Once a bohemian, funky neighborhood of artists and hippies, the East Village has followed the general upward trend of lower Manhattan and now features luxury condos and upscale eateries. Still, it retains a grungy, indy vibe compared to many other Manhattan areas and is an incredibly vibrant neighborhood.
If you're looking for something peaceful and quiet, this is probably not the neighborhood for you. But if you like having a ton of stuff to do within a few minutes from home, then it could be just right. The East Village has hundreds of restaurants and bars, a number of theaters (cinema, stage, and live music), unique stores, and tattoo parlors. And it got its own brewery in 2012 to satiate the thirst of its hipster residents.
Housing mostly consists of old walkup brownstone and townhome apartments on the smaller side (and by smaller, we mean say goodbye to that queen bed unless you've got some serious cash), although new development is bringing more lux homes to the area.
Wall Street: 3 miles / 10-20 minutes by car / 20-30 minutes by transit
Rockefeller Center: 3 miles / 15-35 minutes by car / 25-30 minutes by transit
Jersey City: 8 miles / 25-50 minutes by car / 40-45 minutes by transit