I moved from Albania to Boston in the early 1990s when the economy was just picking up. I had always wanted to move to New York, but there are dreams and then there is reality, so I stayed in Boston where the high-tech industry is very developed.
In 1998, a couple of partners and I created a business building Internet sites for start-up companies. When we decided to open an office in New York City, I moved there and rented an apartment on the Upper East Side.
From the very first time I went to New York I loved it. I saw the tall buildings and the big organizations behind them: JP Morgan, Time, you name it. I thought, "How do they do it, how do they go from an idea to a business that has lasted so long?" And the energy. New York City has the most energy of any city in the world, at least the ones I've seen. So when I moved to New York, I wanted to stay there for good.
My business was very successful, but then the market started to turn. The start-up market was getting dry, and large companies weren't buying, let alone buying from start-ups with uncertain futures. We had to close the New York office in summer of 2001. The Boston office lasted until 2002, when we shut that down as well.
My inclination was to sell my house in Boston and move to New York. But then I began talking to friends in New York. Everybody was lukewarm about the prospects for the economy. I thought if these people, who I had planned to rely on to start my life in the city and build another business, were not comfortable, the recession must be pretty bad.
So, I returned to Boston. I had a house there, I knew more people. Several were offering me jobs.
Now, back in Boston, I have started a new company with a couple of partners. It is doing well, but considering my experience, I am very cautious about declaring success or defeat. I have been to New York several times on business, and if the opportunity came, I would move to New York in a heartbeat. But I got married last month, so now there is one more factor -- my wife -- to consider. She doesn't think she would like New York, but that's what lots of people who haven't experienced the city think.
Stefan Kochi, moved to New York in 1999 and moved out in 2001.
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