Aaaargh! I Moved To The Wrong ‘Burb!

Tomorrow’s New York Times real estate section has a long article, with a provocative title: “What To Do When You’ve Picked the Wrong Suburb.”

“Just like someone living on the Upper East Side won’t fit into Williamsburg, someone who likes Maplewood may not fit into Short Hills,” the story says.

You may expect block parties, when all you get are nannies playing indoors with their charges. You may come for the outdoors, but discover deer ticks.

“Are you looking for a Whole Foods and a farmers’ market?” the Times asks. “Do you want to see pickup trucks or Volvo S.U.V.s? A spinning studio or a Planet Fitness? Trump bumper stickers or ‘Resist’ signs?”

Westport has a Whole Foods — AND a Farmers’ Market. Farmers’ Market.

The piece is Westchester, Long Island and New Jersey-centric.

But at the end, it pivots to Westport.

Ali Bernstein, the owner of Suburban Jungle Realty, a real estate strategy firm that helps families transition from city to suburb, said it’s best to know the good — and the bad — before moving. She said her clients hear about aspects of a place that real estate agents may gloss over. “We’ll tell you, ‘It may seem like a 28-minute train ride, but there’s no parking at the station and you’ll drive around to find a spot,’” she said. “You’re going to move there knowing as much as possible.”

Ms. Bernstein founded her company, in part, because she struggled with finding the right suburb herself. She and her husband left the city for Westport, Conn., which they loved for its beautiful architecture, beaches and vibrant cultural scene. But after they moved in, the town seemed sprawling and they longed for a small town with mom-and-pop shops. Ultimately, after a fresh search, they bought a home in Westchester in Armonk, where they know shopkeepers in town.

Has she found her people? She thinks so. “It’s life-changing when you live in a town where you’re raising kids with people you want to be raising kids with,” she said.

What do you think? Did you pick the right — or wrong — suburb? If so, how? Click “Comments” to share your story.

(To read the full New York Times story, click here.)

14 responses to “Aaaargh! I Moved To The Wrong ‘Burb!

  1. Sydney, L.A., Darien, Westport. Picked the right and best town for sure. Coming here was like coming home to the hometown I always wanted. Still terrific after all these years!

  2. Nearly done with second book; in intro I say “Now I live happily in Westport Connecticut. This is the place where I’ve found my own ‘tribe.’ The people I know best share my liberal and progressive values. Most people don’t look askance at me, a white woman, with my black husband, children, or grandchildren. I can often go to an event in town and find people I know. I am at home here.
    But feeling at home in a New England town is nothing like belonging to one’s Igbo tribe, village, clan, and extended family. After all, we could move from Westport at any time and make ourselves at home somewhere else. My husband could never belong to anywhere except his town of Nanka where his ancestors are buried and he has land.”

  3. Dorothy Abrams

    I lived in Westport for almost 50 years and loved it. But I was sorry to read the comments about an overturned car. They were all seemingly self righteous and about careless drivers. Not one worried about the
    passenger(s).

  4. “Sprawling?!” Ha! That is NOT a word I would use for Westport. It takes 10 minutes (granted, that is not during rush hour) to go from one end of town to the opposite end. To me that isn’t sprawling. But, hey, to each his or her own.

  5. Dan, who better then you to comment on the NYT article. I will await reading your reply to the NYT. Go get’em.

  6. Everyone is from somewhere and as a well know resident was quoted “a fella has to live somewhere”. Between the former and the latter is usually many years, so unfair to compare but I like today’s Westport.

    To compare Armonk to Westport is a little disingenuous, it’s either North Castle (the town) to Westport, or Armonk (the hamlet) to Greens Farms (say). If a community is anchored by it’s schools (esp High School) then Armonk is part of 4 larger towns totalling 92 sq miles – approx 3 times 06880, so sprawling seems an odd gripe.

  7. “I miss my hometown, it’s nothing special.”

  8. Bonnie Bradley

    I love Westport too! It is a fine example of what smart, compassionate, caring residents can achieve, especially considering the massive infusion of money that has arrived there in the last 50 years. The real strength of the town has been it’s many residents who have volunteered and fought on various Commissions and Committees for reasonable, inclusive and forward- looking solutions to it’s growing pains. And, Dan Woog – I’d call him “Mr. Westport” A finger in every pie – how great is that!

    Most of us on Dan’s blog who have moved from Westport over the years remember “our” town fondly, thus frequent comments on ” the good old days.” Nostalgia and some…” Maybe they’d enjoy hearing how it was or came about in those days.” -not necessarily a rebuke or intent to lord it over the Westport of today. It is what it is and that’s pretty good.

    None that I know left Westport without regret. Some left for jobs, of course, some for family or financial reasons, some just wanted a simpler life or a new environment. People have said to me “How wonderful to live on the same street all your life” (60 yrs at that time). Well, yes, but when you come down to it, sort of stultifying too. It’s a big world out there and only one life.

  9. Bonnie Bradley

    Nancy, 😊 You made my day!

  10. I moved to Westport in 1983, after 16 years in the Town of Greenburgh, Westchester County,, just outside of White Plains. I loved it immediately, and found many new friends and activities. Connecticut is town-centered. Westchester is more county-wide.

    I was single at the time and there was absolutely nothing for me there. I stayed until my sons were out of school — I did not want to disrupt them and take them away from their friends. The town was very family-oriented.

    In Westport, as a single woman, I found many activities in which I could participate, and made many friends, both single and married.

    I married a wonderful man, whom I met at a concert. We bought a large house, but it was too much for us to manage, so we decided to downsize. Unfortunately, we could not find anything in Westport — the builders grab them up before buyers can get to them. So we moved right across the town line into Fairfield. I really wish we could have stayed in Westport, but I still do everything there. Everything but vote. I even attend Westport Democratic activities. Incidentally, I’m closer to Stop & Shop than when I lived on Sturges Highway.

    So to get back on topic — I moved from the wrong burb to the right one!

  11. My husband Richard and I moved from Westport almost 13 years ago to the country club life, Broken Sound Club in Boca Raton, Fl. Although I couldn’t be any happier…#1 – waking up to sunshine pretty much every day of the year is a very good thing. #2 – I play tennis outdoors 12 months a year…a very good thing. #3 – I play golf 12 months a year – again, a very good thing…however, I still long for the “small town vibe” I got from Westport. Thus, I start off each and every day by reading 06880 and westport.now so that I get my Westport fix. My husband urges me to cut the umbilical cord but alas, I cannot. Although I never want to live in a cold climate ever again, if someone were to ask me where to live up north, I always say….Westport, Ct., the greatest small town offering not a little bit, but alot of everything one could ever want in a town. Always thinking of you my beloved Westport.

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