Dear suburban GTA resident flying on Porter Airlines from Newark to Toronto:
Since you were not talking to me, I was unable to respond to your erroneous statements. But since you were speaking loud enough for the entire plane to hear, I was easily able to determine that you have no idea what you are talking about.
Here are some facts of which you clearly are not aware.
1. I'm glad you enjoyed your stay near the airport in Elizabeth, New Jersey. However, since you did not venture into New York City, you have no idea how the area near your hotel compares to any part of New York City. Elizabeth, NJ is Elizabeth, NJ. New York is New York. Proximity does not imply similarity.
2. Park Slope, where your friend lives, is not "a suburb of Manhattan". It is a neighbourhood in Brooklyn. Brooklyn and Manhattan have been part of the same city since 1898.
3. Park Slope is not a "typical suburb". It is not a suburb at all. It is an affluent urban neighbourhood, served by multiple subway lines.
4. Park Slope is not "a neighbourhood where nice families are beginning to move". Nice families have lived in Park Slope for hundreds of years. Wealthy white families thoroughly colonized Park Slope in the mid-1980s. In the 21st Century, "nice families" can buy a Park Slope brownstone only if two adults are each six-figure earners.
5. Your Park Slope friend does not live in a "townhome". She lives in a brownstone. Brownstones are historic, 19th Century structures characterized by artistic masonry, 20-foot ceilings, intricate wood mouldings, and other architectural details that make them some of the most desired dwellings in many US cities.
6. Your friend's brownstone is not "attached" housing. Your wealthy friend is not forced to live in a house "that is not even detached". I highly doubt that she shares your disgust for this shameful condition.
7. You were horrified, not so much as the high housing costs that your wealthy friend takes in stride, but that she pays so much money for an attached townhome. Your central question - "What do they get for it?" - is not asked or answered the way it is where you live, in suburban Markham. What do they get for it? They get to live in New York City, in a brownstone.
I hope this helps.
A former New Yorker, Park Slope nanny, and third-generation Brooklynite