Moving from Buffalo, NY to the Upper East Side

Arezoo, originally from Iran, followed in her brother’s footsteps and moved to Buffalo, New York, where she earned her graduate degree and entered academia. But her life in this small town seemed too calm to her, and she dreamed of moving to New York. A job offer from New York University helped make that dream a reality. Here is his story.

I was born and raised in Tehran, Iran where I graduated from Tehran University. I decided to go to the United States for my higher studies. My older brother had already moved to Buffalo and was a graduate of the University at Buffalo. So I chose the same city and university as him and moved to Buffalo to study mechanical engineering in 2008.

After getting my doctorate, I joined the faculty at the University at Buffalo to teach mechanical engineering.

[Editor’s Note: Brick Underground’s series The Newcomers features first-person accounts about why a renter or buyer decided to take a chance on NYC and live here now. Have a story to share? Drop us an email. We respect all requests for anonymity.]

I lived alone in a duplex that was part of a semi-detached house, sharing a wall with the other dwelling. The place had two bedrooms, one and a half baths, a basement and parking in the driveway. I paid $900 a month plus utilities.

My place was spacious, with large closets and a large kitchen and dining area. There were large windows which let in plenty of light, but also made it expensive to heat and cool the place. It was quiet, safe, and well maintained, but sometimes it was too quiet and I felt isolated.

I loved taking long walks around the neighborhood and biking along the riverside paths. There were outdoor movie nights on campus, and I liked to get Buffalo Wings at Anchor bar.

I had a car. It would have been impossible to live there without a car, things were too remote.

Buffalo is a small town and not much was happening. You really had to dig to find out what to do. There were clubs for winter activities such as skiing and snowboarding, and summer activities such as kayaking. I was part of the tango community – we had weekly get-togethers and potlucks.

Then I got a job offer from New York University starting fall 2021 at the Brooklyn Metrotech campus. Turns out I was planning on moving to Brooklyn

In Buffalo, it is very easy to find an apartment. I found my place on Craigslist, called the landlord, scheduled a viewing, and signed the lease the same afternoon. In NYC, things were more complicated. You had to find a broker, schedule visits and compete with many candidates. Then you must complete an application and pay an application fee. There was also a background check.

A friend introduced me to Julia Chin, agent at BOND New York, to help me find the perfect place. I told him that I was looking for a room in a safe and dynamic area, close to public transport and not too far from work. My budget was $2,500 per month.

She knew exactly what I was looking for. That’s why it only took us two days. Julia found me a room on the second floor of a four-story building on the Upper East Side. The rent is $2,300 per month plus utilities.

It is a residential area and there are restaurants, bars and cafes within a few blocks. It is within walking distance of Central Park and very close to the Q, 4, 5 and 6 trains.

There are a few downsides: There is no laundromat in the building. It’s a bit pricey for groceries and other necessities. And dog walkers who don’t clean up after dogs bother me.

I like to sit at Ateaz cafe on 82nd Street or buy pastries from Budapest cafe on 85th Street. Jogging along the East River or in Central Park is a great way to exercise.

I sold my car and take the Q to work every day – it only takes me 30 minutes to get to the Metrotech area.

My friends and family love my area and my apartment. But it has been a challenge, especially during the pandemic, to make new friends. I slowly started using apps to meet new people. I felt a little lonely in New York at first, but things started to change.

In Persian, my name means wish or desire. I like to think that my name partly inspires me to push forward and fight until my dreams come true. Moving to New York was definitely one of those lifelong desires.

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