Where the Boys Are

In the New York mating game, every advantage counts. And while the folks at the U.S. National Census Bureau probably didn’t realize it, the results from the 2000 census, released this summer, offer the New York bachelor or bachelorette some inside information on where in Manhattan they are most likely to encounter a member of the opposite sex.

Anyone with Internet access (www.census.gov; click on “American Factfinder”) can now find out the number of males per female on every block in the city. The statistics answer some questions, and raise others. Few will be surprised to learn that there are more women than men in Manhattan: 87.9 males per every 100 females, to be precise. Or that men like living near the Intrepid Air and Space Museum. But why have men tended to settle along the Hudson River, while women have chosen to colonize the shores of the East River? Why, in the sea of men who inhabit Manhattan’s lower West Side, is there an outpost of women living in the low 20’s west of 10th Avenue? Could the proximity to the nightclub Lot 61 account for the fact that there are just 58.5 men for every 100 women in the area? (“A lot of well-dressed, trendy women come here, usually in groups,” said Tania Hawkins, Lot 61’s events coordinator. “It’s a lot of people from the area, judging from the telephone numbers people leave.”) It might also come as a shock to learn that only 25 percent of Manhattanites are married–who’s pushing all those strollers?

While the government is poring over the new census figures to determine such matters as whether Congressional districts need to be redrawn, which schools need English-as-a-second language programs and how health-care resources should be deployed, there is buried within the mountain of data some intriguing news. The infamous Manhattan male shortage–the source of cocktail-party chatter, endless magazine articles and one very successful HBO comedy series–may slowly be coming to an end. Ten years ago, in the 18-and-over age group, there were 84.46 men for every 100 women in Manhattan. In 2000, the number of men had climbed 4 percent. Still not fair? Well, be patient: Among Manhattan toddlers, there are actually 104.8 boys for every 100 girls, setting the stage for a city of desperate, marriage-hungry men in about 20 years.

In the meantime, why not use the new census data to plan one’s single social life? First stop for ladies looking for fellas: Winnie’s, a bar on Bayard Street in Chinatown, located in an area that boasts 152.3 men per 100 women. Oops–50 percent are married. Plan B: take the subway to the Spring Street station, eat at Balthazar and finish with a cappuccino at the Starbucks down the block. In all three places–subway station, restaurant and coffee bar–the male-to-female ratio will never dip below 110 males per 100 females, and about 75 percent will be single. Another good spot for man-hunting might be Chez Es Saada, a bar and restaurant on East First Street between First and Second avenues: The surrounding area’s male-to-female ratio is 162.9 to 100. (“Over the weekend there are a lot of men, like 35 or 40 guys at the bar, really hip, well-dressed Wall Street guys–you know, executives, and entrepreneurs, Silicon Alley types,” said Chez Es Saada’s manager, Carlos Espana.)

If cruising subways is your thing, women might try the Delancey Street subway station (122.5 men per 100 women), the Chambers Street stop at Hudson Street (113.7 men per 100 women) and, of course, the Wall Street station, sitting right below an area that is home to 152.9 men per 100 women. Meanwhile, men looking for a female subway date should refill their MetroCards at Union Square (87.1 men per 100 women).

Men looking for men already know that Chelsea is fertile ground: The frappucinos have a distinctly male flavor at the Starbucks on Sixth Avenue and 22nd Street, a locale which boasts 139.6 males per 100 females. The Barnes & Noble nearby reflects these stats. “There are lots of men, but they’re looking for other men,” said Barnes & Noble bookseller Shannon No-ecker. “I’ve met a couple, though. And I know my roommates have picked up a lot of men here. We get mostly businessmen, students and actors.” Literary ladies in lust might do better at the Barnes & Noble at 4 Astor Place (104 men per 100 women), or the one at Fifth Avenue and 48th Street (103 men per 100 women).

Men in pursuit of the fairer sex already have good odds throughout the city, but there are pockets of particular opportunity. The area around Murray Hill has just 79.1 men per 100 women, a fact known to local establishments such as the Morgan Library and Asia de Cuba restaurant. “A lot of businesswomen come in,” said Tamara, who takes reservations at Asia de Cuba. “Starting Wednesday, it’s a lot of younger women. We have a wide variety.”

Men should also try their luck at museums. Women have put down roots around such homes of high culture as the American Museum of Natural History, the Guggenheim Museum on Fifth Avenue and the Cooper-Hewitt museum on East 91st Street (77.1 males per 100 females).

Indeed, if you’ve seen the lines at the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Jackie Kennedy exhibit, you already have a hint about the male-to-female ratio on the Upper East Side. Near the Whitney Museum on Madison Avenue and 77th Street, you’ll find 78.2 men per 100 women. But hands off the ladies, boys: 50 percent of those who live between Fifth Avenue and Lexington Avenue in the East 70’s, 80’s and 90’s are married. But keep walking east; once you cross Lexington Avenue, the marriage rate falls to about 20 percent.

Across Central Park, on the Upper West Side, women also outnumber men. In the area around Fez Over Time Café on Broadway, there are 85.9 men for every 100 women, a ratio that pretty much holds for the Starbucks at Broadway and 87th Street and the Barnes & Noble at Broadway and 82nd Street. However, as you promenade down Broadway, the men start to catch up and the ratio begins to narrow, so that the area around the Starbucks at Broadway and 81st Street clocks in with 95.4 males per 100 females. By the time you hit Lincoln Center you’re swimming in aftershave, with 110 men for every 100 women.

For those who like a level playing field, try the Guggenheim Museum’s Soho branch at 575 Broadway (98.9 males per 100 females). Or head down to Bobby De Niro’s neighborhood near Nobu in Tribeca, where the odds aren’t too bad: 90.8 males per 100 females, and only 34.4 percent are wearing wedding rings.

The census data also contain a message for 30-year-olds: act now. Among all ages, there are more people in Manhattan who are 30–40,000 of them–than any other age, and the male-to-female ratio is almost exactly 1 to 1. But after that, Manhattan men start to disappear. In the 30-to-34-year-old age group, there are 90.2 males per 100 females; for 35-to-39-year-olds, the ratio dips to 88.6 men per 100 women. In the 40-to-44-year-old group, there are 87.7 men per 100 women, and so on (for example, in the 55-to-59-year-old crowd, there are 78.9 men per 100 women).

There are only 69 men in all of Manhattan who are over 100 years old, and they have their pick of 340 female centenarians. Lucky bastards. Where the Boys Are