The publication Mansions Global, which I discovered only because I have a Google alert for anything mentioning Brooklyn Heights (which, along with stuff about our neighborhood, gives me info about a suburb of Cleveland, a poor neighborhood in Nashville, a pizza parlor in Austin, a drag queen popular in the D.C. area, and a race horse), has an article by Michele Lerner with the title “Are Brooklyn Brownstones the New Manhattan Co-op?”
The premise is that COVID-19 has made the wealthy squeamish about having to share building common spaces with potentially contagious fellow residents, guests, and staff. This has made the single family town house (perhaps with a ground level apartment that can be leased at a rental that might be sufficient to pay the mortgage) an attractive proposition. As Ms. Lerner begins her piece:
The allure of owning a condo or co-op in Manhattan, an icon of success for many people, may be fading in favor of something once considered a little mundane: a townhouse in Brooklyn. While the increase in Brooklyn’s desirability has been happening for well over a decade, the pandemic has pushed more people to look for a home with extra indoor and outdoor space and less interaction with neighbors and staff.
She quotes Gerard Splendore, a broker with Warburg Realty, on the attraction of Brooklyn Heights:
Townhouses in Brooklyn Heights are particularly sought-after and tend to have higher prices than some other Brooklyn neighborhoods, said Mr. Splendore, because of their proximity to Manhattan and views of the Manhattan skyline. Williamsburg and Greenpoint also have an easy commute to Manhattan, and Ditmas Park, close to Prospect Park, has freestanding houses as well as townhouses, he said.
Meanwhile, the New York Times has a story by Kim Velsey about the effect of the pandemic on the less affluent. It tells of a couple – James Casey, an associate director of a biology lab at Barnard College, and Erin Boyle, a writer with a blog, Reading My Tea Leaves – who lived happily with their three children, now ranging in age from six years to nine months, in a 500 square foot one bedroom apartment here in Brooklyn Heights. Before the pandemic hit, this was tolerable, because they weren’t almost always all at home at the same time. COVID changed this, and they needed more space, so they’ve now moved to an 800 square foot two bedroom floor-through in Carroll Gardens.