Room for Improvement

More space, a washer and dryer, and a decent paint job: Is that too much for a New Yorker to ask?

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Professional help, more space (again), and a place for our furry friends. Five New Yorkers share what it’s like to live in this city, and what they’d improve about it, if they could.

  • More places for Fido to run People are always saying that it’s cruel to have dogs when you live in the city. That’s not true. But our apartment is really on the small side and  it would be really nice to have a dog park nearby! We have great parks around here. Van Cortlandt is great! But I know that many pet owners  like us would love a dog park along the Mosholu Parkway. At least there are enough squirrels and pigeons to chase around. —Melissa, The Bronx
  • A washer and dryer already There is nothing I wouldn’t do for a washer and dryer in the apartment. Seriously, it’s incredible that in one of the most modern cities of the western world, people have to live like this. I’m not trying to sound like an entitled millennial. But actually, yeah, I feel entitled to a washer and dryer.  What I don’t feel is entitled to live in this amazing city, and on my own terms, too.  I feel like I put up with a lot: no space, no privacy, noise, exorbitant rents. Is it really too much to ask that I find a clean, affordable place with laundry in the apartment? —Stephanie, Sunnyside, Queens
  • Better quality apartments I’m relatively new to the city, and do love living here. My roommate and I feel so lucky that we found a decently priced apartment in such a great neighborhood... It’s very clean and it was rented to us saying it was “renovated.” But the renovation is very cheap. The counters are plastic, or have a plastic coating — they aren't real wood or tile or marble, which would have been more practical. The walls are painted white all over, but they even painted over the outlets! It’s very warm in our place and we can’t shut off the heating. These are small things, but there are lot of them. —Sophie, Harlem
  • A studio with room to spare I live in a teeny, tiny studio, which I really love. The studio is actually so efficiently set up that I don’t mind living in one tiny space. I even have a dishwasher in the kitchen.  And it’s a corner unit, with lots of natural light coming through the huge windows. But it is puny. A bit more square footage would be a awesome. Like, a lot more… I wish there was a way to combine my place with another studio. But then, I wouldn’t want to pay double the maintenance either. —Jen, Tudor City
  • Bring in the professionals Actually, I’d love an interior designer do my whole place. I’m not really into interiors and home improvement, but I like nice, finished spaces. I had a room professionally painted once and what a difference! They take care of moving all your heavy stuff, they cover and tape everything off and do several coats of paint. Whenever I’ve done some decorating, I crap out toward the end and do one coat and you can see the coverage isn’t that great. Also, I hate all the colors I’ve picked out. None of them are what I thought they'd look like. They’re either all a bit too yellow or too pink. I mean, I can live with it, but I’d redo it all if didn’t know I’d do such a crappy job at it. —Tom, Harlem


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