I love looking at other people’s houses, and if the success of HGTV means anything, I know that I’m not the only one with this voyeuristic pastime. So for the people who like to mentally fawn over the landscaping of someone’s lawn or how their turrets match their shutters, this post is for you. The following neighborhoods are NYC’s creme de la creme of places with pretty houses to ogle at.
Note: while I love brownstones, townhouses and row houses as much as the next New Yorker, I didn’t include any brownstone neighborhoods on this list because, personally, they don’t provide as much architectural variety as I’d like to see when I go to ogle at houses.
Now without further ado, here are the NYC neighborhoods with the prettiest houses.
Ditmas Park, Brooklyn
Ditmas Park looks like someone planted a piece of the South in the middle of Flatbush. Nowhere else in NYC can you find such a large concentration of big, beautiful Victorian mansions. Nearly every house here has a spacious porch, gabled roof, and eye-catching colors, yet no two houses look the same.
Manhattan Beach, Brooklyn
This oceanfront neighborhood is home to dazzling McMansions. It makes sense that there is so much elegance here: back in the 1800s, this was the site of beach resorts for the wealthy. If you’re into yacht-spotting as well as house-gazing, cross over into Manhattan Beach via the Ocean Avenue Pedestrian Bridge. Prepare to rubberneck at the houses on your right and the boats on the left.
Todt Hill, Staten Island
Todt Hill isn’t an arbitrary name; the neighborhood is situated on the highest natural point in NYC. The view from the hill is incredible, but it’s hard to focus on that when you’re surrounded by gorgeous million-dollar homes. No one particular architecture style dominates Todt Hill, so each winding road comes with its own surprise. Speaking of winding roads, Todt Hill isn’t the easiest NYC neighborhood to explore. There’s no direct public transit line that runs through the area. So it may be best to view these houses via car.
Fieldston, The Bronx
One of NYC’s most affluent neighborhoods is all the way in the far northern reaches of the Bronx. Expect to be wowed by Tudors and Colonial-revival mansions that have been around since the 1920s. Don’t expect to have the easiest time walking around, as sometimes the sidewalk disappears.
Addisleigh Park, Queens
When you think of celebrity homes, the mansions of Manhattan Beach probably come to mind before the more modest houses of Addisleigh Park. But it’s these more modest (but charming) homes that are the former residences of black superstars such as Ella Fitzgerald, Jackie Robinson, W.E.B. Du Bois, Joe Lewis, and even Q-Tip from A Tribe Called Quest. Initially intended to be an all-white, upscale neighborhood, black celebrities started moving here in the 1930s, sparking white flight. Today, the neighborhood proudly remains a mostly black, affluent enclave.
Forest Hills, Queens
No, you aren’t dreaming. Forest Hills really is a storybook come to life. It’s easy to lose your way as the roads of unique Tudor homes twist and turn, but the houses are so dreamy, you won’t mind being lost.
One last thing: note that these are all residential neighborhoods that aren’t usually frequented by tourists or explorers. Although you’re not doing anything wrong by walking around the neighborhood, some residents might not appreciate you openly gawking at their homes. Remember to be respectful and you should be fine. Happy house-gazing!
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