Evan and I moved to Park Slope in May, May 13 to be exact. Just 9 days before our first anniversary. It was the best choice we had ever made. Living in Park Slope has changed my life. It has rejuvenated me. Every day I am grateful for my apartment, my commute, my husband, my proximity to farmer’s markets, and my life in general.
We lived in Bay Ridge for three years. When we moved to Bay Ridge it was because it was affordable for a one bedroom, I worked in Brooklyn so the commute was fine, and we wanted more space for our money. I went out to Bay Ridge and explored a little bit before we moved and I liked it. There were restaurants, there was a Gap, I figured I could make it work and the commute really wasn’t that bad. I was wrong. The commute really was that bad, and that wasn’t even the worst of it.
Of the three years we spent in Bay Ridge, we went out there only a handful of times. The restaurants were all old Irish or Italian places with no finesse to their food. I was uninspired and unimpressed by their offerings, so every time we wanted to go out we had to get on a train and spend a least 45 minutes just going to a different spot in Brooklyn. Never mind if we wanted to go to Manhattan, then we had to give ourselves at least an hour to an hour and a half. The idea of spending an hour on the train for a Friday night out was beyond depressing. Plus, the subway made us both so tired that by the time we got to our destination we were both yawning in each others faces and making each other nuts. I hated going out when we lived in Bay Ridge, traveling was tiring, I was still teaching, so teaching was exhausting and basically it was easier to veg out in front of the tv that it was to go anywhere.
I was wary of Park Slope because of how family oriented it is and its reputation for being crazy expensive. We knew we wanted to move and figured we’d end up in Prospect Heights or Fort Greene, where I had lived before. Those were places we thought we could afford, but Park Slope was always in the mix. When we finally met with a broker and told her what we wanted and that we wanted to live in Park Slope she didn’t bat an eye. She found a place that was exactly what I would have pictured my ideal Park Slope apartment to look like, and I knew I was home. (Though, if Evan was writing this, he would tell you that I didn’t really know right away. I was up half the night before we signed the lease worrying that we had made the wrong decision: that the floors were crooked and it was too big and it was too expensive. Finally he had to just tell me it was right and that he believed it. Thank God he made me sign the lease).
Moving to Park Slope changed everything. Just on our block there are two of my favorite restaurants with four more within a 10 minute walking radius. On Sundays (and Saturdays, but I work on Saturdays) there is a farmer’s market down the street where I can buy local and fresh produce every week. I can try new fruits and vegetables in my cooking and I don’t have to depend on the people at Fresh Direct to make suggestions to me. Finally I can appreciate what it means to cook seasonally. I did not even know how much I wanted to understand that until I got here.
I can’t take away from the fact that our apartment in Park Slope is way nicer than what we had in Bay Ridge, but we’ve worked hard to be able to live in a place like this. This apartment was not an option for us when we moved to Bay Ridge in 2008. We weren’t making enough money and ultimately didn’t need as much space as we do now. So the apartment is a true testament to how far we have come and grown. And by grown, I mean as people but also, in terms of the amount of stuff we have. Wedding gifts take up a lot of space and I had to live without them for the pretty much the first year we were married. Not necessarily a hardship, but it is nice to feel like I am not using my mom’s apartment as storage anymore.
Bay Ridge was a starter home. I can’t say it was a great starter home because I wanted to leave pretty soon after we got there, but it was a place to start. Now that we have our apartment here, I am so proud of us and so much happier. Evan has an office and I have a big red couch and shelves for our wedding presents. And we have a washer/dryer which I literally can’t talk about because it makes me too excited.