We’ve lived in our current apartment for a little less than a year but since it’s the first place we lived together I wanted to take stock of what we really love about it, the things we’ll miss when we move, and the things we’ll be glad to be rid of.

The view at night from our balcony.

What We’ll Miss

1. That view! The south-facing wall of the apartment is almost all glass, which is striking from the minute you enter the apartment. When we come home the sky is usually a navy blue as night sets in. It’s a beautiful backdrop to our living room. In the morning, when I pull back the shades in the bedroom, sunny days provide a nice way to wake up. And at night we can lay in bed and see the moon and the Freedom Tower peeking out from the clouds. You can’t beat it.

2. The Light. That south-facing wall of windows gives us incredible light through most of the day. We bask in it frequently.

Weekend midday in the living room.

3. Floor space in the laundry room. With the stacked W/D and a larger room, there’s plenty of space to sort clothes on the floor but still keep the mess contained . This is the first time I’ve had a laundry room (with the exception of my basement apartment in D.C.) that I’ve had laundry, let alone a whole room, in my apartment since leaving home. I am now a spoiled New Jerseyan.

4. Morning bike rides. We’ll likely be grabbing the bus from the new place, which will be a better commute for us over all. But we do love our morning bike rides to the Hoboken PATH station, a straight shot down the generous bike lane on Observer Highway.

5. Covered parking space. The bottom floor of our parking garage is a little dusty but it’s nice to keep the car indoor and secure, along with our bikes. We’ll gain an extra spot at our new place, but they’ll both be outside.

6. Not paying for repairs. Oh, the glories of being a renter! The days of calling the plumber or HVAC repairperson and then never seeing a bill are almost over.

The gym at 700 Grove.

7. The Gym! We’ve gotten so used to having a gym at our disposal that when we decided to search for a place to buy, having a gym in the building or space to build our own (which we’ll be doing!) was a strict requirement. The gym at 700 Grove is easily the nicest once I’ve seen in a large condo building. It’s big, has all the right machines, nice weights and equipment, is never too busy and the best part – someone else is responsible for cleaning it.

8. Mail service. This is the only time either of us has lived in a building with a concierge service and consequently the first time I’ve ever been able to have packages not delivered to work and not worry about them arriving or being stolen. And being able to send out mail directly from the building is a nice convenience.

9. All the pups! There are a lot of dogs in our building. I love seeing them in the hallways and in the elevator. We’ve seen all kinds of breeds, but pugs and French bulldogs are the most common.

Joe checking out our current apartment before moving in.

10. The joy of our first home together. Regardless of the list below, this was our first home together. I still remember walking in the first time, calling to each other from across the apartment about how beautiful the floors were, and look at the view and omg, the laundry room (that was probably me). 700 Grove will reside in a special place in our collective memory, I’m sure.

What We Won’t Miss

1. The Train. When we first moved in, the train didn’t seem that loud, especially when the windows were closed. It’s gotten progressively louder. And when you have the windows open? Forget about hearing the TV, music or the person you’re speaking to. The construction at night is the worst.

The train tracks running outside our apartment.

2. The W/D. While I love having a W/D and the room it’s in, the actual set in this unit is not very good. The detergent dish leaks when you close it, so we have a constant drip of dried detergent down the front of the washer. And the dryer is a condensation dryer, which means it doesn’t dry very well at all and gets scary hot. Plus there are like, three lint traps you need to clean regularly to keep the dryer working reasonably well.

3. Someone messing with our bikes at the PATH. We love our morning bike rides but every other day it seems, someone is trying to steal our bikes. Since there aren’t enough bike racks we usually end up locking up to one of the street signs, which is a ripe spot for theft attempts. Our bikes have gotten considerably more scratched up over the past eight months.

4. The cheap cupboards and hardware. The construction in our building is pretty top-notch, especially compared to some of the pre-fab “luxury” units that have gone up around Newport, but the one thing they did seem to cheap out on are the cupboards. We’ve seen multiple cracked doors in other units. And the hardware has no easy grip on it, so trying to pull open doors and drawers if your hands are all all greasy or slippery is difficult.

5. The structural issues. We learned from the former super shortly after moving in that the nearly 10-year-old building is starting to sag in the middle. While this is natural for any structure, it happens to be particularly noticeable in our unit. Sometimes our windows don’t line up correctly to lock and it took many tries to finally get the screen door back on the tracks (thanks, Dad!)

Seriously, this thing would not stay on the track.

6. The plumbing quirks. A few months after moving in our hot water seemed to stop working. As we soon figured out, we had hot water, we just have to let the water run at the hottest level for five minutes before it gets hot. Apparently it’s an issue in the building with the way the plumbing was constructed. Since it’s expensive and they are trying to get the builder to fix it, it will likely be this way for a while. In the meantime, we sadly waste of a lot of water in order to take a quick shower.

7. Our very angry neighbor. While you don’t hear much sound between units, we can hear sound coming from the hallways. This means we get to hear our neighbor across the hall yelling at his wife and child at all hours of the day and night.

8. The general hotel feeling. This was the first time either of us has lived in a large condo building, and while we have mostly loved it, the neutral hallways and endless doors have the drab feeling of a hotel, which isn’t exactly what I think of when I think of “home.”

One of our favorite walls.

9. Not being in control. While I do feel like we put a lot of work into making our current apartment our home – choosing paint colors, switching out pendant lighting (thanks again, Dad!), lots of decorating – there are plenty of projects we held off on and pieces we didn’t buy because of the sense of impermanence. It’s something I’ve always felt as a renter. You get so far into fixing a place to your desires and then, you hit a wall, because how much energy do you really want to put into something that isn’t yours? Or a place that you might not be living in much longer? I’m looking forward to moving past that wall.

10. The lack of a neighborhood. Being on the border of Jersey City and Hoboken definitely has it’s perks, and, coming from Brooklyn, I appreciate the industrial feel of the area. However, it has the affect of making you feel like you’re not really part of either city. It’s also less walkable than I’d prefer and our “neighbors” all feel very transient. The area is developing but that will make the already bad traffic situation in the area even worse. We’re looking forward to getting that neighborhood feel back and really investing in a space.

Balcony view on a rainy day.

Phew – Wanted to get that reflecting done while we were still firmly entrenched in our current apartment. We’re hopefully starting work on the new house this week – floors and paint – which will give us some deadlines for packing and moving. The next update should include some stain samples. Yay!


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