Jeff and I lived in the East Village before we had children. When we started trying for a baby, we decided to move to Brooklyn. We fell in love with a lovely apartment with lots of windows and high ceilings right on the main street in Brooklyn Heights. Staying on a busy street felt less like quitting to us and made the move to Brooklyn somehow justifiable. A week after we moved in and Jeff had just finished putting his “office” (aka the kids’ room) together, we found out I was pregnant.
We’ve now been here for four years, and we still love it. If you’re from anywhere outside of New York City, you will find what I’m about to write ridiculous. Probably. We live in a 3 story walk-up, plus the outside stoop. We don’t have a washer or drier. We have no outdoor space. The second bedroom is tiny. We have very limited storage.
BUT. But we live in a beautiful place with a great landlord who has never raised the rent on us and said he never would. Our kids have never complained about their
shoebox tiny bedroom or the fact that they share a room. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. When Julian wakes up from his nap and Arthur isn’t there, he will cry “I miss Arthur!!!”
And we live in a wonderful neighborhood. We are steps away from the Brooklyn Heights Promenade, where tourists from around the world come for the best view of Manhattan. We’re surrounded by playgrounds and parks and restaurants, stores and everything you could ever imagine you might need. We’re also only a block away from the subway station.
And most importantly, we are surrounded by incredible neighbors. Despite living in a big city, we have somehow found a little nook where everyone knows each other and looks out for each other. There is the hair salon in our building with all the lovely girls who fuss over our boys and cut Julian’s hair for free. And there is Estella, the curly-haired ray of sunshine florist, who always has a smile, a kiss, a flower, or a balloon for the boys. She is our favorite neighbor. Just seeing her brightens our day. Her name was among Julian’s first words, and he would stand on the top of our stoop and call “Stellaaaaa!” to her, in a very Marlon Brando-esque fashion.
Mr. Edric is our friend who cleans the street during the day. Julian and Mr. Edric have a special bond; they see each other every day, chat about school and subways and whatnot. Mr. Edric even came to the boys’ birthday party; we were so honored.
There is a pharmacy at the corner where I know I can leave my children to play in the play area unattended because everyone is looking out for them. One time I stopped in, and one of the ladies had made a special cream for me that she wanted me to try on Arthur with all his skin issues. She said it had worked wonders on her kid.
So yes. Is our walk-up a pain in the ass? Yes. Would I love to just throw dirty kid clothes in the washer? Yes. Would I love more room for an actual desk or a piano? Sure. Would I like more storage space? Yup. But for now I will gladly forego all those things and stay right where we are: in the happiest place on earth. Or wait…that’s Disneyland. And we will never go there. But we’ve brought two babies home to this place. This was the first apartment we moved into together. We’ve made a home for our family here. So to us, it is pretty much the happiest place on earth. Well that, and maybe a beach vacation somewhere awesome. Without the kids.