Jodie and I and Lou Lou have given up our amazing views from the 30th floor on the Upper East Side and moved to 34 West 120th St, Suite 3, New York, NY, 10027 - yep thats right we moved to Harlem.
After 3 years of the 'New York' experience living in a skyscraper in the sky (and loving every minute of it....including the sunsets and the views.....and the doormen who take care of everything for you) we've moved uptown into a very different but very interesting area.
Now when you tell most people (including New Yorkers) that you are moving to Harlem images like this .....
.... isn't the first image that pops into their minds (and rightly so - lots of areas of Harlem are still ....well.... a little average).
So the background is this - for the last 4-6 months of so Jodie and I have been thinking about buying here in New York (.....our time frames for length of time we are going to stay here haven't changed it's just there are major tax advantages for owning (all interest and expenses for your primary residence are tax deductable - similar to investment properties in Australia for those of you reading from there) and the rent on the UES was getting a little steep at just under 4k per month).
We had seriously considered Williamsburg and Crown Heights in Brooklyn, and even looked at a few different areas on Manhattan however we kept coming back to places in Harlem as a cost/benefit ratio.
- It's a lot closer than Brooklyn for the subway ride to midtown (actually with a quicker 3 block walk to the subway it takes less time than when we were on the UES at 72nd & York which is all the way over near the east river).
- The brownstone architecture and size of the apartments/cost are very reasonable as opposed to some of the newer high rise developments in midtown.
- And mainly we love the access to Mount Morris Park.
We made 2 offers on 'floor through' condos within brownstones that were under construction but for whatever reasons weren't able to arrange it in time for the move out date of our lease so we decided to move up to Harlem as a trial rental first and then buy soon as we found something appropriate.
As fate would have it on the second day of looking for rentals I walked into the most fantastic brownstone. It looks very similar inside with 12 foot ceilings etc as Jodie's place in Petersham, Sydney.
It's right across the road from Mount Morris Park and best of all 2 bedrooms so I finally get to move my computers out of the living room so when we have people over for dinner we dont get questions like 'what the heck is that'.
Having been here a week now the area is even better than we ever thought possible. It's amazing sitting at the cafe on the corner of our block that you could be less than 15-20 mins from Midtown but sitting on a street you can actually enjoy eating otuside and with such wide footpaths on Lennox Ave I'm sure this is going to be a popular strip in years to come.
Best part of all we are right across the road from the park - I can only imagine what something similar across from central park on 5th Ave would cost.
Prices have gone up a lot in the last few years (maybe a bit too much - it will be interesting to see how 'deep' the market is for people willing to cross the 96th street 'border'), and there is a lot of localised soci-economic issues (similar to Redfern in Sydney). But so far has been a great move and I'm really loving the quiet treish view from my office (more photos at www.collins.net.pr/photo soon).
P.S. If you haven't used Google Street View before check out THIS LINK and you can go for a walk around the block using the arrows.