Jen and Paul: We hardly knew ye!

for The Brooklyn Paper
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So, Jennifer Connelly and Paul Bettany are selling their gorgeous limestone mansion on Prospect Park West for a cool $8.5 million and buying a place in Tribeca.

Sure, the mansion is a bit out of Smartmom’s price range, but she did check out the listing on the Sotheby’s Web site, where the home is called “one of the all-time great houses of New York [where] sunlight fills the grandly proportioned rooms all day long through oversized windows.” (Oh, so that explains why Connelly and Bettany always had their shades drawn tight!)

Of course, the neighborhood is abuzz. In Smartmom’s case, the buzz started at 3 am on Tuesday, with that first e-mail from her twin sister, Diaper Diva. Luckily Smartmom was sleepless on Third Street, so the pair chatted in the old-fashioned way — over their cellphones.

“One thing you have to say is they kept up the integrity of it,” Diaper Diva told Smartmom as they surveyed the pictures together. “They kept the original details and decorated with a light touch. I like the mix of the mid-century with the Victorian.”

Then Diaper Diva went back to bed. But Smartmom couldn’t sleep as she tried to figure out how Jen and Paul could possibly walk away from all that?

Why would anyone — especially anyone with a house like that?! — leave Park Slope for Tribeca? Why would anyone give up a view of Olmsted’s magnificent Prospect Park for one featuring the West Side Highway and New Jersey?

In some ways, Connelly and Bettany’s Manhattan move calls into question everything that people like Smartmom hold dear. That house on the corner of Carroll Street is a Slope dream, a home to lust over: a historic, 5,200-square-foot mansion crammed with architectural details and facing a beloved park. If they were miserable in a house like that, what does that say about the rest of us? (You got it: we’re more miserable!)

Then again, if Jennifer Connelly can walk away from such a great home, maybe it is possible for all of us to give up the material things that we always think will make our lives so wonderful (but never do).

Smartmom would prefer to think that Connelly, a lifelong Brooklynite, just wants to try life on the other side of the East River. That would be less of a blow to Slopers because we all know that Park Slope is a Shangri La compared to Tribeca.

Still, Smartmom still took it personally. After all, she liked having the actors as neighbors.

They were just a nice couple with kids. All right, they were Hollywood royalty — she has an Oscar; he has, well, those tall, gorgeous, British good looks — but they were good Slopers.

They kept a low profile.

They seemed smart.

They filled their front garden with tulips.

She rode her bike in Prospect Park and played with her kids at the Third Street Playground and the Tea Lounge (though the one on Union Street, not the less-fancy original on Tenth Street!).

Like Us magazine is always pretending, these stars really were “just like US.” Or so we could pretend.

But now they’re walking away from us.

So Smartmom is walking away from her Prospect Park West envy. Yeah, right. What Smartmom wouldn’t do for a cool loft in Tribeca!

Louise Crawford also writes “Only the Blog Knows Brooklyn,” a Web site.

Louise Crawford, a Park Slope mom, also operates “Only the Blog Knows Brooklyn.”
Updated 5:06 pm, July 9, 2018
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