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Harlem to FiDi: I feel safer, things are more convenient, but I miss greenery (and families)

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I am a born-and-bred New Yorker who grew up on the Upper West Side on West 87th and Broadway. I later moved to 112th and Fredrick Douglass Boulevard and then 110th Street and Lenox before moving to my current place in the Financial District.

While starting my business back in 2007--I have an all natural, ready-to-bake desserts company called Sweet Loren's--I was living at home. Unfortunately, my mother passed away and we had to sell the apartment that she owned on 110th Street. 

Another reason for moving downtown was that I didn't like being so far away from my friends (who mostly live n Brooklyn, on the Upper and Lower East Sides and the West Village) and definitely felt a lack of good supermarkets, cafes and gym. 

The overall vibe in my old neighborhood didn't feel very young and energetic. My immediate neighbors were great, but I felt that the lack of cafes and restaurants hindered the sense of community.

There was also only one subway line--the 2/3--near my apartment.

I did love the quiet; being near families (and my neighbors). And I loved being near Central Park. My 15th-floor apartment even had a beautiful view of the park.

But the old neighborhood had a lot of loitering and at times felt unsafe. There were no food/farmers markets or restaurants/cafes close by, as I said. Red Rooster is great but it's 15 blocks away! I would shop at Best Yet supermarket but it would have been nice to have a Whole Foods.

It took about six months to look all around the city and find the best location for me to rent--weighing price, convenience, etc. I looked in Brooklyn and on the Upper East Side with a budget of $2,000-3,000/month.

I ended up subletting a large studio owned by a college friend on Greenwich and Rector in the Financial District.

In the new neighborhood the vibe is very industrial and touristy; it's not pretty. It also doesn't have a great community feel, but it is very convenient and near every subway.

Downtown is very touristy during the day every day and my area is also business-driven because it's near Wall Street. This makes things run efficiently (in terms of transportation and amenities) but at night it's dead.

The Financial District feels busy and more of an attraction neighborhood because of the Freedom Tower (and WTC park) than a calm, quiet neighborhood.

However, it does feel much safer than my old neighborhood and practically all of the subways lines are within walking distance. There are more food options and newer buildings.

My favorite places are the Equinox Gym on Wall Street and Whole Foods, of course. There are Sushi restaurants, steak houses and fresh juice places everywhere. I love the North End Grill in Battery Park City. 

Would I stay here forever? No way...I am craving more space, more green and a garden! 

If I could move anywhere it would be LA. I want to be bi-coastal…Downtown Manhattan is close to the water but it's no beach! 


Transitions highlights New Yorkers’ first impressions as they transition from one  neighborhood to another. Want to tell us your transition story? Drop us an email.

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