Should You Move to Yorkville?

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Yorkville, the perfectly lovely Upper East Side neighborhood, suffers from a bit of an identity crisis: It doesn’t have one, at least to outsiders. Thanks to the imminent arrival of the Second Avenue Subway, all that’s about to change. Interested?

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You may have seen some of the recent articles about the rebound of Yorkville, and you’re wondering if you should jump on the impending bandwagon and move there. Stretching from north to south from 79th Street to 96th Street and from east to west from Third Avenue to the East River, Yorkville is a neighborhood located on the easternmost part of the Upper East Side of NYC. It’s the type of perfectly lovely neighborhood that you don’t usually visit unless you have a reason, like if you live there, or if you’ve got a doctor’s appointment.

It’s (Still) Pretty Affordable

When it comes to NYC housing prices, Yorkville is on the lower end of the scale. That’s not to say that it’s super cheap to live here; you’re not going to find any $200k three bedrooms anytime soon. The area is, however, relatively affordable when compared to other popular neighborhoods in the city. Comfortably sized two-bedroom rentals in nice buildings can be had for $2,500 per month.

Purchase prices for apartments in the area have steadily increased as the long-awaited, endlessly delayed Second Avenue subway station comes closer to being a reality and less of an urban legend. Rents, on the other hand, have remained steady.

There are Families … Lots of Families

Families flock to Yorkville, not only because of the relatively affordable housing stock, but also because of the area’s well-regarded public schools like P.S. 77 (the Lower Lab School) and P.S. 158 (the Bayard Taylor School). The well-equipped John Jay Playground and the lovely Carl Schurz Park lining the East River also add to the allure. Naturally, this means that there are lots and lots of families in the neighborhood. If you’re a young swinging bachelor or bachelorette, you have to determine if this is a good thing or a bad thing for you. People living alone may consider living in a low-key, safe, family friendly neighborhood like Yorkville a blessing, while other folks might consider it the stuff of nightmares.

The Subway is Far, Far, Far Away

Part of the reason that the area has always been relatively affordable is because of the fact that it’s close to nothing when it comes to public transportation. It takes forever to get to the Lexington Avenue 4, 5, and 6 train line — the only subway line that serves the East Side. Walking to the train from most apartments can easily take about 15 minutes on average. Some people hop buses to get to trains, but bus rides can be impossibly slow during rush hours. Of course, there are taxis, but they are expensive. Yorkville’s inaccessibility also makes it a neighborhood that outsiders tend not to visit unless they have to. This means that your friends from other neighborhoods may see your apartment one or two times the entire time you live there.

It’s Next to Nothing, But Not for Long …

There are bars and restaurants, but the area is not known as a foodie draw. For a long time restaurants avoided the area because of the never-ending din and imposition of Second Avenue Subway construction noise. Now, with the subway due to open in 2016, upscale as well as hip, trendy restaurants are slowly starting to move into the area. Businesses like Whole Foods have recently moved in, enhancing and solidifying the fabric of the neighborhood.

Image Source: Flickr/Charles Smith

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