Let’s talk boroughs, shall we?

Is a Brooklyn brownstone in your future?

Lately, I’m not sure what’s come over me. I’ve considered leaving the city. Perhaps it’s all the talk of tiny Manhattan  from a few weeks ago. More square footage and the possibility of an outdoor space are enticing options, and all for a lower monthly payment? Saving money would be the icing on the cake, and a bigger bank account means two things: security and more shoes.

Someone recently encouraged me, “Move to Brooklyn, the water’s fine.” It’s not the water that I’m concerned about. It’s the rest of it. Could I really move to Brooklyn and get more, yet pay less?

Why do I have not only the desire, but also the need to keep living in Manhattan? I’m a Manhattan girl; I love the energy, the convenience, and the feeling that I can conquer the world each day when I walk out my door. BK would introduce an alternative lifestyle altogether, one involving an automobile. It wouldn’t be the same easy life as I have in Manhattan. Living in Brooklyn would also mean looking at Manhattan, rather than being in it.

As a married woman, surely I could live anywhere. It’s not like I need to be out in the scene every night, or even every weekend. Who am I kidding? I am rarely—well, actually — never in the scene. I haven’t been to a nightclub since before I moved here in 2007.  A wild outing consists of a third glass of pinot noir, or an 11:00 pm reservation at Joe Allen after the theatre.

Life on the Upper West Side may feel like the suburbs at times; it’s fairly uneventful for city living, and occasionally, even parking is available. I appreciate the quiet, laid back location, but I also have the ability to be downtown in twenty minutes, and in the heart of midtown in ten. Perhaps outer-borough lovers have the same advantages, except with longer travel times. But for singles, and even married members of Generation Y who dream of living in the hoopla of what we all know as New York City, is living in an outer borough their first choice or just a backup plan?

27-year-old Angela lived in Brooklyn for a year. She and her boyfriend made the move to Red Hook for more space and cheaper rent. Even though their floor-through apartment came complete with a chef’s kitchen, the couple abandoned the square footage and moved back into the city. They’ve recently married, and have been on the hunt to buy a small one bedroom, still in Manhattan.

“We liked living in Brooklyn, but if we did it again, we’d have to be close to a good subway line, and own a car. Those things are almost a necessity in Brooklyn. Being in Manhattan is just easy—easy to get anywhere at any time. It’s also safer at 3 am, after a night out. We are looking for an apartment to buy in Manhattan, but what we want and what we can afford are two different things. It may end up being in Astoria or Brooklyn.” Although their options may be limited with a budget of just $300,000, small apartments exist in this price range in all boroughs, including Manhattan.

For the single girl, excitement is at the top of the list when apartment shopping, even if the price is higher and the room smaller. “The city is constantly buzzing and gives me a high that I can’t explain. There’s nothing else like it.” Twenty-six-year-old Blake resides with her roommate in a small two-bedroom walk-up apartment in Hell’s Kitchen. Although this is the norm for many singles living in New York, the roommate entree is not always a desired dish on the menu. Even though the rent tastes right, privacy may be more appetizing.

Blake is considering a move to Queens, where she can afford a one-bedroom apartment on her own. Her current job is based in Midtown East, but she travels throughout the city. “I want something big and new. Manhattan is full of old and cramped. Because of my job, I’ve changed my mind for now. Eventually though, I can see myself in a larger, newer place, and I have a feeling my view might be of Manhattan.”

For a lady in her mid-twenties, Queens Plaza doesn’t quite have the romance of Manhattan. We all understand the desire for a larger bath or more storage, but amenities won’t compensate for an undesirable address. The old adage location location location, applies here. The show that told the story of single life in New York City was never called “Sex in the Queens”, and there was a reason.

Although I’ve dreamed of owning a second bathroom and a backyard again, I’ve dreamed of living in Manhattan for longer. As for Brooklyn, I’ve heard it’s like no other place in the world, and considering BK is one of the five in this great city, that’s no surprise. The idea of living in this big borough over a bridge has piqued my curiosity; but if I make the move, it won’t be a backup. For me, living in Brooklyn will definitely be a choice.

 

Manhattan vs. Brooklyn or Queens — What you get for the money

SALES
 
Brooklyn
221 East 18th Street #6B
Top floor, large two-bedroom co-op in Prospect Park South
Elevator building, storage included, shared outdoor space
$399,000
Maintenance $918
 
61 Java Street #4
Two-bedroom, two-bath new construction condo with central a/c and a washer/dryer in an elevator building in Greenpoint
Lounge, private terrace, and roof deck
$799,000
Common charges $260
Taxes $90
 
Queens
3447 82nd Street #41
Sprawling pre-war two-bedroom in Jackson Heights in the Historic Landmark District, washer/dryer included
Only fifteen minutes to Manhattan
$398,000
Maintenance $557
 
 
21-14 33rd Street #3D
Three-bedroom, 2.5 bath condo with two balconies and private parking space in Astoria
1264 square feet
$799,000
Common charges $434
Taxes $28
 
Manhattan
2 West 90th Street on the Upper West Side
Small pre-war one bedroom co-op with great storage just steps from Central Park. Elevator building with live-in super, central laundry and bike room
$399,000
Maintenance $1078
 
67 East 11th Street
Large one-bedroom loft with cathedral-height ceilings, in the heart of Greenwich Village
Full-service building
Roof Deck
$799,000
Maintenance $1610
 
RENTALS
 
Brooklyn
276 St. James Place, #1
Two-bedroom new duplex with private back yard, renovated kitchen and parking in Clinton Hill
$3000
 
Queens
19-19 24th Avenue
Three-bedroom, two-bath with laundry, parking, and a gym, in an elevator, doorman building in Astoria Park
$2950
 
Manhattan
305 East 11th Street
Small walk-up, one-bedroom with live-in super in the East Village
$3000
 
For more about life in New York, follow me on Twitter, or on Tracy’s New York Life.


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