The Newcomers

Why I moved to NYC from Buffalo: To be in a vibrant place and fulfill a lifelong desire

By Kelly Kreth | June 3, 2022 - 12:30PM

With the help of her agent, Arezoo found her Upper East Side one bedroom in just two days.

Arezoo, a native of Iran, followed in her brother’s footsteps and moved to Buffalo, New York, where she earned her graduate degree and went into academia. But her life in that small city felt too quiet and she dreamed about moving to New York City. A job offer from New York University helped make that dream a reality. Here’s her story.

I was born and raised in Tehran, Iran, were I graduated from the University of Tehran. I decided to go to the U.S. for grad school. My older brother had already moved to Buffalo and graduated from University at Buffalo. So, I picked the same city and university as him and moved to Buffalo to study mechanical engineering in 2008.  

After receiving my PhD, 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, part of a semi-detached house, sharing a wall with the other unit. The place had two bedrooms, one and a half bathrooms, a basement, and a driveway parking. I paid $900 per month plus utilities.

My place was spacious, with big closets and a great kitchen and dining space. There were large windows that let in a lot 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 made me feel isolated.

I liked to take long walks around the neighborhood and bike along the trails by the river. There were outdoor movie nights on campus, and I liked to go for Buffalo wings at Anchor Bar.

I had a car. It would have been impossible to live there without a car—things were too far apart.

Buffalo is a small city and there was not much going on. You really needed to dig to find out about things to do. There were clubs for winter activities such as skiing and snowboarding, and summer activities like kayaking. I was a member of the tango community—we had weekly gatherings and potlucks.

Then I got a job offer from New York University starting fall 2021 at the Brooklyn Metrotech campus. It just so happened that 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 visit, and signed the lease on the same afternoon. In NYC, things were more complicated. You needed to find a broker, schedule visits, and compete with many applicants. Then you need to fill out an application and pay an application fee. There was a background check too.

A friend introduced me to Julia Chin, an agent at BOND New York, to help me find the perfect place. I told her I was looking for a one bedroom in a safe and vibrant neighborhood, close to public transportation, 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 one bedroom 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 walking distance to Central Park and very close to Q, 4, 5, and 6 trains. 

There are a few drawbacks: There’s no laundry in the building. It is a bit expensive for grocery shopping and other necessities. And the dog walkers who do not clean up after the dogs bug me.

I like to sit at the Ateaz café on 82nd Street or buy pastries from Budapest Café 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 takes me only 30 minutes to the Metrotech area.

My friends and family from home love my area and apartment. But it’s been a challenge—especially during the pandemic—to make new friends. I’ve slowly started using apps to meet new people. I felt a bit lonely in NYC at first, but things have started to change.

In Persian, my name means wish or desire. I like to think that my name in part inspires me to move forward and fight my way until my dreams come true. Moving to NYC was definitely one of those lifelong desires.

 

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