The Newcomers

Why we moved to NYC from Nashville: To pursue an acting gig and explore the restaurant scene

By Kelly Kreth | April 15, 2022 - 12:30PM

"We are so excited to be a part of the hustle and bustle that is New York. We have been wanting to move to New York ever since we started dating 10 years ago," Michael says.

Living in Nashville, Michael and Ksenia had amenities and a low rent that New Yorkers could only dream about, but when Ksenia is offered a chance to pursue acting in NYC, they seize the opportunity. Self-declared foodies, they’re eager to ditch their car and explore the city’s restaurant scene by subway. Here’s their story.

We were renting in Germantown, a neighborhood that’s right outside of Nashville’s downtown area. Our apartment was a one bedroom, one bath of about 745 square feet with an in-unit washer/dryer. It was in a luxury five-story building with amenities like a dog park, pool, and gym—with a Peloton studio—and multiple lounges. For all that, we paid $1,700 month

The size and space were amazing for us and so were the views. Our balcony faced the Cumberland River directly, which was very peaceful, and if you looked to the right you could see a sliver of downtown Nashville.

We disliked that there were construction sites happening on both sides of our building and there were always a construction crew working. The constant noise was anything but peaceful.


[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.]


But Germantown is a fantastic place. It has a small-town feel but is in the city and it’s very walkable. Even so, we had a car in Nashville and everything, including the airport, is within a 15-minute drive. For example, we had a Target, Publix, Trader Joe’s, and a mall nearby. I am in advertising sales and Ksenia is a nanny, and our commutes were usually about five minutes.

We are big foodies and we make it a mission to try out new restaurants. We try to do a weekly date night and go somewhere new each time. Some of our favorites there were Oku Nashville and Henrietta Red.

We attended loads of concerts at Ascend Amphitheater and liked Top Golf or Jack Browns for a tasty burger and a beer. We also enjoyed going to Nashville’s many festivals, especially Oktober Fest, which took place right in the center of Germantown.

But we always dreamed of living in New York so when an opportunity came up for Ksenia to pursue her passion for acting, we took it. I am able to work remotely so we thought it’s now or never.

We made the decision to move in February and saw 10-15 different properties, finding our apartment within five days. Everything happened very quickly; it was like we blinked and had an apartment in New York. It was very surreal. We had our keys at the beginning of March and were making the apartment our home the first weekend of April.

Jess Prichard, an agent at Platinum Properties, helped us narrow down our search and figure out what we did and didn’t like. He FaceTimed us anytime we asked and took us on a virtual tour of not only the apartment, but the neighborhood too, and gave us recommendations of good places to eat and small stores where we could get necessities.

Renting in Nashville vs. NYC is vastly different. In Nashville, all you need to qualify is proof of your income, and when you get approved, all you need is your ID to get the apartment.

In NYC, the process is more involved. We felt like we were purchasing a home and it felt a little overwhelming at times. Our agent did a great job of helping us understand what documents were needed and when we would need them by.

Things happen much quicker in NYC. If you like a unit you have to decide almost right then and there or you could lose it, (which did happen to us while we were searching. Apartments in Nashville do not go that quickly so you can take your time to decide on them. On the other hand, we felt like we had more apartments to choose from in New York. In Nashville, if you want to be in the city there are only a few apartment complexes to choose from.

We would highly recommend having an agent especially if you are moving to NYC from a different state. If it wasn't for Jess's help we most likely would not have moved.

We had a budget of $3,500 when we started looking but quickly realized that it was not doable and we ultimately raised it to almost $4,000. Our must-haves were a place that is dog friendly and a true one bedroom.

We didn't realize initially how important it was for us to have a washer/dryer in the unit but eventually decided we couldn’t do without it. We really wanted to be in a central location near transportation, and we are big foodies so we wanted to be around good restaurants. We also wanted to feel like we were in the city but loved the neighborhood feel of Brooklyn.

We settled on a 634-square-foot, one bedroom in downtown Brooklyn for $3,921. The apartment has south-facing, floor-to-ceiling windows and an open-plan kitchen. It is in Ava DoBro, a luxury building, and has a dog park, dog spa, multiple lounges, roof deck, fitness center, and coffee shop. 

We are a block from a Target and a Trader Joe’s and it is a three- to five-minute walk to restaurants, and we have a subway station right next to us, which is spectacular.

We sold our car so we will rely on public transportation in NYC and we are very stoked to not be driving. Both of us have owned cars since we were teens and we feel relieved to give up driving for now. We know it will take us a little while to figure out the subway but that’s part of the excitement.

Our neighborhood seems very lively but quiet at the same time. We have a park a block from us and a brand-new park called Willoughby Square Park is being built across the street.

We love the fact that we are a 10-minute walk from the Brooklyn Bridge and how close we are to other neighborhoods in Brooklyn.

This might be a little funny, but we absolutely love the fact that our building has a trash chute. In our old building, you left your trash bag outside your door and a company would pick it up overnight, but only Sunday through Thursday, and there was no other way to dispose of your trash. So having a trash chute to get rid of garbage whenever we want is very convenient.

We also didn’t get an apartment with the view we longed for—there just wasn’t much availability with so much competition for apartments, but the lounge area has the most spectacular views of Manhattan.

There's not much that we dislike, however the only downside of being in Brooklyn for us are long train rides. There is a lot of food we long to try but to visit those restaurants requires a half hour-plus train ride. However, we love going to Dekalb Market and getting a sandwich from Katz’s or pierogis at Pierogi Boys—sometimes we get both and share them! We also are looking forward to being close to Barclays Center and love the cheesecake at Junior's Restaurant!

We are so excited to be a part of the hustle and bustle that is New York. We have been wanting to move to New York ever since we started dating 10 years ago and now that we are making it happen, we feel very fortunate. We cannot wait to meet friends, check out new gyms, and take those Brooklyn Bridge strolls.

We know that living in New York is more expensive than living in Nashville but being surrounded by different cultures and all sorts of cuisines makes it worth it.

 

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