…and I live in New Jersey. There, I said it.I fought it tooth and nail, but three years later, I am finally beginning to come to terms with it.
My last apartment in the glorious neighborhood that is Park Slope was small. Like really small. Like the-whole-thing-could-fit-in-my-current-living-room small. Like our upstairs neighbors used what was sold as the second bedroom as their moderately-sized closet small.
But I was blinded by my love of Brooklyn. My husband and I had lived in three apartments over the course of our relationship, all of them within a few blocks of each other. I loved the bustle of Park Slope’s 5th and 7th Avenues, we had found our favorite stores/bars/restaurants/take-out options, and Prospect Park is pretty magnificent at any time of year.
In that last apartment, though, I could tell the love blinders had worn off for my husband, David. Once our son was born (and then crawling and walking), I could tell the (lack of) space was getting to my 6-foot-3, over 250-pound man.
And then one day I knew he had had enough. A fight ensued (mostly about my lack of support for his wanting to move), and I started my research. I had to find an apartment with a lot more space for about the same price (or less). I knew it would be a challenge, but I got to work and found us several places to visit that very weekend.
Even though it’s a fourth floor walk-up and the bathroom sink was in one of the bedrooms when we looked at it, I just knew that this would be our apartment. We moved in a week later. Yep, it all happened really fast, but I knew it had to in order to prevent another husband breakdown.
So, here we are. It’s a love/hate thing, really. Here’s what I mean:
(1) I have to say I live in New Jersey…
…but I still get to work faster than most of my coworkers who live in Manhattan.
Yep. One of the best unexpected surprises after the move was discovering that getting to work took considerably less time than it did when we lived in Brooklyn. If I leave my apartment before 8am, I can be sitting on my desk before my 8:30 start time. It’s just a 15 minute bus ride sandwiched between 3 blocks on either side. From our last apartment, it was four blocks, upstairs to the train platform, two subways, and another three blocks – all in all close to an hour.
(2) I have to cross a river to get home from work…
…but my apartment doubled in square footage for 3/4 of the cost.
Our current apartment clocks it at right around 1,000 square feet, not a palace by any means. But compared to our less than 600 square foot place in Brooklyn, it certainly feels spacious. In the picture above, you can see that Miles’ room in Brooklyn could barely have been considered an actual bedroom (our current closet is bigger than his room was). On top of that, our rent now is less than 3/4 what it would have been if we had stayed there. Of everything we took into consideration, this one was definitely the hardest for me to argue with.
(3) I have to drive everywhere…
…but I get to drive everywhere.
There isn’t more of a double-edged sword than this. For me, the benefits of mass transit are clear and many. I love the environmental benefits obviously, but a little more selfishly, I LOVE that I can actually get things done as I get where I’m going. I can read or send emails, and arrive at my destination having accomplished something. On the flip side, I think we all know that the MTA isn’t always a pleasure to work with. Constant price hikes and at times questionable service can leave even the most devout New Yorker frustrated. Plus, there’s always Uber for those nights when no one really wants to drive. And you can’t sing at the top of your lungs on the subway. Well, you can, but…
(4) There are some amazing schools in the city…
…but you don’t need an advanced degree to figure out the application process in NJ.
As a mom, schools were a huge consideration when we decided to move. We were very fortunate to find in-home care with a woman that became like another grandmother for our son. I was sad to leave her and scared we wouldn’t be able to find comparable care for the cost. It worked out well that our realtor has a daughter around the same age as Miles, and was able recommend a great preschool in our area. If you’ve ever tried to enroll a child in school in NYC, you know that it’s no picnic. (Don’t even get me started on the process for junior high and high school…) Luckily, that’s not as big an issue this side of the Hudson.
Just as with most things in life, there are ups and downs with both options, but for us New Jersey just makes sense. I still consider New York my home, and I think I always will. My husband’s sanity coupled with the pretty significant savings, just made it something we couldn’t pass up.
Have you ever had to make a sacrifice for the greater good?