A slew of sources have recently deemed Battery Park City the child-friendliest neighborhood in Manhattan (or anywhere in New York City), while at least one source says the Financial District is among the City’s least hospitable communities for children.
The 2017 ratings by Niche.com, an online database that helps users determine which neighborhoods (and which schools) are optimal for their families, ranked Battery Park City as first among 231 neighborhoods in the five boroughs in which to raise a family, as well as first in overall quality of life. (Oddly, Battery Park City earns third-place honors from Niche.com when the search is expanded to all 870 neighborhood within and surrounding New York City — trailing Short Hills, New Jersey and Kensington, New York, which is part of the Long Island community of Great Neck.)
The story is similar for Investopedia.com, a subsidiary of Barry Diller’s InterActiveCorp, which ranks Battery Park City as, “the Best Family Neighborhood in Manhattan,” for 2017, citing the quality of local schools and parks.
The site AreaVibes.com gives Battery Park City an overall “livability” score of 82, compared to 69 for New York City generally, and 66 for the United States as a whole. AreaVibes gives Battery Park City grades of either “A+” or “A” in five categories: amenities, crime, education, employment, and housing. But the averages trail off in two categories: weather (“B+”) and cost of living (“F”).
All of these rankings appear to rely on demographic and statistical information compiled by AddressReport.com, a search engine that scans and interprets hundreds of millions of data points to generate reports about individual buildings, and entire neighborhoods. In 2015, AddressReport noted that Battery Park City has the highest density of households with children of any neighborhood in Manhattan: fully 36 percent of all dwellings are home to at least one child. Nearby Tribeca closely trails, coming in fourth with 26 percent of all homes sheltering at least one child. (East Harlem and Harlem take the second and third spots, with 32 and 29 percent, respectively.)
But another community, nestled alongside Battery Park City and Tribeca, is the upside-down and backward version of these neighborhoods: the Financial District, with 94 percent of all dwellings having no children, is the least kid-packed of any Manhattan community, AddressReport found.
So whether Downtown is more like Vulgaria (the fictional kingdom in “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” where children were not welcome) or Coral Island (the setting for the classic novel of the same name, about a South Seas atoll inhabited exclusively by children) appears to depend on your zip code.