Sally Morgan Lehman and her husband, Jay Lehman, and their three young children were clearly outgrowing their two-bedroom Chelsea apartment. “When you have three kids in an 800-square-foot apartment, it’s a lot of screaming in a box,” she said.
Like so many other families desperate for space, they drew a 30-mile circle around the city and spent the next few months checking out the suburbs. They hoped to find someplace artsy and progressive, where city people went to raise families. Perhaps they would still be able to walk to get a bite to eat or hop a train to the city, in a ride preferably no longer than 45 minutes.
With those requirements, they found themselves exploring the nearby suburbs to which many reluctant city dwellers have traveled a well-trodden path: Maplewood and Montclair, in New Jersey; and the Rivertowns in Westchester, including Dobbs Ferry, Hastings-on-Hudson, Tarrytown, Irvington and Ardsley (although the latter is not technically on the river).
Call them the least suburban of suburbs, each one celebrated by buyers there for its culture and hip factor, as much as the housing stock and sophisticated post-city life. They are places where you can easily score a slice of gluten-free banana bread, spend an afternoon at a local farmers’ market, and board a train with as many people dressed in jeans and sneakers as in suits.
Residents in these places often proudly refer to them as “Park Slope with backyards,” or even as a “sixth borough,” and they brag that nearly everyone on their block came from somewhere in the city within the last few years. They’re not exaggerating.
Still, as Ms. Morgan Lehman, 44, and Mr. Lehman, 47, came to find out, as similar as these suburbs are, they are also infinitely different. Each has its own personality, commute, topography and downtown, and what is a good fit for one group of city transplants may not work for another.
Which is why choosing the right suburb comes down to figuring out your priorities. Would you rather live near a walkable downtown, or is proximity to nature more important? Is diversity number one, or is it more important to live in a small town with like-minded people?
The Rivertowns alone have five distinct sensibilities: Hastings-on-Hudson is the artsiest; Dobbs Ferry, the most diverse; Irvington, the toniest; Tarrytown, the most charming; and Ardsley, the most landlocked. And while friends led Ms. Morgan Lehman to believe that she and her husband would fall in love with one particular Rivertown, they didn’t like that many of its lots twisted up inclines or that their budget didn’t go very far there.
“If we were going to leave the city, we wanted to get something bigger than a small three-bedroom with no yard,” she said.
The couple next looked at Maplewood, N.J., a leafy enclave with beautiful rows of Victorians stretching uphill from the Norman Rockwell-like main street. But while they loved it, she said, “it was a small town for us.”
Then a parent from their children’s public school, P.S. 11, told them she was moving to Montclair, so Ms. Morgan Lehman and her husband decided to visit. All it took was one look around the walkable, bustling downtown packed with restaurants and a glimpse of the large, flat backyards, and they knew they had found home.
Ms. Morgan Lehman appreciated the large school system, as she had worried that her children might feel stifled by the smaller pool of children in a small town, and she marveled at how sophisticated Montclair was: It had an art museum! A university! A film festival!
In 2016, she and Mr. Lehman, who own the Morgan Lehman Gallery on West 24th Street, bought their dream house, a 1920s five-bedroom center-hall colonial with original crown moldings. “Every morning when I walk down the stairs, I pinch myself,” Ms. Morgan-Lehman said. “Montclair is more of a small city than a suburb, and that’s perfect for us.”
But what drives one person into a certain hot suburban real estate market, where inventory can be low — in the Rivertowns, excruciatingly so — can drive another person out. Jane Lawrence, a painter and art teacher at Manhattan International High School who spent most of her thirties in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn, didn’t consider Montclair when she was looking to buy a house. She grew up in nearby Montville, and to her, Montclair was too big and spread out: It would require a car to get to the various shopping districts, and Ms. Lawrence doesn’t drive.
As soon as she saw the Rivertowns, she was taken with the expansive views of the Hudson and quickly set her sights on Tarrytown, which has a lively Main Street lined with restaurants, stores, the Tarrytown Music Hall and a coffee shop that roasts its own beans. She bought a “quirky” three-bedroom yellow colonial that is technically in Sleepy Hollow, but as it is on the border, she can walk to Tarrytown’s train station, library, shops and the grocery store. She and her husband like to spend weekends at the waterfront park, her daughter cooling off at the spray park on warmer days.
Ms. Lawrence has become so inspired by living on the Hudson that she has begun painting scenes along her riverfront commute on Metro-North. Last year, with help from a local nonprofit, RiverArts, she had a solo show at a gallery in Dobbs Ferry.
“The river has become a big part of my life,” said Ms. Lawrence, 38. “The beauty of it, how it looks in different seasons, when I see the sun setting over it on the ride home.”
It does seem that when comparing Maplewood, Montclair and the Rivertowns, buyers who choose one of the latter do so for the connection to the outdoors.
Which is not to say that people in New Jersey don’t have access to great parks. Residents of Montclair can easily travel to Eagle Rock Reservation, with its 408 acres of rolling hills, and Brookdale Park, with its labyrinth of trails, both designed by the Frederick Law Olmsted, who designed Central Park with Calvert Vaux. Those in Maplewood can get lost at the South Mountain Reservation, a 2,110-acre park minutes from the township’s main street.
Still, the Rivertowns’ topography has a rugged quality, with some houses built into the landscape and streets turning tight corners or heading up steep inclines. Some of the yards have rocky outcroppings, while others come with views of the Hudson. Train rides hug the river, and sometimes nature exploration is right outside your front door.
Jon Hershberg, 47, a lawyer who moved with his wife, Rebecca, 42, an early childhood clinical psychologist, to Dobbs Ferry from Washington Heights in 2015, said living near the Old Croton Aqueduct Trail keeps them connected to nature.
If they walk 15 minutes north or south on the trail, which runs from Yonkers to Croton and connects the Rivertowns with a wooded path, they can take their children, Henry, 4, and Zeke, 2, to the Hastings-on-Hudson farmers’ market, with its live music and local produce, or the hip wood-fired pizza place The Parlor, which has graffiti-covered walls, in Dobbs Ferry.
Sometimes they walk with their close friends, the family across the street, with whom they started a progressive potluck dinner, where neighbors take turns holding monthly get-togethers of as many as 25 people to raise money for liberal causes. “I couldn’t think of a better group of people to fall in with up here,” Mr. Hershberg said.
Even with all the Rivertowns’ charms, however, some prospective buyers have questioned their vibrancy.
Alison Bernstein, founder of Suburban Jungle Realty, a company that helps those leaving New York find the right suburb, said there is a name brand associated with the Rivertowns, and nearly every couple leaving the city takes a look there. But some are surprised by how tiny the villages are, and how quiet their streets. They see a handful of restaurants in Irvington or Dobbs Ferry, spy a few mom-and-pop shops and wonder aloud if the place is too simple for their urbane tastes. “They’ll look at us and say, ‘This is it?’” Ms. Bernstein said.
That isn’t a problem in Montclair, where there are big-name retailers like Anthropologie, Lululemon, the Gap and Whole Foods. There is also an indie movie theater, as well as numerous coffeehouses and more than one well-stocked independent bookstore. And makeup guru and local resident Bobbi Brown is opening a 32-room boutique hotel, The George Inn, there this month.
Leslie Kunkin, an agent with West of Hudson Realty Group in upper Montclair who has lived in the area since 2000, said that clients choosing between the Rivertowns and Montclair tend to go with Montclair if they are not ready to let go of a city lifestyle. “Wherever you are in Montclair, there are always people walking,” Ms. Kunkin said.
Paul Molakides, who opened Boro6, a wine bar and restaurant in Hastings-in-Hudson, a year ago, admits that small-town life isn’t for everyone, but he hardly misses having a retail chain store nearby. Mr. Molakides, a protégé of Danny Meyer who trained at Eleven Madison Park, said he can’t go to the grocery store without bumping into a patron, a neighbor or a friend.
But for Mr. Molakides and his wife, Jennifer, there is no better place — for them, their two children or their restaurant. From the large picture windows across from the village’s hardware store, he can wave to friends strolling by on Warburton Avenue. “We all came up here with the same mentality: You can take us out of the city, but you can’t take the city out of us,” he said.
It is these new residents — with their vision and fresh energy, say local residents — that is beginning to change the look and feel of the Rivertowns. Dobbs Ferry is getting its first lifestyle boutique, At Land, where kombucha will be on tap alongside $300 wool sweaters. And while there is no movie theater in any of the villages, a new development in Dobbs Ferry along the Saw Mill Parkway, called Rivertowns Square, is catering to an upscale clientele with an iPic cinema, where “farm to glass” cocktails are served, and an 18,000-square-foot Brooklyn Market that is set to open this year.
Small-town life has its perks, residents say. Sonya Terjanian, an advertising copywriter and novelist who is working to designate a historic district in Dobbs Ferry, and her husband, Pierre, a curator of arms and armor at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, said they will often get a text from another parent saying their sixth grader is headed to the diner or to a friend’s house. Here, parents can give their children more freedom to roam because someone always has an eye on them. “I appreciate that,” Ms. Terjanian said.
But for buyers looking for something between small-town life and a large urban-suburban township like Montclair, there is a happy medium: SOMA, an area named for Maplewood and neighboring South Orange, which suffers only in that it is perhaps a bit too charming. The thriving row of local businesses along Maplewood Avenue includes a well-stocked bookstore, Words, a well-curated home store, Perch Home, and a movie theater where the name over the marquee — Maplewood — is spelled out in art deco letters. The biggest controversy: allowing a Starbucks in town.
Jen Simon, 40, a freelance writer, said she and her husband, Matthew Trokenheim, a 45-year-old lawyer, ruled out the Rivertowns quickly when they were living in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn. “They were expensive and felt too much like New England,” she said, adding that they settled on South Orange because “it was just so homey.” They loved Montclair, too, but they were scared off by the size and by the prospect of entering the township’s school lottery system for their two boys, who are now 8 and 5.
Ms. Simon and her husband bought a renovated house in 2014 across from the elementary school, where she has met many other liberal-minded mothers; groups of them boarded buses to attend the Women’s March last year. “What’s unique about living here,” she said, “is that everyone really wants to be here. They’re excited by social justice, and the people are just cool.”
Residents say that living in Maplewood inspires a commitment to building community — in the hippest of ways, of course. Locals formed the Maplewood Artist Collective to unite artists and organize events, and two mothers started Maplewood Mercantile, a 2,500-square-foot space offering a selection of vintage home goods, children’s items and jewelry. And many people come together every summer for Maplewoodstock, a two-day outdoor music festival, while others mark their calendars for Rent Party, a live-music series that raises money to fight hunger.
David Leibowitz, who moved to Maplewood seven years ago, recently started a Meetup group to find other local parents who “still go to rock shows.” Within a day, there were 150 responses. Now he and a few previously unacquainted neighbors are forming a band.
Mr. Leibowitz, 46,who grew up on the Upper East Side, and his wife, Emily, 43, fell for the antique homes in Maplewood, but living there also made him appreciate that “it’s not a place where everyone is driving a BMW.”
Still, he is baffled that Maplewood has remained more affordable than parts of Westchester, including the Rivertowns. Mr. Leibowitz, who founded PicketFencer, a website that offers profiles of more than 600 suburbs within commuting distance of Manhattan, joked that it is the “Jersey stigma discount.” (According to his website, the average home value in Maplewood is $538,000, while in Hastings-on-Hudson it is $725,400.)
For some people leaving Manhattan, he said, moving to a New York suburb is easier to digest than trading their city identity for a Jersey one: “As amazing as it is here, some people just can’t do it.”
Mary Kate Burke, 41, who moved to a Tudor in Maplewood with her 15-month-old daughter, Maya, and her husband, Shardul Kothari, 46, six months ago, said she worked through her stereotypes of Jersey quickly. “We found this progressive little pocket where it was diverse and family-oriented,” she said.
They had been living in Washington Heights, and while the Rivertowns were only a few stops north, they seemed too posh for her family’s tastes. Plus, her husband was working in Hoboken. “That commute just didn’t make sense,” she said.
She appreciates the diversity of her new hometown, where it is common to spot rainbow flags hanging from residents’ front porches or to see two fathers pushing a stroller to town. “Nothing about Maplewood,” she said, “is cookie cutter.”
Keywords clouds text link
Dịch vụ seo, Dịch vụ seo nhanh , Thiết kế website , máy sấy thịt bò mỹ thành lập doanh nghiệp
Visunhome, gương trang trí nội thất cửa kính cường lực Vinhomes Grand Park lắp camera Song Phát thiết kế nhà thegioinhaxuong.net/
|aviatorsgame.com ban nhạc||confirmationbiased.com|
|mariankihogo.com ốp lưng||Giường ngủ triệu gia|
© 2020 US News. All Rights Reserved.