Moving from New York to New Jersey: The Great New Jersey Flight
New Jersey: Center of the Bohemian Universe?
At the dawn of the 21st century, the New York borough of Brooklyn became the vortex of hip culture. Artists, writers, and musicians flocked to Williamsburg, Greenpoint, and Park Slope to escape the high prices of increasingly affluent Manhattan. Brooklyn was advantageous not just for its lower rents, but also for its warehouse spaces, studios, and storefronts that could be turned into art galleries or work spaces. Brooklyn also offered proximity to Manhattan, so that the artists moving there could still be connected to the culture of the big city.
Fast forward fifteen years later, and Brooklyn has been transformed: all the bars, restaurants, and boutiques that followed the artist invasion of Brooklyn have caused the borough’s stock to rise to dramatic levels. The real estate market is strong in Brooklyn and many of those who were involved in the transformation of Brooklyn have now relocated elsewhere. Several of those early trendsetters have now started to look across the river to Manhattan’s “other side”: New Jersey.
The Bridge and Tunnel Crowd
The vision of New Jersey some of us might have doesn’t quite equate with the classic archetype of the millennial Bohemian. New Jersey is Bruce Springsteen, Big Hair, and the Jersey Shore, not necessarily bespoke suits, handcrafted cocktails, and handlebar mustaches.
But Jersey City, New Jersey offers most of the advantages that living in Brooklyn once did: proximity to New York City, warehouse spaces to re-purpose into music venues or art spaces, and of course, lower rent prices.
With the average price for a 1-bedroom in Brooklyn hovering around $2,600 and the median rental $2,800 overall, a few cities in New Jersey have certainly begun to look quite tempting. In Jersey City Heights, just north of Hoboken, for example, rent can drop as low as half that of Brooklyn.
Millennial Families Move to New Jersey
Of this new generation that has spanned the millennium, the older among them have begun to start families. When these millennials look to purchase their first home, these days, they’re looking at Montclair and Maplewood, New Jersey, not Bed-Stuy.
These New Jersey suburbs still offer the cosmopolitan neighborhood amenities of yoga studios and single-origin pour-over coffee shops, but they also come with condos that you can still purchase under $300,000. It’s all the connection of living close to the city, with the advantage of having things like backyards and driveways.
Maplewood has great schools, the South Orange/Maplewood Adult School, and a Community Pool. Montclair has its own Art Museum, the Clairidge Cinema (with its popular movies and mimosas every first Saturday and Sunday of the month), and a Minor League baseball team. Because of these amenities and more, the two towns have been known to fight over the nickname “Brooklyn West.”
Leaving the Empire State of Mind, for Jersey…
For some, the hardest aspect of moving out of Brooklyn to New Jersey is wrapping their head around the fact that this is exactly what they’re doing. Leaving Brooklyn can mean leaving the dream of New York, which is harder than just leaving one’s physical address.
So many young artist types moved to the city with big ideas of being saturated in the city’s creative luminosity, that feeling of being awash in the place where culture turns. The reality, however, is that outside the city, these Brooklyn expats have the space as well as the peace and quiet to follow their artistic and creative vision.
No longer shouldered by the intense financial demands of being in the literal city itself, many are finding out that New Jersey is a place where they can not only survive, but they can thrive.
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