Bohemia Blog by Agent Nathan Oesterle
I think the task of each of the agents who write one of these blogs is to always bring to you, the audience, information that you didn't know or should know. But, what could I possibly say that hasn't been printed in tens of thousands of Real Estate books? Well, here's a little story about how working in Real Estate has changed my perspective on the make-up of our diverse New York City neighborhoods.
About a year ago, I realized something about my then fiance and myself when we were about a month out from our wedding and in the middle of finishing the planning of the food.
Amidst the protestations of various friends and family members, we had decided to self-cater our wedding. We were told that we needed to be spending our time stressing about flowers and seating arrangements, not cooking. In the end, everything turned out perfectly and our 100 guests raved about the delicious spread. We couldn't have been more proud that we stuck to our guns. That was when I realized that some of my most prominent memories revolve around food. Eating it, cooking it ... did I mention eating it?
Now, approaching out first anniversary, we have a lovely 700 sq foot one bedroom apartment in Inwood. We found a great deal and have taken the time to create a home that most would love, even if I am a little biased. But occasionally, the siren song of suburban home prices rings in my ears and I will spend an hour looking at possible single family homes slightly upstate in Hudson or Tarrytown.
Apart from my career, one of the main things keeping me right where I am is the food. I come from a very, very small Midwestern town. There are more people in my current apartment building than within a mile of my family home. Needless to say, we didn't have many options for consumables while I was growing up. The greatest side effect of living and working in this city is that you have every kind of food you could ask for nearby. No matter your mood, you can find a spot or get it delivered.
Recently, the Real Estate prices in my neighborhood of Inwood have been jumping up like mad. That is great news for people who are buying now or have already settled here, but it means that some of the small businesses have had to close their doors. My wife is a costume designer and it broke her heart when the dry cleaner a block from our apartment went under, but I digress.
About 6 months ago, another little shop popped up across the street from my apartment. It is this little bakery called Choc. On my first visit, I sampled their specialty - Chocolate Jubilation Cake. After the first bite, I knew this was a place that needed to stick around as long as possible. I make it a point of going there anytime I needed something they sell. Everything they make is absolutely scrumptious and the Chef and staff are fantastic.
We need all these amazing places that each neighborhood holds. In my Inwood, that means Choc for decadent pastries and coffee, Indian Road Cafe for farm-to-table cuisine, Grandpa's Wood Oven Pizza, Piper's Kilt, and Dichter Pharmacy. The last one may seem odd for a rant about food, but it is a charming little pharmacy with a deli counter. They specialize in ice creams, sodas, floats and amazing egg creams. They have managed to survive despite being across the street from Baskin Robins - going to show just how special they really are.
[caption id="attachment_6959" align="alignleft" width="260"] Piper's Kilt[/caption]
As the rents increase, it becomes imperative that these little gems are frequented as much as possible. I circle back to one of the main reasons I love living here. I can get the largest variety of food on earth either delivered, or within a few blocks of my apartment. I have lived in places where the only dining options are Taco Bell and McDonalds, and I never want to go back. There is a massive difference between a Big Mac and a true pub burger like you can find at Piper's Kilt. How do we ensure that Upper Manhattan (or any of NYC's residential neighborhoods) can retain and expand it's own unique taste? Simple. Take the time to explore your neighborhood. Shop and dine local. Spread the gospel of your favorite places to your friends. When your family is in town, take them to your unique neighborhood spots instead of Times Square chains. They aren't suffering for lack of customers, but further uptown these lovely businesses need and will cherish your business.