Sure, your cozy fourth-floor walk-up or historic, buckling-at-the-foundation brownstone has a certain amount of New York charm, but when you add kids to the mix, charm doesn't always cut it in this city. From steep stoops, to sub-par schools, to a sheer lack of space, there are plenty of not-so-family-friendly hurdles that never even cross your mind when you sign on for a pre-parenthood apartment.
"As a parent, living in New York City can definitely have its fair share of challenges," said Raphael DeNiro, when we sat down to chat about what moms and dads should really be looking for in an NYC home. With help from Douglas Elliman's DeNiro, one of the agents representing the new amenities-filled, luxury Tribeca building, 111 Murray Street, we put together a list of eight building perks you didn't even know you and your family should be looking for. (Oh, and, surprise, surprise, 111 Murray Street actually has them all...).
1. Ramps and elevators so that you don't need to haul your stroller up and down the stairs five times a day.
A couple of steps may not seem like a big deal until your "ultra-lightweight" stroller starts to feel 12 times heavier every time you have to carry it up a flight of stairs. "Parents should definitely look for ease of access. At the very least, they'll want an elevator," says DeNiro, who added that 111 Murray Street's elevators open into private vestibules to take you from the lobby straight to your front door. "If a building has a great spot to park a stroller, we consider that a real bonus too." It may seem basic, but, literally, ramp options in place of steps outside the building or in the lobby and an elevator are amenities that make life much more manageable.
2. Storage space to prevent tripping over jumperoos and tricycles for the rest of your life.
Space isn't exactly easy to come by in NYC, and whatever square footage you have is likely invaluable. Having on-site storage means there's that much more of a chance you'll move those overflowing boxes of outgrown baby clothes out of the way (since who can bear to throw out all those teeny tiny onesies?). "No matter where you live, hands down, storage space is always a plus for parents," says DeNiro.
3. A gym, because is there any chance you'll actually work out if it isn't right downstairs?
Um, working out is hard enough. With an on-site gym, I think we can all agree you're far more likely to jump on the treadmill or spend some time with those free weights. And with no membership fees, there's no reason the whole family can't get in on the action, including older tweens and teens. 111 Murray Street also offers an on-site yoga studio, a Turkish-hammam, and a private Drybar for residents, so you can squeeze in some of that "self-care" everyone's always buzzing about.
The children’s playroom features an interactive Imagination Playground and an adjoining catering kitchen
4. A playroom that totally tops your living room.
"A building with a playroom is an excellent amenity," says DeNiro, and we could not agree more (especially if you've got a high-energy baby or toddler on your hands). "It gives moms, dads, and kids a much-needed change of scenery, and can also serve as a great way to meet other parents and families within the building." Some playrooms, like the David Rockwell-designed Imagination Playground at 111 Murray Street, also feature an adjoining kitchen, making them the perfect place to host the many birthday parties you'll be throwing for years to come.
5. A neighborhood that doesn't induce school district anxiety.
School zoning is probably the last thing on your mind when picking out a pre-baby apartment, and even as new parent, preschool might feel light years away. Well, time flies! Save yourself the stress, and opt for a home with plenty of strong school and day care options nearby. Of course, other kid-friendly amenities like parks and family-friendly restaurants are a big added bonus.
6. A doorman to hold the 23 Amazon Prime packages that arrive for you on the daily.
No one wants to carry another monstrous 216-count pack of diapers home from the post office. On top of corralling packages, DeNiro says "an attentive doorman who is always willing to lend a hand" is a major asset for parents. Some buildings, like 111 Murray Street, also offer 24-hour concierge service to make neighborhood recommendations when mommy brain strikes, organize a playdate when you just can't handle a group text right now, or secure reservations for an ever-elusive date night. It's kind of like having another you...
Rendering of the landscaped courtyard by Edmund Hollander Landscape Design
7. Outdoor space because you may actually go stir crazy if you're stuck inside one more day.
Since your chances of scoring a backyard in this city are pretty low, a communal garden is pretty much a dream come true. When you just don't have it in you to trek over to the playground, or the weather's not-so-awesome, the option to pop outside for fresh air is likely to save the sanity of both you and your children.
The teen recreational room offers game tables and arcades
8. Teen-centric entertainment that you can keep tabs on.
According to DeNiro, "More and more buildings are incorporating teen lounges for the older kids." Moms and dads everywhere are sure to agree, "It’s nice for adolescents to have a place to go and hang out with kids their age, and for parents to keep track of where their children are." 111 Murray Street has both a recreation room with game tables and an arcade, and a media room that can be reserved for full-blown large-screen movie nights. We're kinda wondering if parents can get in on that too?
If you're searching for an apartment with all this and then some, make sure to read up on 111 Murray Street. Created by some of the most forward-thinking and highly acclaimed developers and design talents today, the building features 157 residences—ranging from one-bedrooms to full-floor penthouses—and 20,000 square feet of amenities right in the heart of much-loved Tribeca.
Renderings by Redundant Pixel courtesy of 111 Murray Street