Angela and Joel Solomon are the rare New Yorkers who talk with great cheer about moving from a "humongous and exquisite" 4,000-square-foot Upper West Side apartment—the kind with a grand central hall and formal dining room—to their current home, a modern and minimal West Village two-bedroom that's about a quarter the size of their previous place. Defying every rule of human nature and real-estate attachment, the couple even let go of the andirons with the fireplace. "It liberated us to do this," says Joel, 70, a man who, as a psychiatrist specializing in addiction issues (and a medical advisor to the Major League Baseball Players Association), knows the pull of habit.
After 30 years of seeing patients in the uptown apartment, Joel decided to move his practice to a friend's clinic. That decision prompted him and Angela, for the first time in decades, to consider the prospect of moving downtown—and downsizing. "We were ready to go back to where we began."