If you've decided that an elevator is an amenity you simply can't live without--or if you're curious about how yours stacks up against others around the city--take a look at AddressReport's elevator tracker.
The site, which mines public records for info on building violations, commute times, vermin infestations, crime levels and other apartment must-knows, tracks typical lobby wait-times and commutes between the street-level and different floors, separated into morning and evening peak hours.
The site gets the information from several sources: Department of Buildings records on the age, speed, capacity and maintenance records of elevators across the city; the city's Department of Housing Preservation and Development data on the number of floors and units in buildings; and Census data on heavy commute times, says the AddressReport's main data guy, Kevin J. Dolan. They also use an "elevator planning algorithm" and "a computer simulation of the elevator's operation for a full year" to make sure it's legit, Dolan says.
Information on the number of elevators and general rush-hour wait times and commute times is available for free. If you want to see the wait and travel times broken up by floor, you'll have go behind the paywall (though the cost of a subscription is still being ironed out).
So how accurate is it? We tested it at our 20-story post-war rental building, which has two fairly efficient elevators. According to the site, there's a 14-second lobby wait time during evening peak and 25-second wait during morning peak, which seems pretty darn accurate, though sometimes one elevator's out and then waiting time is higher.
The tool's estimated travel time--56 seconds during evening and 51 seconds during morning--was slightly higher than we found, but not by much.