Amongst the many wonderful things about New York, is that despite being a global metropolitan city, and contrary to popular opinion, there are definitely neighborhoods. Each with its own distinct style and flavor. Some, if not many neighborhoods, evolve over the years. There are of course advantages and disadvantages to this.
Over the last few weeks this has come up in conversations, whether sitting over cocktails at the W in Union Square musing about the Brooklyn boom, and thoughts about Sunset Park, to someone marveling about moving after many years in one neighborhood to a somewhat adjacent one and discovering the many conveniences that came with it…to musing on my way to meeting with a condo owner about the Financial District that I remember as compared to the Financial District we see today, and the Financial District of the future-it feels as if each time there’s something to rediscover.
The Financial District I remember as part of my daily professional life (pre-real estate) was a weekday business hours area. Besides a few people that I knew who were typically temporarily living in the neighborhood (usually my out of town colleagues staying in a hotel or corporate housing) I don’t really recall anyone who lived in the area. I remember when the Jubilee Market opened,I was with a startup at the time directly across John Street. and the reactions amongst colleagues-glad to have someplace else to pick up a quick lunch,but wondering who would be shopping in this new 24 hour market-when you considered how the business hour bustle slowed to nary a trickle after 5 or 6 most days. At that time,I remember the first office buildings being converted for residential use,and thinking,will people choose to live here (As a personal note,every time I walk through the neighborhood-especially along Wall Street it fascinates me to see how many buildings where I either worked or spent a lot of time in meeting with clients, as residential residences!)
Walking around in the Financial District today is a very different experience. People on their way home-living in the various condo and rental buildings throughout the neighborhood. Restaurants, a real buzz at the bars, so to speak-from people for whom it’s their “neighborhood watering hole”. Shopping options that include some retailers previously seen only on Fifth or Madison Avenues on the Upper East Side (Tiffany’s , Thomas Pink, Hermes). Great restaurants, both old and new (Delmonico’s , The Capital Grille-Downtown, The Bailey Pub & Brasserie, Ulysses’ Folk House). And many more signs of a vibrant neighborhood that might take forever to name…
In the end, no matter the neighborhood, finding a place to live is an intensely personal decision. As you weigh the factors that matter most to you ,communicate this to your agent of choice. As the weather continues to improve,take the time to explore-particularly if you are considering a new neighborhood you’re unfamiliar with. In an ideal partnership, there’s bi-directional communication between team members that helps make what can be a stressful process, less so, efficient, and possibly even enjoyable. So that together you will happen upon (and in some cases battle for) the perfect place to call home.