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A Phoenix Native Now Calls Manhattan Home

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Welcome to It Happened One Weekend, our weekly roundup of The New York Times real estate section...

Every "The Hunt" column begins with the Hunters describing the apartment they want, and ends with them rationalizing whatever they came away with. This is The Hunt: Dreams vs. Reality

The Hunter: A Phoenix native who always dreamed of living in Manhattan


Dream: Under $615,000

Reality: $510,000


Dream: Chelsea

Reality: East Village


Dream: Nothing Fancy

Reality: No elevator, no doorman, no dishwasher


Lawyer Keith Peterson always dreamed of living in Manhattan, after a childhood vacation brought him to the city. Peterson, who is originally from Phoenix, finally got a taste of New York City life when Columbia Law School brought him to the city; but instead of landing his Manhattan dream home, he occupied the dorms, later moving to a large one-bedroom in Brooklyn. After marrying and having a baby, Peterson and his wife purchased a three-story rowhouse in Jersey City’s Hamilton Park neighborhood.

After a series of unfortunate events that included the passing of his wife, a slew of accumulated debt from her medical expenses, and a second marriage ending in divorce, Peterson decided to sell his home and once again pursue his dream of living in Manhattan. He wanted a no-frills one bedroom Chelsea co-op. He enjoys washing his own dishes so a dishwasher wasn’t on his list of desires, he didn’t require an elevator nor a doorman.

Peterson's first visit was to a one-bedroom co-op, but he was put off by the five flights of stairs he would have to climb as part of his daily regimen. Next, his broker took him to see another one-bedroom, this time on West 20th Street, but the $615,000 ask plus monthly maintenance fee of about $1,000 was out of his price range.

A ground-floor apartment in the East Village helped Peterson realize how much he liked the idea of "life" around him. He enjoyed the street and traffic noise. The apartment had no dishwasher, as he liked it, and lots of wall space. The key feature for him was the quirky neighborhood shops, particularly a nearby hair salon with a Jackalope in its window. The apartment was listed at $525,000 with $570 monthly maintenance fee. He offered $490,000, they settled at $510,000 and the rest is history.