From the East Village Hustle and Bustle to the New Jersey Suburbs

Jul 10, 2024

What happens when you (literally) outgrow the city

Jenna, an OBGYN from New Jersey, and Craig, a videographer from Maryland, met in New York City in 2017 and, in 2019, moved into an apartment in the East Village. 

“At the time our place felt huge,” Craig says. “I was living in a studio and now we were in this two-bedroom, two-bathroom apartment. It was our dream at the time.” But soon enough, life got a lot bigger as the couple welcomed their first dog and first child.

“We were tripping over each other,” Jenna says. “Babies have so much stuff. We couldn’t walk or move around easily. We knew it was time for more space.” The challenge, though? Stick it out in the city or start searching suburbia. 

Searching for SubURBAN Life 

While Jenna had always imagined raising her family in the suburbs, Craig was a die-hard New Yorker. “I loved every aspect of city life,” he says. “Jenna wanted peace and quiet. I was happy staying in the city.”

That’s when they turned to Suburban Jungle and connected with New York Strategist Alli Levine. 

“A friend of a friend recommended Suburban Jungle,” Jenna says. “We wanted to see if they could find something where our visions meshed.”

Alli dove right in. 

“On our first call we discussed everything… including an easy commute, proximity to family, lifestyle and walkability… and access to amazing coffee shops! Jenna and Craig were open to exploring towns to learn more about their options and get a feel for which community would be the best fit,” she says. “They still wanted amazing restaurants and plenty of things to do – they wanted that urban-suburban experience. That’s where we started.”

Discovering the City and the Suburbs in Montclair

Jenna and Craig’s search started in Westchester, where they toured a number of  towns across the county. While they liked several communities they explored, their search quickly expanded to suburban New Jersey. Immediately, they found a great fit – and even planned to make an offer on a house. Then, they visited Montclair.

“We visited several towns,” Craig says, “but Montclair immediately stood out.” The town’s mix of nature, culture, and proximity to the city checked all of their boxes. 

“Montclair is close to Jenna’s family, which was a win,” Alli says. “And it had so much of what they both wanted: lots of parks and trails, tons of amazing restaurants and bars, and an easy commute into the city.”

The Journey to Finding “Home”

Choosing Montclair was just the beginning. The family spent another seven months searching before their offer on a home was accepted.

“Finding the right home takes time, patience, and compromise,” Jenna says. “If you’re looking, be patient. It can take time, but it’s so important.”

Craig agrees. “We had to put in the work because the market is just so crazy. You have to be patient, expect to spend more than anticipated, and be flexible with your expectations.”

Their patience and perseverance paid off: in 2024, Jenna and Craig moved into their new home in Montclair. Jenna continues to work at a New York City hospital, commuting three times a week, while Craig works remotely, heading into the city for work as needed. And when they do head in, the commute is quick and easy – a major plus for living in Montclair. 

“I went to the Union Square Farmers Market recently,” Craig says. “It doesn’t replace living in the city and the whole atmosphere, but the proximity is amazing.”

At the same time, they’ve found countless reasons to love life in Montclair. Jenna and Craig can walk to their son’s daycare, dog park, and the area’s vibrant restaurant and brewery scene. “Plus Eagle Rock Reservation is just a two-minute drive away,” Jenna says. “Everything we need is here.” Also here: Craig’s family, who moved from Florida to the city prior – and, ultimately, followed Craig and Jenna to New Jersey. “They didn’t want to stay in the city,” Craig says. “So they followed us.”

Ultimately, Craig says, it came down to connecting the dots – something Alli immediately provided. “It felt like it was like a true matchmaking service. That made the process so easy.”

Ready to make a move to the suburbs? Schedule a free Suburbs Strategy session with Suburban Jungle today.

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