outsiders wonder how and why we put up with city life. And if you want to live here, you had better want to walk and love to lug.
There is the lugging of laundry. Very few have washer/dryers in their apartments. In larger buildings, there are typically laundry rooms in a common area. In smaller buildings, laundry must be carried to the nearest laundromat - sometimes blocks away.
Owning a car is a luxury few can afford. Street parking is a nightmare, garage parking an extravagance - $400 per month and up. This means shopping for everything is typically done on foot and requires lugging things home. Public transportation is superb, however, the distances from subway and bus stops to final destination will always require walking, often significant. The subway system is virtually free of elevators; only the occasional escalator relieves the tedium of up and down staircases to reach the bowels of the train system.
Many smaller buildings, particularly townhouses and tenements, have no elevators, so walking several flights of stairs daily is the norm for millions of New Yorkers. Shopping in the city for those of us living in walkup apartments will add insult to injury - we will be required to walk the streets and walk up flights of stairs while lugging laundry or other necessities of life. However, all the required walking is a forced exercise for city inhabitants, and so what may seem burdensome and tiresome really has health benefits.
Large chain retailers also have their own difficulty of acquiring adequate space. The challenges and costs are huge, and these large retailers are late comers in the New York City retail landscape. Many of these huge stores occupy architecturally beautiful spaces, almost of necessity since these are the only types of buildings with enough open space to accommodate their needs - places like Home Depot, Trader Joe's, Kmart, Costco, and Best Buy. Some take creative approaches, like EMS, who acquired a number of contiguous spaces across adjoining buildings. Others, like Hollister or Apple, stage a coup by acquiring an entire building, permitting spectacular interior design.
For most hardcore New Yorkers, all these things are minor inconveniences for living in the world's greatest city for those who want to walk and love to lug :)
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