This pandemic has brought on so many conflicting emotions. I’ve been nervous, anxious, frightened, hopeful, grateful, fortunate, etc. One thing that has made me particularly SAD is that this pandemic is changing perspectives about living in the city.
I grew up in Dix Hills, Long Island. I had a fairly idyllic childhood on Fairfield Drive where there were a million kids my age. We played handball against the garage doors, kickball on the street until one of the neighborhood dads whistled which told us all it was time to go home. We waited for my dad to come home from the train, he commuted from the city, and then my sister, mom, dad and I had dinner together every night. My mom made a square meal which consisted of a protein, basically, a different kind of chicken dish, a carb and a vegetable and there was always dessert. We watched our 13 tv channels with no remote control – yikes. My parents took us to Manhattan quite often but I never pictured raising my own family here.
After graduating from the University of Florida in 1995, I moved to Manhattan and basically fell in love with city life. First I lived in Murray Hill with my two best friends in a Jr.4 apartment with one bath. That was really fun. At that time I was a corporate event planner, which was the greatest first job ever. It was literally my job to help people experience our city by planning city tours, dinners, theatre experiences, large galas, scavenger hunts using city landmarks, you name it. I worked nonstop but I was so young and I loved it. Then I met Matt in 1998 and by 2000 we were the proud owners of a coop apartment on the Upper East Side. Going through the process of purchasing that awesome one bedroom is when I got the real estate bug. Our agent at the time was young and sweet but not very experienced and I ended up doing all the work. I was good at it. About a year later in 2001, I worked up enough courage to start my career in Real Estate. The best decision I ever made. Working in this industry made me fall deeper in love with Manhattan.
The Upper East Side is my small town, it’s our suburb within Manhattan. I swear, prior to this pandemic, I would walk down the street with the tune “These are the people in my neighborhood” in my head. I had to prevent myself from skipping. I love my neighborhood. Every convenience is either on my block or a couple of blocks away and everything delivers, even ice cream! I walk down the streets and know everyone. I relished running into clients after having sold them a home and seeing their adorable babies, kids, and dogs. I love our building staff and fellow shareholders. Jessica (12 years old), goes to school down the street from our apartment with all the other kids from the neighborhood, not so different from the way I grew up and Sydney (15 years old) gets to go to Gramercy. They have the same after school activities that my friend’s kids have in the burbs. I loved walking to my office and even taking the subway. I mean, not all the time, but it really is so efficient. I love efficiency. Matt and I are foodies so Manhattan is our candy shop. Every Saturday night we would travel to a different part of the city to try a new restaurant. Yelp was my bible. I looked forward to my weekly martini after working 6 days that week. I love going to the theatre, especially with Rob Godby. You get the point, I love living in Manhattan.
So imagine my sadness when during this period of social isolation even I have had feelings of not wanting to live here. Vertical living is scary at this time. My family and I all got Corona, thankfully a mild case, but were fully quarantined in our apartment. We are fortunate to have an amazing balcony which kept us sane but no big backyard where we could throw a ball or play with our dog. These feelings make me so uneasy as if I am cheating on my beloved city.
I know many people are considering fleeing to the suburbs post-pandemic. I understand these thoughts in ways I haven’t before. I am prepared to talk through those feelings with my clients and friends. The decision is more challenging than ever. My family, we are staying. My retirement plan isn’t to the beach or the mountains but to the West Village. I truly hope that when this crazy period in time is behind us that everyone will fall back in love with living in our amazing city!
From the heart,