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When the pandemic struck, Janine, a real estate agent, realized she was paying for a bunch of fancy amenities in her luxury Greenwood Heights, Brooklyn, rental that she could no longer use. Using the elevator—once a convenience—was something she came to dread because it put her in close contact with her neighbors. The pandemic became a catalyst for a move to a more private residence in nearby Windsor Terrace. Here’s how the two neighborhoods compare.
I lived on 19th Street and Fourth Avenue for a year and a half in a 550-square-foot, one-bedroom rental on a high floor, which I found thanks to a sign on the building. The new development had floor-to-ceiling windows, amazing water and city views, and load of amenities. The building offered a residents’ lounge, laundry, doorman, storage, rooftop deck with grills and a pet spa.
I was happy there and loved the buzzy neighborhood. Greenwood Heights was a great time. I moved there just as things were really building up. The neighborhood was electric—there was always something new happening. New real estate developments going up, new restaurants opening all the time. Greenwood Park, a 13,000-square-beer garden opened on the site of a former old gas station and mechanic shop on the northern side of historic Green-wood Cemetery—which gives the neighborhood its name. It's the resting place of many famous people and is a beautiful place for a walk.
[Editor's Note: Brick Underground's series “Transitions” features first-person accounts of what it’s like to move from one New York City neighborhood to another—or outside the city. Have a story to share? Drop us an email. We respect all requests for anonymity.]
The people were cool and excited to be moving in. Nobody seemed to know anyone in the area and so we all made it a point to get to know each other. Being newly single, it was a good place to be to socialize. I threw a lot of parties in my building lounge, some for the building residents, some for me and my friends. It was definitely one of the best parts of living there. I especially loved the staff in my building. It was like a little community.
While I did a lot of eating in—no other eatery had my views! Lots of places delivered to my building. My go-tos for takeout were: Fuel Energy, Empanada Loca, and Kiku. For food shopping there was a Keyfood supermarket on Fifth Avenue just a few blocks away. They had everything I needed. Living there was very easy foodwise.
I'm a real estate agent who covers a broad area of NYC, so I normally drive everywhere. Sadly, the garage in my building never opened and parking was hit or miss. I certainly don’t miss the traffic on Fourth Avenue either.
When the pandemic struck, all of the building’s common areas closed. I was paying for so many amenities I couldn’t use for the foreseeable future. And I had no interested in riding the elevator with other people either. I longed for a more private space and found one in nearby Windsor Terrace.
I moved everything that wasn't furniture myself—about five car trips—and then as soon as the moving companies were available, the furniture was moved. My moving company was terrific. They packed everything up for me and brought it to my new place.
While only about a mile and a half from my old place, it’s a world of change.
I co-own a multi-family building with my ex-husband in Windsor Terrace—we’ve owned it since 2005—and a tenant had recently moved. Instead of leaving the space empty—trying to show an apartment during the shelter-in-place order would have been tricky—I opted to take the first-floor, 700-square-foot one bedroom myself.
This building didn’t have any amenities but suddenly amenities didn’t matter. I am now saving $1,500 per month because I’m the owner and would be basically eating the rent if the unit remained empty.
I miss having a laundry room but even when I did, I’d often use drop-off service nearby. So now that my new place has no access to laundry, I find myself going to that same drop-off spot in my old neighborhood out of habit.
I am still using street parking so nothing has changed. As for public transportation, I’m closer to the subway (F train) in Windsor Terrace than subway in Greenwood Heights (the R).
There isn’t much socializing to be done because of the pandemic, and Windsor Terrace seems to have a lot more families, kids, and dogs. I feel like the odd, single woman with none of those. I feel like Greenwood Heights is more of my vibe: Career minded.
I lived in Windsor Terrace years ago and it was different back then—more tight-knit. But now all those familiar faces are gone and it doesn’t feel as comforting. It was much easier to see friends in Greenwood Heights so I'm spending lots of time myself these days. Isn't that what we are supposed to be doing anyway?
Still, there are things to love. My favorite place to eat, hands down, is Brancaccio's. I can eat all my meals there every day! Also, along Fort Hamilton Parkway there are a handful of places I enjoy—but nothing compares to Brancaccio's. When I was living in Greenwood Heights, I could easily walk to Park Slope for its shops and restaurants, but it’s a longer walk from Windsor Terrace. I miss that. However, Windsor Terrace is closer to Prospect Park, which I love—especially now that the idea is to socially distance.
I don’t know what the future holds for me and I’m still getting acclimated. I guess only time will tell how quickly things can go back to normal after the devastation of Covid-19, so for now I’m happy to stay put.
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