When Brooklyn ferry services started in the early 1800s, well-to-do Manhattanites began building beautiful houses in Brooklyn Heights; it's still ultradesirable today for its tree-lined streets and stellar river views. Below, the shore-hugging Brooklyn Bridge Park has completely revitalized a formerly derelict waterfront. Meanwhile, Downtown is boom town. High-rise condos have transformed the skyline, as national retail chains have done to Fulton Mall.

The cobblestoned waterfront area of Dumbo was once strictly industrial, but today is home to luxury condos, shops, art galleries and upmarket restaurants; its tiny, easternmost residential enclave is called Vinegar Hill.