Most popular neighborhoods for transplants: Murray Hill, Chelsea and Hell’s Kitchen

Midtown East has a higher share of residents who have moved to the area from out-of-state than anywhere else in the city.
Midtown East has a higher share of residents who have moved to the area from out-of-state than anywhere else in the city. Photo Credit: Charles Eckert

Transplants are taking root in Midtown East, recent Census stats show.

For years, jokes have made light of the number of young men migrating from other states to Murray Hill. New data confirm the area and nearby neighborhoods attract the greatest share of out-of-staters of anywhere in New York City — but more of these newcomers are women, according to the annual American Community Survey released earlier this month.

The data do not track people who move from one city to another within the state.

In Community Board 6, which runs from 14th to 59th streets between the East River and Lexington Avenue and in some cases Madison Avenue, roughly 6.2 percent of those surveyed relocated from out-of-state in the last year.

Several other Manhattan neighborhoods also attracted a healthy share of transplants: 4.9 percent of people living in Chelsea and Hell’s Kitchen moved from another state over the past year; as well as 4.6 percent of those in Battery Park City and Greenwich Village. Morningside Heights and West Harlem were popular destinations too, with 4.6 percent of that community district’s residents decamping from another state over the past year.

The demographic’s number begins to dwindle outside this Manhattan core. Those moving from out-of-state during the past year register about 0.1 percent in Queens’ East Elmhurst and Corona, Staten Island’s Tottenville and Great Kills, and the Bronx’s Castle Hill and Parkchester.

Transplants have trended toward Midtown East, particularly Murray Hill and Kips Bay, because the area is cheaper than many parts of lower Manhattan, and landlords of older buildings have allowed renters to informally partition one-bedrooms into space for multiple people, according to Douglas Wagner, associate broker at Bond New York.

Wagner said rooming together allows this typically younger crowd to afford the comfort of living in nicer buildings, with doormen, which is sometimes important to parents guaranteeing leases who view the personnel as a safety precaution.

“There’s so many ‘luxury’ buildings that permit apartment sharing … They move in two or three people, sometimes, to a one-bedroom apartment with some sort of partition in the living room,” Wagner said. “There are more buildings there that were constructed in the ’70s and the ’80s, or maybe even the late ’60s, as opposed to the new construction, where that kind of thing isn’t as much welcomed or accepted.”

Convenience is another winning factor. Ben Riva, 25, opted to move to Kips Bay when his company relocated him to New York from San Francisco in January.

“It’s close to work, so I picked this area,” said Riva, who works in the financial industry out of an office near Third Avenue and 47th Street.

“It’s good. I feel like I’m at work most of the time, but there’s a lot to do and what not.”

Transplants’ numbers in the area are likely amplified by the number of nearby colleges, including Baruch and the Stern College for Women. Other institutions that are not located in the district have housing there, including Marymount Manhattan College and NYU, according to state Sen. Liz Krueger.

“I actually got a call from an elderly constituent complaining that she said, ‘I think my building turned into a college dorm,’ ” Krueger said. “We learned that NYU actually rents out several floors of apartments from the landlord and was using them as dorms.”

Krueger said the area has long been a “base” for people moving to the city, but the incoming pace seems to have hit a faster clip in recent years. She and other neighborhood leaders said the steady influx of newcomers has helped support a thriving restaurant and nightlife scene and re-energized the area.

The survey shows people who move from outside New York to Midtown East tend to be younger than the rest of the area — the median age of transplants is 25.3 versus the general population’s 36. These newcomers’ median income was $69,435 in 2016, which is slightly lower than the $76,373 earned by all Midtown East residents.

“The center of Manhattan has shifted south for a lot of young people,” said Gerard Schriffen, president of the Rose Hill Neighborhood Association, active in an area that has alternatively been called NoMad.

Schriffen, a fifth-generation Manhattanite, said most of what drew him to the area in the late ’60s is still present. But he said it can be harder to get younger people involved in neighborhood causes, given that their work demands often afford them little free time and that fewer of them have families, which he said usually spurs people to put down roots.

“They bring a vibrancy,” Schriffen said. “The negative is that you lose some of the permanence and stability.”