We went, we looked, and we conquered! NYC housing, that is.
Last week, we flew into the city to look for an apartment for our family to live when we move. We took Kinsley with us, because she is all into “Fixer Upper” and “House Hunters” these days and was really excited to help us pick our new place, because she struggles with change and transition and we knew seeing where we would live would help her, and so it would be easier on my mom just to watch 2 kids. We had appointments set up the first day to look at a few large 2 bedroom apartments, as well as 2 3-bedroom apartments. Then, the next day, we did it all over again.
We are so excited to report that we did find housing! Not only that, the apartment where we are going to live is literally a 5 minute walk or so to our teammates’ apartment, has three playgrounds within 5 minutes of us, a subway station with an elevator just a few blocks away, and super close to shopping and restaurants. It made it easier that there aren’t that many 3 bedroom apartments in Forest Hills (which again is a praise to the Lord that we were able to find something we like!), but navigating the housing market in NYC is definitely not for the faint of heart.
First, it is way expensive to move – like think of a down payment of first month’s rent, security deposit equal to first month’s rent, and a brokers fee at some places equal to a month’s rent, and each of those being quadruple what an apartment rent would be in the south. Thankfully, we were able to find a place that didn’t require a broker’s fee. Second, it is an emotional roller coaster. We found one place to live that we really liked with an amazing view from the rooftop terrace (see below), but it was a co-op which meant we would have to get board approval, maybe fly back for an in-person interview with the board, and it would take 3-4 weeks with the possibility of them saying no. Needless to say, that was too much risk for me. Another place we loved and it was HUGE (in apartment standards) with a park a half a block from the building, but it was a 20 minute walk from our teammates which was too far for us. Another place we liked because the rent was lower, but we discovered that they wanted an income higher than what we were making and it was a little too far of a walk from stores and restaurants and subway stations. Third, apartments in NYC aren’t usually in pristine condition, if you know what I mean. Either people are living in them and you see their nastiness (we literally saw two different places that had poop sitting in their toilets) or the apartments are being painted and finished because the people just moved out – nothing sits on the market long enough to get finished well before it is rented. Lots of imagination and looking past the grime is required!
All in all, we are really blessed that we found a place that we really like. I will say God totally worked out all the pieces just as he has done this whole journey (will share more about this later!) and we landed at an apartment that we didn’t even originally like, but felt like we needed to go back and take a second look, and when we did, we discovered we really liked it and it had everything we were looking for. Not only that, it has everything around it we will need, we didn’t have to pay a broker’s fee, and our lease doesn’t start until October 23. I was so nervous about finding a place and our lease starting right away and us having to pay SO much money for the apartment when we weren’t living there yet, but God totally worked out that detail by providing a place that wasn’t available yet (but if we hadn’t seen it when we did, it would have rented quickly). Praise God for His perfect timing!
If I can be honest, we had a whole host of emotions on this trip (maybe it was more me than Ed, and pregnancy could be part of that 😉 ). When we first got there, it was all very surreal and we definitely felt like “Are we really looking for a place and really moving here?” in a good and scary way. We were also really excited about being back, meeting our teammates, hearing about what God is doing on the campuses, and just being back in this city that has our hearts. But I also had a few moments where I realized how different things will be for us and specifically for our kids.
One, we were riding on the subway and a crazy person was on there (which happens often and Kinsley is quite used to this), but this person kept yelling profanity and stomping their feet and banging onto the wall, and just going nuts. They weren’t hurting anyone and we still felt safe, but Kinsley looked at us after a few minutes and said “Mommy, I’m scared.” Then, later that same day, we went to the park and a kid hit his head on the slide and started freaking out, yelling things at himself like “You’re so stupid” and “Now they will all laugh at me” and rocking back and forth. His mom came and was able to calm him down, but it was obvious there were some special needs or mental issues at play. Kinsley just watched him and later said she didn’t understand and it was crazy. These are totally things that can happen anywhere at anytime, but it just hit me that with so many people, my kids will see things like this more often. While it is a chance to talk about sin, people’s need for Jesus, that some people need more help than others, etc., it just reminded me that my kids won’t be in a bubble where I can protect them anymore. I know we lose this bubble as they grow older and they start going to school and branch out from us, but living in NYC will just elevate it and feels like it makes it happen even quicker. It just reminded me of my need for Jesus to protect them, to guide me in teaching them, and just how hard the world can be. I know this is the “debby downer” perspective, and there are SO many positive things about our kids growing up in NYC, but it was a cold reality check.
We are currently at 97% and are SO CLOSE to meeting our monthly support goal. Will you join us in praying the Lord provides all the rest of what we need by October 26? Also, we headed to Greenville today to be with Ed’s parents (we had already planned to travel up here today but were so thankful for how the Lord lead us because we will miss the effects of the hurricane and missing meeting with people because of the hurricane), but will you pray for those back on the SC coast that are dealing with the hurricane this weekend?
You didn’t tell me about the subway stop with an elevator!!! That’s huge!