The Market

Doting doormen, working appliances and more: NYC apartment dwellers give thanks

By Virginia K. Smith  | November 25, 2014 - 8:59AM

New Yorkers spend a lot of time swapping apartment horror stories, which makes perfect sense: for one thing, we've all got 'em, and for another, it's cathartic (and usually pretty funny) to know that you're not the only one who's suffered a kleptomaniac roommate or toilet overflow. Of course, if it were all that bad the entire city would've thrown in the towel years ago, and there's no time like the present to do, well, a little "thanksgiving" for our apartments (and apartment buildings).

We asked our fellow city dwellers what they're grateful for apartment-wise this year, and we noticed a few themes:

A benevolent landlord:

"I like my landlord a lot. He's very kind, considerate, and extremely helpful. He's pretty prompt to answer all my emails and once let me use his parking space when I rented a car. He was also changing my lightbulbs for several years before I learned that landlords generally don't do that for you." - Alice, Bushwick

Disasters with a happy ending: 

“My new kitchen and bath, but not how we got there [thanks to a flood from the apartment upstairs].” -Leslie, Upper East Side

Staff that feels like family (or any staff at all, for that matter): 

"The staff in our building is fantastic: responsive, warm and friendly, and professional. We are very lucky to have them. When we come into the building, they’ll ask about specific things happening in our lives—a kids’ test, a new haircut, relatives visiting—and we do the same. They feel like family." - Jhoanna, Upper West Side

"My doorman—I have gone with and without, and not a day goes by I don't bless that man in the cap." - Alana, Upper East Side

"I'm thankful for Carlos, my building's supremely gracious super/handyman. He hums along while he makes repairs, never complains one bit about any job, large or small, alerts me to open parking spots on the block and, since he lives in the building with his family, sets a really warm and friendly atmosphere whenever we see him on the weekends. I'm also thankful for one of our doormen, Elvin, who has a running joke with my son—they salute each other and call each other 'captain' every time they see each other. This makes my son feel so special." - Lambeth, Upper West Side

"My doorman Sam, even though we don't speak the same language. Just last week, he fixed the door to the building. Now it makes less noise and I wake up less often." - Alex, Sunset Park


Sarah Ackerman

Rooms (or roofs) with a view: 
"I will say that I'm thankful for my apartment's view of the western skyline from the Lower East Side, and for letting me watch One World Trade do its light show before turning off and saying goodnight to me every night. " - Zeb, Lower East Side
"We live across from townhouses that will never be converted—we’re in a historic district, and will always have a view." - Jill, Upper West Side
"We've got a sick roof. There are views of the neighborhood and the JMZ, and room for a hammock in the summer." Dave, Bed-Stuy
And room to breathe:
"My apartment has high ceilings and windows on both ends, so it gets a great cross-breeze. Also, I love the criss-cross pattern of the hardwood floors." Aaron, Bed-Stuy

Extra space, wherever we can get it: 

"My apartment has a little balcony, which I love. It's so rare to have outside space in an apartment, so I appreciate that. It's small, but people can easily go outside to smoke during parties, and I can make dinner and eat it outside when the weather's nice." - Alice, Bushwick

"A bedroom for every child—for privacy, for sleep, for time-outs. Also, there's an in-building garage—sooo civilized." - Alana, Upper East Side

"A full second bedroom, which we didn't have for years, and a second bathroom. This is my first apartment ever to have one and it's so nice not to have to fight for the bathroom after a long car trip." - Lucy, Yorkville

Fiat Deluxe

Staying warm this winter:

“That my building has central air and heating. But the heating part is the best because regular heat is free, as in most rental buildings, but if you turn the fan on it's like having two huge heaters added to your home for only the price of electricity. Even better than a fireplace!” - Kelly, Upper East Side

"The heat works so well. I know it’s a minor thing, and basically the bare minimum a landlord should provide, but after living for years in a place where it seemed like the radiators wanted to kill us or, alternately, didn’t turn on for days at a time, it’s a dream to come home to a nice, toasty apartment every night." - Leigh, Ditmas Park

In-house dishwashers and washer/dryers:
 "A dishwasher, which is a total dealbreaker for me if an apartment doesn't have one." - Lucy, Yorkville

Washer/dryer in the unit and a dishwasher, both of which I hadn't had for eight years. - Sarah, Long Island City

Friendly neighbors:

"Mom friends next door for hallway play dates during the long, cold winter ahead.” - Heather, Upper East Side

"All of the great neighbors who help each other, celebrate together, and make it all feel like one big kibbutz." - Marjorie, Upper West Side

Or just quiet neighbors:

"I'm thankful that my windows face a closed street. No idling traffic or public transportation! Plus hardly any foot traffic. It is so nice to mostly have peace and quiet in an otherwise loud and crazy city." - Julie, Battery Park City

"I didn't fully appreciate the relative soundproof-ness of my pre-war apartment until we moved in. Not just between us and our neighbors, but within the apartment itself, too. I'm never going back to an open layout." - Jill, Upper West Side

Getting in while the getting is good:

"After looking at the prices and bidding wars going on around town, I am thankful that I own my apartment.” - Tracy, Upper West Side

"I’m thankful that I rented and moved Thanksgiving weekend of last year. With so little competition, we were able to talk the rent down by $100 a month. And the long weekend is a great time to move.”  - Virginia, Bed-Stuy

Four-legged roommates:

"That my husband got on the board and changed the pet policy. " - Jill, Upper West Side


BrickUnderground's 2013 holiday tipping guide

Doormen Speak: What's a fair tip, who gets the best tip, best tip alternatives/supplements and more 

The doorman premium: to pay or not to pay

Then and now: my apartment Thanksgiving

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