Manhattan apartments at a discount.
For some Manhattanites, separation anxiety is a major obstacle to relocation. For these people, there is Hudson Heights. Jim Nyberg and his wife, Alice, needed to upgrade from their $1,450 a month one-bedroom pad in the West Village. But with a ceiling of $2,000, finding a two-bedroom in the Village proved impossible. So after reluctantly scouting out Brooklyn, the Nybergs took a look at Hudson Heights on the recommendation of a co-worker. "It was a different world," says Nyberg, who fell in love with the hill-top enclave just south of Fort Tryon Park. Last month, they moved into a spacious two-bedroom apartment for $2,000 a month on West 181st street, with a view of the Hudson and the George Washington Bridge.
- Lay of the land Hudson Heights, which stretches roughly from 181st to 193rd Street between Broadway and the river, is a manufactured name -- created by brokers and co-op owners in the mid-nineties to psychologically distance the area from the rest of Washington Heights. While prices have gone up in recent years, the cost of a one-bedroom co-op ($130,000-$275,000) is still about half that of one on the Upper West Side.
- Prime areas Among the gems are the Hudson View Gardens on West 183rd, fifteen Tudor-style buildings situated in front of a block-long community park; and Castle Village, five high-rises complete with doormen and sunken living rooms, atop a broad expanse of grass and trees on Cabrini Boulevard, overlooking the river.
- Creature comforts The southern area, near 181st Street, has loads of ethnic restaurants and little bodegas. This fall, a Starbucks, the first in Manhattan north of Harlem, will open on West 181st Street. The northern end offers fewer retail services but there is a large grocery store, a cute café, a popular Indian restaurant, a pet store, and a handful of other little shops.
- The cons The streetscape of Hudson Heights is somewhat uninspired, with mostly unremarkable six- to ten-story apartment buildings. And there aren't many entertainment or nightlife options, so get used to the subway.
- The commute There are only five stops between West 181st Street and Port Authority on the A line. It takes about 20 minutes during rush hour. But if you get stuck on a local, you're in for a long ride.
- Schools P.S. 187 runs from kindergarten through eighth grade and is well regarded. Less desirable is George Washington High School: The alma mater of Henry Kissinger and Jacob Javits, its reputation has suffered in recent years from overenrollment, a high drop-out rate, and a jaded faculty.
- Best broker Gus Perry at Stein-Perry Real Estate (212-928-3805).
447 FT. WASHINGTON AVENUE
Two-bedroom, one-bath co-op in a prewar building. Lots of light, hardwood floors, 1,100 square feet. Formal dining room. Steps from A train. On the market for $229,000.