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Old 04-09-2008, 03:41 PM
2 posts, read 8,028 times
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I'm moving down to DC for a job in a few months, and I don't know the city very well at all. I've been in Manhattan for 20 years and have a hard time imagining living anywhere else so DC is a huge move for me. I'm looking for an area to live that hopefully won't be as astronomically priced as Manhattan (just need a 1 bedroom), but really need to be able to walk around and have a deli and stores not driving distance. Is there a neighborhood that is considered more 'artsy' like what our Soho used to be? I'm too old to be living in a place like the East Village (I hope some of you know NYC to get these references! Can you tell I have not lived out of Manhattan for some time? ;-)
Basically, a neighborhood that is more upscale and safe with great stores around, rather than grungy artist is the example I'm trying to give. I'm single and work in a creative field so I think being in a family neighborhood may be a bit of a snooze for me. On the other hand, I can't live with a bunch of college kids either. I am getting old! Any suggestions for a fish out of water?
thanks so much!
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Old 04-09-2008, 04:44 PM
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Nw DC. Everyone in DC all want the same things you want in a community. The price range you are looking at for 1br is around $1300 minimum base upon your description.
DC is becoming Manhattan.
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Old 04-09-2008, 05:02 PM
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I agree that there are some great areas in DC that I think you'd like, and maybe even across the border into the closest parts of Bethesda/Chevy Chase. Those places (and even a lot of neighborhoods in NW DC) can get rather family-oriented, but if you stick near the shopping strips I think you'll be happy. Play around with Walk Score - Helping homebuyers, renters, and real estate agents find houses and apartments in great neighborhoods. for a bit and ID the areas with commercial strips that look interesting and go from there.

You can try looking around the zoo. The neighborhood to the east of the zoo is a bit more funky and diverse, the neighborhood to the west of the zoo more up-scale. The neighborhood to the east of the zoo is closer to Adams Morgan, which is a notorious party-zone. You probably don't want to live in Adams Morgan, but you might like living near there (can get to the bars and restaurants, but can also escape the craziness when you want to, and there'd be stuff to walk to from your apartment too).
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Old 04-09-2008, 05:14 PM
Location: Northern VA
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You might want to check out Clarendon in VA as well.
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Old 04-09-2008, 06:27 PM
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I would check out Dupont Circle. It's a pretty fun area of DC that has everything you'll need walking distance and there is metro that will take you everywhere. The prices are expensive by DC standards but should definitely be cheaper than NYC. You should probably visit and walk around different areas, you'll get a feeling which one you like.
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Old 04-09-2008, 06:57 PM
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First, DC is not NY. It doesn't want to be, nor could it be. So if that is a baseline in your head, you'll be disappointed with pretty much any city you choose, anywhere on Earth.

Second, DC has a few neighborhoods like the above posters mentioned. I'd recommend coming down on the train (or the Chinatown bus) one weekend and just taking a looksee for yourself before you start your apartment hunt.

Having lived in both, I think one thing in NY that you are hard pressed to find in DC is a 'walkable' grocery store. Sure there are plenty of smaller places here and there, or some Whole Food yuppie emporiums, but your basic generic grocery is not all that common to most neighborhoods, and even in those where they do exist they have huge parking lots making things more difficult for those who are just walking to get dinner.
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Old 04-10-2008, 07:27 AM
Location: Bethesda, MD
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Dupont Circle would be my first choice. It's in the center of everything and is closeby to downtown, Georgetown and Adams Morgan.

Cleveland Park, Tenleytown, Chevy Chase-DC are slightly more residential but are good choices as well. Another option to consider is Takoma Park, both in DC and Md. This area is sometimes called as the "Berkeley of the East" but it might give you more of an "artsy" feel that you're looking for.

As Penguin Six mentioned, DC is nowhere near the city that NYC is, so be prepared that you won't find nearly as many restuarants, bars, or even shopping options that NYC offers.
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Old 04-10-2008, 10:13 AM
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I was born in Manhattan, grew up in Manhattan (mostly), and moved back to Manhattan following undergrad. W/ the exception of professional stints abroad, I didn't leave NYC again until I moved to DC (when I was going on 30), and have been here ever since. I'm basically UWS, but also lived on the UES (way upper, way east... on the fringe of Yorktown), and spent about a year in Alphabet City. In moving, it was very important for me to find a neighborhood that was walkable, had easy metro access, was interesting yet had a good number of residents in my age demographic, and had local restaurants and pubs. I gave out bonus points for interesting architecture and dog-friendliness.

After a number of weekend trips, I narrowed down my search to the Hill, Mt. Pleasant and Logan Circle, although friends (not from NYC) urged me toward Dupont Circle. Dupont is fantastic, but felt too… buttondown? Established? It’s difficult for me to put my finger on it, but I knew that it wasn’t where I wanted to be. I liked certain transitional neighborhoods that tended the most toward Boho, but the tradeoff was higher crime. I finally settled on the top three as a comfortable balance of amenities and urban “weirdness”. To be fair, the Hill reminds me more of Park Slope and Mt. P of Brooklyn Heights than Manhattan proper. Logan has perhaps an UWS feel. For me, the Hill eventually won out for its user friendliness. Lawyers on one side, graphic designers on the other makes for some interest. But I think that I might have been just as happy in the other two.

Although it inevitably invites comparison, DC is not NYC. The metro stops running after 2:00 on the weekends (and earlier during the week) and coverage is far less extensive than that of the subway, the cabs use this @#&! zone system (although that may be changing next month) and have NO idea where, say, Marion St. NW is, and supermarkets in some neighborhoods have only recently realized that, um, restocking the shelves over the weekend will mean that there’s something left to buy on Sunday night. On the other hand, DC is not NYC. Cost of living is lower, even adjusting for lower salaries, the city itself has a open, green yet not sprawling feel, and the pace is less frenetic (but not so slow that I lose my mind).

You may want to start by using your work location as a jumping off point, keeping in mind Metro’s limitations.
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Old 04-10-2008, 02:07 PM
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Just a side note - I know a number of people who came down from NY and spend their days brooding about what NY has and DC doesn't. Please don't be one of those people.

DC is DC. It is an incredible and unique city in its own right. It has everything you seek in spades, as described above. I lived there for years and never needed a car in the city. As my forearms can attest, big grocery stores within walking distance are not hard to find. I don't understand the comment about Whole Foods / yuppie. I guess not wanting to consume toxins is yuppie now.

DC has a very high concentration of professionals working extremely unique and interesting careers that exist nowhere else. It does not have the underground arts scene that NY has, but does have a large number theatres / performance venues large and small.

If you do move, please appreciate DC for what it is - a very vibrant government town full of people really trying to change the world - and not expect it to be what it isn't. You will be much happier and prevent the inevitable furtive eye rolling that people do when engaged in conversation with a New Yorker who goes on and on about how much better NY is. Many people in DC would disagree. It has everything provided by a bigger city in a much smaller package.

Hope it all goes well!
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Old 04-10-2008, 02:58 PM
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Thanks to everyone for their response! I'm sorry you got the impression I am ready to compare DC to NYC. I realize it is not and don't expect it to be, I'm just curious if there are certain elements of living in Manhattan to be found in DC that will make my transition easier, especially the walking part and not having a car. I am a world traveler- it's my passion- and I'm very open to new places and experiences. I welcome them. However, my security blanket has always been my home base of NY so I'm looking for some small things that will help me in my comfort zone. I don't know many people there and don't want to be in a neighborhood where I feel isolated from everyone. Sometimes neighborhoods that are more family oriented make me feel that way - it's just the nature of my being an outsider since I'm not married or have children. So, again, thank you to everyone for their advice. I love the descriptions you all have been giving and look forward to hearing from others!
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