Mr. Sadel liked Leonard Pointe, built around 2014, where he was drawn to the surround-sound speaker system. But the apartment he saw there overlooked the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway, he said, “and you could hear the cars zooming by.”
Another building, 101 Bedford, which opened in 2012 near McCarren Park, also had an available apartment with surround-sound speakers. It had a balcony as well, which was something they felt they could easily do without, and it was on a low floor overlooking a busy courtyard, with a fishbowl feel, he said, “where everyone could just watch you.”
Then one day last spring, as Mr. Sadel was walking along Kent Avenue, he saw a 40-story tower rising in what looked like a great spot on the waterfront. The building, Level, was not offering showings yet, but he visited the rental office and saw floor plans that showed the desired open kitchen and ample closet space, as well as a washer-dryer.
When he later visited a one-bedroom there being offered for $3,520 a month, he sent a video to Ms. Sadel in Toronto.
She happily gave him the go-ahead. “I wanted it taken care of,” she said. “I trusted him because he has better taste than I do.”
They signed a two-year lease that included two free months, and Mr. Sadel arrived in the middle of July, with Ms. Sadel joining him in August. (About a quarter of the building’s 554 units have been rented so far.)
“I felt instantly home,” Ms. Sadel said. “I was so happy to be back in the city.”
The first few weeks they were there, the hallways were covered with plastic floor-protection film, Mr. Sadel said, and “you could hear people walking on it near your door” — a crunch that sometimes awakened him.
It has since been replaced by carpeting, but the construction continues. Because they are at work during the day, though, they are able to escape the brunt of it, and it is scheduled to be finished in the spring.
To his delight, Mr. Sadel realized he could ride the ferry to work, with a quick trip between the North Williamsburg landing and Murray Hill, though it runs less often than the subway.
Ms. Sadel heads to two gyms in the East 50s in Manhattan. She reluctantly gave up her 12-minute walk to work in Toronto, and now uses the crowded Bedford Avenue station, where she takes the L train and transfers uptown.
The only other real sacrifice, they said, was the second bathroom — but then, they expected that. “Our bathroom is a big bathroom,” Ms. Sadel said. “So it’s not a problem.”