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Williamsburg earns top honors for nightlife and cool factor, and friends who live elsewhere may actually come to visit you.

If you're one of the thousands of newly-minted college grads flocking to New York City this summer, you and/or your parents are probably looking for an affordable place for you to call home--while fighting back tears at the prices/condition/space.

Do not despair. If at first you don't succeed in one neighborhood, try another.

“Even in today’s market, New York City has a great neighborhood for anyone looking for an apartment," says NY Daily News real estate editor Jason Sheftell. "This is especially true for recent college grads because there are so many different places to choose from.”

"It all comes down to personalities and what’s most important to you--whether it’s the nightlife, restaurants and shopping or the commute time to and from work," agrees Gary Malin, president of rental brokerage Citi Habitats.

With that in mind, BrickUnderground has compiled a non-exhaustive list of 10 neighborhoods worth considering. Each one is scored on a  5-point rankings scale–with 5 being the best–on things that that may be important to young 20-somethings.

MANHATTAN

MURRAY HILL
Nightlife: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ 
Affordable rent: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ 
Cool factor: ♥ ♥ 
Convenient enough for friends to actually visit: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ 
Parent approved: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ 

For decades, Murray Hill has been considered a top destination among recent college grads because of its affordable rents, central location and close proximity to restaurants and bars (which tend to be more frat-party than hipster, accounting for the high-low variance on our Nightlife vs Cool ranking).   In addition, the area is largely populated by high-rise doorman buildings (which parents appreciate), most of which are roommate-friendly and include such amenities as in-building laundry and dry cleaning, as well as common rooftops. A number of newer buildings have health clubs, parking garages, pools and allow pets.

UPPER WEST SIDE
Nightlife: ♥ ♥ ♥ 
Affordable rent: ♥ ♥ 
Cool factor: ♥ ♥
Convenient enough for friends to actually visit: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ 
Parent approved:  ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ 

Yes, the rents are among some of the priciest in the city, but if you can swing it it’s still a good bet because the proximity to Fordham and Columbia means there are also plenty of landlords who cater to grad students and recent college grads. And while the nightlife here sometimes leaves something to be desired,  Central Park, Lincoln Center and some of the best museums are only steps away. Just be forewarned: Families are everywhere.

ALPHABET CITY
Nightlife:  ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ 
Affordable rent:  ♥ ♥ 
Cool factor:  ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ 
Convenient enough for friends to actually visit:  ♥ ♥ 
Parent approved:  ♥ ♥ 

This downtown neighborhood--on the far east side of the East Village where the avenues bear the names A, B, C and D--has more trendy restaurants and bars per block than practically any other neighborhood in the city, but it still has one major drawback: no subways. Also, many apartments are tenement-style, meaning really small, but still pricey.  

The neighborhood's mid-gentrification edginess accounts for the lowish parent approval score.

BROOKLYN

WILLIAMSBURG
Nightlife:  ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ 
Affordable rent:  ♥ ♥ 
Cool factor:  ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥
Convenient enough for friends to actually visit:  ♥ ♥ ♥
Parent approved:  ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ 

For those looking to live (affordably) alone, you’d probably be better off elsewhere. But those with roommates can still find pretty decent loft space in this uber hip neighborhood, where the price tags aren’t so bad when they’re shared. Though families are moving in more and more, this is the spot to be surrounded by 20-somethings.

"Williamsburg is one of the hottest neighborhoods in New York for a reason," says Rapid Realty's CEO Anthony Lolli. "It's home to some of the best of everything that makes Brooklyn cool: the best food, the best bars, the best places to catch a concert, you name it. As a result, competition for apartments in Williamsburg is ferocious, and landlords are generally unwilling to give any breaks, because they know they can find someone to pay what they're asking."  

GREENPOINT
Nightlife:  ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ 
Affordable rent:   ♥ ♥ ♥ 
Cool factor:  ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ 
Convenient enough for friends to actually visit:  ♥ ♥
Parent approved:  ♥ ♥ ♥

Fast catching up to Williamsburg in terms of hipness, great restaurants and nightlife, so are apartment prices in this Brooklyn neighborhood, although there are still plenty of deals to be had. Like Alphabet City, however, the subway service can be a major downside even though the recently opened East River Ferry has made things easier for commuters.

"It can be a tricky place to live if you commute into the city every day, but for the growing number of people who live and work in Brooklyn and Queens, living along the G train is the best possible scenario," says Lolli. "Greenpoint still has a little of the underground feel that Williamsburg had five or ten years ago, so it's great for hipster cred, but it's also a great family neighborhood."

BUSHWICK
Nightlife:  ♥ ♥ ♥
Affordable rent:  ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ 
Cool factor:  ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ 
Convenient enough for friends to actually visit:  ♥ ♥ ♥ 
Parent approved:  ♥ ♥ 

Though still emerging from it’s difficult past, an ongoing array of new apartment options from ultra-modern condos to old-school exposed brick have gradually transformed Bushwick into a great place for recent college grads, young professionals and families alike, plus it’s also home to many of Brooklyn’s premier art galleries.

"Five years ago, if we wanted to show someone an apartment in Bushwick, a lot of the time the reaction was, 'Uh, I don't know about this.' Now it's, 'You have a place open in Bushwick? Why didn't you tell me sooner?'," says Lolli. "In part because of its proximity to Williamsburg, Bushwick is becoming the go-to neighborhood for cheap rents and big time amenities. And apartment dwellers aren't the only ones who know it. The Bushwick food and bar scene is getting hotter by the minute."   

GOWANUS
Nightlife:  ♥ ♥ ♥ 
Affordable rents:  ♥ ♥ ♥ 
Cool factor:  ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥
Convenient enough that your friends will want to visit:  ♥ ♥ ♥
Parent approved:  ♥ ♥

With average apartment prices still better than what you’d find in Carroll Gardens or Park Slope, Gowanus also plenty of shops, restaurants and bars to satisfy every taste and budget. And with the recently re-opened Smith and 9th St. F/G subway stop, it’s also easy to get to.

"Gowanus is at the center of the world's love affair with Brooklyn culture," says Lolli. "It's where artisans and musicians live alongside web designers and young entrepreneurs, and everyone gets together at hot spots like the Bell House to grab a beer and watch a show. It's one part weird, one part industrial, and two parts cool. As you get closer to Carroll Gardens or Park Slope, the number of top-notch restaurants shoots up, but so does the rent. Prices are rising quickly, so grab a good deal when you see it."

CLINTON HILL
Nightlife:  ♥ ♥ ♥
Affordable rents:  ♥ ♥ ♥ 
Cool factor:  ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥
Convenient enough that your friends will want to visit:  ♥ ♥ ♥
Parent approved:  ♥ ♥ ♥

Offering a wide mix of new construction and classic real estate, this once-checkered area has emerged in recent years as one of the most affordable and exciting neighborhoods in the city. For both recent grads, young families and historic house hunters alike, Clinton Hill delivers something for everyone on practically every block.

"If you're living with roommates, this is a great neighborhood to look for killer deals," says Lolli. "The proximity to Pratt means that landlords are accustomed to roommate situations. Be aware of the trains. Some areas of Clinton Hill are a quick walk to several different lines, others can be a decent hike to the nearest station, and the nearest station may be the G."   

PROSPECT HEIGHTS
Nightlife:  ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥
Affordable rents:  ♥ ♥ ♥
Cool factor:  ♥ ♥ ♥
Convenient enough that your friends will want to visit:  ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥
Parent approved:  ♥ ♥ ♥

Buoyed by the recent completion of Barclays Center, Prospect Heights became a microcosm for urban renewal after decades of being one of the city’s poorest areas. Today, the neighborhood boasts eclectic diversity, relatively low housing prices and abundant green space in addition to easy subway access and close proximity to the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens, the Brooklyn Museum and other cultural institutions.

"The construction of the Barclays Center forced a number of nearby businesses to close, which is actually good news for Prospect Heights, since a lot of them relocated deeper into the neighborhood, to areas that didn't have much retail before," says Lolli. "Having the main branch of the Brooklyn Public Library, the Brooklyn Museum, and the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens all within walking distance are all big draws. And if you're still not in love with Prospect Heights, go have brunch at Tom's or a pizza at Franny's. If that doesn't change your mind, check your pulse, because you might be dead."  

QUEENS

LONG ISLAND CITY
Nightlife:  ♥ ♥
Affordable rents:  ♥ ♥
Cool factor:  ♥ ♥ ♥
Convenient enough that your friends will want to visit:  ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥
Parent approved:  ♥ ♥ ♥

With six subway lines just one stop away from midtown Manhattan, it’s all about convenience for the nearly 30,000 people who currently call this neighborhood home. Getting around on foot can be challenging with not-so-easy access to amenities like restaurants and grocery stores. On the plus side, however, it still offers the highest concentration of art galleries, art institutions, and studio space of any neighborhood in the city.

Related:

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Note: BrickUnderground articles occasionally include Featured Partners and Resource Directory members when their expertise is relevant to the story.