Long-time friends Briana and Hope had comfortable lives in their respective cities but dreamed of moving in together in New York City. With the ability to work from home, and NYC’s new affordability, they seized the opportunity and landed in a very busy part of the city—which doesn’t take away from their excitement at being here. Here’s Briana’s story.
I was born and raised the Boston suburbs. Most recently I was living in Boston on Newbury Street in the Back Bay area with two friends. My apartment was on the fifth floor of an elevator building. It was around 800 square feet and had three bedrooms and one bathroom. There was slightly dated kitchen, but it had a dishwasher, and there was laundry in the basement, which is standard for Boston. I would have loved if the apartment was a bit more modern.
We paid $4,200 that we split according to room size. The bedrooms were pretty large—you didn’t feel like you were sleeping in a closet.
Newbury Street is one of Boston’s most desirable addresses. My walk to work—I’m a public accountant—was just shy of two miles and took about 40 minutes. Some people thought I was crazy but it was so pretty to walk through Back Bay and then the Boston Commons. I could clear my head every morning. Sometimes if the weather was bad or I wasn’t feeling like walking I would take the subway. My neighborhood was also served by buses that I rarely took, the green and orange lines for the subway, and commuter trains and Amtrak.
The neighborhood was also great for shopping and had great restaurants. It was a good mix of all the things I wanted in a neighborhood. It was pretty expensive to live there, but because it is fairly tony it is relatively safe at all times. I liked that I was living in a quintessential Boston neighborhood.
I really liked trying new places, and some of my favorite restaurants in Back Bay were Buttermilk & Bourbon, and Beantown Pho. Food shopping was also a breeze because there was a Trader Joe’s one block away and a Star Market two blocks away.
Things were good, but in April I decided to follow my dream of moving to NYC before I got too settled in Boston. I knew I could keep my job and work remotely from NYC.
My long-time friend Hope and I started looking at listings on StreetEasy. We have known each other since middle school and have wanted to move to NYC and live together for years. So this had been a long time coming.
Hope was born in Rhode Island and raised in London. She returned to Rhode Island and was living in Jamestown in her parents’ house. It had a yard and patio and was close to a laundromat in town. She is in sales and worked nearby.
We were looking in Chelsea because we knew we wanted to be on the west side of Manhattan. We contacted Patrice Mack, an agent at Douglas Elliman. We told her our top priority was to move into a place that felt like home. If we were both going to be working from home we wanted to feel happy about the space. Our deal breakers would have been no dishwasher, an outdated feel, or unsafe location. We wanted to pay about $4,000 a month.
We saw about 20 places in total. After a two-month search, we settled on a two-bedroom, two-bathroom apartment at 401 West 33rd St. for $4,200 per month with one month free. The floor-to-ceiling windows are our favorite amenity! We determine the temperature based on the outfits people are wearing in the streets.
It also has a great new kitchen with a dishwasher and microwave. There is laundry on the top floor and a shared roof deck.
Finding a place and moving was not as bad as I thought. Obviously, we took advantage of the decrease in rents, which was a plus. I think we timed our move well too before the city started reopening fully and rents started rising again.
We’re not in Chelsea like we wanted, but there is a lot of excitement in Hudson Yards and the opening of Moynihan Train Hall has made it very easy for us to travel back and forth from home. There’s a Whole Foods across the street and we are also excited for new shops and restaurants going into the Manhattan West development.
I love that I can walk outside and I feel like I’m a part of NYC. I really like the hustle and bustle and we get a bit of that at this location. I feel like we have a lot of day-to-day necessities right here, which is very convenient. The building is exactly what we were looking for. It does not get old working from home here and the natural light helps with this.
Because there is a lot of construction in the area, it can be a bit loud at times, but we know this is only temporary and have become more used to the city sounds.
I really enjoy walking around Central Park; we have biked up there a few times and walked home. Also, we love walking on the High Line and along the West Side Highway.
Hope loves going to the Equinox and eating at Sweetgreen. For a casual lunch, we go to Frame which is located on 33rd across the street from our apartment, and I am excited to learn that Daily Provisions—which I had been trekking to on East 19th Street—is opening up across the street as well! We do head down to West Village a good amount and love exploring different restaurants down there. One of our favorites is Song'E Napule right now because the food is amazing and the people there are very genuine!
I do miss my Trader Joe’s routine, but I have taken the subway down to Spring Street to shop and it is super easy.
Hope and I are both thrilled to finally get to experience the city together. We are having such fun—we even launched a podcast from our couch! For now, I am super happy in NYC and do not see myself leaving any time soon.
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