from a lower cost of living compared to Manhattan and Brooklyn.

A Full Service Listing for 1%

Sell your home with a traditional full service listing for just one percent commission.

Bronx Cons

Like every borough, Bronx does have its disadvantages. Here are the cons of living in the Bronx:

Longer Commute

Living in the Bronx can be quite inconvenient if you work in Manhattan due to the length of the commute.

“Depending on where you are located, you may even need to take a bus to your nearest subway stop,” according to Elisa Flores, an agent at HomeDax Real Estate.

Less Variety

The Bronx offers less variety in terms of restaurants compared to other boroughs such as Manhattan. That said, there are plenty of areas with great food to explore such as Arthur Avenue.

Air Quality

The Bronx is known for having inferior air quality relative to other boroughs. This is an important factor if you have any health issues such as asthma or other respiratory illnesses.

Cost of Living

The Bronx still has a relatively high cost of living despite being more affordable than Brooklyn or Manhattan. If you’re looking for the quintessential NYC experience, you’ll be better off paying a slight premium and living in Manhattan or Brooklyn.

Staten Island Pros

Staten Island offers the savings and convenience of a suburban lifestyle while still being reasonably close to the action of Manhattan. There’s also plenty to do within Staten Island itself.

Here are the pros of living in Staten Island:

Suburban Living

Living in Staten Island is the closest thing you can get to a suburban lifestyle in New York City. Homes have yards and garages, and prices are a lot more reasonable than in Manhattan or Brooklyn.

Keep in mind that while Staten Island is not as densely populated as other parts of New York City, it still experiences traffic and congestion.

Lower Cost of Living

While there’s no workaround for high income taxes in NYC, Staten Island is still less expensive across the board. From housing to a night out, everything will cost a little bit less than in Manhattan or Brownstone Brooklyn.


Staten Island is known as the “borough of parks” because it features over 12,000 acres of parkland and 170 parks, including the Staten Island Greenbelt, which offers over 2,800 acres of forest, meadows, and wetlands for residents to enjoy. Staten Island also has four public beaches.

Staten Island also offers beautiful views of the New York harbor and the Statue of Liberty.

Quieter Atmosphere

Because it is less densely populated than other parts of New York City, Staten Island tends to have a quieter, more suburban feel.

Cultural Attractions

Staten Island has a variety of cultural attractions, including the Snug Harbor Cultural Center & Botanical Garden, the Staten Island Zoo, Fort Wadsworth and the Staten Island Children’s Museum.


Staten Island is connected to the rest of New York City by several transportation options, including the Staten Island Ferry, which provides free rides to and from Manhattan. There is also an extensive network of bus routes throughout the borough in addition to the Staten Island Railway.

Staten Island is also located near several major highways, making it easy to get to other parts of the tri-state area.

Staten Island Cons

Despite its lower cost of living and abundant green spaces, Staten Island still has its drawbacks compared to other boroughs of NYC.

Here are the cons of living in Staten Island:


Staten Island has limited walkability. It’s a world away from the bustling streets of Manhattan. If you’re accustomed to walking everywhere as a resident of Manhattan or Brooklyn, be prepared for quite a change.

Limited Public Transportation

Staten Island is not well-connected to the rest of New York City by public transportation, with the only option being the Staten Island Ferry and a limited number of bus routes. This can make it difficult for residents to easily access other parts of the city.

Moreover, there is no direct connection between the New York City Subway system and Staten Island.

Limited Diversity

While Staten Island does have a diverse population, it doesn’t quite match the world renowned diversity of other boroughs of NYC such as Queens.

Fewer Job Opportunities

The job market in Staten Island is not as robust as in other parts of the city, especially when it comes to large companies whose headquarters are usually in Manhattan. Be prepared to commute into Manhattan if you’re an office worker.

Less Nightlife

Staten Island has a more suburban feel compared to other parts of the city, which means that there are fewer options for dining, entertainment, and nightlife.

Save 2% On Your Home Purchase

Save thousands on your home purchase with a buyer agent commission rebate from Hauseit

Disclosure: Hauseit® and its affiliates do not provide tax, legal, financial or accounting advice. This material has been prepared for informational purposes only, and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for, tax, legal, financial or accounting advice. No representation, guarantee or warranty of any kind is made regarding the completeness or accuracy of information provided.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top