Two babies, two cats, and a dog (and 250 mice): She needed a new plan. Which option will you choose?

Jennifer loved sample living in the West Village—so much that when she was hit by COVID-19 and forced out by homeschooling the commercial loft she was sharing with her two children—Kate, 11, and Owen, 9—and 125-pound German Shepherd Sarge, she settled on rent. Traditional on the same street.

But after more than a decade in the neighborhood, she’s starting to feel diminished at home. “We don’t know anyone anymore,” said Ms. Sample, 52, a single mother who runs a medical engineering company. Her son has autism, and she felt the shift in the region more acutely in the way strangers interacted with him.

“Once in a wonderful period, Owen would have a breakdown. Instead of people calling me to the police, people would come and help me.” “We’ve had some meltdowns in recent months, and the only people who have helped us are the delivery guys at Amazon and the guys from UPS.”

At the height of the pandemic, both children were learning remotely as part of a small pandemic pandemic, which contributed to Ms Sample’s desire to stay local. But soon after they moved into their new rental, a two-bedroom $10,650 a month, they were inundated with a rat infestation.

“I don’t talk about 15 to 20 mice,” she said. “I’m talking about 250 mice.”

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By March 2022, she was intent on creating a better environment for everyone. With a budget of $1.5 million, she was hoping for some outdoor gardening. And with two kids growing, a huge dog and now two cats – recruited to help the mice – she needed more space to house the entire clan.

But not much. “I didn’t want to clean up that extra amount of space, with all these animals,” she said. Owen often sleeps in bed with her anyway, so two bedrooms felt like enough.

But her biggest wish was less realistic: a sense of community.

“She’s always been talking about this old New York where you have friendly neighbors and you know people on the street,” said her broker, Steve Gold, who stars in “Million Dollar List” on Bravo TV and represents Ms. Sample by Corcoran Group. . “You don’t feel like that anymore.”

Owen attends a special school for autistic children in Harlem, so in addition to some possibilities in lower Manhattan, Mr. Gold suggested that Mrs. Sample consider Harlem a place not just to learn, but to live.

Among its options:

Find out what happened next by answering these two questions:

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