Would You Rather?

A wood-burning fireplace or an adjustable thermostat?

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We’ve FINALLY made it to March, and spring is less than two weeks away. And though temps are starting to climb, if you're like us, you're probably still trying to thaw out from this brutal winter. We asked six New Yorkers with the all-too-common winter blues: Would you rather have had a wood-burning fireplace, or be able to control the heat in your own apartment during this winter?

  • Burning love I would love, love, love an actual, working, wood-burning fireplace in my home. I love the smell of a roaring fire, I love the coziness of it, and I love roasting marshmallows and grilled cheese sandwiches at my parents’ fireplace at home. If I had to choose, I’d choose the fireplace. Though they don’t have to choose in the 'burbs. My parents have both. -Marcus, Inwood
  • Save energy - and water! I’d want to be able to control the temperature in my apartment. Then maybe I wouldn’t have to leave the windows open in the dead of winter when it’s usually hotter than summer in my apartment. It pains me to waste energy, but the heat blasts regardless of the window or room temperature anyway. Nothing left to do but sleep with windows wide open, and put a large pan of water on top of the radiator to try and inject some moisture into the dry air. -Yasmin, Sunnyside
  • Enough said If I could control the heat in my apartment maybe I would hate winters in the city a lot less. Maybe. -Jess, Washington Heights
  • Practical magic It would be magical if I found a rental apartment in NYC that actually had a thermostat that I can adjust. I’d take that over a fireplace any day. I think the idea of a fireplace is great until the realities set in. You have to really maintain that thing. When it’s not on, it just creates a draft. When the fire is on you have to deal with ash and soot. A crackling fire sounds lovely, until the fire spits and a piece of fire wood hits your poor sleeping dog in the butt. -Sage, Jackson Heights
  • Substance over style I’m torn. Is it weird I don’t actually want a fire in my apartment, but I do want a fireplace? I love mantlepieces! I love the look and feel they give a room. Not to mention all the things you can style them with -- Books, and plants and art, and large mirrors. I have total fireplace envy. But at the same time, the hissing, piping hot radiators in my apartment are horrible and I’d love to not have to deal with noise and insane, uncontrollable heat. -Nathaniel, Clinton
  • Swamp heat So, imagine coming home at 2 am, stepping into your carpeted bedroom (icky carpet, but let’s save that for another time) and discovering that the entire carpet is wet. Actually soaking wet. Everything on the floor -- canvas storage bins under the bed, a sack of fresh laundry, magazines, etc.- are ruined. Doesn’t that sound like fun to deal with in addition to the blazing hot heat? Apparently my radiator (which was hidden behind radiator covers) had been leaking for a while. Don’t want to know the state of the floorboards underneath. My landlord has still to do anything about it. In the meantime, I’ve wrapped the leak in towels, and placed a jar under the leak, and to catch the water. I change the wrappings regularly and empty the jar once a day. I feel like a caretaker for an incontinent geriatric, which, let’s face it, is exactly what this radiator is. Yes, I’d love a newer heating system in place and be able to control the heat. Jason, -Upper West Side

Verdict: Heat control freaks win -- by a landslide.


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