Living as a couple in small studio apartment in downtown Brooklyn was doable for native Brooklynite Rachel Kasab and her fiancé—until the pandemic set in. They decided to hunt for a place where they could more easily work from home, landing in nearby Cobble Hill, where they now enjoy a relaxed residential neighborhood plus lots of restaurants and stores. Here’s Rachel’s story.
I grew up in Brooklyn near Gravesend and moved to Great Neck, New York, on Long Island, when I was 11 years old. For the past two years, my fiancé and I have been living in downtown Brooklyn in a studio apartment that’s just 485 square feet. The neighborhood is very commercial, near the court houses and government buildings.
Our apartment was in a luxury high rise and we paid $2,750 per month.
[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.]
We also liked that we lived near the Q, N, and R subway lines. I used to commute to my office in Flatiron, where I work as a publicist. My ride was usually about 30 minutes each way and my fiancé’s was similar. It wasn’t bad at all and I enjoyed walking for a few minutes outside as part of my commute.
Fort Greene Park was very close by so we spent a lot of time there.
Food shopping was easy because we were close to the new City Point development, where there is a Trader Joe’s and Dekalb Market Hall. There are so many great restaurants in the area that we enjoyed such as Thai Holic, French Louie, Colonie, and Circa Brewing Company.
Life was good, but we knew we wanted to move when our lease was up. We were hoping to upgrade to a bigger space and have a more residential neighborhood and knew we would have to pay more to achieve that goal. Because our offices were shut down and we were working from home, we needed a two-bedroom unit instead of just a one bedroom.
Our maximum budget was $4,000 a month and we ultimately decided to move to Cobble Hill when we saw an amazing two-bedroom apartment in The Lili Rose building.
We signed a two-year lease for $3,750 a month and moved in October. We received one month free the first year and a small discount on the second year. We did not have to pay a broker’s fee.
Now we have a much larger unit with all modern finishes. Our kitchen has so much counter and cabinet space! I love to cook, so it’s a dream. The elevator building is smaller and laundry is in the basement. To be honest, doing laundry this way feels a bit more productive. There are exact times to grab it instead of feeling like there’s a continuous amount of laundry to do. We also just got a Peloton to make a home gym which we love!
We realize we would not have found this apartment if the pandemic hadn’t happened and so many people had left the city. We are both still working from home still, but our commutes eventually will still be around 30 minutes and we will take the F train.
As for our new neighborhood, we love the atmosphere and feel of Cobble Hill—so many restaurants and shops —as well as the residential vibe. We like to walk to Cobble Hill Park when we need a break during the day or after dinner.
We’ve been making friends with our neighbors and our friends and family love the new place and neighborhood.
The only things I miss about living in downtown Brooklyn are being right across the street from a Target and Trader Joe’s. We also had access to many subway lines, but I wouldn’t trade our new location for anything.
We plan on staying in Cobble Hill for a while. We feel pretty great right now: We survived a pandemic in a studio together and are getting married in August.
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