After spending their whole lives in Texas, former San Antonio mayor Bill Thornton and his wife, Carolyn, made an unexpected choice for retirement. Bypassing stereotypical locales such as Florida or Arizona, the couple decided instead to spend their golden years in Manhattan.
In a May 13 interview with the New York Times, Bill, a former oral surgeon who served as mayor from 1995 to 1997, and Carolyn, a retired librarian, opened the doors of their $7,225-a-month apartment in Midtown, near New York City's famed Herald Square.
The couple reside in The Continental, a 53-story luxury apartment building on the corner of Sixth Avenue and 32nd Street. After it opened in 2011, New York Daily News described it as "a glass-wrapped skyscraper," and the Thorntons' apartment takes full advantage of the floor-to-ceiling views.
“When I walked in here, I was like, ‘Oh, my gosh,’” Carolyn told the Times. “We wanted those views.”
In the interview, the Thorntons describe the life they left San Antonio — a city they called home for 40 years — saying they were "deeply embedded" both civically and professionally. “We both had good lives, complete lives. But we were open to new opportunities; we wanted to grow in a different way,” said Carolyn.
After Bill lost reelection in 1997, the Thorntons stayed in Texas, while their son and daughter eventually moved to New York. Seven years ago, they joined their kids on the East Coast, trading their Alamo City home for the 34th floor of The Continental.
And while Bill calls the couple's Manhattan life "lovely," his wife does admit there is a difference between New York and Texas. "In Texas, it’s kind of rude to ask someone how much their house cost,” she told the Times. “But here, everyone is fascinated by real estate.”