9. Prospect Heights
Eastern Pkwy. to Atlantic Ave., Franklin Ave. to Flatbush Ave.
Though it is invariably thought of as up-and-coming (perhaps because of all the bars and restaurants popping up in recent years), Prospect Heights is in fact a fairly well-established and diverse middle-class outpost. It offers excellent train access to Manhattan, a bounty of green space thanks to Prospect Park, and reasonable rental prices (an average two-bedroom costs $1,675). But the quality of housing varies significantly from block to block, with well-kept brownstones and new developments juxtaposed with properties in a state of disrepair.
10. East Village
Houston St. to 14th St., East River to Fourth Ave.
The neighborhood with the highest concentration of bars in the city (if not the world) scores off the charts in all the expected areas: retail diversity, restaurant density, proximity to nightlife, and desirability to the creative classes, with only schools and affordability truly lacking. With a typical two-bedroom running at about $3,300 per month, it’s expensive. But thanks to nearby NYU, the East Village has more income and ethnic diversity than most of its neighbors.