I can’t tell you how many people have forwarded me last Friday’s NY Times article on the exodus of Brooklyn families to the Hudson Valley.
The piece is a very good read, and does more or less accurately explain why we made our move: once we took a look at Brooklyn rental prices that would fit our expanding family and realized that they were the equivalent of a mortgage on a 3-bedroom house with a yard and an attic and a driveway in which to park the car that we would also get to own (because we wouldn’t have to pay $400/month to park it way over on 11th Avenue), we started thinking that it’d be crazy not to consider looking at homes outside the city walls. (As an aside, the reality also includes costs that aren’t an issue with a rental, like house-sized utility bills, oil, and…you know…furniture to actually fill the place.)
True, I was a little gun-shy about the idea of moving outside the city. It’s just a fact: lots of people who grow up in New York City have a knee-jerk negative reaction to the idea of living in the suburbs. And part (a lot) of it is snobbery, and part (a lot) of it is habit…and part of it is the reality that there are some things about living in the city that are special (and others, of course, that are seriously undesirable).
So we took our time, and took day trip after day trip up to the Hudson Valley, and very quickly noticed that the area was all farm-to-table restaurants and old-school bookstores and artisanal olive oil shops and freaking Norman Rockwell paintings come straight to life. Not a strip mall in sight. And then we checked out the schools, and the community programs, and the parks and the playgrounds and the libraries and the river view…and we fell in love.
There’s something (a lot) to be said for the enormity of the opportunities and experiences to be had in New York…but for us, for our little family, this neck of the woods has absolutely everything that we need and want and would be likely to take advantage of. And I get a hammock.
I have wanted a hammock for my entire life.
But the article isn’t all “YES! That’s US!” As an example:
“’The difference [between what Brooklyn once was and what it is today],’ [said Mr. Wallach, 38], ‘is between the first three days of Burning Man, when everyone is “Hey, what’s up?” to the final three days of Burning Man, when the tent flaps are down. Brooklyn is turning out to be the last three days of Burning Man.’”
Oh my GOD, sir. Hush.
Here’s another choice quote:
“While she savors the space and mental calm of the suburbs, she finds herself looking hopefully for signs of creative ferment.’We’ve found it in pockets,’ Ms. Ghiorse said. ‘Once in a while, you’ll think, “This place gets it,” because they have a Fernet Branca cocktail on their menu.'”
If you ever hear words like those coming out of my mouth, you have my permission to immediately sit me down for a very serious chat about what “getting it” is all about. (I mean, hello. Didn’t you hear it’s the year of the bone luge?)
Cringeworthy quotes aside, the article does get a lot right, and what it gets right is that this place is really completely great both in ways that I anticipated and in ways I never saw coming, and if you’re thinking of making a move, I strongly suggest taking a gander at the Hudson Valley.
Or just coming up here for the day and drinking Fernet Branca cocktails. Because, darling, you so totally can.