Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Sharing More About the Search (Part 1)

Okay, I promise I'm going to move onto something else soon, but I kind of wanted to consolidate my thoughts and sort of put all that we say in one place. I wrote a somewhat detailed post each day over on Belles and Beaux in the Big Apple and I already sort of did this with my last two Weekly Happenings posts, but I wanted to share more about the individual areas we visited and the process of it all. To me, this has been such a fascinating journey already and I've enjoyed it more than I thought was really possible.

So, there are a LOT of areas to look at when it comes to living in New York. You may remember my initial list here. When we started looking at different neighborhoods to visit, we decided to first make a basic list of priorities, find neighborhoods that seemed to fit all or most of those, eliminate ones that wouldn't work for whatever reason, and visit the remaining.

Here is our basic list of priorities, somewhat in order (that's kind of hard to do):
1. Affordability- Here's how this works. We aren't touching our savings. But we also aren't saving at the rate we have been for the first five years of our marriage. We're trying to do this responsibly, while realizing there will be a cost of living adjustment.
2. Safety- This has as much to do with where we feel safe as anything else. There are probably areas that are fine, but because Peyton's job requires late nights and because I'm not the most street savy gal, I just don't feel good about them. That said, we made it a priority on the trip not to rule out areas on the "edge" simply because they were out of our comfort zone.
3. Diversity (Cultural, Racial, Generational)- This wasn't something we thought a lot about a few years ago (of course we've been talking about this for years and years), but it's grown increasingly important to us.
4. Overall Sense of Community- I don't think either of us realized how much this would matter until we were actually on the trip. There was one neighborhood where people would not stop touting this particular characteristic and we realized it was pretty important to us.
5. Family Style Entertainment- There are great areas in NYC that we eliminated simply because they are more hubs for young singles and that's just not our life now.
6. Space- I put this really low on the list because it's relatively unimportant to Peyton. He would be FINE in a one bedroom and that was really what I thought would happen all along, but once I realized we could likely afford a two bedroom apartment in several of the areas we were looking, it started to look really, REALLY nice. I've realized a lot about myself in the past year or so and one of those is that I really value my space and I have a side to me that is pretty introverted. I know there will be a level of "urban stress" that comes from not being able to have the amount of personal space I'm accustomed to in many public settings, and I feel like having more space in our home will help to balance this.
7. Proximity to Manhattan (if in an outer borough) and Accessibility to Peyton's Work- We don't know where Peyton will work yet, and some of where he works will be dependent on where we live. That said, it's to our (his) benefit to pick a neighborhood that's serviced by multiple trains so if there's a problem with one he won't have an issue getting to work.
8. Aesthetic Appeal- Look, we're only doing this once and we'd rather live in a brownstone than a high rise, okay? ;)

If you look back at the initial list, we eliminated several sight unseen. Brooklyn Heights seemed really pricey compared to other Brooklyn neighborhoods that seemed more distinctive anyway. We scratched Sunnyside (and Astoria, which was also highly recommended) when we decided to forgo the entire outer borough of Queens. We went back and forth leading up to, and even during, the trip but ultimately we decided it didn't seem like it was for us. For one, it's not as accessible to "the city" (Manhattan) as any of the places we looked in Brooklyn. Also, it seems like it would be pretty necessary to have a car. Paying insurance on it up there would just be another (relatively large) expense and honestly the stellar public transportation in the city is one of the things that hooked Peyton on it long ago. He's always looked forward to that aspect of life up there. We also crossed Tribeca/Soho and Greenwich Village off the list basically because they didn't fit our qualifications in #5 and #6 (and lets be honest, #1).  Finally, we ended up not checking into the Lower East Side. It just seemed too loud and crazy for our purposes.

Tomorrow I'm going to blog about the neighborhoods we did visit (fifteen in total, I believe). As I mentioned, I already did that each day over on the NYC blog, but like I said I want a concise post about it for my main blog and honestly I think it'll be fun to show things back to back, compare each one and give a few more details about our thoughts.

1 comment:

Tacy said...

I find all of this really fascinating. I lived in Astoria the one summer I spent in NYC, and while I loved it, I probably wouldn't live there if I had it to do over again. If Greenwich Village were cheaper I would have lived there as a single person. I love the restaurants in the Upper E/W Side. I would do it again in a heartbeat- it will be so worth it and I'm sure you'll love it!!