Hot NYC Neighborhoods, 2013

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Dubuque

Time to midtown: 3 hour flight, then 1 hour on the M60 bus from LaGuardia

Favorite Haunt: Oky Doky Food Mart on West 1st Street

Rants and Raves: Loyalists love Dubuque’s “small-town feel,” sweetened by the “super-cheap rents” (a one-bedroom in a doorman building averages $525 per month); other pluses include “good public schools” and “awesome corn.” Naysayers lament the “homogenous, vaguely Midwestern population” and say “good luck finding a decent Sri Lankan restaurant.”

The East River

Time to midtown: 25 minutes swimming with the current, 45 against; longer in droughts

Favorite Haunt: Buoy #69452

Rants and Raves: “Astounding views of Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens” are yours for the taking in this “ultra-convenient” location, “less crowded than the Hudson” and without the direct impact of New Jersey’s sewage. And you can count on constant change here — one reader says “you’ll never step in the same river twice.” Drawbacks: residents complain of “damp” conditions and “constant flooding;” the E.R. also tops our list of ‘hoods that are “bad news for people in wheelchairs.”

ReLiTER (REar of the LIncoln Tunnel Electrical Room)

Time to midtown: 5 minutes

Favorite Haunt: Behind the fuse box

Rants and Raves: Look out, Dumbo and Nolita: Reliter is catching up fast, thanks in no small part to being “spitting distance from the theater district” and “completely impervious to weather in all its forms.” But don’t move here if you’re bothered by “round-the-clock pitch-darkness,” “frayed, illegibly labeled 1000-volt cables” and “hazardous levels of carbon monoxide.”

Rikers Island

Time to midtown: 15 years to life, with time off for good behavior

Favorite Haunt: Exercise Yard (open daily 10 a.m. — 11 a.m.)

Rants and Raves: “NYC’s best-kept secret,” R.I. is rapidly scoring points for its “central location” (equidistant from three boroughs), “spacious accommodations” (shared doubles are bigger than a studio in Chelsea) and — no kidding — “free room and board.” Now the cons: lifers warn that it’s “easier getting in than getting out;” the “cigarette-based currency” can be frustrating to newcomers, who should “avoid showing weakness at all times.” And bachelors take note: despite the “thriving underground sex scene” Rikers is still considered a “lousy place to meet women.”

UnMetExRamNeJeT (UNder the MEtuchen EXit RAMp off the NEw JErsey Turnpike)

Time to midtown: 25 minutes

Favorite Haunt: Leroy’s Burning Trash Can

Rants and Raves: Within a few years, Unexramnejet is poised to become the “next Unsecexramnejet” (under the Secaucus exit ramp) only “less snobby.” Home to a thriving native population of “rats” and “derelicts,” Unmetexramnejet scores points for being “nicer than Jersey City,” and “convenient to gas, food, and lodging,” although the “constant traffic noise” and “unfashionable Metuchen zip code” keep some would-be gentrifiers at bay.

The New York City Morgue

Time to midtown: 15 minutes

Favorite Haunt: The conscience of your murdering husband

Rants and Raves: “Cozy single accommodations” are the rule in this “dead-quiet” nook of Manhattan; one self-proclaimed “Morgue Mama” says she’s “never once been bothered by the neighbors.” Some are irked by the “meat-locker air conditioning,” and a “stiff” local population that “isn’t aging well;” squatters are advised to “switch drawers every two or three days” or risk being “dissected” or “incinerated.”

Betelgeuse

Time to midtown: 425 years at light speed

Favorite Haunts: Several “hot spots” of boiling potassium gas

Rants and Raves: Talk about “hot” — this “shining star” of the outer-outer boroughs “burns bright” with the force of 60,000 Suns! “Incredible views of the Milky Way” are yours at this “world-renowned” address, which remains largely “untouched by life as we know it.” Watch out for “commutes that far exceed the average human lifespan” unless your Honda can “defy Einsteinian physics” by outpacing the speed of light; be prepared to make peace with the “total lack of atmosphere.”

Hell

Time to midtown: Eternity

Favorite Haunt: The walled city of Dis (dress code strictly enforced)

Rants and Raves: “Primo celebrity sightings” and natural wonders like “boiling craters of sulphur” are two of the attractions at this “ultimate destination for many New Yorkers.” Opportunists have crowded out the fringe, but there’s plenty of room in the lower circles, whose denizens are uniformly “full of Pride.” “Infinite, unbearable suffering” and “permanent separation from the loving arms of God” are common gripes from new arrivals; old-timers grumble that “everything’s turning into a Starbucks.”

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