Settling in, with high ceilings: which apartment in New York did they buy?

Jane Jeong and Gabe Lewes have been looking for their own home since they got married last summer. The couple met on Settle, a dating app for people ready to settle down, and settle down. “We agreed to be happy with each other, and I’ve really liked Gabe ever since,” Ms Jeong said. “The real trouble started when we tried to find an apartment.”

Ms Jeong is an aerial yoga instructor and Mr Lewes suffers from chronic entrepreneur syndrome, running at least four unsuccessful businesses at once. They went looking for a two-bedroom, two-bathroom apartment after getting married. “We honeymooned on StreetEasy, which might explain why we’re still not quite pregnant,” Ms Jeong said with a laugh.

Their budget was eight hundred thousand dollars—more or less. “I joke that while I have generational wealth, it’s not enough generational wealth to compensate for my terrible business choices,” Lewes said. They hoped to find a place with a modernized interior and high ceilings capable of supporting the weight of up to four aerial yogis. Their ideal neighborhood was Dumbo because it’s Mr. Lewes’ favorite movie and, as Ms. Jeong pointed out, “the views of what we can’t afford are so beautiful from there.”


No. 1

Prospect Lefferts Gardens Apartment

The unit was in a pre-war building near Prospect Park, complete with a virtual doorman. Although the unit was initially marketed as a premier smart home, the owners of the building lowered the price when they discovered the architect’s error: instead of smart technology , the apartment was equipped with smart-aleck technology. When you looked in the hallway mirror, a voice said, “Really? Is that what you’re wearing? The lights would go out if your stories went on too long and the oven would make a laughing sound when you tried a new recipe. The asking price was seven hundred and thirty thousand, with a monthly maintenance of about fourteen hundred dollars, excluding therapy.

No. 2

Co-op in Dumbo

This two-bedroom, two-bathroom co-op on the top floor had central air conditioning and extra storage space, but the floor was covered in lava everywhere. The broker explained that the lava had mostly settled into the living areas, but the bathroom remained molten, adding that this unit would still be a “shoes inside” type house. The price was seven hundred fifty-six thousand dollars with monthly maintenance, including additional sprinkler checks, about nine hundred dollars.


Condo in Brooklyn Heights

This one-bedroom, two-bathroom penthouse was in a 2008 condominium with an elevator. The doorman was a cassowary named Brian. The broker explained that “having such a big and deadly bird as a doorman may be off-putting to some buyers, but it’s a union position and you never have to worry about your packages being stolen.” The price was eight hundred and thirty thousand dollars, with a monthly upkeep of about seven hundred dollars, including tranquilizer darts for the doorman if needed.


Prospect Lefferts Gardens Apartment

Co-op in Dumbo

Condo in Brooklyn Heights


Condo in Brooklyn Heights

Intrigued by the potential opportunities a lava floor could bring to her yoga practice, Ms Jeong was initially interested in the Dumbo Cooperative. And Mr Lewes noted that ‘No matter what’s going on in the toilet, we never need to light a match!’ However, the co-op application process proved overwhelming. “They really broke into my various businesses and as each one failed they were judged,” Mr Lewes said. The deal-breaker was the thought of their pug, Bruce, unintentionally stumbling into an active part of the floor. “The possibility of Bruce or any visiting pets being engulfed in a fiery inferno added a layer of discomfort that became non-negotiable for me,” Ms Jeong said.

Last spring, a second visit to the duplex in Prospect Lefferts Gardens shook the couple. Mr Lewes explained: ‘We were only there for five minutes and Jane was in tears over something the microwave said. Ms Jeong declined to repeat what it was, but said the dishwasher then texted her apologetically. However, this was not enough to convince the couple. “The home should be emotionally safe and your devices should be on your side, or at least neutral,” Lewes said.

After repeated visits and a discussion with a zoologist, the couple made an offer on the condo in Brooklyn Heights in March. “In our last building, the doorman was a human. Honestly, I found him a bit too talkative and he could be prying,” Mr Lewes said. Ms. Jeong learned that cassowaries are shy and secretive birds, ideal traits in a doorman. The couple moved in two months ago and stayed alive. There have been a few incidents of mayhem, but none involving residents. “We are cautious about going in and out of the house but, in truth, having Brian there, on the lookout, forces us to live in the moment,” Mr Lewes said. “Plus, we can see the city lights over the river from our living room, and it’s very charming.” ♦

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