Define the 5 NYC boroughs


If you had to pick towns/neighborhoods that defined the classical character of each NYC borough, what areas would you choose? In other words, if you pictured "Brooklyn" or "Queens" in your head, what different geographical sceneries immedately appears? Disregard all the recent gentrification that is going on. I want to figure out the traditionally perceived identities of the five boroughs.

1. Manhattan :

2. Brooklyn :

3. Bronx :

4. Queens :

5. Staten Island :


Feb 25, 07 1:58 pm

Manhattan: borough #1

Brooklyn: borough #2

Bronx: borough #3

Queens: borough #4

Staten Island: borough #5

you're welcome

Feb 25, 07 2:05 pm

I know you're just kidding, but in case the question was confusing, I wanted you to pick towns in that specific borough that best represented its traditional image. For example, for Manhattan, some people may consider Times Square to define manhattan, some may say it's the lower east side, some may say harlem, some may say the Upper West Side. There's obviously not gonna be just one area. I just want to get a broad range of ideas.

I have no problem with your ranking though. LOL. Although I must say I would rank Queens a bit higher due to its abundance of authentic ethnic foods.

Feb 25, 07 2:21 pm
Senor Drunk Archinector

standaman that's an impossible question especially concerning Manhattan...Manhattan has always been

The Village (West Village Gay, West and East village yuppie artsy more european than anything)
Times Square (stip clubs, dirty dirty dirty, pre-Guliani)
Tribeca & Soho (artists loft and industrial)
Harlem (center of Black America)
Gramercy Park(money money money, you need to live on the block to get a key to the park)
Downtown (Wall Street)
UWS and UES (s a residential community)
Inwood (cloisters and old jewish)
Washington Heights (dominican)
LES (puerto rican)
Hell's Kitche (old Irish Mafia and rough rough rough, $25 a month rent in the 60's)


Park Slope (brown stones...)
Brooklyn Heights (brown stones...)
Carrol Gardens
Red Hook (industrial)
Navy Yards (very industrial and Myrtyle Ave. (murder Ave)
East New York (you will still get shot there)
Sheapshead Bay (old italian and jewish neighborhood with a growing Russian and Asian population)
Coney Island


Astoria (Greek)
Flushing (Asian)
Long Island City (the new location for strip clubs and temp MOMA)
Maspeth (that pretty much eximplifies Queens to me)
Kew Gardens (also known as Jew Gardens)


up The Grand Concourse and Fordham (was the nice suburbs of NYC, used to be irish and there still is a huge Italian community up around Riverdale)
Woodlawn (Irish Irish Irish)
South Bronx (what soho was 40 years ago)

you're asking an impossible question.

Feb 25, 07 2:37 pm

east side.... thug side.
west side
southwest side...hispanic/latino.....
downriver.....wanna be ganagstas/rednecks


detroit that is... busta rhymes would say

Feb 25, 07 2:55 pm

metamechanic, I know it's an impossible question, but your answer was exactly what I was looking for. I understand that a place as colorful as NYC could never be defined. I just wanted a wide range of different opinions on areas that people "consider" to be representative of each respective borough. Thanks for taking the time to answer my question.

Feb 25, 07 3:02 pm
Senor Drunk Archinector

glad i could be of some assitance...

I remembered one more thing. around 2nd and 3rd avenue between 80th and 86th and then across the waters to queens you have what used to be a very German commmunity until WWII, from what I remember a client telling me once was that Steinway pianos are still made in Queens right by the Queensboro bridges.

oh, Roosevelt Island, that's a weird one worth looking into. it feels like socialist scandanaiva to me and has one main road, but its just across the water...

Feb 25, 07 4:35 pm


Howard Beach, 95% Italian

Feb 25, 07 6:54 pm

Brooklyn is Bass

Manhatten is taxed as hell

Who goes to Queens?

Where is Statan Island anyway?

Whitey get shot in the Bronx

Feb 25, 07 7:28 pm
Senor Drunk Archinector

Real cool.. cause Brooklyn's cool!
Friday doin the last day of school
Girls steppin to the mall to swing
Settin up dollars for their summer fling
Cars on the avenue create gridlock
And there's girls like MAD at the bus stop
Not waitin on the bus, but waitin on the cash flow
Fellas are laughin, gassin the past hoe
Girl steps to me and pushes issue
"That knot you got, is that money or tissue?"
Feelin on the bulge, thinkin it's her own
I tell her that it's money and she should move on
She says she's pure from legs to her thighs
And we should talk over some chinese and fries
I tell her to step, but hey that's the scene
Cause she ain't nothin.. but a Brooklyn Queen

Feb 25, 07 7:35 pm

too much booty too much booty too much booty in those pants

Feb 25, 07 7:37 pm

soho: outdoor mall with random europeans and tourists; too many signs
williamsburg brooklyn: hipsters.. not the original kind; expensive stores in cheap buildings
lower east side: punky and drunky
staten island: not sure how you are supposed to get there....
bronx: too high up to get there
times square: hell/tourists
queens: not sure... never been
park slope: families in nice brownstones; a park
central park: nature and all its glory i guess.

Feb 25, 07 8:13 pm

i love how Staten Island is completely ignored

Feb 25, 07 8:15 pm
Senor Drunk Archinector

greenpoint - polish and people who can't afford to live in williamsburg
what the bowery used to be - CBGB's and tons of flop houses

Back in the days, before I was Cool J
I used to hang up on the corner, pumpin Games People Play
Sittin on a garbage can, rhymin to my man
Talkin bout big money and future plans
I always told the brothers, if I got a contract
When the money started flowin, I'd be back
To do a jam, against all odds
Introducing rapper 1 from Farmers Boulevard

Feb 25, 07 8:16 pm

Thanks again for everybody's input.

If you had to choose the top three neighborhoods, regardless of borough, that had the most beautiful collection of brownstones, what would they be?

Feb 25, 07 8:23 pm
Senor Drunk Archinector

Brooklyn Heights

Feb 25, 07 8:24 pm

standaman, what's your angle? Nothing wrong with your questions but it just seems pretty specific/insistent to be only random curiousity. Also, I think wikipedia has pretty lengthy write-ups of the specific neighborhoods.

Feb 26, 07 12:42 pm

Although it is indeed a very broad question, I will stick my neck out there and give my opinion on the subject:

New Yorkers' view of Manhattan - probably Greenwich Village / West Village.
The rest of the world's view of Manhattan and NYC is general: Times Square.

I would like to nominate Fort Greene as the prototypical / ideal Brooklyn neighborhood.

I only recognize NYC as having 2 boroughs.

Feb 26, 07 1:48 pm

Thanks guys for bearing with my awefully vague question. Here's my story.

I shooting a photography project. I'm shooting "easily recognizable" NYC neighborhoods (hopefully some from all 5 boroughs) in dramatic sunlight conditions and making them look somewhat "anonymous." The general archtiecural forms will immediately give off a hint as to what part of NYC it is. However, through the high contrast of light and shadow some archtiectural details will be blurred and some will be accentuated. As a result I can create a wildly unfamiliar atmosphere of these familiar settings. My deadline is the end of this month so I don't have too much time to travel around. Through the question I was trying to narrow my targets to the most commonly familiar streetscapes of NYC.

Once again, thanks for all the help guys. I've gotten some great suggestions.

Feb 26, 07 3:13 pm

Maybe this isn't pertient to your particular photography thesis, but something you could explore that's totally fascinating, and very few people in NYC ever do, is how radically each Borough can subvert it's own stereotype.

For instance, Bronx is thought of as South Bronx, bombed out Hi-rise housing projects, etc, but you go a couple miles east to Riverdale and it's an exclusive sleepy residential community with winding roads in the hills over the Hudson. It could pass for the Connecticut suburb in the Ice Storm. Somehow standing on Manhattan ave. in Greenpoint always transports me instantly to Europe, and not just the Polish signage, something about the scale of stores, mix of retail products, I don't know but its totally the main street of a mid-sized Italain, Austrian, Polish town.

City Island, to the east of the mainland Bronx, a tiny New England fishing village that apparently has it's own accent (though I couldn't detect it.) And like the earlier post said Roosevelt island is a very weird, uber- planned socialist Scandanavian city. Totally 1960's time machine.

Maybe this is more a cinema thing than photography, but it'd be great to film those areas- pass them off as something totally else and then say "no I'm just playing with ya, It's actually the Bronx (queens, S.I., etc)." Then see your audience's heads implode.

For either Prototypical N-Hoods, or brownstones- Ft. Green, Brooklyn Heights, Park Slope- near the park are the really fancy ones- like Chuck Schumer's. Manhattan- Greenwich Village, Upper East Side.

I don't how much dislocation you can get out of the alternate blurring and articulation of details- but I'm not much of a photographer, you probably know how you're going to pull it off. It seems like a strategy for dislocation would be to contrast the image people have of these neighborhoods from films, casual tourism etc, with the reality of how they are actually occupied in present day New York.

For instance people in films always have huge apartments, like in 'Friends' and that's always just taken for granted. The few times a film shows a twenty something wage slave living in a realistically small apartment, then it becomes a major comic or tension driving element of the story. The irony is that its much closer to the banal truth.

Feb 26, 07 4:07 pm

meta... that's 3rd bass..... you know mc serch is in detroit now.... i'm supposed to dance at his daughters bat/bar mitzfa' thingy...... dopeness....

shit makes me cry when i hear that 80's/90's hip hop.... happened.... ohh i forgot...puffy fucked it all up....and master P

Feb 26, 07 6:35 pm
Senor Drunk Archinector

make em say ughhh!!! nanananaaaa!!
i think when puffy proved you could just rip off some pop song unorginally and rhyme over it and make a whole album that way is when rap went to shit. and then they shot 2Pac.

Feb 26, 07 7:31 pm
Senor Drunk Archinector

hold up cryzko...

does puffy get the gas face?

Feb 26, 07 7:32 pm

gvg, you're advice is greatly appreciated. Your idea of the stark contrast between the stereotypically perceived imagery of NYC and the banal (or should I say charming) reality is a great subject that I might explore in a future project. I actually remember being surprised when I first moved to NYC two years ago. Who knew that the dark, destitute apartments you see in movies where deranged psycho killers dwell, are considered the average home in NYC.

Feb 27, 07 3:18 am

Manhattan keeps on making it
Brooklyn keeps on taking it
Bronx keeps creating it
and Queens keeps on faking it


Feb 27, 07 3:18 pm

brooklyn is overrated.

Feb 27, 07 10:58 pm

A site that is stereotypical Bronx is Co-op City, pretty seasily identifiable.

Feb 27, 07 11:38 pm

New York niggaz got crazy game
But outta town niggaz is all the same
Brooklyn niggaz get crazy loot
That's because when it's beef they ain't scared to shoot
Harlem niggaz know how to play
Mack the 600, gettin crazy pay
Niggaz outta Queens got shit on lock
Strapped with the glock, runnin up in yo' spot

Feb 28, 07 6:54 am

boogie down
the city

Feb 28, 07 5:51 pm

I love how people who DONT live in any of the Borroughs have such strong opinions about them...

Mar 1, 07 3:36 pm

Block this user

Are you sure you want to block this user and hide all related comments throughout the site?

  • ×Search in: