But to live? Yes, that too, say residents of the enclave, who praise its quiet streets, old industrial hulks and affordability, at least relative to other parts of Manhattan.
“It’s a little hidden jewel,” said Michael El Hadj, 43, who lives with his wife, three children and a Belgian Malinois in a four-bedroom condo. Their apartment, which cost $2.8 million in 2007, is on Spring Street, a night life destination that once drew people from around the city. Mr. El Hadj recalled venturing downtown in the late 1990s, from his one-bedroom co-op on the Upper East Side, to see concerts at Don Hill’s, a club at the corner of Spring and Greenwich Streets.
But just as Don Hill’s closed, in 2011, other bars near it have also shut down, meaning less broken glass on the sidewalks on Saturday mornings, said Mr. El Hadj, who works in finance. “As a middle-aged man with a family,” he said, “it’s been nice to see the seedier side of that aspect put to bed.”