So, I'm in a neighborhood called Manhattan Valley, which is not some new designation made up by realtors, but no one has heard of it anyway. Technically, it's what is in-between the Upper West Side (ends at 96th St.) and Morningside Heights (starts at 110th). I can walk to almost anything you could imagine, including the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, the Hungarian Pastry Shop, or Tom's Diner. There are three parks within spitting distance - Riverside, Central, and a cute little triangular park for sitting in the shade. The laundromat is three doors down, and the local grocery store is half a block away.
(A word about the grocery store. It's smallish, but it makes Whole Foods look positively downscale. It has an olive bar, and three kinds of Rogue Creamery cheese. Also, butter costs $4.99 on sale. There are two more similarly upscale grocery shops within three blocks. It looks as if I'll have to go to Whole Foods when I want to save money.)
Within a block or two are a hardware store and a decent bagelry - that is, "bagels" that aren't just round squooshy pieces of bread. The subway is three blocks away, and the bus to LaGuardia is a block and a half. Indian food is perilously close, but so far I've resisted the siren song - I do have a budget, after all.
In other words, I'm basically living the dream. My neighborhood is terrific, New York is awesome, and I love my apartment. I'm writing this from my little tiny balcony, with a view of trees and other brownstones on a quiet side street (not to mention the cars of people foolish enough to drive in the city). I'm not quite naive enough to think everything is totally perfect - I can already see that finding a yoga studio is going to be a bigger challenge than I thought - and I recognize that all of this comes at a price, a quite literal monetary cost. But I'm lucky enough to have a job that allows me to afford it, if not opulently, so I am able to pay it.