Real Estate

Ridgewood, N.J.: A Historic Suburb With a View of the City

When Corey Kaylor discovered two years in the past that his medical brokerage firm was transferring him to New Jersey, his spouse, Michelle, was delighted to be returning to the Northeast, the place she grew up. However after years of transferring across the nation — most lately spending six years in Arizona — neither she nor anybody else within the household knew a lot about residing within the New York metropolitan space.

Throughout an exploratory mission in September 2020, driving round Bergen County in North Jersey, they stumbled onto Ridgewood, which reminded Mr. Kaylor of the fictional city depicted on the TV collection “The Gilmore Women.”

“We didn’t know something concerning the space in any respect, however we fell in love with Ridgewood,” mentioned Ms. Kaylor, 45, an actual property residence stager. “It felt like Stars Hole, with all of the out of doors eating and a man taking part in guitar within the village sq.. My husband mentioned, ‘Hey, they actually have a city troubadour right here.’”

However discovering a home in Ridgewood on the peak of the pandemic-driven suburban migration wasn’t straightforward. The Kaylors misplaced 5 bidding wars earlier than lastly shopping for a 100-year-old Tudor-style home with 5 bedrooms and three and a half loos final June, paying $1.28 million.

The Kaylors’ discovery of Ridgewood doesn’t shock Christine Gubb, an actual property agent with Keller Williams, who has lived within the Bergen County village for 50 years. “Ridgewood is on everybody’s radar,” Ms. Gubb, 65, mentioned. “If somebody is relocating to this space, they usually ask, ‘The place ought to I transfer to?’ they’re instructed, ‘Go to Ridgewood.’”

For greater than a century, the village has appealed to professionals drawn to the extremely rated faculties, the business district with its eating places and upscale outlets, and the massive properties.

With two babies and a 3rd on the way in which, Allyse and Raymond Bader determined final winter that it was time to go away their two-bedroom condo on the Higher West Aspect of Manhattan and start exploring choices in Connecticut, Westchester County and North Jersey. Ridgewood appeared an excellent match, evoking what Ms. Bader, 37, referred to as “that Higher West Aspect really feel, with the previous and new structure that was fascinating and delightful.” In Might, the couple closed on a five-bedroom Tudor-style home in-built 1930 and absolutely renovated in 2014, paying $1.9 million — about $200,000 over the asking value.

Their June move-in date was postponed when Ms. Bader, who works in curriculum improvement at Columbia College’s Academics Faculty, went into labor two weeks early. Now a mom of three, she is anticipating the transfer to “a pleasant, walkable city and a extremely robust neighborhood,” she mentioned. “I simply can’t wait to be settled.”

Esther and Josh Louis are one other couple who left the Higher West Aspect for Ridgewood. For the previous yr, the couple and their 7-year-old son, Henry, have been residing in Mr. Louis’s dad and mom’ home, sleeping in his childhood bed room. In July, they are going to be transferring into the four-bedroom center-hall colonial that they purchased for $1.457 million.

“It’s been an emotional curler coaster,” mentioned Ms. Louis, 48, a senior supervisor on the Royal Financial institution of Canada. “We’re wanting ahead to lastly getting off this trip.”

Ridgewood has six residential districts named after close by elementary faculties: three on the east aspect of the prepare tracks that bisect the village, and three on the west aspect.

The Heights, a neighborhood within the Ridge District on the west aspect, has streets that climb excessive sufficient to afford views of the New York Metropolis skyline, and the properties there are among the many village’s most costly. However lots of Ridgewood’s roughly 26,000 residents desire to stay on the east aspect, inside strolling distance of the highschool and downtown.

A lot of the housing was constructed within the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, after the prepare traces from New York expanded west and Ridgewood turned a summer time getaway for metropolis residents. The facades of those older Victorian and colonial homes stay intact, for probably the most half, although many interiors have been drastically altered.

“Patrons love the outside attraction of the historic properties, however they need the within to be all up to date,” mentioned Christina Gibbons, an agent with Christie’s Worldwide Actual Property and a 16-year resident of the village. “If it’s already been renovated, it’s a house run; in the event that they need to do it themselves, they could pause.”

Whereas households with youngsters are drawn to the colleges, Ridgewood additionally appeals to these searching for a metropolitan setting. After realizing she might do most of her affiliation administration work remotely, Susanne Warfield left New York Metropolis 16 years in the past in the hunt for a quieter place with a way of life. She paid $687,000 for a four-bedroom Dutch colonial home in Ridgewood, which she shares along with her 75-pound German Pointer, Harry.

“I’m a single, skilled girl, and I didn’t wish to be someplace that was all simply homes,” Ms. Warfield, 60, mentioned. “I like that there are such a lot of eating places. And each morning there are many folks strolling by. I don’t have children within the college system, which accounts for many of our taxes, however that’s the price of doing enterprise and residing in a spot like this.”

In late June, the New Jersey A number of Itemizing Service confirmed 35 properties on the market in Ridgewood, with a median listing value of $1.15 million. The most costly was a five-bedroom Mediterranean-style home constructed within the early 1900s on 0.8 acres, listed for $2.85 million; the least costly was a four-bedroom colonial constructed within the Nineteen Fifties, listed for $545,000.

The median value of the 136 homes bought by way of June 22 of this yr was $961,500; throughout the identical interval in 2021, 143 properties bought at a median of $810,000.

Leases are scarce. Whereas 4 new complexes have gone up in recent times, most condo buildings have ready lists. Not too long ago obtainable flats included a one-bedroom within the older Mayflower Residences for $1,890 a month and a two-bedroom, two-and-a-half-bath unit within the Dayton, a more moderen constructing close to the middle of the village, for $5,730.

Downtown Ridgewood has greater than 100 eating places and an equal variety of outlets on the streets surrounding Van Neste Sq. Memorial Park, on the heart of city. The village can also be a cultural hub: Bookends bookstore is a cease on many authors’ book-signing excursions, and the Ridgewood Guild Worldwide Movie Competition is held yearly on the 1932 Artwork Deco Warner Theater, now a Bow Tie Cinema.

A preferred gathering spot is Graydon Pool, a pure swimming gap on the heart of the village that provides swimming packages, tennis and pickleball courts, and playgrounds, with seasonal memberships for $130 (or $30 for seniors). A part of the 577-acre Saddle River County Park — together with a wild duck pond and a canine park — can also be in Ridgewood.

Ridgewood’s six elementary faculties — Hawes, Orchard, Ridge, Somerville, Travell and Willard — outline the neighborhoods and, to some extent, residents’ expertise of residing within the village, as households are likely to pledge loyalty to their native faculties.

Preschoolers attend Glen Faculty, whereas college students in sixth by way of eighth grades go to Benjamin Franklin or George Washington Center Faculty.

Ridgewood Excessive Faculty serves about 1,700 college students and is persistently ranked among the many state’s prime public excessive faculties, with 94 % of scholars happening to school. The highschool affords 69 honors lessons and 30 Superior Placement programs. Common SAT scores in 2020-21 had been 635 in studying and writing and 651 in math, in contrast with state averages of 557 and 560.

Personal college choices within the space embrace Academy of Our Girl, a Catholic college in Glen Rock serving college students in prekindergarten by way of eighth grade, and Immaculate Coronary heart Academy, an all-girls Catholic highschool in Washington Township.

New Jersey Transit offers prepare and bus service between Ridgewood and New York Metropolis.

Trains to Penn Station in Manhattan take about an hour, with a switch in Secaucus; tickets are $9.75 a technique or $298 for a month-to-month cross. N.J. Transit buses 163 and 164 make the journey from Van Neste Sq. to Port Authority in Manhattan in 80 to 90 minutes; the fare is $7 for a one-way ticket or $199 for a month-to-month cross.

The spring-fed Graydon Pool — extra like a pond than a swimming pool — was created within the Twenties by damming a portion of Ho-Ho-Kus Brook, and expanded in 1936 as a part of a Works Progress Administration mission. In 2009, a debate erupted over a proposal to interchange the sandy-bottomed, 2.68-acre swimming gap with a concrete-lined, chlorinated pool. However the recession introduced an finish to that effort, and the pool stays in its pure state as we speak.

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