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In Which It's Harlem Or Bust, But Learning To Live With the Noise

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Dr. Laura Clarke and her husband Edward, were looking for a two bedroom in a new construction somewhere in south Harlem ever since they had a baby. Their one bedroom was getting to be way too crowded (although here's a cute thing, "Mariella started throwing her dolls from her crib to their bed to wake them.") and Central Park North was too loud anyway. They searched all over the place for a quiet two bedroom somewhere in the $700k range, even flirting with very hip Riverdale. In the end, though, they bought in 2280 Frederick Douglass Boulevard. It's not all sunshine and lollipops from there, though. The noise of the elevator and garbage chute has been haunting them ever since...

Their budget topped out at $750,000. They preferred a new building, where there were tempting tax abatements and, they hoped, few infrastructure issues. In their prewar building, the creaky floors awakened the baby. The Lore on West 112th Street, where two-bedrooms were in the $600,000s and $700,000s, was well situated.

But, in the boxy layout, he couldn’t figure out where the furniture would go. Dr. Clarke was concerned about noise from the schoolyard next door.

The couple liked the Livmor, at West 115th Street, a lot. Dr. Clarke gushed over the huge and well-equipped playroom. They were interested in a two-bedroom on a high floor, but it was on the verge of being sold. One two-bedroom remained, on the second floor, right above a busy part of Frederick Douglass Boulevard.

While they negotiated, they headed to the Latitude in Riverdale, a part of the Bronx where some of Dr. Clarke’s colleagues lived. “It was above our expectations,” Dr. Clarke said. And they could find a two-bedroom for less than $500,000.

But the trip from Manhattan by subway and bus was burdensome.

Mr. Jose went to an open house at 2280FDB, near West 123rd Street, farther north than they preferred. “I didn’t have any hopes for it,” he said. “I came just to take a look.” The two-bedroom being shown, at $704,000, had a view of a wall. But the same apartment one flight up, just above the rooftops, got a lot of sun. That one was $724,000.

· Living With Noises, Pleasant and Less So