Bushwick to Kips Bay: Leaving my college-style life behind

Bushwick to Kips Bay: Leaving my college-style life behind

By Brian G. Murphy  | February 1, 2013 - 10:24AM

In a rare moment of life-synchronicity, I was being made to leave my apartment in Bushwick just as I was thinking about how I could leave it. I wasn't being forced out or anything, but my roommate and his girlfriend had gotten engaged and they were making plans to move away. At the same time, I was thinking of taking the next step for myself: I wanted to move back into Manhattan and live like a proper young professional.

For what it was, my set-up in Bushwick was great. I was paying $400 in rent. Plus, I was living with people I love to hang out with anyway, in my own room in a comfortable house located within somewhat decent proximity to the city (about 40-45 minutes on the orange or yellow lines).

But for all that, it was time to move on. Time for a better space, in a better location. I had grown out of the hand-me-down furniture and odd-assortment-of-dishes-and-cutlery phase. I was a post-graduate professional, so what was I still doing living like I was in college sharing a house with really bad furniture and a cat I was allergic to? 

So much of my life was in Manhattan: other friends, my gym, my church in the Madison Square Park area. I really wanted to move closer to it all.

As serendipity would have it, a friend from church was looking for a roommate. From the description of her apartment, I knew right away that I would not be able to afford to live there: a two-bedroom on 27th Street with high ceilings, lots of light, generously cut bedrooms and a dishwasher!

While I was willing to double what I was paying in rent in Bushwick, I couldn’t go in for half the price on that space, which was about $2,900.

And I didn't have to! My friend was willing to pay more in exchange for a roommate she knew and trusted. She was already settled and really just wanted an easy transition. I moved in as a subletter for $1,000 per month.

The apartment is great--clean, bright, very stylish. My roommate already had it furnished, and she has great taste. There's a full kitchen with a dishwasher, and every once in a while we get a professional cleaning service to go over the whole apartment.

It may seem strange to move to Kips Bay when one is looking to feel more like an adult: I am well aware of the neighborhood’s status as a Mecca for post-collegiate post-fraternity/sorority types. But our building is perfectly situated in an enclave of sorts.

We’re on a dead-end street between Second and Third Avenues, and since there’s nowhere to to go or come from on our street, we get none of the loud, drunken traffic that besets Kips Bay on any given night. Also, most of our building residents seem to be quiet, elderly, eastern European women who keep to themselves.

However, now that I'm back in Manhattan, many of my friends have actually started to move away. Some have left for work, some for personal reasons, but I guess that’s to be expected when we’re in our twenties and just starting out. So now I’m needing to make new friends.

But it still feels more like I belong in this neighborhood than it ever did living in Bushwick. In Bushwick, it felt like I was absolutely an outsider, surrounded by families, mostly Spanish-speaking, who had their own well-established communities. Everybody around me was friendly, but also inaccessible in a way.

I was always leaving Bushwick, making that trip to Manhattan to do anything at all, like meeting friends for lunch or dinner or going for a run in Central Park. Now, for example, it's so much easier to get up and just go to the gym. I bike a lot more, too, which I love.

My roommate and I even go to Flywheel to spin sometimes. But I also love to use biking as my form of transportation, which is entirely convenient now that everything is closer to home.

I like to bike along the East River because you don't have to worry about cars. To get there I have to bike down to 23rd Street and over to the river. I really appreciate that there is a bike lane down Second Ave.

I biked to our temporary offices at Ad Council in the U.N. Area after Hurricane Sandy. When the weather gets nicer, I plan to bike to our offices in the Financial District. I totally support the creation of more bike lanes -- or even bike streets. I’m part Danish, so biking is in my blood. Copenhagen is the world first official Bike City, and I want NYC to become the next.

Actually, everything about my neighborhood is convenient. I love that it’s close to something as simple as my favorite fast food joint -- Qdoba on 23rd and Fifth, and at the same time I can experience something different each time I walk across Madison Square Park with the outdoor art exhibits there.

Since I moved here, my freelance web design and social media consultancy business has taken off, and I also took a full time position with non-profit. Now I can afford to pay more in rent.

While I don’t think actually being in the city directly spurred my freelance business, it’s certainly been conducive to my over all creativity.

Though I really like living in the area, I wouldn’t say I would never move. Kips Bay is a party area and that does make itself known every now and then, even though we do live in a quiet enclave. I can see myself leaving for another area like the Upper West Side -- but that’s just one example.

I’m open to living anywhere in the city as long as it is nice, affordable, and conveniently located.  But right now, I have all that and a great roommate, too, so I plan to keep this arrangement until either one of us ready for the next step.

Transitions highlights New Yorkers’ first impressions as they transition from one neighborhood to another. Want to tell us your transition story? Drop us an email.


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