Best for City Slickers
Ridgewood, Queens, New York
Two subway lines offer a quick commute to Manhattan
Pristine yellow-brick rowhouses with lots of period details
A vibrant commercial shopping strip
In high-priced cities like New York, savvy would-be buyers often seek out houses with a rental unit (or two) to help them foot the bill. These days, the savviest ones are turning their sights to Ridgewood, Queens, a 2-square-mile haven for two, three, and even four-family townhouses, located just east of the Brooklyn border. The traditionally working-class neighborhood was originally settled by the Dutch as a farming community, though most of its housing and commercial buildings were developed by early-20th-century German immigrants, who worked in the area's breweries and factories. Ridgewood is home to an enormous National Historic District encompassing some 2,980 houses and apartment buildings. Though the atmosphere is relaxed, it's not provincial. You can still get a perfect pirogie at a Polish deli, a top-notch chicken pad thai, or even an actual Manhattan at one of many restaurants, cafes, and bars here.
Shown: In this diverse community in western Queens, multifamily brick rowhouses dating from the 1900s to the 1940s cost about half of what they would in nearby Brooklyn neighborhoods, such as Williamsburg and Greenpoint.