“It was exhausting always having to plan ahead,” she said, no matter where she went. Even transporting groceries was a chore.
Their situation became more challenging last spring when the couple, who are planning a fall wedding, adopted a mini goldendoodle named Sambuca. When Sambuca was too young to walk very far and too heavy to carry, “I was the weirdo on the train with the dog in a stroller,” Ms. Troccoli said. “We were officially ready to live in New Jersey.”
Last summer, they started looking at high-rise rental buildings in Jersey City. Rents there were around $3,000 a month for a one-bedroom — surprisingly low compared with the Manhattan prices they were used to. And the spaces were large.
At Modera Lofts, there were many different layouts, but “we were finding a flaw with each one,” Ms. Troccoli said.
They also disliked the barn-style doors that didn’t close quite as tightly as conventional ones. Mr. Pomello feared that cooking smells would invade the bedroom, and that noise would travel, too.
“Sometimes I am getting ready early in the morning, and in that kind of apartment it is pretty impossible to avoid disturbing Jackie when she is still sleeping,” he said.
In some buildings, like Warren at York, availability was limited and move-in dates were inconvenient.
Their favorite building was the 45-story Vantage, where they had a choice of views. They loved that it was brand new — the building opened in August — with spacious one-bedrooms.
“It is a little bit farther from the PATH than some of the other buildings, but it doesn’t hurt anyone to walk” to the train, Ms. Troccoli said.
They chose an 800-square-foot one-bedroom with a postcard view of Manhattan, and arrived in the fall. Their rent is $3,160 a month, with one month free on an 18-month lease.
They are thrilled to finally have a car, an SUV they are leasing primarily because they couldn’t decide what to buy. It costs around $400 a month, and parking in the building’s garage is an additional $200 a month.
Their commutes are no worse than before, and grocery shopping is much easier. The couple used to walk to Trader Joe’s in Chelsea, which was so crowded that “the line wraps around,” Ms. Troccoli said. They would take a cab home, laden with heavy bags, and cart them upstairs in an elevator.
But now, when they load up on groceries at Trader Joe’s in Hoboken, or at ShopRite in Jersey City, they take them home in their own car and wheel them up to their apartment in a bellman’s cart.
When Mr. Pomello’s parents visit from Italy, they fly into Newark Liberty International Airport, where they can easily be picked up and dropped off. And the couple are able to visit Ms. Troccoli’s relatives not just on weekends, but midweek as well.
“We have the flexibility of getting in the car whenever we want,” Ms. Troccoli said. “We are not always relying on timetables.”