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I rented a studio apartment in the
East 70s near First Avenue for about four years. Then, three years ago, I
bought a one-bedroom on 57th between Ninth and Tenth Avenues.
Personally, the Upper East side felt a bit too quiet. I didn’t spend my free time there. I always seemed to leave my neighborhood to meet my friends.
Ideally, I was hoping to buy a place on the West Side, preferably below 23rd Street. I also looked in Hell’s Kitchen, but this apartment was in much better condition and was much bigger than other places I’d seen further downtown.
I generally like the location. It is loud -- 57th Street and Ninth Avenue are both big, loud streets. It’s more convenient, though, because I’m only a block and a half from the Time Warner Center station, which has lot of train options. When I lived on the Upper East Side I was a good walk from the 4,5 and 6, and those are notoriously difficult trains.
When I bought my place I was working downtown, but now I work within walking distance of my apartment, so that’s an added perk. And I find that friends come to my neighborhood more often now.
I also like being closer to Central Park, and find I spend more time there. In terms of going out to eat, there are several Thai restaurants on Ninth Avenue in the high-40s and low-50s that are reasonably priced and reliable.
I also feel that there’s more diversity here than on the UES. That was more family oriented; here you see younger people, families and older couples.
Where I am feels more commercial -- there are definitely a lot of business buildings. Because I’m on the cusp of Hell’s Kitchen and Columbus Circle, I’m kind of in between a couple of neighborhoods. That’s good and bad -- it’s good because I get to take advantage of two neighborhoods, but the downside is that it doesn’t have a “neighborhoody” feel.
Also, when I bought the place I didn’t think about it, but there’s much more of a touristy feel than I expected--especially after work and on the weekends--thanks in part to how close I am to the Time Warner Center. During the week, on the workdays, there’s a businessy feel. It’s definitely a lot more busy than where I was living previously.
I still go downtown a lot, but I’m definitely in my neighborhood more than I was on the UES.
I’d like to be further downtown, but I don’t know that I ever could have gotten as nice -- and as big -- an apartment.