Our Foray into the Suburban Jungle Part I: Space & Window Shopping
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We continue our series with some unique insights and experiences from recent suburban transplant Tara Giblin. After spending years in the city—and loving every minute of it!—Tara started poking around in the ‘burbs, checking out towns and starting to get a feel for life outside of the boroughs. But little did she know that, once she dove in, the best was yet to come…
A friend from the great Midwest once remarked, “New Yorkers don’t value space,” referring to the tiny apartments we all crammed ourselves and our worldly belongings into day after day. At the time, my husband and I were living in our first New York City apartment and meticulously putting every inch of the unit’s 540 square feet to use.
“No, no, my friend, we value space more than anyone,” I replied.
I love New York City. And, 10 years ago and newly married, what wasn’t there to love? It was so easy to meet friends on Saturday night at a fun new restaurant, then spend Sunday morning sipping coffee and reading the Times while breakfast, groceries and dry cleaning all came right to our door. After a year, we moved into our second apartment—this one, a whopping 905 square feet—and found ourselves hosting many out-of-town guests on our pull-out couch, plus countless parties that left high-heeled dents in the wooden floors.
And then it happened: we had our first child, which made me love the city even more. How awesome was it that our neighborhood was so family-friendly—so much so that we could still frequent our favorite restaurants with baby in tow (albeit 3 hours earlier than when we used to)? We shifted from buying Central Park concert tickets, more often buying Central Park carousel tickets, and happy as we could be about it. We even navigated potential space issues—when our little one entered toddlerhood, we gave up our bedroom and converted our living/dining space into a master/living space. It was, basically, a studio—but our kid had her own room.
But we always knew we’d move to the suburbs eventually. My husband and I had both grown up outside of large cities, and while we relished that our building was zoned for a great public elementary school (just in case), we always pictured teaching our kids to ride a bike on a tree-lined street—one that didn’t run the risk of having a taxi barrel down it at 60mph.
So, once in awhile, we’d take a trip to the suburbs. Maybe stop by a playground while we scoped out a town. Drop in at an open house. We’d always pick a spot in Westchester, where train commutes were comparable to the subway. But we weren’t really looking. Just window shopping. We figured we had plenty of time to figure the suburb thing out.
But time passed at the seeming warp speed it always does when you’re a parent. Kindergarten loomed on the horizon, and when we became pregnant with baby #2, we knew we needed more space. We upgraded to a true two-bedroom in our same building and gave ourselves a deadline. No more window shopping. We’d enjoy the city with our two little ones for one more year, and then we would move. To a house. To the ‘burbs.
And though we didn’t know it for certain, the best was yet to come.
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