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Living in NYC

Stories for Friends. Advice for Strangers.

It is a well-accepted practice to save money every month by living above the third floor in a building with no elevator. How much money can you save by renting a walk-up? In our building, a nearly identical apartment one floor below our fifth-floor one bedroom was almost $400 more a month. So it’s worth it. But what are the downsides? Beyond the obvious hassle of walking up and down 4 flights of stairs every day, there are some things I have noticed that no one told me before I moved here.

First, the temperature. We get all of the heat from the apartments below us, no matter the season. That will probably come in handy in the winter. In the rapidly approaching summer, though? I can only imagine how hard our air conditioners will have to work to keep us alive at night. And I cringe at the thought of people who either lack an air conditioner or the finances to run it.

Another downside is that you are often precluded from delivery services that others take for granted. Our laundry service will not deliver to the fifth floor. And they won’t even let you pay them extra like IKEA. I have no problem carrying my own laundry up the stairs. After all, I didn’t have to actually do the laundry. But the option would be nice. Restaurants and grocers are more than willing to deliver to us, which is great. I just tip them extra and give them a commiserating look when they deliver our things, panting and loathing our existence.

Moving up all those flights of stairs is not to be underestimated. You will suffer. Your friends will suffer. My advice: pay someone to suffer for you. It might save your relationships. An old friend helped our neighbor Kurt move in 16 years ago; they haven’t spoken since. That’s a long time to hold a grudge, and I can’t say I blame the guy. Hire movers, and make sure you packed well.

Should you rent a walk-up? If you’re able to walk, absolutely. All in all, we love our place. All of the downsides of uptown are worth it.

If you have any questions, I’m happy to do what I can. Just leave a comment here.

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