17. Midtown East
40th St. to 59th St., East River to Fifth Ave.
The population of Midtown East shrinks from about 200,000 in the daytime to barely more than 40,000 at night, which makes it tricky to evaluate: It obviously has abundant services during the day, but some businesses close up shop once the commuters are gone. That leaves residents (who pay a whopping $3,725 for the average two-bedroom) with some very expensive restaurants, as well as cheesy faux-Irish pubs. Still, it’s hugely convenient. And although you’ll sometimes hear that midtown has high crime rates, most of that is petty crime, like pickpocketing, directed at tourists; violent-crime rates are very low.
18. Fort Greene & Clinton Hill
Atlantic Ave. to Nassau Ave./Flushing Ave., Pratt Institute/Classon Ave. to Flatbush Ave.
Another dynamic and well-rounded Brooklyn neighborhood. Once predominantly black, it now touches just about every corner of the race-income matrix, including a large black middle and upper-middle class. Much of the neighborhood is in a historic district, and its homes, especially in Clinton Hill, are often majestic. The Pratt Institute gives it some gravity as an artistic center. Its crime and public-school rankings remain below average, however, which is why it’s still cheaper to live here than next door in Boerum Hill or Park Slope.