The Paranoid New Yorker's Guide to Googling Your Neighborhood

By BrickUnderground  | April 23, 2015 - 8:59AM

When you move into a neighborhood, it's basic due diligence to walk it at all hours to make sure you like the vibe and talk to potential neighbors to hear what the building's like. If you have kids, a quick check of InsideSchools will update you on local schools, and Streeteasy will let you know for how much other similar apartments have sold (handy if you're buying) and rented (a potential bargaining chip with landlords). You can even look up the number of trees in your area, or transportation options. (AddressReport, which is — full disclosure — a Brick sponsor, collects much of this data; Neighborhood Scout has some, too.)

But for those of us who are, say, inclined to controlling our massive anxiety by facing what we fear, a deep dive into the neighborhood's deepest, darkest stats may be necessary. Better the devil you know, as the saying goes, and, yes, the devil is in the details. Behold, our guide to everything you may not want to know about your neighborhood but feel the need to, with a caveat: Enter at your own panic-attack risk.  

Department of Building's Buildings Information System

Having neighbors attest to the nice-ness of your doorman is all fine and well, but how safely is the building being maintained? This database will tell you what violations have been found at your address, and for what. 

The green spots in this NYC Open Data map are potholes.

• NYC Open Data's Pothole Complaints

Walk, bike or drive, potholes are a menace to society, and this map lets you know exactly where they are so you can avoid living in a neighborhood that has pitfalls lying in wait.

Projects in Construction Map

There's nothing like moving into that lovely back unit of a building that you're sure will be so serene and discovering that a high-rise will be noisily going up behind you—ALL. DAY. LONG. ALL. YEAR. LONG.

Rat Information Portal (Or RIP for short, because the city has a sense of humor)

No, they aren't cute. And yes, they carry disease.

Bedbug Registry

While we're on the subject of horrible creatures, why not see if your potential building has been known to harbor bedbugs. The information's seriously relevant if the affected unit is right next door to yours, though the site doesn't always have this intel.

New York Toxic Pollution Emissions

If you'll be breathing in toxic fumes, you might as well know now.

New York State Sex Offender Registry

Who are the people in your neighborhood? Specifically, who are the people in your neighborhood labeled sex offenders? As it turns out, two sites, the New York State Sex Offender Registry and the U.S. Department of Justice National Sex Offender Public Web Site have all the details.

NYPD CrimeStoppers home page

NYPD CrimeStoppers

​You can only search by borough, but once you make your choice, you can drill down by precinct and find out what sort of crimes have been happening broken down week by week. (There's also You can also search by crime, if you so choose, to see who's wanted and for what misdeed.

NYC Traffic Violations

Want to know if there are speed demons careening down your street? The NYPD logs traffic violations and details what type of offenses and how often they happen in the area. (Note to the 20th precinct: There are plenty of drivers in the area who love to "disobey traffic control device" – our best guess is this means they run lights — so beware.) 

WNYC Mean Streets

This Web site, a project by WNYC, tracked all traffic-related deaths in 2014 and profiles many of those who lost their lives last year on the streets of New York. (It's searchable by borough and by types of victims and identifies the location where they died, a sobering reminder that fatal accidents happen on these lively streets nearly everyday.)


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