Room for Improvement

Shoddy windows and renovation rejections have New Yorkers up in arms

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Wishing for glazed windows, glazed bathtubs and a refrigerator that's one size smaller! As the temperatures rise, we asked five New Yorkers to blow off steam by telling us what they would change about their homes if they could:

  • Keep out the rays: I’d change the windows. First, to have the triple-glazed to keep out the noise; then, I’d like window film to help reduce the intense heat and glare from my south-facing windows. The constant exposure to rays has faded my couch. In the winter, the windows leak heat, and in the summer the window frames get so hot it can burn your fingers. It’s insane how much money and energy we waste on these windows that do so little to protect us from noise, dirt, and the elements. - Kristina, Upper West Side
  • Alternative to alternate side parking: I would love a garage! Not one where I have to call two hours in advance to get my car, but my own, private parking garage. It’s the one thing I truly miss from when I was living in the suburbs. I still use my car almost every single day to go to work, or run errands on the weekends. If I didn’t have to worry about circling the block a couple times before being able to go home, it would be such a relief. Never mind having to find parking that works for alternate side parking rules on days--that’s the worst. If I don’t have to take the car the next day for work, I have to worry about finding a spot where it’s safe to leave the car. Then you end up competing for spots with about thirty other cars in your neighborhood. - Justin, Upper West Side
  • Laundry lamentations: Our renovation plans have just been rejected because we wanted to add a washer/dryer. It is completely unreasonable! We are in the restaurant business and don’t get home before 10 p.m. The laundry room in the building has a “last wash” rule for 9 p.m.! When are we supposed to do laundry? We work seven days a week! We will appeal and get an engineer to explain how we intend to install the units so that it won’t put a strain on the pipes. - Marissa, Harlem
  • An affordable bathroom fix: I really need to redo the bathroom. I can’t afford a whole new tub, so I was thinking of reglazing the old tub. I have to rip up all the tiles and put down a few floor and wall tiles. And a new toilet! It’s too much work I can’t afford right now. Plus, it’s for my tenant! I want to make sure she knows how to treat a new bathroom before I do any kind of work in there. I don’t think she’s the best housekeeper. But I do know I will have to do this eventually … If money were no object, I’d have a team gut the bathroom right now! - Penny, Harlem
  •  New appliances (again): Our apartment was flooded and we just had the kitchen redone, which was paid for by insurance. So we were limited in what we were able to do. Though we are reasonably pleased with how the kitchen turned out, our appliances look very dated. And I hate how the refrigerator sticks out from the counters. It is 36 inches deep and the counters are only 24 inches deep. I wish we had thought to make provisions in the space for such a large refrigerator, and I wish we could buy new appliances as well! - Lina, Queens

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