7. Carroll Gardens & Gowanus
15th St. to Union St., Fourth Ave. to Interstate 278 (BQE)
Tree-lined streets, beautiful brownstones with front and back gardens, a diverse array of restaurants and bars, good local delis and Italian markets: Carroll Gardens’s charms are well catalogued. (Its sister neighborhood, Gowanus, splayed along the Superfunded banks of the Gowanus Canal, is desirable primarily for its proximity to said charms.) It scores a bit lower than nearby Cobble Hill because some of its more attractive properties are family-owned and rarely come onto the rental market.
8. Murray Hill
34th St. to 40th St., East River to Madison Ave.
It’s decidedly unhip, which may be why Murray Hill is $500 to $1,000 cheaper per month than most of the surrounding neighborhoods. But it’s extremely safe, the schools are good, and its residences are modern and well maintained (if architecturally middling). The famously fratty neighborhood gets a little extra flavor from its excellent Indian, Korean, and Sichuan restaurants. And though transit access can be a problem in the neighborhood’s eastern reaches, the eventual completion of the Second Avenue subway will solve that problem.