Two years ago, Latha Poonamallee joined the faculty at the New School. She and her family were living in a small college town in northern Michigan and were excited about the opportunity to move to New York.
Dr. Poonamallee, her husband, Al Curran, and their teenage son, Viyan, settled into a rental in Kips Bay, on a high floor with a great view. They enjoyed the neighborhood, where Dr. Poonamallee, an associate professor and chair of management programs who is now 49, shopped at the Indian grocery stores in the area sometimes called Curry Hill. Dr. Curran, 61, an engineer now semi-retired from his company, ThermoAnalytics, was partial to one particular hole-in-the-wall bar. (The couple also work together on a startup in India, In-Med Prognostics, which brings diagnostic medical-imaging tools to emerging markets.)
Their one-bedroom, although large, had a partition sectioning off the dining alcove to create Viyan’s sleeping nook. The layout didn’t work for three people with different schedules. Dr. Poonamallee rose early, often making phone calls, which was hard to do while the others were sleeping.
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“We had a one-bedroom flex, and with three of us there that became a serious impediment to our quality of life,” Dr. Curran said.
Last spring, Dr. Poonamallee contacted Edward Henwood, a licensed salesman at Mirador Real Estate, whom she had met while hunting for the rental. For a budget of up to $900,000, the family hoped to find a two-bedroom, two-bathroom co-op with an adequate kitchen, in a dog-friendly elevator building, ideally with a doorman.
“I prefer being in a building with staff,” she said. “I find it so comforting.”
She wanted to be within walking distance of her workplace in Greenwich Village, and if that wasn’t possible, to have a quick train ride.
“I said, ‘If we stick to the train lines, it won’t be a terrible commute,’” Mr. Henwood said. And hunting farther uptown would expand their choices.
“We weren’t looking for a unicorn,” Dr. Poonamallee said. “We knew what we wanted and were practical. I am a pretty organized person. We did not spend a lot of time looking.”
Among their choices:
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