Who’s Moving to the Suburbs? Alicia Keys, That’s Who’s Moving to the Suburbs!

Okay, as you all know, we have a recurring feature here at the Move to Suma breathlessly covering any news about celebrities making the move to suburban idyll.

And we’re doing pretty good.  Here’s our tally so far:

  • Tom Cruise
  • Elisabeth Hasselbeck
  • Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively
  • Usher
  • Jay-Z and Beyonce
  • Jonah Hill
  • Any Winehouse (before, umm, she died, but that was TOTALLY unrelated)

So we’re clearly not along in our decision to get out of the big city and move to the land of big lawns and rooms that we never actually use.

Now, we’re proud to add someone new to the list:  Alicia Keys!  From Curbed:

Grammy-collecting R&B singer-songwriter Alicia Keys and her producer husband Swizz Beatz have apparently had enough of the concrete jungle where dreams are made, having just dropped about $12M on the opulent (if flinchingly over-designed) New Jersey estate of comedian Eddie Murphy. Bubble Hill, in Englewood, N.J., is a seven-bedroom estate with all the benefits of being rich and in the ‘burbs; the 25,000-square-foot manse boasts a recording studio, two-lane bowling alley, indoor pool, billiards room, spa, and tennis court. Murphy had been trying to sell his 30-room mansion for nearly eight years before a mystery buyer (mystery until now, that is) made an offer in May. Keys, who was born and raised in NYC, seems to be rather fond of star-studded real estate, having picked up Lenny Kravitz’s SoHo duplex penthouse more than two years ago. (She recently listed it for $17.95M.)

Most importantly, catch that last part: she’s putting her Soho duplex on the market after only two years. In other words, leaving Soho for Englewood!  To paraphrase a popular song:

Let’s hear it for Su-Burbs!

Pick-et fences where dreams are made of.

There’s nothing you can’t do!

Alicia Keys — Welcome to the suburbs!

Who’s Moving to the Suburbs? Tom Cruise, That’s Who!

As part of my never-ending and desperate quest to validate my move to the suburbs, I’d delighted to report that we have yet another A-list celebrity who is thinking of making the move to the land of big lawns, chain restaurants, and SUVs:

Tom Cruise is house hunting in the New York suburbs. Or rather, mansion and estate hunting, according to both tabloids. He’s got Bedford, NY and Greenwich, CT to comb through–that’s where the celebs live. Ron Howard, who directed him “Far and Away,” is a long time Greenwich resident. “ER” star Anthony Edwards is up there, too.

This is a big one, ladies and gentlemen.  Regardless of the reasons — and apparently Mr. Cruise is going through some relationship issues that might bring him to the area — it’s quite the “get” for us to welcome the star of one of the great suburban movies of all time (talking about, of course, Mission Impossible 3 Risky Business).

So, as the self-appointed head of the Celebrity Suburban Welcome Wagon, let me be the first to say: “Tom Cruise!  Welcome to the Suburbs!”

Who’s Moving to the Suburbs? Elisabeth Hasselbeck, That’s Who!

One of the regular features of the Move to Suma is our breathless reporting of celebrities who have made the move to the suburbs, in what is an obvious and thinly-veiled attempt to validate my own decision to leave the city.  I mean, am I really so uncool to live in the suburbs if people like Jonah Hill, Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively, Beyonce and Jay Z, and Usher are making the move with me (not, of course, really WITH me, but you get the point)?

Those are pretty cool people, amirite?  So, in the spirit of fairness, I have to report this little nugget from the Daily Mail:

For one TV co-host, changing her view was as simple as moving to Connecticut.

Elisabeth Hasselbeck, who serves as co-host on The View, has purchased a sprawling $4million estate with her husband Tim Hasselbeck an hour outside of New York City.

The bubbly blonde had listed her condo on the Upper West Side in March for $3.3million earlier this year. It is now in contract to sell.

Ms Hasselbeck’s rep told TMZ at the time that the family was looking for a quieter and less-hectic lifestyle, saying: ‘Tim and Elisabeth have decided to trade in city living for the suburbs.’

I have to be honest. I would have thought that Elisabeth Hasselbeck ALREADY lived in the suburbs.

This is not quite the get we had with Beyonce, but, nevertheless — welcome, Elisabeth!

Who’s Moving to the Suburbs? Pawn Shops, That’s Who!

If you live in the suburbs, and you’ve been wondering how you can offload that used Rolex for some walking around money, I have good news for you:

A slice of urban grit is moving to the suburbs.

Pawn shops are becoming increasingly more popular in areas outside New York City, and some residents aren’t pleased about it.

The sign of the pawnbroker, familiar in the concrete jungle of Gotham, is coming soon to a suburban street near you.

This is very exciting news, I think.  I’ve become a big fan of all those cable shows featuring pawn brokers buying up stuff, so I’m looking forward to something like “Pawn Stars: Westchester” on my basic cable lineup this fall.

And anytime that I find some antiques lying around the house, and am looking to get a good 20 cents on the dollar on my way to Atlantic City, I no longer have to lug them into the city.

Seriously, do people really need pawn shops anymore? Ebay is basically a big pawn shop where you can sell basically anything and probably get a better price rather than negotiating with a guy who probably knows more about what you’re selling than you do, and does this all day long.

While I’m on the subject, why do people bring specialty items into pawn stores?Every week on Pawn Stars, some guy comes in with a Civil War rifle or something, and big bald Rick tells them he’ll have to bring an expert in to appraise it.  Why don’t those people just bring it to the expert in the first place?  And then why do they stand there and let the appraiser value it, only to then sell it for 60 cents on the dollar to Rick?  Those people drive me crazy.  GO TO EBAY!

All that said, as the honorary and self-appointed driver of the “Moving to the Suburbs of Manhattan” Welcome Wagon, let me just say to the owners of all these wonderful pawn shops — Welcome to the Suburbs!

Who’s Moving to the Suburbs? Ryan Reynolds, That’s Who!

Hollywood Life is reporting that movie star Ryan Reynolds is moving to the suburbs! And not just the suburbs, but the Manhattan suburbs:

Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds want to escape city life and settle down in the suburbs, Us Weekly reports. We think they’re ready to take the leap!

The Gossip Girl star and her super-hot boyfriend of six months “have been looking around different areas of Connecticut” for a house, an insider tells the mag.

They were spotted strolling through New Canaan, an upscale town about an hour outside of NYC, on April 12, and checked out several home decor stores while they were there, according to Us.

Blake, 24 and Ryan, 35, “would like to live, as much as they can, like a normal couple,” the insider says. “They love getting out of the city and appreciate a slower pace.”

Hopefully the couple doesn’t plan to slow down their careers, though — we don’t know what we’d do without Serena on Gossip Girl!

This is a pretty nice get for us in the suburbs, although I have to be honest that I have absolutely no idea who Blake Lively is…….

Who’s Moving to the Suburbs? Usher, That’s Who!

First Beyonce and Jay Z, and now……Usher?

Could R&B singer USHER be prepared to settle down and make ANOTHER family???? Well he was out HOUSE HUNTING yesterday in Hudson, NY – a FAMILY FRIENDLY town outside of NYC.

Okay, so it’s from website I’ve never heard of, and no one else picked it up, and it looks like all he was doing was driving around Hudson County (hey! shout out to Hudson!), probably not for himself.

But I take whatever I can get. Sooooo……………

Welcome, Usher!  I don’t actually know any of your music, because I’m so completely lame, but you’re famous and all, so we’re thrilled to have you aboard!

Who’s Moving to the Suburbs? Lesbians, That’s Who!

Here at the Move to Suma, we’ve been keeping track of all the people who are moving to the suburbs, which is really just a thinly-veiled attempt to validate my own decision.  The more people who are moving to the suburbs, the better I feel.  So in the past year or so, we’ve commented on census studies showing that immigrants and African-Americans are increasingly migrating from the cities to the suburbs, and pointed out a few celebrities who are also making the move.

So now, we also want to welcome our newest addition — lesbians!

It used to be that gay, lesbian and bi-sexual people in the suburbs found the climate less than welcoming. LGBT people had to blend in to make it in suburban neighborhoods. Not so now. These days suburban living is viewed as a real option for LGBT people and they are moving to suburbs that are close to NYC as well as towns further out.

According to Gary Gates, a demographer from the Urban Institute who did a study for HRC after the 2000 census, gay male couples largely prefer urban environments (45%) to suburbs (41.3%) and lesbian couples settle more often in suburban locales (46%) than city centers (38.2%).

The post from Its Conceivable recounts the story of a lesbian couple with a one-year old daughter who moved to New Rochelle, a lovely suburb of Manhattan, where they’ve found a community of new York City “ex-pats.”

So what do we think of those stats, showing such a mixed preference among gays and lesbians for the cities versus the suburbs?  I mean, it certainly flies in the face of conventional wisdom that the LGBT community would prefer the traditional greater levels of tolerance and diversity of the cities.  But I think key to those stats is that they come from COUPLES, not singles.  That is, it’s sort of interesting that gay and lesbian couples, particularly, I imagine, couples with children, have the same impulse to move to the suburbs that straight couples do.  My guess is that gay and lesbian singles would have much stronger preferences for the city (which is, again, not so much different from straight people).

People are people, you know?  Gay, straight, as they get older they have the same sort of changes in their lives that sometimes compel changes in where they live.

As we’ve noted a few times in this space, it is interesting to see all these demographic studies that are showing how the suburbs are becoming more ethnic and diverse: immigrants, African-Americans, and now the LGBT community.  Most of these people come to the suburbs for the same reasons: more space, cheaper living, and an easier place to raise kids. It’s a universal need as you get older.  But the nice part is that as we start to see those changes in the suburbs, we might actually find the suburbs becoming more “livable” to exiles.  After all, one of the reasons a 17 year resident of Manhattan like me was willing to move to the suburbs was the opportunity to live somewhere like Nyack, which is relatively diverse and lefty and gay-friendly and all that.  It would be nice to think that the suburbs will eventually evolve to provide more neighborhoods like that, places where you don’t feel like you’re selling your soul when you leave the city.

So welcome to Kim and Philippa, the couple from the story, and welcome to everyone else joining me in the suburbs.

Who’s Moving to the Suburbs? More Asian-Americans, That’s Who!

The Associated Press reported last week that Asian-Americans are increasingly moving to the suburbs from the inner cities::

America’s historic Chinatowns, home for a century to immigrants seeking social support and refuge from racism, are fading as rising living costs, jobs elsewhere and a desire for wider spaces lure Asian-Americans more than ever to the suburbs.


Nationwide, about 62% of Asian-Americans in the nation’s large metropolitan areas live in the suburbs, up from 54% in 1990 and the highest ever. Tied with Hispanics as the fastest-growing group, the nation’s 4.4 million Asians are more likely than other minorities to live in the suburbs; only whites, at 78%, are higher.

Since 2000, nearly three-fourths of Asian population growth in the U.S. occurred in suburbs, many of them in the South.

This all makes sense, right?  We’ve noted before the trend for immigrants in general moving from the cities to the suburbs, so it’s not surprising that Asian-Americans are following the same path.  Indeed, it’s kind of what happened in previous generations — my Italian grandparents settled in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, but their four sons all ended up scattering to the suburbs of Dutchess, Rockland, Long Island, and Staten Island.  That’s pretty much the American experience.  Immigrants are initially attracted to urban centers, particularly those with a high concentration of fellow ex-patriates, but as they have kids, or as their kids have kids, they eventually find their way to the open spaces.  So it’s no surprise that Asian-Americans are doing the same thing.

A hat tip to the 8asian.com blog, which commented on the AP piece and shared a more personal perspective on the trend.  Unsurprisingly, as with most people who move to the suburbs, it’s all about the kids:

I later asked my parents why we moved to the suburbs in the first place. Why did my mother have to endure such a terrible commute? Why did we pick up and leave such a familiar community and move far away from our friends and relatives? For me, it was an uncomfortable experience. Besides having to make new friends, there were just so many cultural differences between the city and the suburbs.

My parents told me that they did it for the schools. More than anything else, they were worried that my sister and I wouldn’t get a good enough education in the city. What if we didn’t do well enough to qualify for entry into one of the specialized public schools? The schools we were zoned for were terrible. And not only were the schools in Great Neck strong, the neighborhoods were also quiet and safe. There, my parents wouldn’t have to worry quite as much about our safety and well-being.

Basically, my parents decided to move for the benefit of their children.

To me, that’s really the reason why so many APA families have migrated to the suburbs. It’s not merely to achieve some vague sense of the American Dream – a nice house, a front yard, and a prettier neighborhood.

It does seem like every time I come across someone writing about the difficult decision to move to the suburbs, they talk about the kids.  It’s the same for hipster urban couples as it is for people recent immigrants living in Chinatown.

All that said, I still find the suburbs pretty white-bread.  My wife and son are Asian, and it’s not unusual to look around when we’re out at a restaurant or a movie and find that they’re pretty much the only minorities in the place. But I know that in other areas of the suburbs you’ll find pretty high concentrations of ethnic residents, like the huge Korean-American population in Palisades Park and Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey.

It’s a funny thing.  We call the suburbs “white,” but only because we’re largely talking about second- and third-generation immigrants who migrated in droves 50 years ago. After all, I’m “white,” but my Sicilian grandfather was certainly not “white” back 75 years ago when he changed his name from “Miserandino” to Rand. (chop off some letters on each side, and become an Anglo!).  We don’t think of Italian food as ethnic anymore, partly because of assimilation but also just because over time ethnicities weave themselves into the general fabric of society.

Now, when we talk about ethnic Americans, we’re talking about the Asian-American or Latino-American populations. But it might be that in 25 years we’ll be complaining about how the suburbs still lack diversity, but only because our understanding of diversity will have changed. As someone in a mixed-race family, I certainly would love to see an increase in ethnic diversity in my area, for all the obvious reasons.

Not the least of which is that hopefully, at some point, I’ll be able to get a decent bowl of soup without having to drive 25 miles into Manhattan.

Who’s Moving to the Suburbs? Jay Z and Beyonce, That’s Who!

Lots of cool people have moved to the suburbs, not just (ahem) me.  We had Amy Winehouse a few years ago, back when she was alive.  Then we got reports that more immigrants and African-Americans were moving into the suburbs. Then big-fat-and-now-thin-and-now-sorta-fat-again Jonah Hill.

You see?  It’s not just me, lots of people are fleeing the cities for the joys of picket fences and sports bars and no food delivery.

But now we have our biggest get yet:

MediaTakeOut.com got a SUPER WORLD EXCLUSIVE . . . Beyonce and Jay Z have CHANGED their primary residence . .. from NYC – to SCARSDALE, a suburb OUTSIDE of NYC.

We spoke to a person with FIRST HAND KNOWLEDGE who tell us that Jigga and Bey have been working FOR MONTHS, to finish a COMPLETE RENOVATION on a MEGA MANSION that the couple bought nearly 3 years ago.

According to our insider, the new mansion underwent a $2M RENO. The new house has a STATE OF THE ART security system and a tennis court and a full basketball court. They also made a separate GUEST HOUSE where Bey’s mom will use, when she comes to town.

So what about their $10M 8,000 Sq ft. Tribeca apartment? We’re told they’ll use it when their “in the city.”

Must be nice . . .

How about that, people?  Not so bad — maybe the biggest celebrity couple in the world, and they’re moving to SUMA.

Welcome to the suburbs, guys, love that music stuff that you do.

Who’s Moving to the Suburbs? Jonah Hill, That’s Who!

As part of my never-ending and desperate attempt to validate my deeply uncool decision to move to the suburbs, I’m DELIGHTED to report that we’ve nabbed another big name:

Fresh off his success and critical acclaim (Oscar rumors?) from his supporting role in Brad Pitt’s Moneyball and also after shedding a few pounds, Superbad Jonah Hill has decided to settle down in the suburbs. He’s sold his Hollywood condo recently for $835,000 and has now decided to throw down $2.2 million for a quaint suburban home in the Valley. Hill still has a $1.9 million casa off Mulholland Drive in the Hollywood Hills. His new home is located in upper-class Tarzana, California (named after Tarzan, no joke) Jonah has all the laid-back luxuries of the suburbs to enjoy.

The post, from something called CelebrityNetWorth.com (yikes!) then pulls all the property photos, probably from the online listing, to show you what kind of house he bought.

That’s pretty good, right? I mean, it’s not Brad Pitt, but it’s a guy who’s in a movie with Brad Pitt.  That has to count for something.

Welcome, Jonah!