A Fresh Start: Moving from Brooklyn to Indianapolis

People standing on a bridge in Brooklyn

Photo courtesy of Geoff Fenelus

Brooklyn is a place that will forever hold a special spot in my heart. My family and I grew up in that beautiful borough, and the vibrant culture of New York City left an indelible mark on my life. But sometimes, life takes an unexpected turn. A few years ago, I found myself on a new path, moving from the bustling streets of Brooklyn to the promising city of Indianapolis. People often wonder about the reasons behind our decision, so allow me to shed some light on the factors that drew our family to Indiana. 

Let me start by saying: the decision to move to Indianapolis was not an easy one. But it was driven by the promise of potential. I sought a fresh start—a chance to explore new horizons and build a better future for my family. 

At the time, Brooklyn had captured my heart. Its unique blend of diverse communities, artistic vibes, and a rich history is truly enchanting. However, Indianapolis surprised me by providing a similar experience, with a thriving community and a diverse culture all its own. The Indy region is often overlooked in favor of its larger counterparts, but Indianapolis is a major metropolitan hub filled with untapped opportunities and potential. The city boasts a booming economy, a low cost of living, and a business environment built for both personal and professional growth. 

Indianapolis is the perfect place to raise a family.

When we were deciding where to live, raising a family was my top priority. I wanted to live in a city with a plethora of opportunities for my children to thrive. Fortunately, Indianapolis is the ideal location to foster a nurturing, family-friendly environment. My children attend a magnificent Montessori school where they feel loved, and their potential is honored. And when they’re not in class, there are numerous parks, recreational activities, and community events where we can create lasting memories. 

For example, our family lives just north of downtown Indianapolis within a five-minute drive of two magnificent parks: Riverside Park and Tarkington Park. And if we want to see more nature, it only takes five minutes longer to get to Holliday Park or Eagle Creek Park. Having nearby parks where my children can run around is essential, and it helps that places like these also host an abundance of events that bring the community together in a family-friendly way. A few of our favorite community events include the French Market, Far Eastside Festival, BUTTER Fine Art Fair, St. Thomas Sausage Fest, and the Major Taylor Bike Ride. 

Our house is also minutes away from the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis—known as the biggest and the best children’s museum in the world. It’s a fantastic place for families with interactive exhibits, educational programs, and fun activities for children of all ages. And since we live in the neighborhood, our family gets to attend the museum for free. Where else would you receive these types of benefits? 

Indianapolis also provides many affordable options for an enjoyable date night without the kids. Whether you’re getting drinks at Bar One Fourteen or drinking high-end cocktails while listening to a record at The Bemberg, the nightlife atmosphere in Indy competes with any city. GANGGANG cultivates a thriving art scene around the city, and Indy’s diverse food scene offers a variety of cuisines—from Asian fusion at Modita, to Caribbean food at Yaso, and Italian food at Bocca. All of these options have certainly lessened the concerns I had about moving here from New York.  

Geoff Fenelus Biking

Photo courtesy of Geoff Fenelus

Kids in a huddle

Photo courtesy of Geoff Fenelus

Indy makes it easy to find genuine connections.

Indianapolis is a place with a strong sense of community. Since I moved here, I’ve been able to directly and indirectly join local networks and nonprofits that have been extremely beneficial to me as a human being. In fact, I’ve engaged with many groups that specifically focus on supporting people of color in Indianapolis, such as the Indy Equity Collective, Melanated, Indy Black Chamber, Surge, Young Black Professionals, and Innopower. 

Spaces like these help create synergy and inclusivity in our community and connect people with opportunities to grow in both their careers and in life. These groups have been extremely meaningful to me, coming from outside of Indianapolis. They allowed me to find my tribe, make lasting friendships, and understand the history of my new home. 

I also started coaching at TAB Recreation—an organization in my neighborhood that empowers children through sports. TAB hosts youth soccer, basketball, football, and track meets that encourage kids to go outside, get exercise, and learn important life skills as a team. My kids play sports through TAB, and coaching my daughter has been a great opportunity to build a connection with her. 

As a devoted follower of college and high school basketball, I find immense pleasure in Indy’s overall sports scene. Whether you’re watching a Pacers game, a Colts game, or Butler basketball, this city is the ideal setting for sports families and enthusiasts alike. Indianapolis even makes an effort to bring major sporting events to the city, including elite championships like NCAA Final Fours, Big Ten Tournaments, and the NBA All-Star Game. And thanks to Indy’s affordability, people in the community can come together to relish these games without straining their wallets. 

Indianapolis has also proven to be a haven for me, where I can connect with exceptional mentors who generously contribute to my personal growth. Indy is a city that invests in people beyond their careers, and the support I’ve received from individuals like Emil Ekiyor, Paul Ashley, and others has been pivotal in my decision to stay in Indy. Over the years, these mentors have guided me in becoming a better person, a better professional, and even a better parent. 

Hoosiers care about making a difference.

Another significant factor that influenced our decision to stay in Indianapolis was the opportunity to make a direct social impact here in Indy. We were drawn to the city’s culture of volunteerism and our neighbors’ commitment to getting involved in the community. In my opinion, this is a great example of why Indiana is a great place to call home, as there are many ways for residents to make a difference. 

No matter your interests, Indianapolis offers a variety of avenues to contribute to the larger ecosystem. For example, I am currently a Mitch Daniels Leadership Foundation Fellow—a program that strives to empower leaders to become agents of change who actively work to make Indiana better. I have also joined a few boards for important local organizations like CAFE, Nine13Sports, Purdue Polytechnic High School, and Teach for America (TFA). Each of these organizations makes an incredible impact in Indianapolis by serving local youth, providing resources to our community, and increasing access to quality education. 

CAFE is a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting environmental awareness and sustainable practices within local communities. Teach for America recruits passionate educators to work in underserved schools and combat inequity in education, while Purdue Polytechnic supports a network of STEM-focused charter schools that emphasize hands-on learning. And last but not least, Nine13Sports fosters a sense of camaraderie and inclusion in athletics, providing resources for kids to maintain an active lifestyle.  

Being able to actively participate in shaping our community is immensely fulfilling, and working with these organizations has truly reaffirmed our decision to move here. Living in Indiana, I’ve been able to make a difference in the community, while still advancing my professional career. My work has even shifted away from being an educator to supporting educators through insurance and employee benefits as an Advisor at NFP—a community-minded firm that focuses on helping people solve problems. This opportunity would not have been possible without coming to Indiana, and I’m constantly thankful that we chose to move here. 

Family sitting in cars on at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway

Photo courtesy of Geoff Fenelus

Moving to Indianapolis gave us a fresh start. 

Although Brooklyn still holds a special place in my heart, our decision to move to Indianapolis was driven by the possibilities of the future. Brooklyn was the place that shaped us, and it will forever remain a cherished part of our past. But our family has embraced the fresh start and ample opportunities here in Indianapolis. 

With a low cost of living, a family-friendly environment, and plenty of ways to make an impact, the Indy region is filled with untapped potential—just waiting for people to discover. While there are undoubtedly remarkable cities across the nation, few possess the unique combination of amenities and advantages that Indy offers. Indianapolis stands out for its affordability, fostering personal and professional advancement. It’s a place where you can enjoy a plethora of activities without draining your resources. 

In essence, Indianapolis is a city that empowers you to achieve greatness, rather than merely residing in a renowned location. Since moving here, I’ve been able to wholeheartedly immerse myself in this community and make the most of the opportunities it provides. Now, Brooklyn is simply where I am from. Indianapolis is my new home—a place where my family can grow, thrive, and make a positive impact.