From Williamsburg to Long Island City: I wanted to explore a different neighborhood and lower my expenses

  • His previous rent was $2,000 for a one bedroom; now he splits $2,500 with a roommate
  • He scored better amenities, too—a 24/7 doorman plus a rooftop deck, gym, and laundry room
By Kelly Kreth  |
July 21, 2023 - 9:30AM
long island city

"LIC is diverse and active, with lots of art galleries, parks, and a thriving cultural scene," says Dr. Muhammad Haseeb of his new stomping ground.


Wanting to explore a different area of New York City and get more for his money, Dr. Muhammad Haseeb decided to ditch Brooklyn and return to his native Queens, albeit in a different neighborhood than the one he grew up in. Here's his story.

I was born and raised in Astoria, Queens, and moved to Brooklyn in 2018 for professional reasons. Most recently, I was living in a one bedroom in Williamsburg. It was a good-sized unit in a modern elevator building with laundry facilities for $2,000 per month. The apartment was fine, but I didn’t like that the building was so basic and didn’t have a gym or rooftop area. 

My building was near the subway (L and G lines), which I took to work in Park Slope. I am a medical professional with a focus on internal medicine, and also do content writing for Health Keeda. My daily commute was 30 minutes. 

I liked that the neighborhood had a lively vibe and a variety of entertainment options, including hip pubs, live music places, and restaurants. Brooklyn Brewery was my go-to for craft beer, the Music Hall for live jazz performances. 

I also used a variety of food-delivery apps when placing in-home orders to discover different eateries in the area.

[Editor's Note: Brick Underground's series “Transitions” features first-person accounts of what it’s like to move from one New York City neighborhood to another. Have a story to share? Drop us an email. We respect all requests for anonymity.]

How he landed (back) in Queens

In the spring of 2023, I decided I wanted to explore another area of NYC and look for a more reasonable cost of living. I also decided to get a roommate, which would allow me to get a bigger place and share the rent. So, I decided to head back to my native Queens. 

I worked with a real estate agent at City Realty but also searched listings on my own, relied on recommendations, and used other sources as part of my apartment hunt. 

Wanted: A large two bedroom for sharing

Ideally, I wanted to find a two-bedroom apartment but pay significantly less than what I was paying in Brooklyn. (Hence, the roommate.) I desired a spacious home that would provide enough room for me to live comfortably. Having a larger living space was important to me as I planned to stay in this new apartment for a while. I also prioritized buildings that offered desirable amenities. Additionally, having a doorman was a bonus for added convenience and security.

Considering these requirements, I viewed 10 properties in Long Island City before finding a place that met all my criteria—a roomy two bedroom in a cutting-edge, high-rise development. The rent is $2,500, which I split with a roommate. 

The apartment has huge windows that let in lots of natural light, and the building has a doorman, rooftop patio, fitness center, and laundry room. 

Renting was a simple process. I submitted the required paperwork, including my income tax return and references, completed the necessary paperwork, and signed the lease after the application was accepted.

Besides paying less rent each month, the cost of living is lower in my new Queens neighborhood, allowing me to save even more money.

How he likes the new nabe

LIC is diverse and active, with lots of art galleries, parks, and a thriving cultural scene. All the small businesses, cafes, and restaurants create a bustling environment. I love to go to Spice Kingdom for delectable Sichuan food, grab a cup of coffee at The Queens Roastery, and savor Indian cuisine at Taste of India. 

There's a well-stocked supermarket only a block away, so buying food is simple. Ordering in is also practical because many local restaurants offer delivery.

The only drawback is the distance to the subway. The closest line is the 7 train, which is about a 10-minute walk away. So my commute to work is longer now, taking around 40 minutes.

My family and friends enjoy visiting the area, and find the flat to be welcoming and cozy. I’ve also established new acquaintances through neighborhood meetings, social groups, and community events. Those are terrific methods fort meeting others who share your interests.

Overall, moving here was a wise decision. I am content being back in Queens and intend to stay for some time.




Kelly Kreth

Contributing writer

Contributing writer Kelly Kreth has been a freelance journalist, essayist, and columnist for more than two decades. Her real estate articles have appeared in The Real Deal, Luxury Listings, Our Town, and amNewYork. A long-time New York City renter who loves a good deal, Kreth currently lives in a coveted rent-stabilized apartment in a luxury building on the Upper East Side.

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