[This post has been updated and republished with a new, more complete analysis and graphics.]

Over the past year, it’s become clear that the performance of the subway and New Yorkers’ quality of life go hand in hand. Delays and unreliable service are estimated to cost New York City as much as $389 million per year in lost wages and productivity. The frustration, inefficiency and lost hours are bad enough for those of us who work in the daytime. For those on the night shift, finding a neighborhood that provides a reliable, speedy and safe commute is perhaps even more critical. To identify the best neighborhoods for night shift workers, we selected five subway stations across Brooklyn, the Bronx, Manhattan and Queens that are either the busiest hubs in the borough or close to major nighttime employment centers. (We excluded Staten Island due its limited subway options.) Then we looked for neighborhoods that allow an easy commute to these stations.

The Methodology

We looked at neighborhoods with median rents below $2,000 to ensure relative affordability. To factor in convenience, we selected neighborhoods with average commutes of 40 minutes or less to each station after 10 p.m., and checked that info against delay reports from the MTA. We also considered late-night crime based on NYPD records from 2010 to 2017. We compiled all this data into an index that weighted all variables equally to find the best neighborhoods for New York’s hardworking night owls. Check out the list below.

Top Neighborhoods for Nighttime Commuting to Times Square

With 12 train lines and roughly 64.5 million commuters passing through it every year, Times Square-42nd Street is the most-trafficked subway station in New York City. The station’s proximity to various media offices in Times Square, as well as the theaters, bars, restaurants and hotels that define Midtown nightlife, make it a major destination for night shift workers.

With access to so many train lines, night shift workers commuting to Times Square have many practical options in Queens, Manhattan and the Bronx. Topping the list of best neighborhoods, however, is Sunnyside in Queens, which offers a median rent of $1,985 and an average nighttime commute of 20 minutes. The next best bet is Manhattanville, just 22 minutes from Times Square, with a median rent of $1,923.

Top Neighborhoods for Nighttime Commuting to New York-Presbyterian

A report this year from the Center for an Urban Future found that healthcare workers in New York City have been disproportionately impacted by recent subway issues, in large part due to the 24/7 nature of their work and salaries that limit their commuting options. As the report notes, “jobs in healthcare are not concentrated in Manhattan’s central business districts,” with the result that workers face a median commute of 51.2 minutes — “the longest travel time of any workers in the private sector.”

To identify practical housing options for the 24/7 healthcare worker, we honed in on neighborhoods with short commutes to the 168th Street station on the 1, A and C lines, which is right beneath New York-Presbyterian, the city’s largest hospital and largest private employer. Bedford Park, a neighborhood in the central Bronx, topped the list, offering a mix of low median asking rents, low nightly crime rates and commutes just over 30 minutes.

Inwood is also a good option for night shift workers commuting to 168th Street, offering commutes of just 13 minutes after 10 p.m. and low crime rates. In exchange for the shorter commute, though, Inwood does have a slightly higher median asking rent.

Top Neighborhoods for Nighttime Commuting to Hunts Point

The Hunts Point Food Distribution Center is the lifeblood of grocery stores, bodegas, restaurants and food purveyors across the city. Covering 60 acres in the South Bronx, the market is home to 115 independent wholesale markets and warehouses that together employ more than 8,500 New Yorkers. The employees of the center work around the clock so that each morning there are bananas at our bodega and fresh fish on the special menu.

When it comes to housing Hunts Point workers, the top neighborhoods are Pelham Bay and Wakefield, two areas further north in the Bronx with median rents below $1,500. Night workers traveling to the Hunts Point Avenue station on the 6 line can expect to spend 17 minutes coming from Pelham Bay and 34 minutes coming from Wakefield after 10 p.m., plus a .8 mile walk from the subway station to the distribution center itself.

Top Neighborhoods for Nighttime Commuting to Atlantic Terminal

Served by nine different subway lines, Atlantic Avenue-Barclays Center is Brooklyn’s busiest transportation hub, with more than 13.8 million visitors annually. Although the area originally developed as Brooklyn’s financial and social services hub, it has boomed over the past 15 years with the opening of the Atlantic Terminal mall, Barclays Center and most recently the City Point shopping center.

These varied employment centers draw a steady stream of workers for around-the-clock jobs in security, custodial work and retail distribution. For these employees, the top neighborhoods are Midwood and Borough Park, both of which offer median rents around $1,750 and late-night commutes of just under 30 minutes.

Top Neighborhoods for Nighttime Commuting to JFK

With nearly 60 million travelers and approximately 448,000 flights passing through its six terminals in 2017, John F. Kennedy International is the busiest airport in the city, and the sixth-largest airport in the country. A hub for airlines like Delta, American and JetBlue, the airport employs 35,000 people. Many of those employees arrive before the break of dawn to ensure that JFK is up and running for early morning flights, while others head home long after dark. Even for passengers, the airport is notoriously difficult to access by public transportation, and night workers face an even greater hassle.

The most convenient subway station to JFK is Sutphin Boulevard-Archer Avenue, which is served by the E, J and Z trains, and offers transfer to the JFK AirTrain. The top neighborhoods for JFK employees commuting to this station are all in central Queens, with Briarwood ranking first. There, night shift workers will find median asking rents of $1,725 and average nighttime commutes of 11 minutes via the E train. Also ranking high on the list is Jamaica Estates, which offers average commutes of 25 minutes via the Q54 bus and median asking rents of $1,697.

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