Hi All,

My company (Sony Pictures) is relocating me from Los Angeles to Albuquerque in the fall. I'm pretty cool with idea of moving. I've lived in LA all my life and figure it's about time for a change.

I do have a few questions I was hoping some locals could help me out with (hopefully they won't be too redundant).

One, my husband and I are pretty heavily tattooed and pierced. Is the ABQ populace fairly cool with that kind of thing? Are people going to be gaping at us?

Two, I had a really bad experience with violent crime here in LA and it's important to me to try and minimize my chances of a repeat occurrence. I know that there's crime in every big city and that the most important tool in avoiding it is common sense but can someone tell me what the real deal is in ABQ? Is it more the kind of place that you have to go looking for trouble or does trouble come looking for you? Do most folks feel safe just going about their day to day business or is crime an ever present worry?

Three, just from doing a little searching on the web, we've been thinking about looking for housing in either Corrales or Nob Hill (I know they're total opposites). I guess, on the one hand, we'd like to try something the exact opposite of LA and on the other, we still want a big city, urban vibe. Any thoughts on either locale?

Four, lastly, I am a major bibliophile, any good independent booksellers in town?

Thanks so much for your help!

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Tattoo's are extremely common here. Many tattoo establishments also. Well of course it depends where you are, but in town, super common.
I dont know what to say about crime. If you do a search on DCF, you may come upon several discussions about it. I live downtown, I ride my bike at night, I feel ok about it, but I guess it could be an illusion, as we all want to feel safe where we live. I have thought that it may be wise for me to carry some kind of protection as in pepper spray, or whatever people carry for protection. I am older female and sometimes I think it would be a good idea.....also for stray tire biters.
Corrales, is a lovely country-ish area. Lots of old world charm. From what I understand, one of the most irritating things about living there, is the one lane in and out, which can result in terrible traffic jams. I suppose that would not be a problem if you do not work 9-5. No first hand experience on that one though
Those are 2 of the most expensive areas, which may not be a concern, especially coming from LA.
Book store thing is kind of depressing.....in my book. As the big guys take over, there is less and less of the old school wonderful book stores. I know of one that is a nice one. Cant remember name, I think its called Book Works, they may even have a website. Its on Rio Grande, in North Valley, which is another area you should consider.
Its closer to town, with out the traffic issue of Corrales, and is wonderfully beautiful and quite bucolic and in some parts very elegant. It has lots of great neighborhoods on East and West side of Rio Grande. In some places it even feels like the country, but youre close in for most of it. That would be my choice. Also expensive.
For the most part, I would say it is a question of being in the wrong place , at the wrong time.
I have heard folks say that Nob Hill has a break in problem. I am sure someone will come along and set the record straight on that one.
I have a friend that grew up in LA, in Korean neighborhood, who has lived here for 5 yrs. I will ask her what she thinks a comparison would be. She had a violent crime issue(which came out ok) a couple of yrs back, but I think she would agree it was mainly due to her poor judgement.......and maybe after LA, it felt like Leave it to Beaver here, and she did not have to take normal precautions. She also works for the movie people, not Sony though
So anyway, you will get great information from the Fixers, a very knowledgeable bunch of folks.
Welcome, glad you are coming our way
Oh I almost forgot one of my very very favorite neighborhoods in town. The country club area. Check it out when you are here. If I had the bucks, it would be a toss up between North Valley and Country Club area. I would feel safe in both places
There are numerous tattoo/piercing establishments between UNM and Nob Hill. It's not really a gaping sort of place, though it depends on where you go and the company you keep. If you're interested in Corrales you might also think about the north valley (Approximately the area north of I40 from the railroad tracks to the river all the way to Corrales).

Much of Albuquerque now is rather like Orange County was in the early 70's (so says my wife). You generally have to seek out trouble. If somebody tells you Abq is crime-ridden, their descriptions are likely to sound quaint to a person from a big city.

Oh, there is no big city, urban vibe. Downtown may come close in some respects on certain days. There's little city urban vibe, and that's pretty nice in its own right.

For books the biggest is Page 1 Books which is deep in the NE heights. They have a used book store across the street called Page 1 Too. It's not a Powell's, but it's a good size for our city. There are numerous smaller book stores around UNM. We also have a nice library system.

The best advice I or anybody else can give you is to come out in advance of moving here and look around- find the area that suites you. If you're planning on buying a home, get a short term lease (3 month leases in decent places are generally available) and find out what you like. It may turn out you fall in love with the Sandias and want to live in High Desert, or find that life is better when you can keep horses. Where you're working can also be a factor- almost anybody can have a 5 minute commute if that's what they want.
corrales is great, but if you are driving to work anywhere near downtown or the university, you may have the worst traffic in new mexico.
I've lived in ABQ for 4 years now and love it! I live in Nob Hill and wouldn't live anywhere else (not that other neighborhoods aren't cool - but...). It's walkable, on a great busline for going downtown, has Sunflower Market and the co-op for grocery options, good grade schools, and I have fantastic neighbors. There have been some car break-ins on my street - but seems like it's mostly kids or transients coming from Central (closest major intersection is Central & Washington) - annoying but not scary.
I lived in downtown Seattle for almost 10 years and downtown Dallas for 2 (that's a scary place at night!) so I'm a confirmed urbanite - and I've never felt "unsafe" here.
Another area you might consider is EDO - cool older funky houses, closer to downtown nightlife, and becoming more "walkable" all the time. They also have lots of lofts in that area if that's something you're interested in. The Country Club area is cool also - but pricier.
I don't know what your price range is but there are two houses on my street for sale going for between $329-350k. And rents are about $1200/month for an average 2-bedroom house.
Thanks All,

The 411 really helps. Hearing from locals is always best. LA is one of those cities that's all about knowing where the bad stuff goes down and steering clear. Sounds like ABQ is similar in that regard.

I will definitely check out housing in the Country Club and North Valley areas. And think about what Corrales might mean for me commute-wise. Sony's setting up a temporary space downtown, which is where I'll work for about a year and building a permanent facility someplace called Mesa del Sol (I think it's in the southern part of town). From what I hear it will be on the same side of the river as Corrales. That's good right?

Is there any place folks would recommend us to definitely stay away from when we start house hunting? I keep hearing about a so called "War Zone". Is there really such a place? I live in Hollywood and have heard it referred to in a similar vein, mostly by xenophobic, suburbanites who think two brown people standing next to each other constitutes a gang...

Thanks again for all the help!
One thing you might find really helpful is to pull up google maps (maps.google.com) and get the overhead view of some of the places we're talking about. Enter search word "ABQ" (That's the airport's code). The big blank nothing south of the airport and east of I25 is (or will be) Mesa Del Sol. Also from ABQ, follow Yale Blvd north and you'll run into UNM. East of UNM is Nob Hill. West of UNM is "Edo" and finally downtown (Essentially starting on 1st street). Next enter 87048 for Corrales- note that it's quite far north by comparison. If you're ultimately going to be commuting to Mesa Del Sol, do yourself a favor and live south of the I25/I40 interchange. It's going to make life a whole lot better.

The "War Zone" is a fun name that really means: On certain corners at certain hours, somebody might offer to sell you drugs. The name is a gross exaggeration. Likewise, some will tell you to steer clear of the south valley, but they're generally the same sort of xenophobes you mentioned. The only thing these places have in common is that on the whole, the people who live there are poorer than those who issue the warnings. A lot of Albuquerque is indeed poor, but it's poor people who work hard and live as well as they may.

As far as where to stay away from- I'd say stay away from any newly built tract home communities on the west side. Time will tell how well these were constructed and it may not be pretty.
Hey Brendan and Rodney,

Thanks for all the good information regarding commuting. Everyone I talk to here in LA, seems to think ABQ has little to no traffic issues. On a 1 to 10 scale, with LA being a 10, they rate ABQ as a 2 or a 3, giving me the impression that I could live just about anywhere and still get to work relatively quickly. I'll definitely pull up Google Maps so I can start visualizing ABQ's layout.

One question about traffic, is it mostly bad in the mornings and evenings when people are going to and from work or is it an all day kind of affair?

Rodney, where can I find more information about the "mixed waste landfill" at Mesa del Sol?
Nikki,

What you've been hearing from folks in LA is pretty accurate, with a few exceptions. Living west of the river, but needing to get east of the river in the morning and back in the evening is going to take extra time. We don't get gridlock, but when there's an accident you can expect 30 minutes of stop and go 5mph driving. Still you're unlikely to have more than a 1 hour commute each way. Rush hour really is an hour long and it's only in certain directions.

Compared to LA, I realize this is inconsequential. But it's gradually getting worse. Since you're starting somewhere new, you can go for the best. A short commute vs a long commute means an extra 10 extra hours a week to pursue your interests. That's nearly 3 weeks of hanging out in your car 24/7 each year.

Regardless of where you end up, you'll probably enjoy Albuquerque. The only thing you may miss is the Pacific, but we get sushi-grade fish flown in daily.
May I ask where you live in ABQ and how long it takes you to get to Mesa del Sol?

Thanks so much!
I too moved here from east coast, Wash. DC & Atlanta, and while the traffic here is in no remote way as bad, I will say in the 13 yrs I have lived here it as gotten much worse. Also its a bit like the gold fish bowl thing, where you get used to the bowl you swim in. I used to laugh at the "traffic problem" when I first moved here, but now I am spoiled rotten, and when friends from bigger cities, with bigger traffic issues visit me, they laugh at me when I start complaining about traffic. I say keep your standards high, when it comes to traffic, which is a massive waste of people's time. I do that by avoiding AM&PM "rush hour" and knowing as many alternate routes as possible.
Thank you!

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