If you're looking for a safe neighborhood to raise a family in, don't disregard The Bronx. The borough has gotten a bad rep from Hollywood movies, but it's come a long way since the 1970s. In fact, some of the city's most expensive properties are in The Bronx, namely the Fieldston area of Riverdale. This 8 million dollar mansion is just one example.
The advantage of The Bronx over Manhattan is that you have a lot more space. Manhattan is cramped, plus you can't get a "house" unless you're mega rich and buy a townhouse. The Bronx has lots of single-family homes. Plus, The Bronx has the wonderful parks and greenery. It has the cities largest park (Pelham Bay) as well the cities third largest (Van Cortland.) Both of these are much larger than Central Park. The Bronx also has a huge and beautiful Botanical Garden and the world famous Bronx Zoo.
Here are the 3 neighborhoods to consider when looking for homes for sale.
Riverdale is located in the extreme West Bronx. It lies right at the edge of the city, overlooking the Hudson River. It's elevated from the rest of the Bronx, and many of the homes have an amazing view. The area has lots of small shops, as well as supermarkets, doctors offices, and dining. Along the main strip of Johnson Avenue you will find Thai, Indian, and Italian style restaurants. So you don't have to travel into Manhattan if you're looking to eat out. There are Catholic, Jewish, and Public grammar schools. There are also several ultra-exclusive private day schools (Riverdale Day Country and Horace Mann).
The area is considered one of the safest in The Bronx, and also ranks as the 13th safest spot in the entire city.
Van Cortland Village
Van Cortland Village is east of Riverdale, and sits right next to the enormous Van Cortland Park. The area is home to apartment buildings (including the historic Amalgated Houses, created by Jewish immigrants in the 1920s) and many single-family homes. The residents of the area are active in preventing over development and have been successful in stopping major construction in recent years.
The area is great for kids because the park is right outside your door. There is a Catholic grammar school, as well as a public school.
Also, you are very close to the #1 subway line, which takes you into Manhattan via the West Side. There is also an express bus that makes stops along Sedgwick Ave that runs down the East Side of Manhattan. So if you don't feel like driving into Manhattan every morning for work, this is a great place to live.
If you travel to the extreme eastern section of The Bronx you will come to an area called Country Club. It's a very quiet community with mostly single family homes, as well as a few mansions. There are very few apartment buildings or commercial buildings. The area is right next to the water (Eastchester Bay), so you have a nice view if you like to go walking for exercise.
The area has a few small shops (pizza and bakeries) that cater to the heavily Italian-American population, but most people drive to supermarkets in lower Westchester or nearby Pelham, for their shopping. There are public schools, as well as a co-ed Catholic school (Villa Maria.)