• Jim and Ellen Diamond left their four-bedroom house in the suburbs for a one-bedroom unit in NYC.
  • Living in the city makes life more convenient, as they no longer have to drive or maintain a home.
  • Activities, like visiting Carnegie Hall, are more accessible plus their doctors are closer now, too.

This as-told-to essay is based on a conversation with Jim and Ellen Diamond, both 88. The Diamonds moved in February 2023 from Hastings-on-Hudson, New York — about 23 miles north of Midtown, Manhattan — to Coterie Hudson Yards, a luxury senior- and assisted-living facility in Manhattan, where one-bedrooms like the Diamonds' rent from $16,800 a month. The conversation was edited for length and clarity.

Jim: When we first moved in to the suburbs, we were the same age as everybody else, more or less.

Ellen: I mean, you'd like to stay 32-years-old forever, but you don't.

Jim: The neighbors were getting too young for us.

Ellen: We weren't getting old. They were getting young.

Jim: We were there for 50 years.

Ellen: A lot of our friends in Hastings have moved to senior residences in other cities. I don't know any of our friends who've moved to the city. Maybe it's because it's more expensive.

The reason we decided to move to the city was we needed more help as we were getting older. And mainly, I don't think you should be driving after the age of 200-something, and you absolutely needed a car in the suburbs.

Jim: We had real motivation to change our scenario. We had to do all our own shopping, we had to have a car to do that, and we had to fix the car and all that stuff — and I even painted the house twice.

We wanted to be closer to our favorite activities

Ellen: The city is stimulating, and one of the antidotes to old age is keeping up your interests.

Jim: You can do things here. I've seen places where they had retirement areas where people were sitting on the porch all grouped in a circle looking out in the distance. And that got to me. That might be good for a couple of days, but I wouldn't do that.

Ellen: We wanted to be in this city, really, because of Carnegie Hall. And doctors. All our doctors were in New York anyway.

Jim: In Hastings, we didn't neglect coming into New York City. We went to classical music concerts all the time.

Ellen: A couple or three times a week.

Jim: We took the train, we drove and parked — anything necessary to get into Manhattan to go to all those wonderful things. Museums, too. All the things that New York City offers.

Moving saved us the time we spent driving back and forth to the city or taking the trains, which began to toll on us as we got older. And we knew that the future had this plan for us to have a place where there was some help, but we needed it later on. We're still mobile, and it seems to be working out very well.

Planning dinners, shopping, all that got eliminated.

Ellen: The lifestyle is entirely different. And that's not necessarily bad.

Our home is significantly smaller than in the suburbs, but errands are easier to run

Ellen: Before Coterie was built, we were looking fairly seriously in another, somewhat similar place, but our grand piano wouldn't fit. That was a major factor.

Jim: The piano goes or I don't.

Ellen: We were worried about it, but Steinway won't move a piano until they send somebody to inspect the place it's going. And Steinway did and it was fine. But we didn't watch them crane it up the side of the building, that would not have been comforting.

The apartments are bigger here. I wouldn't say they were enormous, but they were big enough for the stupid grand piano. It doesn't fit, but it's in there anyway, you could walk around.

The house we had in Hastings had small rooms, but there were four bedrooms.

This is a one-bedroom and the rooms aren't large. There's one smallish bedroom and a smallish living room, just big enough for the piano and not a whole lot else. And that's the way it is. We had to throw out mountains of stuff.

It was the least expensive unit on the lowest floor. It is expensive here. There's no getting around it. A place like this with all the personal amenities, the care that's given and the expertise and the staff — it's going to be expensive.

Jim: Being here has eliminated a lot of tasks, like having a car and having it repaired, and other things like that. There are a few stores we can walk to and get groceries.

Ellen: I run errands to the drugstore. We spent a lot of last Friday doing errands in Grand Central Station.

I'd say it has gone far beyond what we expected. The instant we did move in, we realized what a good choice it was.

2023-12-16T11:39:20Z dg43tfdfdgfd