Who’s Afraid of a Transit Desert?


“Our number one priority was to find quiet,” she said, after years of the 6 train’s low rumbling, and loud crowds in the SoHo streets. She and her husband, Derek Sanders, the owner of the Mexican restaurants called La Esquina, now live in a prewar complex called Southgate, on a cul-de-sac where she said “it feels like there are more dogs, per square foot, than people.”

The couple’s walk to the train is about 12 minutes, close enough to travel downtown for work, but also far enough away that there is a parking lot nearby for their Tesla.

“It’s easier to live up here,” she said, likening it to the country. “It’s simpler.” Though she wouldn’t share the rent, she said the new apartment is about 30 percent less expensive.

And there are those for whom subway and train access don’t mean much.

“There’s a whole world out there that’s not in the public transportation system,” said Elizabeth Kee, an agent with CORE, who deals with several clients who rarely, if ever, commute to Manhattan.

Brooke Fazio, a nurse, and her husband, Paul Fazio, a New York Police Department detective, bought a three-bedroom detached house last year in Great Kills, Staten Island for about $645,000, leaving behind Ms. Fazio’s childhood home of Sheepshead Bay in Brooklyn.

Ms. Fazio would have liked to stay in Sheepshead Bay, but despite a typical commute time of close to an hour into Midtown, she said prices for comparable homes were in the $800,000-range for attached homes and tiny yards. Both she and her husband now work on Staten Island, and she would sooner drive to New Jersey than take public transit into Manhattan on the weekends.

“I don’t feel like I’m part of New York City anymore,” she said, but is embracing her new neighborhood, which she said feels more suburban. Back in Brooklyn, her mother is about to sell the family home in Sheepshead Bay, and is contemplating where to move next. The most likely outcome: Florida.

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