The Tri-State Area
by Lauren Daisley
Greenwich, Conn. = Upper East Side. As with Upper East Side ZIP Codes, Greenwich’s signify a high-end variety of excessive wealth. Despite being able to get a lot of places on foot, this is a Lexus town. Some young up-and-comers live here, and no one can argue the universal appeal of living by water, but generally speaking Greenwich is most attractive to those who are both inclined and able to carry a Fendi handbag.
Beacon, NY = Williamsburg. Though good chunks of Beacon are covered with galleries, hipster boutiques, and food establishments hawking kale, it’s still not entirely novel to see strutting down Main Street a meth-addled, fully oiled muscle man sporting only gold chains and an American flag speedo. True, living in Beacon scores you more square footage for your cash dollars and a comparatively chilled-out lifestyle, but you get these things without compromising your status as a ballsy artist, not to mention your access to craft beers.
Cold Spring, NY = Boerum Hill. Salty, good-natured locals and a down-to-earth mix of lawyer-y types and artists are rehabbing this walkable village’s 19th-century homes. “Springers” and “new people,” both boastfully proud of their quirky, anachronistic village (think It’s a Wonderful Life without literal angels), get some enjoyment from complaining about passenger-pigeon-dense flocks of tourists that visit town on weekends. But really, who cares so long as the guys in the French place (Le Bouchon = Bar Tabac) know your dog’s name?
Yonkers, NY = Bushwick. Aside from pasteurized high-rises near the train station, Yonkers is a prime place for artists and social workers to buy good housing on the sort-of cheap. And it’s a quick jaunt into the thick of Manhattan. Moreover, ample danger reminds you you’re living in the real world, not overly primped (formerly pimped) gentrified city neighborhoods or the suburbs’ smiley Sublimationtowns.
Lauren Daisley is a writer in New York.
by Aaron Traister
South Philadelphia = the Bronx. If you are expecting the cutesy brownstone charm of historically Italian New York neighborhoods then you better find another neighborhood to park your Prius in. The row homes can only be described as functional and as a friend who happily lives down there with her family explains: “It’s sometimes difficult to tell whether most of the shit on the sidewalk is canine or human.” If you’re looking for that authentic ’80s gritty urban human-feces-filled experience, South Philly just might be the neighborhood for you.
Roxborough and Manayunk = East Village, Alphabet City, Red Hook, Staten Island. Do you love the disconnectedness of Red Hook but wish it were filled with the entitled drunken college pubesacks that populate the Village and Alphabet City? Manayunk and Roxborough, nestled on the shore of the mighty Schuylkill River and its gross little adjoining canal, are a shining beacon of collegiate debauchery in a city normally too broke and dysfunctional to be able to pull that sort of thing off. College kids swarm to Manayunk like flies to a bucket filled with unidentified brown liquid in the basement of a frat house. Manayunk/Roxborough is built on a hill next to the aforementioned river so it specializes in catering to young people with active lifestyles: cycling, running, and Friday night bar fighting. Like Staten Island, Manayunk/Roxborough is by far the safest neighborhood in Philly and is favored by cops and firemen alike. In fact, you are much more likely to be run down by a texting college student than you are to be mugged or home-invaded. So there is that. There is really good bread and coffee on Main St. in Manayunk, but I’m not gonna tell you where because I don’t want to wait in line.
The Northeast = Broadway. If Broadway is the central artery that transmits commerce and ideas throughout the island of Manhattan, Roosevelt Blvd.—or “The Bully”—serves the same purpose for northeast Philadelphia; a sprawling section of the city created by a sweat-soaked three-way between white flight, unbridled mass-market consumerism, and piss-poor urban planning.
Fairmount = Upper East Side. For those who prefer a taste of culture.
West Philly = the Village in the ’80s. All the anarchist hippy punks who lived in communes and got priced out of the Village 20 years ago ended up two blocks away from the Laotian joint in West Philly.
Aaron Traister is a columnist at Redbook.
by Mary Kim Arnold
College Hill = Ditmas Park. You can bring your back issues of This Old House with you and find a nook to store them in one of the many graciously restored 19th-century homes.
Mt. Hope/Summit = Park Slope. All the Saturday mornings spent at the Park Slope Farmers Market dodging between strollers will have provided fine training for the jog from the Lippitt Park Market up to Seven Stars Bakery for coffee and a chocolate croissant.
Fox Point = Red Hook. The sunset over the Seekonk River in India Point’s Hot Club will be as glorious as those at Sunny’s.
Mary-Kim Arnold is a writer and inconstant gardener.
by Jolie Kerr
Charlestown = Upper West Side. Yuppie families have flooded into Chuckytown and the Johnny’s FoodDisaster, as the local grocery store is known, is now overrun with Bugaboos, Quinnys, and the lululemon-clad mommies who love them.
North End = Dyker Heights. Both are Italian neighborhoods with actual Italians living there (I’ve lived in both!) The Italian emphasis on food and a real know-your-neighbors vibe is present in both, for better or for worse. But the North End has one huge thing going for it that Dyker Heights doesn’t—the magnificently (or wicked, to use the local parlance) awesome North End pool. You’ve never seen people watching quite like this and if someone could explain how those old men with skin that has the quality of a pair of nice Italian loafers don’t burn themselves on the giant gold medallions they wear around their neck while baking themselves in the sun, that would be most impressive.
The back end of Beacon Hill, i.e. the less tony part = Murray Hill. The fellas sport grosgrain belts and gingham shirts and the LAX-friendly hairstyle known as “lettuce” while the blonde twentysomething gals rock pearls and flip-flops paired with Banana Republic workwear.
Jolie Kerr is a columnist at Jezebel and Deadspin and author of the forthcoming My Boyfriend Barfed in My Handbag…and Other Things You Can’t Ask Martha.
by Llewellyn Hinkes-Jones
Columbia Heights = Bushwick. Transformed from a random residential community into a warren of group-house nonprofit workers, where roommate interviews are conducted like reality-show tryouts.
H Street = Williamsburg. H street may be DC’s closest approximation to a hipster village even though the concept of a DC hipster seems so painfully incomprehensible as to make my brain hurt. Like Rumpelstiltskin, if you say “hipster” three times in the same paragraph, the New York Times Style section writes an article on the topic.
Adams Morgan = West Village. Never the turn-of-the-century bohemian enclave the West Village was, but it has turned into the loud, sprawling college street party, replete with spilled jumbo pizza slices, that the West Village becomes at night.
Llewellyn Hinkes-Jones is a writer and programmer in Washington, DC.
by Alexander Chee
The West End = Brooklyn Heights. Most of the best brownstone architecture to still be had is right here and is in great shape. Bordered by Western Congress St. on one side, with a few hip restaurants and stores in walking distance, the highway starts a few blocks away.
The East End = Greenpoint/South Street Seaport. The East End starts out a bit like Greenpoint with a view of the ocean up top and turns into South Street Seaport some by the time you get to the ferry. The East End offers a mix of townhouses, two- and three-family homes, and tenements where cool kids, young families, and hipsters can roll down to a dive bar for a pint to flirt with strangers over a beer or establishments with New Yorker-friendly names like Duckfat, the Eastender, and Two Fat Cats Bakery.
Vinalhaven = Bushwick. A new hot New Yorker destination in Maine for artists who just cannot take the art scene anymore—except that it is also something of a traditional refuge for New York artists who fled north to Maine. The light is incredible. And that is probably all of it, because there’s not too much else there.
Alexander Chee is the author of Edinburgh and the forthcoming The Queen of the Night.
by Nell Boeschenstein
Belmont-Woolen Mills = Williamsburg-Greenpoint. Your neighbor calls himself a photographer and your other neighbor calls herself a lifestyle coach and sells shit on Etsy. They keep chickens in their backyards, dole out kombucha mothers as party favors, and are both from northern Virginia.
Park Street and Locust Ave. = Upper West Side. The kids who grow up here can be heard—as early as elementary school—uttering the words “Howard Zinn,” “gendered,” and “my therapist says.”
Pantops = New Jersey. Four words: It’s over the bridge. Nice views, though. And plenty of parking at the DMV, CVS, Giant Foods, and CarMax.
Garth Road/West of Town = Upper East Side. Charlottesville’s old-money contingent. This is the domain of the Barbour jacket and pearls demographic. They enjoy Jack Russell terriers, horses, and Tory Burch loafers. They store back issues of Horse and Hound in each of the guest bathrooms.
Rugby Road/The Corner/UVA area = Washington Square. In the exquisite corpse illustration of a typical Rugby Roader, the top would have a mop of white hair, the middle would have on a tie-dyed T-shirt with dancing teddy bears, and the bottom third would feature Nantucket Reds and boat shoes sans socks.
by Ankura Singh
The Plateau = East Village. The Plateau’s culinary landscape is as diverse as it is decadent, and Mont-Royal Ave. boasts what must be the greatest selection of vintage clothing stores this side of 14th St. Your closet-sized Alphabet City studio morphs into a party-ready penthouse for a fraction of the price.
Mile End = Williamsburg. At noon on any Saturday, hungover young things suffer in line at one of the many popular brunch destinations. A few blocks away, members of the area’s sizeable Hassidic community observe Shabbat by engaging in a very different set of weekend activities. Stop searching for the L train.
Petite Italie (Little Italy) = Belmont, Bronx. Montreal’s answer to this ethnic enclave—no Feast of San Gennaro here, folks. Instead, you’ll find real Italian Canadians going about their business. The best part about not actually being in the Bronx: You won’t have to spend 20 minutes convincing taxi drivers to take you home at 3 a.m.
Ankura Singh works at the Brookline Health Department.
by Michelle Dean
Leslieville = Park Slope. Sleepy, but chock full of fancy strollers—those who want an artisanal olive oil store within reach needn’t go much further. Excellent brunches, because it’s the best meal to take your baby to.
Queen West = West Village. Everyone on the street looks a bit of a fashion model, except by that I mean the kind who simply know how to look expensive. Still the park is an extremely pleasant way to spend a Saturday in summer, among hipsters who often play music to adoring, if exceedingly pale, crowds.
Yorkville = Upper East Side. Once was tramping grounds for Joni Mitchell and crew, now home to the kind of woman who actually goes to have her hair “professionally blown out” at 3 p.m. on a Wednesday. It does have a Whole Foods, which means that sometimes it’s worth the trek up there.
Club District = Meatpacking District. Don’t go there.
Little Italy = Fort Greene. an interesting amalgam of beautiful old Victorians with lawns that brim over with wildflowers and falling-apart rentals that interesting people cling to because they can’t bear the thought of leaving. Dotting the place are lovely cafés and restaurants.
Chinatown = Chinatown. Except Toronto’s is rather more impressive.
Michelle Dean is a journalist and essayist.
Chapel Hill, Durham, Raleigh
by Rosecrans Baldwin
Chapel Hill = Upper West Side. Moneyed, predominantly white and comfortably settled, university-centric, bordered by woods.
Durham = Prospect Heights. Urban gentrification going on with all the benefits and costs of racial and income tension, plus microbrews.
Raleigh = Financial District + Lower East Side. Money, power, youth. Lots of history and lots of room to build new things.
Rosecrans Baldwin is a co-founder of The Morning News and the author most recently of Paris, I Love You But You’re Bringing Me Down.
by Rosie Sharp
Corktown = Williamsburg. When you roll out of bed at 2 p.m. and then hop on your bike in search of a $5 cup of artisanal coffee, you best be heading for Corktown, because that’s the only place in Detroit putting up with those shenanigans.
Cass Corridor = DUMBO. Dotted with eateries, art galleries, boutique shopping, and undergoing a slow conversion into luxury apartments…but still rough enough for a reliable daily encounter with a homeless junkie.
Campus Martius = Bryant Park. Where workaday Detroiters gather to choke down some lunch in the sunshine before heading back to the grind. Oh, there’s also a seasonal ice skating rink, but around these parts we also have ponds for that.
Belle Isle = Central Park. While Central Park is an island of green in the concrete jungle, Detroiters prefer to recreate on an actual island; after nightfall, the chances of getting jumped are about 50-50.
Rosie Sharp is a writer, citizen gardener, and Detroiter.
by Tyler Coates
Boystown = Hell’s Kitchen. The main strip of gay bars in Lakeview, with some scattered food options thrown in for good measure. It’s two blocks from Wrigley Field, if you’re looking for that weekend-night insanity (and drunk straight dudes).
Southport Corridor = Park Slope. Full of two- and three-flat apartment buildings converted into single-family homes. With its proximity to the Wrigleyville bars, for the parents who aren’t ready to be real, old grownups.
Streeterville = Upper East Side. The only section of downtown Chicago that is remotely livable, since it’s both beautiful and close to Lake Michigan. Plus, rich people live here.
Logan Square = Prospect Park South/Ditmas Park. It’s not super conveniently located, but that makes it interesting (and the rents are cheaper). The neighborhood is slowly becoming a popular spot for new restaurants. (Code: It’s the next neighborhood to gentrify.)
by Liz Entman Harper
Interstate 65 South = the New Haven Metro-North Line. Making the uber-tony “farm” town of Franklin (home to Jack White, Nicole Kidman, and a lot of simply very rich people), the area’s equivalent to the genteel New York suburb of Greenwich, Conn.
The Belle Meade Neighborhood = Upper East Side. Where Nashville’s oldest money calls home, you’ll find plenty of quirky matrons, nannies, and a maid’s bus that shepherds the household staff to and from the mostly African American neighborhoods north of town.
East Nashville = Williamsburg. A once-impoverished, now-hipsterfied urban neighborhood now home to tattooed mommies, a combination dog wash and organic pet food store, and an artisanal butcher.
Inglewood, just north of East Nashville = Inwood. A still-affordable middle-class outpost less than half an hour away from downtown that would be ridiculously desirable if anyone could remember where it was.
12 South = Park Slope. Could give Park Slope a run for its money, both for how quickly it was gentrified by the young creative class and how unaffordable it has now become.
Liz Entman Harper is an editor at The Morning News.
by Choire Sicha
Upper East Side = Hell’s Kitchen. This string of usually gated communities north of Miami’s downtown ranges the gamut from plain old middle-class young couples to the service of semi-luxury gays and their admirers.
Mid-Beach = South Williamsburg. Satmars and angry bike lane incidents and all. No hipsters allowed! But 20 degrees hotter.
Brickell = Williamsburg. Imagine if you took the Giuliani-era mid-rises of Sixth Ave. and 23rd St. and the mid-level Williamsburg developments and plopped them down in a row along the bay, just south of the Financial District, and rented them all out to 26-year-old publicists for the Dolphins.
Wynwood = Bushwick. A “former abandoned warehouse district” for young lovers who tire of Bushwick winters. Downside: no Roberta’s. Upside: no waiting for a table at Roberta’s.
Buena Vista = Clinton Hill. (NOTE: This is not a race/racist parallel; Buena Vista is Little Haiti adjacent, but like, it’s a mixed neighborhood and a stately neighborhood of historic homes, hence the resemblance to Clinton Hill. I can see getting yelled at about this!)
Liberty City = …Hmm. Let’s say Flatbush. (Another fine and predominately black neighborhood but the parallels are more historic!)
Choire Sicha is the co-proprietor of The Awl.
by Erik Bryan
The French Quarter = Chelsea. Expect to find a high concentration of gay bars, some of the best restaurants, and little to no judgment. Your best bet for finding a dive-y piano bar where the standards are still sung with real spirit. Expect a ton of tourists in both neighborhoods. But the closest thing to Chelsea during Pride can be found on the east side of Bourbon St. during Southern Decadence. Let your freak flag fly!
The Marigny/Bywater = Red Hook. The Bywater, like Red Hook, was formerly a busy shipyard. The general decline in commercial shipping left both neighborhoods rather poor, but the infusion of white hipsters have made both pleasant, if not precious, destinations. Invariably the musicians in New Orleans will be better.
Garden District = SoHo. Where the wealthiest, most fashion-conscientious either shop, live, or both. The closest analog to a SoHo penthouse apartment in New Orleans would be an antebellum mansion in the Garden District.
Central Business District = Meatpacking District. Also home to industrial warehouses and factories that have now been converted into trendy nightclubs, hotels, and restaurants. Expect douchebags.
Central City = Bed-Stuy. Bed-Stuy has come to define the sound of East Coast rap just as Central City, home to the Magnolia projects, is currently doing to the same for Third Coast (Gulf) rap. Including Master P of No Limit (who signed Snoop Dogg in 1998), Birdman and Slim Williams of Cash Money records (signers of Hollygrove’s own Lil Wayne, Nicki Minaj and Drake, as well as home of producer Mannie Fresh), as well as Juvenile, Soulja Slim, Turk, C-Murder, and others.
Erik Bryan is an editor at The Morning News.
by Andrew Womack
Downtown = Lower East Side. An exciting destination for young, moneyed couples to cohabitate and complain about the noise.
The East Side/Rainey Street = DUMBO. Where cool people and cool bars live in harmony.
Hyde Park = East Village. University students, young professionals, and families new and old dwell in a mix of run-down apartments, certified-green remodeled houses, and historic homes.
SoCo/Travis Heights = Williamsburg: Once cool, now unaffordable to hipsters, who must travel in from the East Side to revisit old haunts.
Southeast = Bushwick. Where fearless gentrifiers mix with hardened criminals.
Barton Hills = Upper West Side. Everybody wants to go to the park.
West Austin/Westlake = Metro-North. Wealthy and picturesque near town, but keep going and you’ll arrive at your price range—where it wouldn’t hurt to know how to service a septic tank.
Clarksville = West Village. Narrow, confusing streets separate ancient, expensive bungalows.
Arboretum/Northwest = Upper East Side. Appealing with ample, affordable housing and Banana Republics galore.
Andrew Womack is a co-founder of The Morning News.
by Vincent Perini
Venice = Queens. A lot of people say that Venice is like Williamsburg, but it’s not. You have the cartoonish hipster elements, sure, but the whole vibe is just unlike anything else. Shorts everywhere, surfer hippies, mean hippies, artists, incense shops, T-shirt stores, amazing restaurants, crazy-looking old houses, canals. It is distinctly Californian; and for that, I’d say it is Queens, which in my mind is distinctly New York. Is that too much of a stretch?
Santa Monica = Cobble Hill. There are a bunch of little art galleries and coffee shops and yoga studios everywhere, and everyone has a stroller and a yoga mat and a dog, plus some of the houses are really old and look pretty, so I’m gonna say this neighborhood is like…Cobble Hill. Except it’s always sunny and 70-something degrees, and the streets are really wide and it doesn’t smell like piss when you get off the subway. Aaaaaand it’s next to the beach.
West Hollywood = Chelsea, East Village, Upper East Side, West Village. It’s flat, there are lots of stores and bars everywhere (gay bars, straight bars, dive bars, good-happy-hour bars, classic rock bars, themed bars). There are tranny hookers, skate punks, Hasidic Jews, super-slammin’ models, amazing old hotels, incredible restaurants, cheesy nightclubs, amazing museums, beautiful parks; it has elements of Chelsea, the East Village, the Upper East Side, the West Village…but it’s sunny all the time, 70-something degrees, and with really good Mexican food instead of bagels. The only thing that sucks is that there are a lot of sweatpants.
Silver Lake = Greenpoint. Most of the dudes have neck tattoos, there are lots of bikes and vintage stores, all the denim is selvedge, and “two-piece blues-rock bands” can be heard blasting out of every car, store, and house. The houses are really pretty though, and there are pretty plants everywhere and the whole neighborhood isn’t carcinogenic. So it’s a little better.
Echo Park = Bushwick. Sometimes people get shot here, and a lot of the time your shit gets stolen, plus it’s still kind of in the process of gentrification. You can get a really cool big loft! But it’s really far from everything and kind of sucks.
Downtown = Hell’s Kitchen. Downtown LA is interesting sometimes, and very “up-and-coming.” This is where most Los Angelenos go to pretend they live in New York. They probably think it’s like Tribeca or something, but it’s way more like Hell’s Kitchen. Which is actually pretty cool. Plus there’s the Staples Center, which is nuts.
Laurel Canyon = Greenwich Village. It’s a self-contained neighborhood with lots of winding streets and cool houses and pretty trees and vegetation. A lot of weird stuff went on there in the ’60s, and a lot of weird people lived there and did weird things and wrote songs and books about it. It’s still thought of as pretty “bohemian,” even if everything is too expensive for weird people to really live there anymore.
Studio City = Hoboken. If you are willing to make the (very short) drive over the hill, you will find bigger houses, clean streets, good bars, good restaurants, more space, and a nice view. All for a fraction of the price of the same thing in Hollywood. However: Also like Hoboken, it’s “just not quite the same.”
Vincent Perini is a photographer in Los Angeles.
by Mike Barthel
Capitol Hill = East Village. A once-gritty neighborhood that sparked a musical revolution now mostly neutered into a condo-glutted hellscape littered with excellent restaurants. Trade Momofuku’s fusions for Spinasse’s micro-regionalism and you’ve even got a place to eat.
Fremont = West Village. A lot of aging hippies and the headquarters of multinational corporations like Adobe, and twice a year parades featuring a lot of nudity and/or nebulous political demands. They’re both neighborhoods where everyone seems really pleased with how interesting they used to be.
Belltown = Meatpacking District. Used to be a derelict area, became a haven for new developments and yuppie-catering bistros during some dotcom boom or other. But since Seattleites would mostly rather go out in the woods than out on the town, the worst thing you’ll brush past is a Bellevue billionaire.
West Seattle = Bay Ridge. It’s the really pretty neighborhood on the water where no one ever goes! Instead of the 69th St. Pier you’ve got the gorgeous views of Lincoln Park (where sometimes seal pups will come to sun themselves on shore!).
Rainier Valley = Flushing. Seattleites like to remind us that Rainier Valley contains the most diverse ZIP Code in the country, though generally they talk less about how Seattle is one of the country’s whitest big cities. Nevertheless, the wide range of ethnicities here—Vietnamese, Ethiopian, Filipino—makes for a series of active, welcoming micro-neighborhoods (this is a city with a neighborhood called “Little Paris” that is approximately three blocks long) and some fantastic restaurants.
Queen Anne = Park Slope. Afflicted with a distinctly Slopean sense of encroaching danger—new-parents mailing lists in many minority-adjacent neighborhoods are filled with terrified reports of crime!!! and drugs!!!—and, while the entirety of Seattle is a parody of liberalism (the city recently banned plastic bags, so now you have to carry canvas bags everywhere even though this makes you look like an asshole), Queen Anne is the most. Plus, the 5 Spot does a hell of a brunch.
Mike Barthel is a freelance writer and doctoral candidate at the University of Washington.
by Logan Sachon
The Pearl = SoHo. Condos. Boutiques. Lofts. But while a loft in SoHo might be aspirational, a loft in the Pearl isn’t (except for boring people).
Park Blocks = Washington Square Park. Students hanging out in the park. Farmers markets. Great places to sit and feel smug about your city.
Tigard = Jersey City. I’ve never been to either of these places and I never plan to.
82nd Ave. = Flushing. Where to go for dim sum. Also where to go to be around people who are not white and in their twenties.
Ladd’s Addition and Irvington and Laurelhurst = Park Slope. Large idyllic houses. Trees. Dappled sunlight. Strollers. Wouldn’t it be lovely to live here? Oh, yes. It would.
Downtown SW Portland = Union Square. Both places are sure bets for finding young travelers with pit bulls asking you for burrito money.
SE Division St. and NE 28th/Burnside = Smith Street. Fun little shops. Cute bars. Good mix of old and new. Live here if you can, drink here if you can’t. Take your parents here for brunch.
Mississippi St. = Greenpoint. Where the cool kids are. Or were?
North Portland = Bushwick. A Bushwick resident recently bragged to me that he’d been in the neighborhood since the time of wild dog packs. A kid who lives in North Portland might brag that he’s been there since before it was gentrified (you know, and just “gentrifying”).
St. Johns = Red Hook. People who live in St. Johns love St. Johns. People who don’t live in St. Johns don’t go to St. Johns. It’s too far to bike, inconvenient for public transportation, and even driving seems to take…so…long. Maybe once a year other Portland people might get out there and think hey…this is pretty great. And then you have to figure out how to get home and the dream is dashed.
Alberta St. = Bedford Ave. Neighborhoods most likely to find someone riding a tall bike, sporting culturally relevant tattoos, selling organic sage smudge sticks.
Powell’s/Clyde Area in NW = Chelsea. Don’t live here, but hang out here.
23rd NW/Nob Hill = UWS (70s/80s). Beautiful, quaint, but commercializing quick. Little shops and bakeries and bars combined with national retail chains and subways. Nice houses.
West Hills = Upper East Side ($$$). Rich people that grew up in Portland grew up in the West Hills. If you have a job and a rich boss, your boss lives in the West Hills.
Gresham = Long Island. Plus, meth.
Vancouver, Wash. = Hoboken. A perfectly fine little city just over the bridge from Portland. There are some very nice things there! More affordable home prices. Better schools. No income tax. But if you’re going to move to an amazing city, move to an amazing city; not the OK little city next door.
Montavilla = Forest Hills, Queens. A perfect neighborhood for families and kids. Family neighborhood. Trees. Yards. Pain to get into the city if you don’t have a car.
Logan Sachon is the co-editor of The Billfold.
by Gideon Lewis-Kraus
The Golden Gate Bridge = George Washington Bridge. It delivers you from the careerism and drudgery of the city into a place of breathtaking serenity and beauty. This, I suppose, makes Marin County the Bergen County of San Francisco, which seems basically right to me, though Marin has more boats and authors of Twitter feeds about the zen of golf, and fewer signs in Korean.
San Anselmo = Nyack. Where your friends move when they’re having a baby and one of them wants to move to the distant city of her birth and the other wants to stay in the city so they compromise on the closest leafily affordable place, a suburb with a “mere” hour commute that will give them the time they’ve always wanted to keep up with the New Yorker.
NoPa = Prospect Heights. You moved away for a few years and came back and all of a sudden there was a whole neighborhood that your friends spent time in that never was a neighborhood before. In San Francisco’s case, it was a neighborhood named after a restaurant. This is basically the worst thing I can imagine.
Los Angeles = Los Angeles. Where you go for the weather to be better and the people to look more attractive and for you to wonder for approximately 36 hours why you don’t live there instead.
Treasure Island = Roosevelt Island. Given that nobody ever goes to either, it’s impossible to say anything more specific.
Gideon Lewis-Kraus is a freelance writer and the author of A Sense of Direction.
(Additional neighborhoods provided by Bridget Fitzgerald.)
by Sarah Brown
Stoke Newington = Park Slope/Prospect Heights. This is where people go to have their babies for a few years before they leave the city. A slightly hippie vibe, but not too strident: Everything’s organic, everyone’s wearing brightly colored striped woolen things, and everyone complains loudly about the new Whole Foods but then still shops there.
Kensington/Chelsea/Sloane Square = Upper East Side. This is the neighborhood where Kate Middleton gets her hair blow dried. Your child goes to school with children named Fleur and Felix. The streets are full of parents with suspicious tans dressed in Barbour waxed cotton jackets and Hunter boots, looking like they’re about to stride across a heath instead of the crosswalk.
Hackney/Dalston = Williamsburg. Are you the first person in the world with your haircut? Is it impossible to explain your job to your grandparents? Or is a job something you’ll get later, in your thirties? Welcome.
Sarah Brown is creator and host of the Cringe Reading Series.
by Clay Risen
Prenzlauer Berg = Park Slope. Among the first neighborhoods to be gentrified after the Wall fell, Prenzlauer Berg (the locals shorten it to Prenzlberg, which isn’t all that much shorter, but whatever) is populated by the same desperately, tragically hip mothers and fathers as Park Slope. But American yuppies have nothing on their German counterparts, who will invade a coffee shop, block the door with strollers, and turn it into a temporary romper room.
Neukölln = Bushwick. Neukölln has gentrified so rapidly that it still maintains an air of rough-edgedness, despite being overrun with coffee shops and galleries and boutiques, most of which seem just a few years younger than their patrons. Tensions between old timers and newcomers have recently boiled over, in ways that would tug at any Pratt grad student’s heart: with anti-gentrifier videos and flyers.
Clay Risen is the author of A Nation on Fire: America in the Wake of the King Assassination.
by Nathan Deuel
Hamra = East Village. Scruffy egalitarianism, preponderance of students, occasionally luxury high rises ruining the vibe. High odds people at the café are underemployed folks you might want to spend time with and eventually sit on a panel with at the local university, AUB. Presence of vegetable co-op. Bars you enjoy, at least before 10 p.m., when the kids take over.
Clemenceau = Park Slope. Where parents gravitate, when age and careers mean bars no longer beckon and salaries make it possible to afford a backyard. Proximity to two excellent international schools and airport road.
Gemmayze = Lower East Side. An alarming number of tiny restaurants patronized by beautiful people who don’t necessarily prize three square meals. Zillions of bars. Housing stock crumbling but oddly gorgeous. Honking.
Mar Mikhael = Bushwick. There’s probably a slice, as Gemmayze becomes Mar Mikhael, that would qualify as Williamsburg, but in any case, if there were to be a tall bicycle gang of guys with handlebar mustaches in muscle tees, they would wander Mar Mikhael’s relatively desolate but arty and gentrifying streets, and they would have an opinion about what time of night not to go to that new bar, Internationale.
Achrafieh = West Village. This warren of achingly beautiful old buildings on the west side of town is where everyone would live if money/traffic/proximity to schools were no object, except for the fact that every time you go there—encountering some guy in a gold chain leaning on his Porsche SUV, smoking a cigar, having just eaten $400 of sushi—you’re reminded of who actually lives there.
Nathan Deuel lives in Beirut and is an MFA candidate at the University of Tampa.
Special thanks to Nozlee Samadzadeh.