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This weekend, the New York Times featured a real estate story you just knew would draw some serious snark around the internet. "Escape from Brooklyn" is one freelance writer's story about getting priced out of Prospect Heights and falling into—and, later, in love with—the Westchester town of Hastings-on-Hudson. (For those paying attention, it'll likely remind you of that time, in 2013, that the Times coined the Westchester river towns "Hipsturbia").
David Zweig's story probably feels familiar to New Yorkers of a certain age and demographic: He and his neighbors were arguing over his kids' noise; he and his wife were unimpressed by the "up and coming" public school in their neighborhood; also, unable to afford private school and yearning for greenery, he was shocked at how little space they could buy for their budget.
"Anything we could afford wasn’t on a par with our current place—a grand prewar two-bedroom, which, after years of saving, we had barely managed to purchase for just under $700,000 around five years earlier," he writes.
Of course, Zweig would also profit from the increasing desirability of the neighborhood—he'd go on to sell his apartment for about $250,000 more than he bought it for five years earlier. Coincidentally, the apartment they sold and the house they bought were both $949,000.
Now, Zweig writes, he has a real community in Westchester—many of them ex-Brooklynites.
"It turned out nearly all of us had lived near one another in Brooklyn. And while my wife and I had friends in the city and I had a large professional network there, within a year we’ve made more friends in Hastings than we did in seven years in Brooklyn," he writes.
While some of the comments have been positive and of the "we're just like you!" variety, Zweig's article has, of course, drawn criticism too. (This is the internet, after all).
Commenters have mentioned that $950,000 as a base point is rather generous. Others have criticized his dismissal of really great NYC school options. He's being described as out of touch and the piece labeled "self congratulatory navel gazing." (It is curious to us just how easily he seems to increase his budget for the suburban house.)
Readers are also mentioning the irony of Brooklyn's priced-out young professionals moving to the suburbs just to price out others who were there first. Sentiments of "there goes the neighborhood" are repeated several times in the comments.
But assuming you find yourself in a similar predicament to Zweig (and we think many of us do) and really want to know what life would be like in Hastings-on-Hudson, we present you family-sized homes in Prospect Heights and Hastings-on-Hudson, all for under $1 million. See for yourselves if the switch is worth it.
This $999,000 three-bedroom, two-bath corner co-op apartment has 11 windows throughout. It is a third-floor walk-up.
There's an elevator, a live-in super and a gym in this Prospect Heights building, where a three-bedroom, two-bath co-op is on the market for $950,000.
This $945,000 two-bedroom, two-bath duplex co-op has a two-tiered garden and patio. The lower flower seems to be subterranean, though.
A four-bed, five-bath townhouse-style single-family home is asking $995,000.
Located on a cul-de-sac in a golf course community, this three-bedroom, two-bath house has a large patio and a yard. Asking price: $899,000.
This four-bedroom, one-and-a-half bath colonial is "in original condition" and "lots of potential," according to the listing. Translation: It needs updating. Asking price is $864,000.