Falling in Love With Weehawken

An cheap residence introduced Frank Gargiulo to Weehawken, N.J., seven years in the past. But it’s a special residence — a gorgeous, sunny 1,300-square-foot house with a sunroom, a terrace and Victorian particulars like bay home windows and pocket doorways — that has saved him there.

Mr. Gargiulo, a 57-year-old inventive director, had lived in the East Village, the place he had an $1,800-a-month, rent-stabilized one-bedroom. During the final recession, in 2009, he gave up the residence and moved out to Portland, Ore.

By the time he returned to New York for a job in 2014, he had come to understand having extra space and a much less hectic tempo of life. He had additionally loved Portland’s affordability. At one home, his room value simply $250 a month. At one other, he bartered for his portion of the hire, designing graphics for his roommate’s jam enterprise.

And so, when a buddy with an $1,100-a-month two-bedroom in Weehawken supplied him the opposite bed room, Mr. Gargiulo fortunately accepted. He had already been storing a few of his furnishings in the buddy’s residence, and he had restricted time to discover a place, which made the transfer much more handy.

His present residence is a stunner and much exceeds what he might get in Manhattan for $2,600 a month: 1,300 sq. toes with unique lighting fixtures, bay home windows and pocket doorways.Credit…Laura Moss for The New York Times

“It was incredibly inexpensive,” mentioned Mr. Gargiulo, who paid simply $550 for his share of the hire. His previous East Village one-bedroom, he discovered, had been damaged up right into a three-bedroom and was renting for $5,000 a month.

As for Weehawken, which sits throughout the Hudson River from Midtown and measures simply 1.four sq. miles, he preferred it instantly. “It’s close enough to Manhattan, but far enough from Manhattan,” he mentioned. “Going through the tunnel kind of felt like an escape in a way. It’s comfortable, it’s sane. The quality of life here — to me, it’s beautiful.”

After a couple of years, the buddy determined that he would moderately reside alone, and Mr. Gargiulo determined to search for one other place in Weehawken.

He discovered his present residence on Craigslist in 2017. At $2,450 a month (now $2,650), it was hardly the steal his buddy’s place had been, but it surely was gorgeous and large, with well-preserved Victorian woodwork, unique lighting fixtures, a giant eat-in kitchen and 5 different rooms that would simply be configured into two suites: a gracious structure for a room share. Mr. Gargiulo’s suite, with two massive rooms and a tiny workplace, was as massive as his total East Village residence.

“I fell in love with this place,” he mentioned. The residence is on the second ground of a three-unit Victorian; the home’s longtime homeowners reside on the primary ground, and their daughter and her husband reside in the higher unit.

$2,600 | Weehawken, N.J.

Frank Gargiulo, 57

Occupation: Creative director
Leaving the East Village: “I do miss it from time to time, but it’s not like I can’t go there.”
On Weehawken: Trader Joe’s is a couple of 15-minute stroll away, and a brand new deli and wine retailer, The Oak, opened close by. But eating choices are just a little restricted. “There are some local places and some nice restaurants nearby in Union City.”
His landlords: They’ve lived in the home for many years. “Luckily they found something that had not been destroyed,” he mentioned of the house’s well-preserved interiors.

“I can’t really say my landlords are family, but it feels familial,” he mentioned. “They invite me for holidays. I don’t have a car, and when they went to Florida last year, they were like, ‘Here are the keys. You can use it.’ ”

The beneficiant perspective prolonged to giving Mr. Gargiulo a break on hire when he first moved in, earlier than he was capable of finding a roommate. That’s been the principle draw back to dwelling in Weehawken: It might be arduous to seek out roommates.

“It’s always taken me a while to find people to move in here,” he mentioned. “It’s not Brooklyn. It’s not even Jersey City or Hoboken. It’s the unknown.”

Also, there’s no practice. The most suitable choice for moving into Manhattan is the bus. On event, he’ll spring for the ferry, but it surely’s much less handy for him and a one-way ticket prices $9.

The bus, although, is a tough promote for a lot of New Yorkers. And there are few alternate options for the finances acutely aware. A latest potential roommate who hadn’t lived in the New York space earlier than wasn’t involved by the dearth of a practice; she instructed him she biked in all places. He felt obliged to level out that because the Lincoln Tunnel wasn’t an possibility, she must bike to both the PATH practice in Hoboken, the ferry, or else cross on the George Washington Bridge far uptown. She didn’t take the residence.

After an unsuccessful try to discover a roommate this spring, Mr. Gargiulo determined to make use of the opposite half of the residence as an workplace.

Mr. Gargiulo loves the pleasant ambiance of his constructing and city. “I can’t really say my landlords are family, but it feels familial,” he mentioned.Credit…Laura Moss for The New York TimesThe residence has 5 rooms in addition to a big eat-in kitchen, a sunroom and a terrace. “It’s comfortable, it’s sane. The quality of life here — to me, it’s beautiful,” he mentioned of Weehawken.Credit…Laura Moss for The New York Times

Before the pandemic, he labored for an company that devised promoting ideas for Broadway exhibits and cultural establishments. He was laid off shortly after the shutdown and now runs a contract firm, Art Dictator. With the opposite suite of rooms, he figured, he might create an workplace and convention room that purchasers might go to.

At first, it felt unusual going into the opposite half of the residence. His final roommate had left a TV, which he began going in to look at typically, however “it felt like my half versus the other half,” he mentioned. It additionally appeared like an excessive amount of house.

“But I’m enjoying all the space now,” he mentioned. “It’s just so beautiful. It gets so much light. It’s been really lovely to be here during this time.”

During the peak of the pandemic, Mr. Gargiulo, an avid baker, would drop off baked items for his neighbors, and they’d deliver by meals as nicely, together with an occasional cocktail left in entrance of his door.

“There’s something so hometown about Weehawken. I just love it here,” he mentioned. “In some ways, being here all the time and Covid made it even friendlier.”

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