This NYC Family Heads to Long Island!
Carolyn her husband James and their now-two-and-a-half year old daughter loved life in Forest Hills until, as she explains, she had her “moment.” “There’s a moment when you’re no longer on the fence about the city or the suburbs,” Carolyn explains. “It’s the moment when you break.” Hers happened on June 21st — the longest day of the year. “I remember ours very clearly. We were sitting on the couch the June before we moved. We both came home from work and our daughter went to bed…and we were stuck inside. There was nowhere for us to go. We couldn’t go outside. We didn’t have a balcony. We felt totally trapped by our apartment.” It was then the family decided they had to go — but they didn’t know where. “We just opened our computer and started looking. We called Suburban Jungle relatively early in the process to get as much information as possible, and we started seeing homes more seriously in August.”
The Suburban Jungle Experience
Working with NYC Strategist Erika Ades, Carolyn and James explored their options, talking through New Jersey, Westchester and Long Island. “For us, we had a really limited search that we knew would make us happy…we knew we wanted to be in a destination that would attract our city friends and my family in Boston to come visit,” she explains. “We wanted to make sure people were interested in seeing us — if there was any way for our home to feel like a vacation, we wanted it!”
Early on, Carolyn and James ruled out New Jersey, feeling it was too far from both sides of the family. After briefly exploring Westchester, they immediately turned their attention to Port Washington where, she admits, she’d been focused on from the very beginning. “We wanted to hear about everything,” Carolyn adds. “We had an idea we’d choose Port Washington but we didn’t want to make that choice without all of the information.” The notion of finding a vacation-esque suburb also played a role. “That was one of the Port Washington draws,” she explains. “We have some friends who made a similar decision, buying a gorgeous home in the Hudson Valley, but for us, easy access to the beach was the thing,” and Port had it.
Keeping Their City Vibe
The town also checked another key box: walkability. “We’re still city folk,” Carolyn says. “We still like convenience, we still like to walk to things. So a huge requirement was easy access to and a quick trip on Long Island Railroad,” which Port Washington delivered — their home is a 15-minute walk to the train which, she adds, is “huge” considering they’re a one-car family. Port Washington also has highly-ranked public schools, which was important to the family — both James and Carolyn wanted to send their kids to public school straight through, and needed a district where they felt “very comfortable” doing that.
Finding the Right Place to Call “Home”
Once the family had settled 100% on Port Washington, the final step was finding the right home. “Our price point was lower than the average price point for Port Washington,” Carolyn explains. “But we were OK with that. We’d renovated our co-op and found having a house that’s to our tastes is great. So, as we started looking at houses, we didn’t mind having a lower budget because we knew wherever we landed we’d put money into it and make it our own.” While this approach scares some city-dwellers, Carolyn and James were full speed ahead. “We’re artists, so this doesn’t scare us. Part of envision space.”
After a few offers fell through, they found their home. “The curb appeal wasn’t great,” Carolyn says, “but one of the reasons we chose this house was that the foundation was solid — we didn’t have to do anything major. Our stuff was almost entirely cosmetic.” Going in they realized they could overcome any challenge with this particular home, “but you can’t change where you’re located,” she adds. “This house continued to come back to us,” and made sense from a cost, location and feasibility perspective.
Transitioning to the Suburbs
Carolyn and James closed in February 2017 and moved in that June. “I think what we envisioned scared a lot of people,” she says of their renovations, “but our contractor did it and we’re so thrilled. We worked together.” After moving in, the summer was spent on the kitchen and, now, they’re focused on finishing up the basement and, eventually, adding a front porch. Overall, they’re thrilled with the end result — and with life in Port Washington.
“We didn’t compromise on anything,” Carolyn says, “except maybe the of the home. But that’s stuff we decided wasn’t important. And besides that, we knew we could make anything pretty with the right vision and the right amount of time.”
Since moving, the family has truly discovered the benefit to life in the suburbs and, specifically, to life in Port Washington. “The transition was been great!” Carolyn says. “It’s not that much more of a commute than Forest Hills — maybe 15 minutes more. The community has been great. And, coming from a co-op, we love that we have ownership over what we can and cannot do in and to our home.” The only challenge? “It’s sometimes hard to get our city friends out here because we’re on the LIRR and not the subway,” she says. “But usually after making the trip once and realizing how easy it is, we are having repeat visitors with no problem. They’re coming out more and more.”
Their daughter is, now, two-and-a-half and enrolled in a local nursery school. Baby #2 is due in June. “Now we’re able to put her toys in a room and close the door — it’s a good feeling!” And, beyond that, many of their hopes and expectations for Port Washington have become realities. “It’s a great place to live and my daughter gets to go to amazing schools,” she says. ”We live in a great neighborhood where we can walk to the train and walk back — it’s really lovely.”
Now, looking ahead, they’re eager to expand their family and to spend another summer in Port. “It’s awesome here,” she says. “Our last summer was great. I went to the beach almost everyday with our daughter. It was easy and fun — it was so much better. We can’t wait for this summer.”
Suburban Jungle is an award-winning firm that specializes in moving families from urban to suburban. The company’s innovative “town first” approach helps buyers find the right suburb for their family based on personality and lifestyle, not just the house. Services are FREE and fully customized to each family and their unique journey. To learn more and to connect with a Suburbs Strategist, and find the place your family truly fits in visit www.suburbanjunglerealty.com and click GET STARTED.