Facing the Pandemic Together, but in Manhattan or Brooklyn?


Not long ago, Nicole Sattler was sharing a two-bedroom with a roommate in a Kips Bay high-rise, while her boyfriend, Howard Dean Watts, was living in East Williamsburg, Brooklyn, in a four-bedroom duplex with roommates, and working in Greenpoint as a software engineer.

But after the pandemic hit, Ms. Sattler’s roommate went home to be with family. As an on-site endoscopic specialist for a medical device company in Manhattan, Ms. Sattler didn’t have that option.

It was “stressful for everyone,” said Mr. Watts, who was able to work remotely. “I didn’t want her to face those challenges alone.”

So he moved into the two-bedroom with her, fixing things around the house. And she taught him to cook.

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“Dean is very handy, so he would build anything we got, like furniture,” said Ms. Sattler, 25, who met Mr. Watts, 27, three years ago through a mutual friend. “I am very clean, and everything is put away. In Williamsburg, his room was messy, but now he is accommodating. I will come back and the bed will be made. It’s such a nice feeling.”

“My weaknesses are her strengths, and vice versa,” Mr. Watts said.

Over the summer, the two began looking for a long-term place of their own, with a budget of no more than $4,000 a month. Ms. Sattler wanted an easy trip to her hospital, which had been a 10-minute walk from her old place, as well as updated appliances and laundry facilities. Mr. Watts was eager for a room or nook where he could set up an office, and maybe even outdoor space, which he’d had in his duplex.

Among their options:

Find out what happened next by answering these two questions:

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