After three painstaking but indulgent months of homelessness, we are finally settling into our Brownstone. Apparently, the end of summer, right now, it is the worst possible time to look for somewhere to live. Typically, we choose now.
Having looked at over 25 apartments in 5 days, and being as fussy as we are about space, light, fixtures and finishes…it has not been an easy journey. We don’t just travel the world in search of the perfect abode, we overcomplicate our situation with a six year old Kelpie Collie Cross.
I wanted a loft, one that evokes feelings of the movie ‘Ghost’ or perhaps a loft in the Meatpacking District, reminiscent of Samantha’s in Sex and The City. These lofts are becoming more scarce – and very pricey. Buildings that were once instrument factories or parts of old docklands are being bought by big development companies and sadly having the charm ‘renovated’ out of them. The word ‘loft ‘ appears frequently in many of the rental listings – in another attempt to loosely translate NY real estate for you….
Enormous 2/3 bed loft with balcony and amenities.
True life description: Poky box room top floor flat, one bedroom with a large hallway where you are free to hang a curtain if you wish, with ceilings just pushing 8ft, and a bike rack. Oh, and a window grate, that you can put your foot on, so long as it’s less than a size 9.
So, we say farewell to the loft we have been staying in in Garahm Ave, Brooklyn; Goodbye loft, for now.
If we were in the market to buy, then I think we both would have jumped on a loft in McKibben St in Williamsburg. It was a corner loft with walls of windows. The only drawback was the lack of bedrooms, meaning we would have had to put up dry walls to create more rooms. And re paint and re – wire the whole unit.
The next was a unit in the much sought after, Gretsch Building.
It had kept some of its original ‘warehouse’ charm with pillars, walls of windows, coupled with my ultimate dream - luxury marble bathrooms, massive walk in robe, stainless steel appliances, and a huge pantry. Still, struck from the list, as we needed 3 bedrooms. A three-bed loft in NY – I think this warrants a six figure salary.
Our third contender – an old waterfront factory converted into units at Kent Ave. Brand new to market with heaps of amenties – some of the apartments boasted exposed pipes and beams (fabulous), yet the architect has worked in such a way that the open space living areas have ended up challenging sizes. Sadly, the overall development of the building has left little or no memory of what it once was, an old factory. This is a shame, and if I can get my hands on a project whilst I’m here – where we can work with a buildings old charm to bring it up to date, it would be a dream-come-true. So big old warehouse owners, if you are reading, get in touch. I’m here and I’m ready to renovate.
So, moving away from the loft lifestyle, we are left with option two - to live in a Brownstone. Run up the steps of the stoop, on a tree - lined street, to my own NY apartment. This, we found.
However, with Brownstone living you have to keep an open mind. Often the apartments in Brownstones need a little love and are minus an elevator. ‘ No elevator? I think, for Gods sake, who needs one?’
Now the reality is sinking in….no elevator…. Shopping, furniture, heavy bags, laundry, three flights of stairs. Ok, I can do this.
We have ticked several boxes with our choice, despite the glaringly obvious lack of SMEG appliances… We have a stoop.
We have light, more space than you need to swing a cat in, and trees all the way along the street. 15 minute walk to the biggest park in Brooklyn, Prospect Park. Now is the time to embark on adding personal cosmetic touches to a rental property, this process, I will share over the next few posts.
I welcome you to apparently one of the best neighbourhoods in Brooklyn. Park Slope. Supposed home of the 'Stroller Nazis', (young Mums, taking over the sidewalks of a weekend).
Park Slope. As a Brit I would call it the Islington of Brooklyn, as a Sydneysider, maybe Five Ways or Padddington. Only time will tell. It's full of young families, freelancers, cafes, wine bars and up and coming restaurants. And the all important.... trees. They are everywhere.........