Suburban Jungle Strategist Alli Levine on Finding the Lifestyle You Love in the Suburbs

Mar 24, 2022

She’s lived in NYC, Miami, DC and the ‘burbs — and now she’s helping people find their perfect fit.

Alli Levine is no stranger to city living. Having called DC, Miami, and Manhattan “home” over the years, she understands the appeal of urban life — and, at the same time, knows what it’s like when suburbia calls.

“When my husband Dave and I first got married we were living and working in Manhattan,” she says. “We loved it. We’re both foodies and would go out almost every night of the week. It could be a favorite spot in the neighborhood or exploring a trendy new restaurant in the city — it didn’t matter. We never hesitated to meet friends and grab a drink or a bite.”

They also loved having access to anything and everything, from live music to sporting events to runs or walks in Central Park.

“When we started talking about moving to the suburbs, losing that food and nightlife scene really gave us pause,” Alli says. “It was such a huge part of our lives and our day-to-day — getting a slice on the corner or ordering amazing sushi or just grabbing a beer and watching a game. We worried that was something we couldn’t replicate in the suburbs.”

With an eye on maintaining their active social — and foodie — lifestyle, Alli and Dave dove into their suburban search. Beyond wanting more space, an easy commute, and a quiet neighborhood close to family, the Levines focused on areas with solid dining and nightlife scenes. And the more they explored, the more they realized their suburban wish list was certainly attainable.

As they zeroed in on the northern New Jersey suburbs, plenty of towns popped to the top of their list. From gourmet grocers and specialty shops to farmers markets, casual bars, and international eats, these communities struck a perfect balance of low-key suburban living with ample access to the couple’s must-have amenities. Ultimately, they landed on North Caldwell.

Eighteen years later, Alli, Dave, their teen daughters Rachel and Sasha, and Maltipoo Brody are still happily settled in North Caldwell. Just five minutes from Caldwell and 10 from Montclair, it’s been a perfect spot for the Levines. When the girls were younger, it was a quick walk to their elementary school — and with a fenced-in backyard and quiet streets, it’s been an ideal spot for Brody to run and play. And when they need to get into the city? It’s a quick ride in.

“We’ve loved living in North Caldwell,” Alli says. “It’s a small, quiet town and we felt so incredibly welcome from day one.” And to satisfy their foodie side? “Yes, the restaurants are amazing! We love Divina — we went there to celebrate the night we signed the contract on our first home – and 18 years later, it’s still our favorite. We also love Ocha — I think it’s the best sushi in Essex County. It’s five minutes away, and a great place to have dinner or order catering when we entertain.”

Montclair is right next door, with endless amenities… arts, culture and, of course, tons of restaurants! The Levines pop into Montclair all the time for errands, shopping and to enjoy the energy of the town.

Taking a lifestyle approach to exploring suburbia

Alli helps clients navigate and explore the 500 plus suburbs of NYC, including towns across New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. She loves guiding clients on their journey to find the perfect place to call home.

For many Suburban Jungle clients, hearing Alli’s suburban story is reassuring — and, beyond that, they always know who to ask for restaurant recommendations.

“So many of my clients are in the same boat I was when we moved,” she says. “They love city life. And what’s not to love? But at the same time, they know it’s time — time for more space, time to get their kids into a school district, time for a calmer pace…time to give the dogs a backyard to run around in! Whatever it is, when you know, you know — but that doesn’t mean you’re ready to turn off that city side of yourself. We definitely weren’t!”

With this in mind, Alli tends to focus her initial client strategy calls on exploring their personal lifestyle needs, along with big topics like commute and proximity to their network of family and friends. Each client has their own unique set of needs and wants, and Alli helps them find the communities that best align with their priorities.

“I love what I do,” Alli says. “The best part of my job is getting to know clients and finding out what is most important to them — to help clients find the right community for their lifestyle, where they can enjoy life.”

Ready to start exploring suburbia? Let’s talk! Schedule a free Suburbs Strategy session now.

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