KPMG arranged temporary housing for us in Battery Park, in downtown Manhattan, so that was where we came “home” to when we arrived in NYC. My mom flew with me, so she was there to babysit that first Saturday while Richard and I went out with Mery, our agent, to give house hunting a second shot. I honestly don’t remember many of the houses we saw that day at all, except the one we ended up with. It was just two blocks away from the Juno house which meant the same schools, same ward, same neighborhood, but it was out of our price range. Because of our experience with the first house I was really wary to get my hopes up, and I knew the landlord would have to compromise for us to be able to afford it. But this time there were a few things working in our favor, first of which was that the landlords were at the house when we came to see it, which meant we could see them and meet them. I feel like this gives such an advantage to make a human connection, so we were people, a family, and not just names and numbers on a lease agreement. Secondly, they landlords were incredibly kind, and I could tell they were really trying to sell US on the property. I remember walking to the small yard in the back by myself and seeing a big butterfly and having a good feeling.
Once again we put all our eggs in one basket, there just wasn’t anything else that we felt right about, and this made me really nervous and stressed again. The next day my mom and I packed the kids up and drove to Buffalo to spend the week with Lori and Sean and the girls. I was on pins and needles waiting for word from our agent about reaching an agreement with the landlords, and there were a couple really frustrating moments where we felt like there just wouldn’t be a financial way for us to make it work, and the landlords seemed to be changing their mind. (Our landlords are a fantastic Chinese couple who have been so responsive to us, but the house belongs to their son in Shanghai, who we hadn’t had the benefit of meeting in person, and who was anxious to drive a harder bargain.)
Of course, it all worked out, we signed the lease, handed over obscene amounts of money for a deposit (renting in NYC is no joke) and planned to get the keys to the home on August 2nd.
We love our leafy neighborhood. Writing this post two years after it all unfolded gives me the advantage of expressing gratitude for all the things we didn’t know we were getting when we took this leap. Our neighborhood in Forest Hills is sandwiched between two great streets (Austin St. & Metropolitan Ave.) that have almost everything we need. We can (and do!) walk to the subway, piano lessons, the dentist, the pediatrician, the barber, the dry cleaner, the bank, the library, TARGET, Trader Joes, the baseball fields, Shake Shack, CVS & RiteAid & Duane Reade, multiple other shopping options and endless restaurants. The elementary school has exceeded our hopes and is just around the corner from our house and the middle school meets our needs.
Our house itself shockingly has more than enough space. We share a driveway with our neighbors that the kids can ride their scooters up and down. We have a small yard, big enough to set up the tent for a backyard sleepover. The plants and flora of NYC blow my mind every spring. In our small yard I’ve seen blue jays, robins, cardinals, squirrels, raccoons and even an opossum, which I might add was very ugly.
I’m so grateful that we live where we do, that things worked out, that Richard was patient and trusted his intuition. I’m so grateful for our many privileges and opportunities and I’ve seen enough of what it can be like to live in NYC that is vastly different from my experience, to realize that we have more than we need, and that we are very lucky.