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Oct 24, 2006: Brooklyn-bound for good

WARNING: narcissism aheadMJ, Iris, and I are moving to Brooklyn this winter, likely in February or March, after I finish the search analytics book. I've been privileged to have lived in Ann Arbor for 23 years, and MJ and, of course, Iris have lived in the Midwest their whole lives. We love it here; Ann Arbor is about as great a small city as you'll find in the United States. We enjoy a comfortable life, a walkable commute, acres of parks, and fantastic friends and neighbors. And yet...

And yet, we need a change and a challenge. We need to be closer to family. And professionally speaking, there's so much more going on in those coastal locales. I almost moved to Berkeley twice in my twenties, and I can't help but wonder "what if?". In a place like Ann Arbor, we've had to create our opportunities, and there's nothing wrong with that. But looking forward with a new startup underway, I need to focus less on explaining and more on execution. And it'll be wonderful to run into so many other information architects.

So, our season of Discardia is well underway. Goodbye BBQ, patio set, gardening equipment, and hundreds of books. Hello, trawling Craigslist for Brooklyn apartment listings. It's quite exciting, really: shedding possessions and focusing instead on experiences. Moving will naturally be one of those pain in the ass experiences, but we're convinced it'll be worth it.

Speaking of which, if you have any advice on moving, moving to Brooklyn specifically, Brooklyn neighborhoods that are kid-friendly and self-contained, finding rental housing, or anything else we should know, please share it here. (We'd also love to hear from anyone who, this winter, would be interested in our wonderful two bedroom home and our reliable, well-maintained '99 Passat. Hmmm, wonder if some of those Ann Arbor-bound Google kids might be interested?)

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Comment: Dave (Oct 24, 2006)

Wow!!! This is wonderful news!!!!

The NYC UX community should make a parade for your arrival. Too bad you won't be here for our UX Holiday Party on Dec. 12th here in NYC.

Wow! This is WAY exciting!

No Sleep till Broolyn!!!

Comment: Ed Costello (Oct 24, 2006)

Lou: you might look in the Ditmas Park area which is sort of south of Prospect Park. I don't know that the prices will be any cheaper, but the houses and apartments are larger. See: http://nymag.com/realestate/articles/affordable/ditmaspark.htm (this is from 2001 but is still relevant). Park Slope is another area to consider (west of Prospect Park, to about 4th avenue).

The area we walked around with you a couple years' back was Brooklyn Heights and Cobble Hill, which are both very nice but you'll find parking a nightmare and the prices are higher.

Comment: Scott T. (Oct 25, 2006)


I just moved out to NYC from MI last year. We lived in Brooklyn for a month, had crazy landlord problems, moved to Manhattan and just back to Brooklyn.

I really like http://StreetEasy.com as a shortcut to browsing what most brokers have listed (and as you probably know, even for rentals, it's very difficult to hunt w/o giving in and agreeing to pay a broker; and Brooklyn broker fees have been approaching the 15% standard fee of Manhattan brokers in recent years). Craigslist is great, but noisy and you have to sniff out bait-and-switch and scams.

Park Slope has a reputation as an increasingly family-friendly neighborhood (long time locals and younger folk decry the Stroller Brigades). It's probably the most "Ann Arbor-y" neighborhood in the city. It's become quite expensive.

Brooklyn Heights is also really nice, really convenient to Manhattan and the most expensive neighborhood in Brooklyn. Cobble Hill is just south and also pretty nice. Carrol Gardens is below that and starts blending in to Red Hook, which is just, well, far (poor transit service).

Prospect Heights nearer to north Park Slope is nice in parts (we just moved to St. Marks Ave @ Vanderbilt) and close enough to the Slope amenities and cheaper.

Parts of Fort Greene and Boerum Hill are nice and proximate to other amenity-full areas. Going south, I hear good things about Windsor Terrace and Sunset Park, except that they are far and lack amenities.

I don't know much about anything further out than those hoods. I really like Williamsburg & Greenpoint, but they're not geared toward families. Immigrants who are being displaced by hipsters who are being displaced by yuppies...

Re: parking -- who needs a car!? Sign up for ZipCar and use it for the occassions when it's necessary and use the money you save to live in a nicer hood.

This is a great map for getting a sense of the neighborhood geography (double check brokers! they lie!): http://www.nyc.gov/html/dcp/html/neighbor/neighl.shtml

This is a great map for getting a real sense of proximity to the subway (MTA map is not to scale):

http://hopstop.com is great for estimating trip times using transit.

Brooklyn Bus map: http://www.mta.nyc.ny.us/nyct/maps/busbkln.pdf

You can come over to our place for barbecue -- we have a backyard! :)

(I think you know Jim S & Nancy -- I used to work with Jim.)

I don't have kids, so my experience skews toward the "young couple on a tight budget" view of things, so YMMV. Good Luck! Feel free to contact me if you have questions. There's definitely a lot happening out here.

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