NYC’s 6 Best Up-and-Coming Neighborhoods for Culture Snobs

So, you’re a New Yorker. Not, like, a real New Yorker—you probably grew up in New Haven, or Portland—but the cool kind of New Yorker that comes to the city with big dreams, a degree or two, and an obsession with history museums because you “grew up in the wrong era.” The kind of New Yorker that always knows about the latest donut trend, but doesn’t know the bus schedule and never will, because that’s what Lyft is for.

Maybe you’re new here, or maybe you’re seeing too many strollers in your current neighborhood, which, gross, no thank you. Whatever the case, not just any neighborhood will do, and not only because your freelance DJ career won’t pay for it. What you need is a neighborhood with so much history, your bike and moustache will appear new agey.

Where to begin your search, comrade? The last thing you want is to have to sell your soul for six figures, or live in cookie cutter suburbs. Luckily for you, New York City is full of quirky neighborhoods with all the culture your old soul desires.

Ditmas Park

When did Brooklyn become synonymous with Williamsburg? All the culture in that godforsaken town has been leached out by greedy software salesmen and trust fund hitchhikers. No doubt about it, Williamsburg is over.

Ditmas Park is where it’s at, and it’s got the history to prove it. This neighborhood is like an ironic, old timey suburb. It was one of several suburban neighborhoods built in the 80s—the 1880s, obviously. This neighborhood is packed to the brim with charming colonial homes that just make you want to churn some butter already!


If you’re gonna do Manhattan, go Harlem or go home to your commercial overlords. Harlem is rich with history you have every right to stick your nose in and become a crucial part of. Harlem is the opposite of new and phony—it puts the “then” in authentic.

In the 1920s, the Harlem Renaissance gave birth to swing dancing and jazz in this very neighborhood. It was even home to an amazing integrated dance club called the Savoy Ballroom, (where you can now actually live as the Savoy Park Apartments)! If you love tolerance, racial integration, and dancing, what could be better?

Red Hook

Want to be close to New Jersey, but ew, not too close? Red Hook is for you, and its name even has a pirate-like ring to it which is perfect for your flowy blouses and ponytail.

In fact, Red Hook has a rich and gritty history more than worthy of your pickling hobby. One of the earliest parts of Brooklyn to be settled, Al Capone himself made a name for himself in the 1950s as a small time criminal, and got the injury that earned him the name “Scarface.”

Red Hook also has a huge IKEA, bringing Scandinavian culture back to a region once populated by poor Norwegian sailors. In this way, the Nordics come full circle, much like IKEA’s Swedish meatballs.


Sunnyside, Queens is very hot right now, and that’s not just because of global warming or its heat-inspired name. There is no better borough than Queens for Thai food, so you can get your pad thai on in your organic boxer briefs.

Now, for the history: Sunnyside was one of America’s very first planned communities. Called Sunnyside Gardens, each residence has a small front-facing garden and another in the rear, while many rental units have terraces overlooking the greenery. If this sounds very British, that’s because it was inspired by England’s garden city movement. If you happen to suddenly develop an accent, who could blame you?

Hamilton Heights

Another acceptable Manhattan address for a refined, cultured individual like yourself? Hamilton Heights. If you’re a culture snob you obviously know the critically acclaimed hip-hop musical “Hamilton” is a treasure, but it would make as much sense to live on Broadway as it would to actually buy a ticket: none at all.

Instead of living where rich old people from the Hamptons come to watch fake history on Sunday afternoons, live where it actually happened. Alexander Hamilton spent the last two years of his life here before it was drastically cut short by Aaron Burr, who doesn’t have a neighborhood named for him for obvious reasons. Whether or not you end up tearfully visiting Hamilton’s monument at the Grange, don’t throw away your shot at an apartment here.


Lastly, NoBroZo is New York City’s hottest, freshest neighborhood, and if it smells slightly of elephant waste… well, that’s because it’s North of the Bronx Zoo, and we just made it up. But at the pace this city moves, who knows? That “No” could become a “Yes, please.”

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