They Wanted River Views They Could Afford. Which Home Did They Choose?
It was the gravitational pull of their first grandchild that drew Dana Robbins and Steve Gleit back to New York.
The couple, retired lawyers now in their 60s, left the city a decade ago for a calmer lifestyle in Portland, Maine. “Lawyers have a bad habit of dying at their desk, and I did not want to be carried out of my office at the age of 90,” Mr. Gleit said.
At the time, their youngest child had just left for college, and the couple considered selling their two-bedroom co-op in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn. It had a steep stoop, and Ms. Robbins, who had a stroke when she was 23, is partially paralyzed and has trouble with stairs.
They were intrigued by Riverdale, in the Bronx, for its Hudson River views and suburb-in-the-city character. But during a trip to Maine, they visited some houses for fun and wound up buying a 200-year-old Cape.
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Ms. Robbins, formerly a lawyer for the City of New York, is a poet and essayist, and enjoyed decorating the Maine house. Mr. Gleit continued his work as an immigration lawyer before retiring three years ago. To make for easier visits to their children — each has two from a previous marriage, and three of them live in Brooklyn — the couple bought a one-bedroom pied-à-terre in the three-building Skyview complex in Riverdale.
Then, in the summer of 2017, their first grandchild was born. “From then on, we just wanted to be there,” Mr. Gleit said.
Anyway, the Maine house had become “too much,” Ms. Robbins said. “We had to worry about the snow on the roof and the leaves in the gutters and things I wasn’t used to, having spent my entire adult life in Brooklyn.”
So they decided to sell both homes and buy a bigger, permanent place in Riverdale. They wanted two or three bedrooms, including a guest room for the grandchildren and an office for Ms. Robbins. “Steve is gregarious, and I can’t get any work done unless I have my own space,” she said.
Mr. Gleit, who pushed for a second bathroom, craved a river view from a high floor. Their price range was up to $1 million. Although they wanted a doorman, other amenities — like a terrace or a gym — weren’t important.
The couple enlisted the help of Joan Kuzniar, an associate broker at Robert E. Hill Inc., who created a brief itinerary.
“We are decisive,” Ms. Robbins said. “Neither one of us has the patience to search forever for the perfect apartment.”
Among their choices:
This gleaming two-bedroom corner unit on the 11th floor of the 2008 Solaria Riverdale tower had an open kitchen, large windows lining the walls and a terrace.
The price was $1.175 million, with monthly charges in the low $1,200s.
This updated two-bedroom, which had eight closets and a balcony, was on the sixth floor of the Skyview, the 1961 tower where the couple had owned a one-bedroom.
The price was $604,000, with monthly maintenance in the low 1,200s.
This corner three-bedroom in a 1963 building was on a higher floor than any other apartment they had seen. It faced north and west, with Hudson River views from every bedroom and the balcony.
The price was $829,000, with maintenance of around $1,900.
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