A few years ago, my husband, our twins, and I ALMOST bought 3-bedroom apartment in the East 60s. If something sounds too good to be true, it usually is, and the co-op conversion did not get approved. After we had put in our deposit and while this was all being sorted out, we rented our intended home and then rented for another year after the deal fell through.
We had lived in Manhattan for 10 years prior to this. We love the city and boys had a great experience living there. But once we found out that (a) we couldn't buy the apartment and (b) boy #3 was on the way, we felt we needed more space and wanted to move before the kids got too old.
We initially considered moving when the twins started kindergarten but the thought of a house and commuting for my husband was just too much so we put it off. We felt like we had one more year to either move by 1st grade or stay in the city.
It was a leak that finally washed us up to Westchester.
Staggering into the apartment at 10 pm one night following a seven hour drive back from Canada, we found water stains everywhere, coming down the walls in both kids' rooms, the livingroom, and the bathroom. The hardwood floors were wet, bumpy and ruined.
We called our super. There had been a huge water leak from the apartment above over the weekend. But the staff did not contact us nor did they do anything to rectify the problem, like put in blowers or dryers. They just peeked in and left.
The five of us crammed into the master bedroom (the only room not water-damaged) for the night. The next morning we went to stay with my sister-in-law in the suburbs for a few days while the damage was "fixed."
About a week after moving back in, I noticed a funny smell coming from the closet. I was sure it was mold.
I told the super and he did nothing. I called the management company and insisted they test for mold and finally they did. The mold was airborne and they told us to move out immediately as they needed to rip out all the hardwood floors and replace them.
We lost some personal stuff like clothes, toys, books, shoes, luggage, some bookshelves, and a rug to the water and mold. We were did get some reimbursement from insurance but only enough to stay in hotel for two weeks (our landlord also paid for a couple of nights, plus the cost of moving our belongings into storage), so we moved in with my sister-in-law in Westchester, then back to the apartment for a few months.
That nightware was two years ago. We moved to an apartment in White Plains, rented for awhile, and then bought a house.
We do miss the city. My husband is still adjusting to the commute, and I went from needing a super and a doorman to needing an exterminator, contractor, plumber, heating and A/C repairman, roofer, gardener and landscaper, electrician, and sprinkler guy.
We got a Minivan and stopped walking. The kids once walked for endless blocks and now they are driven everywhere. I hate that part most of all, but the kids have adjusted very well. They love school - a private Jewish day school with a huge campus on the water with its own private beach and tons of land for play. They have made great friends are near their cousins.
Water, however, is still my enemy... Westchester is known for flooding. So even though we bought the best home insurance we could, I still run down to the garage to check for water every time it rains. And, while living in the city, my packages were kept safely with the aforementioned doorman, now the FedEx guy dumps them on my doorstep and I come home to soggy packages.
I think we should move to Arizona.
Inside Story: My suburban nightmare
NYC Real(i)ty Speak: Friends don't let friends move to Westchester