It takes a lot of people to keep our vertical-living eco-system puttering along. Our 10 Minutes With series--in which we spend (you guessed it!) 10 minutes with some of the professionals who make living in New York City more bearable--is the focus of this week's SurvivalList.
There's the private investigator who can find out if your co-op board is up to no good; the handyman who can get you out of some seriously sticky (and gross) situations and the exterminator who helps you sleep at night.
There are also interviews with people who can make your apartment more beautiful -- from the professional organizer, to the art advisor who can help you get decorate your apartment right (for a certain amount of money) to the interior designer/stager who helps you redecorate in just 50 minutes.
Below is a recap of all our "10 Minutes With" subjects to date and a tiny tidbit of edification from each:
- Professional organizer Jeffrey Phillip: "No matter who you are and how much money you have, everyone in NYC benefits from going to Bed Bath and Beyond for basics."
- Dog walker Tanner McAuley of Puptopia: "I’m not a huge fan of dog runs because of a lot of bacteria that builds up in those small spaces. There aren’t many places to socialize dogs, but it just isn’t natural to have 20 dogs in an enclosed space like that."
- Plumber Ronnie Sanchez: Moen is best for faucets, American Standard for toilets, and don't even think about getting a toilet from China or Mexico.
- Firefighter John Ceriello: Fire escapes are not meant for plants or people. They are often old and in disrepair and should only be walked on in case of emergency.
- Exterminator Mark Loffredo of Post Exterminating: "We had a guy in Queens a few years ago who used ten over-the-counter aerosol bombs and blew up his building by mistake, blowing out all the windows."
- Mover Zvi Manor of Manor Moving and Storage: 15-20 percent is a good tip. "But, once, I had a small two-man job moving a woman from a small apartment to a penthouse in Manhattan. She sat on the couch drinking Champagne and eating grapes. She tipped each man $500!"
- Art advisor Liz Parks of Parks Fine Art: To use an art advisor, you need to be buying a piece for a minimum of $10,000. Usually you'll just pay an upfront fee (and the advisor takes commission).
- Handyman John Rahat: Always ask your local hardware store for a handyman recommendation
- Interior designer/stager Noa Santos of 50 for 50 Design: "I've furnished my whole apartment with vintage pieces that cost less than I would have spent at Ikea. I like Housing Works, Vintage Thrift, City Opera Thrift Shop, Angel Street Thrift Shop; Brooklyn Flea Market and the Hell's Kitchen Flea Market are great for shabby chic pieces."
- Rose Praino owner of contractor/handyman service Your Decor NYC: "Interior painting is at the top of the list. We also hang artwork, shelves, mirrors and different decorative items. We hang everything from museum-quality pictures to things people grab from Bed, Bath & Beyond."
- Window treatment, glass and radiator cover guy Lou Manganiello of Strachman: Customers who do their own measurements for blinds, radiator covers or glass doors are asking for trouble, and buying online is a major mistake.
- Closet organizer Brenda MacLeish of California Closets: The average cost to install a California Closets system: $5,000
- Private investigator Harry Houck of Houck Consulting: If a board tells you that you're only allowed to use one particular plumber, contractor or electrician, think "kickbacks"!