Happy days are here again!
My ex-boyfriend and I found a buyer for the Lower East Side Manhattan coop we co-own, and will be closing the first week of March. I am all set to move into my new dream digs in the Bronx shortly thereafter--found a beautiful one bedroom coop in a gated enclave here. G, my ex, is looking at places in the Bronx and Brooklyn. Amazing what you can get for your money once you get out of Manhattan and into the outer boroughs--though many areas can be very expensive there as well.
I'm starting from scratch, so will be buying all new furnishings, which should be fun. I've got a place that is about the same size as my old one, maybe a tad smaller--750 square feet, which believe it or not is "huge" esp. by Manhattan standards. It's on the 17th floor with an amazing river view looking over into upper Manhattan. For the same space in "the city" I'd be paying at least 6 times more--though our Lower East Side digs are still a relative bargain, if you consider 450K to be cheap. (We got it for a song 15 years ago). And the cost of living in the Bronx is much, much cheaper all the way around.
Manhattan is rapidly becoming an enclave for the rich only. The middle and working classes are being pushed out in rapid numbers, and the borough is more crowded than ever. The outer boroughs can be more quiet, serene, even idyllic--and have retained a lot of their original character, whereas Manhattan is chock full of new high rises and gut renovated luxe buildings in every part of the borough, which means that it's rapidly losing a lot of its old-time quirkiness and charm. The few middle class housing developments still left seem in danger of dissolving as well.
So anyway, that's good piece of news number one. The second is that after I'm settled in, I plan to do some travelling with my boyfriend BG. First stop will be Amsterdam in the latter two weeks of May. The only foreign city I've ever been to is London many years ago, and I adored it, so I'm sure we'll be in for a great time!
Instead of a hotel, we'll be staying in a furnished apartment in the city center, overlooking a canal. The building dates from the 17th century, I think, but has all the modern accoutrements.
Here, take a peek:
I'm a lifetime New Yorker and still adore it, but I have to admit that I don't feel all that safe post-9/ll. I keep waiting for the other shoe to drop. So I have fantasized about living in another country, permanently or for awhile, and Amsterdam seems absolutely ideal. Virtually no violent crime, but very tolerant. Beautiful, historic, with great cultural treasures. Places galore to party on down. And most of the residents speak better English than many Americans. What more could you ask for?
BG has never been abroad, unless you count a visit to Mexico with his friend when he was about 17. They hitched around with very little money, but the few dollars they did have went far, and he loved it.
So I'm envisioning that by staying amongst "the locals" rather than in a tourist ghetto/hotel chain, we'll really get a feel for what it's like to live there. We can even invite new friends we meet at the pubs, bars, cafes, and coffee shops over to our flat--which will be luxuriously furnished, with internet access, books, CD's, DVD's, X-box games, a stocked mini-bar, a little "something something" to help us chill when we arrive courtesty of the apt service (lol), and so on. We'll be smack dab in the middle of it all too.
If BG loves it as much as I think he will, maybe we could talk about going again for more extended periods--or even moving there one day. Hey, why not? I just found a great ex-pat site with a treasure trove of terrific articles about living abroad. Apts and real estate are not dirt cheap, but you can get a lot more for the money there than in NYC for sure. And from what I gather, the cost of living is cheaper too.
In any case, I haven't been posting all that much lately since I'm so busy with the move, but that will probably change shortly. And I can even blog from Amsterdam--how cool is that?
In the meantime, I'd love to hear any advice, ideas, tips, etc from any of you who've been there. Thanks, guys!