Last week, I announced that we are moving(!!!) and explained all the reasons why. Thank you so much for the positive response. Making a big change in front of so many people is a little daunting, which is why I started my “close friends” group on Instagram for paid subscribers. This way, I can test the waters whenever I am questioning what to share publicly. I’ve been answering their big (and small) questions about the apartment all week and now I’m ready to share.
But before I do, I wanted to clear up one thing that keeps coming up. A lot of people have been messaging me to ask about what defines an apartment in NYC, because I guess, in other areas of the country, they refer strictly to rental properties.
Here in NYC, an “apartment” is what people call pretty much anything where there are multiple units in one building, whether it’s rented or owned. I think even someone who owns an entire townhouse might refer to it as their apartment, but I’m not entirely sure. That’s above my pay grade. Apartments can be owned as part of a condo or a co-op. Condos give owners more freedom to renovate and sublet their space. Co-ops are run by a board of residents who make decisions collectively for the building. For instance, if a condo owner wanted to sell their apartment to Kim Kardashian, that would be their prerogative. If a co-op owner wanted to sell their apartment to Kim Kardashian, the board would make a decision whether that was best for the building and probably be like, “NOPE. Nu-uh. I am not going to walk through a wall of paparazzi and a reality TV crew every time I go into my building,” and shut the sale down. Rental apartments are either owned by a larger company that might manage many buildings or an individual homeowner who owns a co-op or condo. The apartments that people get after college are usually rentals owned by a company that owns the entire building, so they are pretty basic and you don’t really think about how you treat them (painting, putting up temporary walls to divide rooms, hanging art, etc.) as long as it can all go back to how it was when you leave and they can be rented to the next group of post college graduates. If you rent a condo or co-op apartment from an individual owner (which are usually larger, more expensive spaces, possibly with renovated bathrooms and kitchens), that means you are in someone else’s home and have to preserve their choices which are outlined in the lease. This makes finding a nice rental a bit more complicated because you cannot make big changes. For instance, anyone renting my apartment will have to live with shiny teal built-ins.
Alright, let’s get down to the real questions!
Do you rent or own your current apartment? Will you sell or rent it out? Are you buying or renting the new place?
We own our current apartment and plan to keep it for the time being. Our plan is to rent out our apartment while we are renting the new place. We own in a condo building so we can rent it out without many restrictions. We cannot however turn it into an AirBnB. We just had our realtor come over to take pics yesterday, so the apartment will be listed soon. If you are interested, you can contact Andrew Azoulay or follow @azoulay_advisory on Instagram. Andrew was also instrumental in locking down our new apartment and negotiating the deal. Fun fact! Andrew is my friend Karen’s husband, who you might know as my pre-zengirl coffee date and the woman who introduced me to CASA.
Why rent vs buy?
We didn't buy because we were not ready to make that big of a commitment yet. We want to test out the neighborhood and see how it feels having more space. I'm also not sure we could afford to buy exactly what we want at the moment. We signed a two year lease and can keep our eyes out for something to buy while we are there. Ideally, we would continue to keep the current apartment as a rental property because we think it will only go up in value. But if we find a place we really love and need to sell to purchase it, we will do that.
Do you have to completely vacate by Feb 1?
Since we haven’t listed our apartment yet, we can move into the new apartment on February 1st without fully clearing out our old space, which makes the move way less stressful. But hopefully it will rent soon after!
Will you ever go back to the old apartment?
It's possible! One reason we can afford to do this is because we realized now is the time to spend on a three bedroom and we can downgrade later when the kids are no longer living with us. I think our apartment would be perfect for that later stage in life, but I’m not sure how I would feel to be 75 and living in the East Village. You have to really like being surrounded by younger people. I do see a lot of older residents here if I look for them!
What were everyone's #1 requirements/requests when you were looking?
The girls were not really aware that we were looking until it seemed more definite. They still haven’t seen the new apartment in person! But really, they just wanted their own rooms and didn’t really care about much else. THEY COULDN’T CARE LESS ABOUT THE VIEW. I wanted to be in a neighborhood with more friends nearby and a big enough space to entertain. That's one thing that always bugged me about our current apartment. I never thought it was conducive to having people over, so we were always waiting to be invited to other people’s places and then feeling like we couldn't reciprocate. Mike was much more particular than me, in terms of finishings and layout (probably because I have a better imagination about what you can do with a space when it’s empty) but his #1 requirement was lots of light. He said he could give up the view but not the light.
Which neighborhood are you moving to?
TriBeCa, which stands for the Triangle Below Canal Street.
How far is the new apartment from where you currently live?
It's probably about a 15 minute drive (with no traffic) or a 40 minute walk. So not far, but in NYC where everyone walks everywhere, it feels farther. My old Mommy Shorts office was in Tribeca and it was seriously such a pain in the ass to get home. There was no direct route using public transportation and impossible to get a cab at prime times. Quickest way was to walk all the way across town and then take the subway up. For those of you who don’t know NYC, here is Tribeca in relation to the East Village.
How do Mazzy and Harlow feel about it?
They are so excited! Except the other day Harlow had a bit of a break down when I said we had two weeks left in our apartment. It's going to be hard to say goodbye to this place. The girls have lived here their whole lives.
Will Mazzy and Harlow have to change schools?
One thing that made our decision to move easy is that both girls will remain at the same schools. We will be about the same distance from Mazzy's school (although she will now have friends to commute with) and farther away from Harlow's school, but most of the kids are bussed from all over to Harlow’s school, so not any farther from her friends. Just a more annoying commute. We will have to drive her as opposed to walk. Next year, I think we will be able to sign her up for the bus.
Is the building like your current building or more like Carrie Bradshaw’s apartment?
By Carrie's apartment, I assume this person means her original brownstone and not the white modern space with all the windows that she lived in for a recent episode of And Just Like That. FYI, I read an article that estimated the white modern apartment would be about $8 million if it was real, but speculated that it was actually a green screen and doesn’t exist. I will also say the fact that Carrie bought that place and sold it after a week really displays a ridiculous level of wealth, because she would have had to pay Seema’s commission on it. I just don’t buy that Carrie would be that cavalier with that much money. I know Big was rich and must have left her a ton in the will, but that’s another level. I read a really good article about how the show is trying to be woke in every other area, but completely ignores the issue of wealth. The article talks about how other current shows with wealthy main characters, like White Lotus and Succession, make their 1% status a big part of the plot, but And Just Like That doesn’t even acknowledge it. It’s an interesting choice, but a discussion for another time. Anyway, the apartment is not like Carrie Bradshaw’s. As much as I love the idea of a charming brownstone with all the crown moldings and pre-war details, they are crazy expensive per square foot in the neighborhoods we were looking. Since space was our priority, that style was not in our budget. That’s an interesting thing about Manhattan real estate. Sometimes the more modest looking homes are actually more expensive. Tribeca was originally a commercial area with big open warehouses before it was converted to residential. So many families move there for less charm, but much bigger apartments. Don’t get me wrong— it’s still ridiculously expensive! You just get more space.
What do you do about the car? Do you have to find a new parking garage?
We will need a new parking garage. That's Mike's job! I believe he already figured it out. He is on top of these things!
Is your dad sad you're leaving your building?
For those of you who don’t know, my dad is in real estate and one of the partners who built my current building. It’s how I was able to buy an apartment when I did. I got a really good deal before the building was fully built. He is not upset. He has swapped, renovated and traded up apartments his whole life. He lived in so many different places when I was a kid! My dad has been advising us and was one of the people who encouraged us to leverage our current apartment to make the change.
How is the view?
We literally look at the back of a brown brick building. But! The new apartment has high ceilings and lots of windows, so it’s full of light. There is a better view (with sky!) from our bedroom. Fun fact! The brick building is the same exact building that Lucy looked into from her apartment, but from the opposite side. There used to be a couple who had crazy sex in one of the windows and every time it happened, we would rush to shut the blinds before the kids would notice. Thank god we are not on the same side. MY EYES!!!!
Do you regret renovating, putting yourself through the Home Polish saga, finally getting it how you want and now leaving it behind?
The Home Polish situation will always make me angry but I don't regret renovating. It served us incredibly well over the last few years, especially since we spent all our time at home. I'm not sure we could have stayed in the city during the pandemic and kept our sanity, if we hadn’t optimized the space. The renovation will also command a much higher rental price than if we hadn't done it. Our realtor got really excited when he saw all the built-ins and the brand new bathrooms!
How hard was it to find the perfect place?
I wouldn't say the new place is perfect, but it is by far and away the nicest place we saw for our budget. And it came at a time when I really didn't think Mike and I would agree on an apartment. I wanted a change so bad, I was being much more forgiving about what we were seeing. Mike rejected a lot of places I would have been fine with. As for me, I kept rejecting the “wall of windows” apartments that Mike liked. I called them Kendall apartments and said they were meant for assholes. (That’s a Succession joke.) And there were a lot of apartments where we both liked the listing, but then they were rented by the time we called to see them. We both jumped on this apartment the second the listing came up and were the very first people to see it. We said we wanted to put in an application on the spot. They still showed it that day and there was a bit of a bidding war. Which I guess didn’t used to happen over rentals, but in Covid times, the rental market is crazy. Ultimately, we could not compete with the other guy’s number and we lost. That was right as we were going into Christmas break and I was so bummed. It felt like we would have to start looking at much cheaper apartments, so we would be the ones able to outbid. Then about two weeks later, something went south with that deal and the owners came back to us and asked us to send a picture of our dog. They said, Frankie helped seal the deal. Apparently, the owner’s mother owns King Charles Cavaliers, so they know what gentle, obedient dogs they are. Thanks, Frankie!
Does the new place have any outdoor space?
We have no private outdoor space, but there is a communal rooftop area for the building on another floor. The view from there is not as nice as my East Village view, but the roof is decked out pretty nicely with seating and a grill area. My plan is to make the rooftop a regular part of our day. Maybe where Mike and I drink our morning coffee after the school commute? At least when it gets nicer out.
Any renovations before you move in?
We are renting so we are not allowed to redo anything, but the homeowners recently renovated, so the kitchen and floors are brand new.
How did the girls chose who would get which room?
We chose for them, since as I mentioned, they haven’t been in there yet. The rooms are basically the same size (equally small!), but Mazzy’s has a bigger closet. Actually Mazzy has the only walk-in closet in the apartment. Mazzy’s room also has her own bathroom, while Harlow’s bathroom shares a door to the living room. (The fact that both kids get their own bathroom is an amenity we were not expecting! This apartment has three and a half bathrooms!) The closet and the private bathroom made Mazzy’s room the better room and I think it’s easy to just assume the older kid gets first dibs. Harlow did not complain. Her room has a full wall of built-in shelves which she is very excited about.
Do the girls have theme/decor plans for their new rooms?
Harlow picked out a cushy turquoise daybed but otherwise has no plan or theme. She is just very excited to display all her stuff on the shelves. Mazzy wants Mike to make her a custom bed with shelves for her squishmallows that was inspired by an ikea hack she saw on tiktok. She also has potential plans for LED lights, fairy lights, vines and a hanging chair, but I’m not sure there is space for that. I have told the girls they can pick out new window shades and paint their rooms (if the owner allows it!), but right now they seem very content with what is already in there.
How big is the new apartment compared to your current situation?
It's almost twice as big!!!!
Are you bringing furniture from your apartment?
We are bringing furniture but honestly so much of our current apartment is built-ins, we don’t have that much. I actually inquired about taking the custom high gloss teal hutch, but was told there was too much risk of something happening to it. So we’ve got a dining table, a couch, a coffee table, a bed, nightstands and some gorgeous rugs (thanks, Lucy!), but that’s about it.
Are you working with a decorator in the new apartment?
Yes! I am working with my friends Beth and Alexis (two moms from Mazzy’s school) from Flatiron 27. They usually do full service reno and design, but we’ll be doing mainly furnishing and decor (all the fun stuff!) since it’s a rental and we’ll only be there for two years. I am super excited. They came with me for a walk through and are already putting together some mood boards! You can check out their site and follow @flatiron27 on Instagram. They’ll be posting about the process on their stories.
Are you hiring movers?
Yep! Handsome Dolly Movers, same as last time. They are great! And very handsome ;)
How many apartments did you look at in total?
We have been looking at apartments non-stop online but only actually saw five places. There are simply not a lot of three bedrooms available in the areas we wanted for our price point. There aren’t a lot available period. That’s why when they said Carrie looked at 47 apartments on And Just Like That, I was like NO WAY. Not unless she was branching out to the boroughs and EVEN SO. Also, after looking at Zillow and StreetEasy for months on end, you get pretty good at weeding out the questionable stuff without wasting your time looking. We also trusted Andrew immensely when we told him we wanted to see something and he told us it wasn’t right for us.
Any building perks or amenities?
There is a doorman, communal rooftop with grill, a very nice gym which will be the true test of whether or not I will ever work out on my own, a small play area for kids (that is honestly too young for Mazzy and Harlow) and a dog grooming room!
What are you most excited about?
I am most excited about all the space and being close to friends. Particularly for Mazzy. She asked me today if she can have plans on Saturday with three kids that she is friends with at school but doesn’t normally get together with outside of school. I thought for a second that it was a weird group and then realized— it’s the Tribeca kids! Made me so happy. If moving means that now Mazzy can make her own plans with friends on the weekend, that makes the move totally worth it.
What are you most concerned about?
I am most concerned about the morning commute. I’ve gotten very comfortable with Mike driving both kids to school and me staying home. In this new location, Mike won’t have time to drop off Harlow and then come back to take Mazzy. I will have to take Mazzy on my own every day, so that will make the mornings a bit more complicated, although might be good to get in a regular routine where I see people at drop-off again.
Besides the view, what will you miss most about the current place?
I will miss the neighborhood. If it was just based on the landscape of the streets around us, the shops, restaurants and parks, I prefer the East Village to Tribeca. There are so many great places immediately around us that would be particularly fun for Mazzy as she got older. Mike also loves the convenience of our current location— we have a pizza place, deli, bodega, cleaners, coffee shop, toy store, bank etc. all within a square block from our apartment without even having to cross a street. Tribeca is much more spread out and the area we are in is definitely less charming aesthetically (no more corner building with the ivy and purple moss.)
But the East Village is full of college kids and single 20-somethings, so we need to go to Tribeca to find the grown-ups.
Do you have more storage?
I’m honestly not sure. We definitely have a ton more space in the kitchen. There is a much bigger utility closet. Mazzy will have a walk-in closet. But, the coat closet in the new place is smaller and we lose all the additional storage space we created with the built-ins. I am unsure how our bedroom closets will compare. I think Mike will have more space while I might have less. We also get a separate storage unit with our apartment, same as we do with our current apartment.
What’s the laundry situation?
There is a small washer and dryer stacked in the kitchen, so roughly the same situation we have now. The only difference is that we store our cleaning products in our laundry closet now, which is very annoying, but in the new apartment, we have a separate utility closet.
Will Harlow be able to decorate in the hallway for the holidays?
Absolutely not. We are not going to be able to leave our shoes out there either! I think best we can probably do is give her the front door to hang stuff on.
Will the letter board fit in the new kitchen?
Nope! And good thing because I hate that letterboard with a passion. The letters get stuck and break and the whole thing is falling off the wall. I am happy to never see it again.
Will Harlow have a runway? A stage? A heater to sit on?
There is a very long hallway that will make a way more dramatic runway than our current hallway. There is no stage but definitely more room for dancing. Sadly, there is no heater to sit on. But she will have a window seat in her room! I am going to have a cushion made to fit the space.
Where will Frankie sleep?
Mazzy is really hoping it will be in her bed. She is the only one who hasn’t had the pleasure of sleeping with Frankie because she’s been in the upper bunk. She says she wants to keep Frankie’s cage and all her toys in her room so that Frankie likes going in there, which I support 100%.
Can you explain perks of a door man building? Package deliveries?
It’s mostly a safety thing. I know we have always felt safer leaving our kids home alone with a doorman there than we do when we are at the house. It’s also great for getting packages, food deliveries, etc. because someone is always there to receive them. Also, they will call you when guests arrive and then you get to okay them coming up. It’s also just nice to have a familiar face to say good morning to every day and welcome you back home.
What part of your daily routine will you miss most?
Our doorman!!! There are several that rotate shifts, but the guy that’s there on weekday mornings has been there the full 18 years that I have lived there. He is the most friendly wonderful man. I have not told him yet that we are leaving. There is also a kid with autism who lives in the building, who sits in the downstairs lobby at the same time we take the kids to school. He asked me my name years ago and never forgot it. So, every day when we leave the building, he greets me by name and gives me a brief rundown of his day. Also, Mazzy and Harlow’s old sitter just moved into an apartment on our floor temporarily. I’ve known her since she was born, because me and her mother (who was pregnant at the time) were the first two people who moved into the building. It’s crazy to have watched her grow up, leave the nest and come back. I’m not particularly close with any of my neighbors but I will miss seeing their familiar faces.
Is the kitchen big enough for Mike to make Shrimpghetti and Harlow to bake a cake at the same time?
It's possible! It is way bigger than our current kitchen. And get this— it has an island!!! THE DREAM.
Where will you and Mike work in your new place?
I am hoping that the work from home plan stays just as it is now— Mike at the desk in the bedroom and me out in the living room, either at the dining room table or the kitchen island. Mike has expressed a desire to have his desk out in the living area but I am trying to shut that down. I don’t want to look at his dual monitors in my beautiful new living room! I think I may have sold him on the bedroom when I said, “you are going to want to be able to shut the door whenever I have to film my sponsored stories!” Game, set, match.
Are you allowed to make changes since it’s a rental? Any quirks you’ll just have to live with?
We are not allowed to make any major changes. There are a few specific design details in the current space that are very nice, but I don’t know if I would have picked them out myself. For instance, the bedroom wall has a painted design (I actually think it’s going to work really well with our current bedroom furniture), there is some burgundy wallpaper that’s part of a built-in by the kitchen, the lighting and custom curtains are much fancier than my usual style, and perhaps the biggest thing is a large wood beam structure that was built to hide some pipes in the living room. The structure is very organic looking and I like it— but definitely a bold choice!
Will you still trick or treat in the same neighborhood?
Probably! We usually trick or treat in the West Village which is adjacent to Tribeca. It will actually make it easier to get home.
Anyone famous who lives in your new building or neighborhood?
I have no idea if anyone famous lives in the building but I do know that Taylor Swift, Jake Gyllenhaal, Harry Styles, Beyoncé, Jennifer Lawrence, Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively all make their home in Tribeca. I think Justin Timberlake and Jessica Biel were NYC Covid casualties and just moved out.
What’s the plan for the daily good morning Instagram stories without the killer view?
I don’t know yet! Maybe just walking down my long hallway into my beautiful kitchen and then opening the cabinet to my coffee station (OMG I’m like a mom influencer from Utah!) and stirring to the peace and quiet of my kids not fighting over whose side of the room is whose.
When can we see photos?
I have no pics yet because we only saw the place twice and I took the most terrible photos, so I want to wait until we are officially in to start sharing publicly. However, I will be showing a video sneak peek to paid subscribers (aka “The Short List”) of a walk through we did last week.
What is “The Short List?”
“The Short List” is my new name for my “close friends” group on Instagram where I’ve been posting additional daily stories and answering questions about our upcoming move. One of my subscribers came up with the name to play off my handle @mommyshorts. Clever, right? To gain access to “The Short List,” you must become a paying subscriber. If you click the button below and upgrade to paid, you will immediately get an email with instructions to join!
In addition to seeing “short list” stories as I post them, there will be a hidden story highlight with a lock on it that will be revealed to you, so that you can catch up.
Hope to see you there!
Any other questions? Please ask in the comments!