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Trading Chelsea Clatter for Greenpoint Calm

NEW YORK — Nearly a decade ago, Emery Myers moved from New Orleans to Brooklyn, where she lived with roommates. Eventually, she crossed the East River and bought a studio in Chelsea, right on Eighth Avenue.

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Trading Chelsea Clatter for Greenpoint Calm
Joyce Cohen
, New York Times

NEW YORK — Nearly a decade ago, Emery Myers moved from New Orleans to Brooklyn, where she lived with roommates. Eventually, she crossed the East River and bought a studio in Chelsea, right on Eighth Avenue.

The modern interior, with nearly 600 square feet, had been renovated by an architect. The neighborhood was vibrant and fun. But it was also loud, which she knew going in.

Six years passed.

“The horns and the sirens, and sometimes the craziness of the meatpacking district in the middle of the night, started to build up,” Myers, 45, said. “I was able to handle the noise for only so long.”

She considered adding soundproof windows, but that would have been only a partial solution — she still wanted to open them for fresh air. “I realized I had to leave the neighborhood or go insane,” she said.

She had other reasons to move, too. Her Juliet balcony fit three people standing, and she wanted enough outdoor space for a garden. And upsizing to a two-bedroom would allow her to more easily entertain friends and relatives.

Myers, a native of Georgia, was hoping for a quiet neighborhood within 30 minutes of her Midtown office, where she works as an environmental engineer. Her starting price was around $900,000; she later increased it to a little over $1 million.

Through Zach Heilman, a friend and classmate from Tulane, she met JJ Choi, a saleswoman at Triplemint. “JJ leapt into action,” Myers said. “I needed some momentum to get myself moving and to get my place ready to sell.”

At a boutique co-op building on a quiet Kips Bay block, Myers fell for a top-floor duplex where the upstairs bedroom opened onto a 240-square-foot roof deck. She even liked the spiral staircase. It was listed at $949,000, with monthly maintenance of a little more than $1,600.

Her Chelsea place wasn’t listed yet, and she wasn’t quite ready to move, so she halfheartedly bid around $935,000. The apartment later sold for $940,000.

In Greenwich Village, she saw two duplexes on the penthouse level in the Cast Iron Building on East 11th Street. Both had a private roof space and were going for around $1.3 million, with maintenance of $2,400. The price was just too high.

When she saw a listing for a condominium in Greenpoint, Brooklyn — a penthouse duplex with a 600-square-foot rooftop that included planters and a pergola — she was intrigued. This one was listed at $1.18 million, with monthly charges of around $600.

The inside was modern, with an open layout. “There are no doors,” Choi said. “It is a huge duplex loft with two separate sleeping spaces and two bathrooms.”

The smaller lofted area, window-free and closet-free, had been a child’s bedroom.

“A lot of people might have walked out, thinking this isn’t a real two-bedroom, because there are no walls and no doors and no way to hide,” Myers said. “For me, living in an open studio where I had so many friends coming through and staying as guests — that doesn’t bother me.”

She did have to overcome her concern about relying on the G train. “The neighborhood is charming, the commute is 30 minutes and if the G train doesn’t run frequently, I can figure out a way to get around it,” she said.

Choi had listed the Chelsea co-op at $589,000. The price generated so much interest that it sold for $645,000. In the winter, Myers bought the Greenpoint condo for $1.125 million.

A work assignment in Houston left her unable to attend the walk-through and closing, so a friend went in her stead. When she finally moved in, she was disappointed to find shelves were missing from one closet and the dishwasher leaked.

The roof deck, though, was fully furnished — and also came with peonies, lilacs and strawberries. Myers added herbs.

And the noise situation proved a relief. Myers can now sleep with the windows open, an impossibility in Chelsea.

Her friend Heilman, 44, however, was suffering from his own noise situation. He was sharing an apartment in Dumbo, just feet from the Manhattan Bridge overpass, he said, and “I couldn’t handle the noise — the noise was out of control.” So he moved in, paying Myers $1,700 a month.

“Emery is an ideal roommate,” Heilman said. “She is fun to be around, she can fix things on her own and she is whisper-quiet. She never makes noise in the morning. It’s heaven.”

Guests visit often. Myers gives them her bedroom and sleeps on the sofa downstairs. “Even if I don’t have a separate bedroom, it is much more space, and easy and fun to host people,” she said. “Everyone in Chelsea had already been comfortable with me flopping on the couch.”

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