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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Love to Lug

Do not believe for a moment that New Yorkers do not envy many things about living in the suburbs or countryside. We extol the benefits and wonders of the city ad nauseum, however, the conveniences of suburban living are many, and and it is no wonder that 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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Tia said...

i love your blog! you inspire me and i cant wait to visit new york in march:)
love from south africa

Brian Dubé said...

Thanks Tia!

J said...

awwww hollister <3 i'll follow your blog, you give us readers a great perspective over New York :-D

Hummingbird said...

It makes me want to live there again! This aussie chick loved luggin' it in NYC!

John Franco said...

Hi Brian,

Thanks for this appreciation lesson. It has many applications outside living in a big city.

Its for life.

Greetings from Ecuador, and more motivated to visit NY

Brian Dubé said...

Hummingbird - after 40 years here, I often weary of lugging am sometimes I am jealous of the super convenience of living in the burbs. Easy parking, garages, door to door delivery, bigger homes, in-home laundry, fewer stairs, less traffic, etc.

John - Ecuador is my dream destination, inspired by my early years as a vegetarian.

Hummingbird said...

Who would want those conveniences of living in a McMansion in the burbs when cities like NYC offer a vibe and energy that cannot be fabricated in the suburbs. I have an insatiable longing to be back in NYC......therefore, thanks for your blog and commentary! Keep 'em coming! Love from Australia x