With over $1.6M residents densely packed into a shy 34 square miles, it is probably difficult, no, nearly impossible for the non-New Yorker to appreciate the small town appeal of this city. But ask most New Yorkers the names of the people with whom they come into contact each day and they will rattle off a lengthy list. If they don’t know the actual names, they at least share a familiarity with these every day encounters that rivals any small town across America. And lest not forget the mourning of a closed local business that further illustrates that down-home feel that so many locals share.
I live on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. Although Wikipedia defines the area as 59th Street to 116th Street from Central Park to the Hudson River, most “locals” would probably redefine the area as Lincoln Center-ish to 96th Street. Regardless, my condo building and the immediate vicinity around it rivals that of any small town that I’ve ever visited. My kids joke with me often that I know everyone in our building, including and not limited to children, pets, housekeepers and home health aides. From trading early morning greetings with Abul, the owner of corner newsstand and the friendly crew at Le Pain Quotidien who supply my morning java to the waves and smiles throughout the day from the countless business owners and neighbors, our community has become so familiar that it is difficult to imagine living elsewhere. Our vet, the restaurant delivery men, boutique shop owners, the checkout people at the grocery store, the guys behind the deli counter, the guys who sell us flowers, and even Mike the MTA bus driver who has taken my wife and daughter to school every day for so many years make our “small town” Westside community the very special place that we call home.
The beauty of Manhattan is that it is island made up of a plethora of “small towns” in which you can settle and call home. Just make sure that you are working with a real estate agent who knows the area in which you want to live and can point you to all of the incredible relationships that you can forge once you become a “neighbor.”