Micropolis: What Neighborhoods New Yorkers Avoid

Friday, April 13, 2012

As indicated in the MTA’s report on subway ridership released this week, the fastest growing stretches of subway are along the L and J lines.

It’s likely the influx of new residents in Williamsburg and Bushwick, Brooklyn, had something to do with the trend.

But if Billyberg and “East Williamsburg” are the areas New Yorkers are clamoring to get to, what are the neighborhoods they try to avoid? WNYC posed that question to some folks on the street.


Micropolis is WNYC’s ongoing series on street life and other corners of the city.

WNYC/Arun Venugopal

Michael Bauman

Avoids: Soho

"Soho is the place for me that is really out of control. As I said, my parents still live there. And I get there a lot, and it's very strange to walk around with my elderly parents and be looked upon as if I'm an alien in my own neighborhood. And the irony there is that most of those people live in Bushwick or East New York or Greenpoint or something in a railroad apartment with four roommates, but they're here for the dream. And part of the dream is controlling that velvet rope outside the trendy club in Soho."

WNYC/Arun Venugopal

Murray Weinstock

Avoids: Around the World Trade Center, his old neighborhood

"It's different for me down here now. I don't feel like I belong in this neighborhood. It's gotten much more gentrified around here. I'm used to saying hello to people, with the dog. Short legs, we move very slow. The new breed of people that are down here don't really say hello. They look at you like 'What do you want?'"

WNYC/Arun Venugopal

Nathaniel Smith

Avoids: Chelsea, the Upper East 60s, 70s, 80s

"In this lifetime, I don't think I will [be] accepted by people with money. Some parts of Chelsea, some parts of 60s, 70s and maybe the 80s of Manhattan. Certain parts where they call the upper class people, you're not welcome. Now, the Lower East Side, they got yippies down here that make that kind of money, but they don't discriminate... they welcome everybody. They accept you for who you are on the Lower East Side. If the yippies see you getting beaten up, they'll run to you or try to help you out, the yippies. If they see the police harassing you, they'll speak up more against that. Uptown, they don't do that -- I know for a fact."

Unfave Nabe

Kim Beeman

Avoids: Staten Island

"You don't ever hear about the excellent restaurants in Staten Island. I'm sure there are some, but it's not really on my radar. And as someone who lives in Jackson Heights, that's something I care about a lot. I believe I've been to Staten Island twice, and I've lived in the city for nine years, so I guess that says something."

Dominique Godfroy

Dominique Godfroy

Avoids: Parts of Midtown

"By Port Authority [or] 34th street, it's an environment where a lot of actions [are] going on. Street actions, lots of street smart people there, I would say. In that area, it's kind of weird, not my kind of crowd."

Accra Shepp

Avoids: Times Square

"When I was growing up, the neighborhood that I least liked was Little Italy. As a young black child, I just didn't feel welcome there. Of course, now it's entirely different."

Rich Furlong

Rich Furlong

Avoids: Bad biking stretches in Queens

"Roosevelt Avenue, it's a third world street, as far as surface conditions are [concerned]. Actually, I've seen better streets in rural Nicaragua than we have here in Jackson Heights."

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Comments [2]


A bit ridiculous that the guy who rides his bike all the time is peeved at pedestrians "who don't realize that we share the road with them". Bikers DON'T share the road with pedestrians...legally they share the road with CARS. As someone who bikes and walks, I think a lot of bikers need to reevaluate the way they use the road. I've been hit by a biker while walking but never by a car while biking. Totally understand bikers being upset that cars don't pay attention to see them, but bikers need to pay attention too. When I was hit it was luckily at a slow speed but it was outrageous because I was a pedestrian in the crosswalk with a walk light. the biker stopped at the light, checked that traffic was clear on the crossing one-way street so that HE would not be injured when he ran the light, and then did not actually look directly in front of him to see if the road was clear. He biked right into me with his head still turned to the right. Narcissistic idiot - and the worst part is that when bikers act like this they drive a wedge between bikers and pedestrians, who should be working together.

Apr. 14 2012 09:53 AM

Strongly disagree with this segment. Such myopic, negative, and ignorant interviewees.

"Staten Island doesn't have any good restaurants," says one hipster. And yet Enoteca Maria has been all over the news for the past 6 months.

I don't think WNYC should let the haters have their own unedited broadcast platform. Boo, hiss!

Apr. 14 2012 09:45 AM

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