Housing costs in New York appear to increase somewhat exponentially with increasing neighborhood desirability, whereas in the other city I’ve lived in as an adult (Chicago), they’re fairly linear. In New York, the five most expensive neighborhoods are about 5x as expensive as the median neighborhood on a price-per-square-foot basis; in Chicago, the ratio is just 2:1. There might be any number of reasons for this, but I suspect that a lot of it has to do with the fact that in cities like Chicago that are even slightly less dense, if you want to pour more money into your home you can usually do so by getting a bigger home. In New York, the constrains on space are such that to a large extent, the only real variable you can permute is where you live, and the most desirable neighborhoods may be priced in at a super-premium. Neighborhoods like the West Village, Tribeca and Soho are really nice places to live (they’d rank 1, 2 and 3 on the list if cost were not considered), but they’re really, really, really expensive.
– Political poll analyst, PECOTA prime mover, former Wicker Park denizen and current New York City transplant Nate Silver, in a FiveThirtyEight post asking, “Do Manhattanites Get Their Money’s Worth?” (Hat tip to Gapers Block.)