Moving Upstate: Miami Transplant Tony Quezada

Tony Quezada moved from Miami to Latham in 2017, to be with his fiancee, Chelsea. He’s now found a job he loves — he is an Associate at Ayco, a division of Goldman Sachs —  but he arrived here without much knowledge of the region, or a clear path or plan.

Though Tony’s fiancé was the guiding reason for his move to the region, he soon saw how good his new life would be here. He was ready for a change from crowded South Florida, and was glad to learn that amazing opportunities do exist here. 
Here, in his own words, are some things he wished he had known before moving to CapNY…

Moving Upstate in CapNY: Introducing Tony Quezada

I was born in New York City and lived there for a year and a half before my family relocated to Miami. For the most part, everything I knew was the tropical climate, where the seasons don’t exist. Here, the seasons are real and authentic.

Amazing Seasonal Activities & Outdoor Adventures
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I’ve developed a true appreciation for nature.  Living in the Capital Region allows me to participate in a spectrum of outdoor activities, particularly cold weather outings. I love being active, so I took up skiing in the winter as well as attending ice bars. I look forward to spring for gardening, something I was not into while living in Miami. Whenever possible, spring/summer/fall, I spend hours playing on my hoop. I hike a few mountain peaks in the summer and fall. I’ve also camped a few times in the Adirondacks during the summer and fall. I attend concerts at SPAC and go to Saratoga Race Track. I look forward to Oktoberfest and Chowder Fests in the fall and winter seasons.

Abundant Culture and Diversity
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This place is incredibly diverse. There are opportunities to learn about different cultures from around the world. I’ve found connections and favorites through food, museums, or cultural community events and groups. 

Here’s my list of favorites:

  • I’ve joyfully celebrated my Hispanic heritage at a Hispanic Heritage Month concert at the Egg in the Empire State Plaza. 
  • I attended a Polish festival and was ecstatic to be introduced to perogies and Polish Kielbasa. 
  • I now celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. Boy do the Irish know how to celebrate! 
  • The 9/11 exhibit at New York State Museum is breathtaking. 
  •  As for food, Mosu in Albany is a recent favorite, with their unique Korean BBQ dining style. 
  • Toro, next door, shares a wall with Mosu and nearly perfects Mexican cuisine. 
  • El Mariachi is a delicious hole-in-the-wall Mexican spot in Albany with a quaint, homey ambiance. 
  • This local Italian food scene is nothing like I have ever experienced before. It will never get old for me. A few restaurants that quickly come to mind are: Augie’s in Ballston Spa, Anthony’s in Cohoes, D’Raymonds and Lanie’s in Loudonville.  
  • Pizza: Defazio’s, hands down the best I have ever had. 
  • Druthers in Albany and Innovo Kitchen in Latham are my go-to American-fusion/comfort cuisine. 
  • Rockin’ on the River during the summertime in Troy is an awesome weekly activity. 
  • I saw the Broadway musical ‘Get On Your Feet’ at Proctor’s in Schenectady.
  • The Sagamore Ice Bar in Lake George neatly combines art with functionality.
Life-Changing Affordabilty
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The salary-to-cost of living ratio is a key comparison factor here. The Miami economy is dominated by lower-wage tourism and hospitality. This leads to a lower living wage overall. It’s no surprise the average, working-class individual experiences a range of financial difficulties. From purchasing a home to achieving financial independence and freedom, it’s harder in Miami. 

The Capital Region’s lower cost of living and higher living wage was conducive to me improving my financial situation, making home ownership a short-term reality. As a result, I did not sacrifice my standard of living nor quality of life. I was still able to indulge in restaurant delicacies and consume material goods at my desire. And I could have all of this with less of an impact on my cashflow.

Fantastic Career Opportunities

The opportunities for me from a career and personal standpoint in the Capital Region, I learned about after moving upstate. For example, several fortune 500 companies have offices in CapNY: GE, Bank of America, IBM, Goldman Sachs, 3M, Northwestern  Mutual, Time Warner Cable, Xerox, Applied Materials, AJ Gallagher, Citizen’s Financial, and Regeneron.

jess kelly

Written by: Jessica Kelly

Jess is a journalist and photographer with a focus on food, travel, and entertainment. She’s written for over 10 different local publications in New York State, in addition to the Huffington Post, Cosmopolitan, AAA Northeast, Eater, Dame Traveler, Food52, Insider, Wine Enthusiast, Kitchn, AAA World Magazine, Thrillist, and more. Follow her adventures on Instagram @Adventures.Are.Waiting.