For Two Empty Nesters, a Fresh Start in Brooklyn 50 Years in the Making

Gina and Steven Brown met 50 years ago in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, where they grew up around the corner from each other. It would be another 49 years before they married.

“We’ve known each other since we were 5 and 6 years old,” said Mrs. Brown, now 55. “He always likes to tell the story that he used to come to my house and play with my younger brother.”

The two went on a few dates during college — she often came home from Syracuse University, while he was at Long Island University — but eventually fell out of touch. He moved to North Carolina, where he owned a clothing store and started a family, while she became a real estate agent in New York, married, had a son and bought a multifamily home in Prospect Heights.

Two decades passed before they would reconnect. Her marriage ended in 2010, and he moved back to Brooklyn after his own separation.

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“I knew that I was coming back to New York, so I was just on Facebook and I saw a picture of Gina,” said Mr. Brown, 56. “I hadn’t seen her in years and I said to myself, ‘Wow.’”

Mrs. Brown, who is an entrepreneur and now an owner, along with her husband, of the lifestyle brand myBKlife, was living on her own for the first time when she received an unexpected message on Facebook. “I remember saying to my mother, ‘What could he possibly want after all this time?’ That was 10 years ago, and we have been inseparable ever since.”

The couple married last summer, and Mrs. Brown saw her son off to college in the fall. The new lovebirds had an empty nest, so they decided to sell the house in Prospect Heights and use the proceeds to buy an apartment. They settled on a budget of $1 million and worked with Matthew Scott, a broker at Serhant, who handled both sides of the deal.

The Browns had a few high-priority items on their wishlist. “They knew they wanted a condo and wanted a new building with amenities,” Mr. Scott said. “They wanted at least two bedrooms, and Gina needed at least two bathrooms. That was a nonnegotiable. She was tired of sharing a bathroom with her son.”

The house in Prospect Heights had dedicated parking, and the couple wanted the same perk in their new building. And they had one more very specific requirement familiar to many New Yorkers: “We also needed a bodega nearby,” Mrs. Brown said. “And a good bodega, you know what I mean?”

They focused their search on the east side of Prospect Park, mainly Prospect Lefferts Gardens and Crown Heights, and looked at several new condo complexes within biking distance of green spaces. “We have bikes, so we knew we wanted something very accessible to the parks,” Mr. Brown said.

Among their options:

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