Manhattan or Queens – which one is for you

New York cityscape

This is a guide for those who are planning to taste the big apple for the first time or perhaps move from another NY neighborhood. Relocating to New York City is a unique and challenging experience, whichever borough you choose. We are comparing Manhattan and Queens, two well-known boroughs that seem not to have much in common. Before you choose Manhattan or Queens, or any other borough, gather as much information as you can.

An apple with famous NY landmarks
Sink your teeth into the Big Apple

Manhattan is the smallest but the most fabulous and prestigious borough in NYC, home to the rich and famous. It is the birthplace of New York and its most crowded part. For many Americans moving to Manhattan, a.k.a The City, is the ultimate dream come true. Some say it is the center of the world.  Some of the best hotels, restaurants, venues and universities in the USA are located in Manhattan. But be careful, Manhattan is far from ideal. The lack of living space, the increase of tourism and the sky-high living costs are among its residents’ biggest complaints.

Queens is a more modest version on New York. Queens is geographically the largest of the five NY boroughs and the second largest by population, behind Brooklyn. Not only is it the most ethnically diverse neighborhood in NY, but also one of the most diverse urban areas in the world – nearly one half of its residents are immigrants. It is said that the friendliest and most outgoing people live in Queens, probably because of its diversity.

Manhattan or Queens – which one has better…

Accommodation

Along with childcare and insurance, housing is one of the biggest expenses in the city. Unfortunately, Manhattan is practically unaffordable to the middle-class. Its overall cost of living is more than double the national average. Three-quarters of all homes are rentals and they do not come cheap. If you would like to buy a home, it will cost you. The average price of homes listed at the moment is $1,980,000 or $1,803 per square foot.

Accommodation in New York is generally expensive, like almost everything else, but Queens wins this round. You are likely to find something that fits your taste and budget since there is a lot to choose from. Housing options vary from high rises to typical suburbia. Currently, the average price of homes listed in Queens is $558,000, or $500 per square foot. For those who are looking to rent, Queens might be the best neighborhood for renting a home because it has the lowest rental prices.

Office space

Most NY office space is located in Manhattan and for very good reasons. It is the most profitable and it has the best location, convenient for your current and potential clients and employees. Midtown Manhattan is the intersection of the city and the entire tri-state region. It can be easily accessed by car, bus, train or subway.

Business in NYC is competitive wherever you look – in Brooklyn, Staten Island, Manhattan or Queens. Along with Brooklyn, Queens is Manhattan’s new office space contender. Why is the demand for office space in Queens increasing? You guessed it! Because it is much cheaper, of course.

An office located in Manhattan or Queens
Manhattan and Queens both offer good office space

Transportation

Getting to and from Manhattan is quick and easy. Pick any part of the city and you are there within 30 minutes. All subway lines go through Manhattan, the only exception is the G. Subway stations are within walking distance. Since Manhattan is so walkable, most people walk, and they walk fast. Therefore, no stopping for no reason or you will get run over. On the bright side, obesity is less common, thanks to walking. Driving in Manhattan is not easy with all those pedestrians, and hordes of tourists only make it worse. Fortunately, there is no need for a car in the city but if you must drive, prepare to spend a fortune on parking.

As for Queens, the situation is not bad either. Apart from some isolated parts, it is covered by the subway quite nicely. However, it can take ages to get around due to its immensity. Not even all those express trains can help. Residents of Queens are way more car-dependent than Manhattanites, they are also more likely to work outside NYC.

Entertainment

In this case, Manhattan is a clear winner. Not only is it one of the entertainment centers of the US but also of the world. Here you can attend events you cannot see anywhere else. Manhattan offers the best theatres, ballet, museums, concert halls, etc. Who doesn’t want to see a Broadway show? In Manhattan, it is closer than ever. For those who like to go out and party, it has the coolest bars and nightclubs. Moreover, the borough has some of the most recognizable attractions in the entire country, some of which are free of charge.

  • The Empire State Building
  • Rockefeller Center
  • The High Line
  • Statue of Liberty
  • Patrick’s Cathedral
  • Times Square
  • Central Park

You won’t get bored if you move to Queens either. Outdoorsy types can enjoy numerous parks and gorgeous gardens such as Astoria park, the Voelker Orth Museum and The Queens Botanical Garden, or the famous Rockaway Beach. Art lovers can visit various museums, for example:

  • Queens Museum
  • MoMA PS1
  • Noguchi Museum
  • Louis Armstrong House Museum
  • Museum of the moving image
  • Socrates Sculpture Park

The Queens Theater celebrates cultural diversity by hosting events such as the Latina cultural festival. There’s also the Queens World Film Festival and many other events for movie buffs throughout the year. At Flushing Town Hall you can attend world-class theater and dance performances, music concerts and much more. Finally, Queens loves sports. For example, it is the home of the New York Mets and the US Open tennis tournament.

People partying in NYC
You’ll have fun whether you choose Manhattan or Queens

Food

As the richest borough, Manhattan has many Zagat-rated restaurants, Michelin-rated restaurants, the best bakeries and farmer’s markets. If you, like most Manhattanites, decide to eat out on a daily basis, make sure you find a restaurant that is both affordable and healthy.

On the other hand, Queens offers literally every cuisine on Earth owing to its ethnical diversity. Thai, Chinese, Greek, Italian, Mexican – you name it, Queens has it all at more affordable prices than those of Manhattan.

To sum up, both boroughs have their perks.

  • Accommodation is definitely better in Queens
  • Renting office space in Manhattan is more profitable
  • Commuting is much easier for Manhattanites
  • Entertainment-wise, Manhattan wins by a landslide
  • Food is good whether you choose Manhattan or Queens

We have compared these two NY boroughs highlighting some important aspects of life such as accommodation, traffic and entertainment. So, which one will it be – Manhattan or Queens?

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