They Wanted a House in the City for $1 Million. Would They Find It in Brooklyn or Queens?


Danielle McCullough, a Manhattan resident who is originally from Baltimore, moved to East Harlem shortly before Covid struck. It reminded Dr. McCullough of her Baltimore home. The apartment, which had two bedrooms and two bathrooms, cost $3,400 per month. It also included space for Penny, her beagle. She had previously spent eight years in hospital housing on the Upper East Side, first as a medical student and then as a resident in anesthesiology.

Dr. McCullough was in a relationship with Lorne, who she met online. McCullough is now 38 years old. She said, “It was a couple who looked very different on paper and yet we had this deep soul connection.” Behrman was a 48-year-old musician and copywriter, originally from California. He had been divorced several years. He was paying $1,750 per month for a rental in Midwood, Brooklyn. “I knew Danielle would be the one. My heart opened. When Dr. McCullough grew up, her family was constantly moving and money was scarce. She said that part of her ambition to be successful was to have a secure home that she owned. The couple briefly considered Westchester where Mr. Behrman’s daughter lived with her mother. However, the area did not feel right. They were feeling overwhelmed and pessimistic, Mr. Armstrong explained. “But Danielle had been pre-approved for a physician mortgage” — which allows for a low down payment — “so I knew they were in good shape.”

With a budget of up to $1.2 million, the couple dreamed of finding a three-bedroom house “where we could spread out and make noise and be a family,” Mr. Behrman said, with a grassy yard for the dog and a reasonable commute on public transportation to Dr. McCullough’s Upper East Side hospital.

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