Michael Hoeppner had to shed his Manhattan street manners.
“The first day I came here, I had, like, nine ambassadors from the local welcoming department.”
—Michael “Chad” Hoeppner
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Michael “Chad” Hoeppner, 41Current Owner, Communications Consultant
Lives with: His wife Hilary Kole and daughter
Moved From: Upper West Side
We realized we were paying an arm and a leg in Manhattan. We looked all over. We got into this area, and the homes are stunning, and it just seemed nicer. The people who sold us this house live next door, Rodney and Desmond. They already had a couple of offers. I think partly what happened is that they wanted us as neighbors: a pregnant couple trying to get a first-time home buy. I’m sure probably that was more appealing than .1 percent more on the down payment or whatever.
The block is awesome. The first day I came here, I had, like, nine ambassadors from the local welcoming department bragging about what a great block this is. There’s that awesome guy, Milton, down here. My car got a parking ticket. And Milton went off on the parking lady. He was advocating for me in my absence.
Milton said, “Best block in Brooklyn.” People have lived here so long — 45 years, 50, 65, 70 years — that there’s a real pride in community. You are responsible for your neighbors. We lived on 76th and Amsterdam, and you walk by probably 400 people a day, and no one says hi to anybody. Here, everybody says hi. It caught me off guard, like I had moved to a different country where I needed to be friendlier, frankly, talk to my neighbors more. It’s a pretty good head check. You realize how much time you spend walking around in your own little universe of anxieties. If you’re walking around in that headspace, and you walk by someone and they’re like, “How you doing?,” you look like a jerk if you’re stuck in your own little moment. It calls on you to be present in the activity of walking down the street.
Interviews by: DW Gibson, Christopher Pomorski, and Kim Velsey. Photographs by: Francis Agyapong for New York Magazine. Additional reporting by: Katie Levingston, Kiannah Sepeda-Miller, Eleanor Shanahan, Danielle Smith, Manuela Tobias, and James Walsh. Edited by: Genevieve Smith. Production: Sarah Caldwell and Abraham Riesman. Design and Development: Leslie Shapiro, Sarah Ruddy, and Kristen Dudish.