If you've been looking at homes in Manhattan, specifically those that are overlooking the water, then you've probably noticed two things. First, apartments with a water view in Manhattan are expensive. Secondly, apartment co-ops and condos are not very large, unless you have the budget for a penthouse. So if you want the space of a large house and don't want to mortgage yourself until the end of time, then you should expand your search to the outer boroughs. Below are three neighborhoods to look at. Each will have houses, not apartments, that are near the water.
Throgs Neck is a neighborhood in the eastern section of The Bronx. It overlooks the Long Island Sound. The neighborhood is full of single family homes. There are apartments, but unlike some other areas in The Bronx (such as Mott Haven, Tremont, and University Heights) the area is not a big center of commercial developments and lots of apartment buildings. So if you're looking for a quiet area without the noise and traffic that comes with lots of businesses and big apartment buildings, then this is a great place to buy. In addition to the views of the water, you are also close to Pelham Bay Park. This is the largest park in NYC.
Bay Ridge is located in Brooklyn and it is situated right on the bay. There are amazing views of the boats that travel in and out of area, including the Staten Island ferry, tugboats, sailboats, and other pleasure craft that tour around Manhattan. The neighborhood itself has a very old New York feel. You might have seen it movies such as Saturday Night Fever (it's where Travolta lives and walks during the opening scene). The neighborhood has a history of being a home for immigrants, ranging from Italians and Irish to more recent immigrants from Russia, Poland and the Middle East. The area doesn't have many parks, but there are a series of beautiful promenades. You can walk, jog, or ride your bike right along the waterfront. The area is mainly single and two-family homes. There are lots of stores and shops, but they are laid out more like corner stores, and not big box shopping centers.
Tottenville is located on Staten Island, on the southernmost section. It's got a fantastic view of the Atlantic Ocean. The area is one of the less populated sections of Staten Island. It's home to many classic Victorian era homes. The reason most people live in central and northern Staten Island is that those areas are closer to Manhattan. The southern tip is more remote, and therefore you will find a home with more space and fewer neighbors. The drawback to this is that you will have to head to the center of the island to shop, and the commute to Manhattan is a bit long. But, if you want a nice, big house (possibly a beautiful Victorian) and want lots of land, then Tottenville is the perfect place to look.
Keep these areas in mind when looking at houses for sale in this area.