Would You Rather?

In a city as hot as New York, residents have strong opinions about their a/c units

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If last week's unseasonably warm temperatures were any indication, summer is fast approaching, and our collective minds have turned to air-conditioning. We asked five New Yorkers whether they'd rather live in an apartment with central A/C and floor-to-ceiling windows that can't open (think shiny, brand new developments) or put up with more run-of-the-mill windows and average window-unit A/Cs (think pre-war charm).

  • Fair weather windows That’s really hard. In the fall I don’t mind having open windows, but that’s about it. In springtime, my allergies kill me and in the winter I don’t mind keeping them shut. And in the summer, forget it, I never open the windows, it's A/C all the way. I wish I had the A/C in the windows already but I hate the chore of installing them? Yeah, I’ll take floor-to-ceiling windows and central A/C. I may feel differently come October, but right now, definitely! -Mariah, Long Island City
  • Central air please! Right now, I get no light in my place. My windows are dirty and look out onto a dark alley with other dirty windows. So floor-to-ceiling windows sound good. And also, I love the look of them. They're dramatic and gives a place an awesome look. I wouldn’t care so much about getting the air in through regular windows because the air is not that fresh anyway. And central A/C would be pretty cool! -Anthony, Hamilton Heights
  •  Hermetic seal preferred Assuming I had windows in the bedroom for occasional “fresh” city air and, you know, compliance to the laws, I would absolutely take floor-to-ceiling windows and central A/C over regular windows with window units. Why? Let’s see: I really like shutting out the city at the end of a hard day. The city grime gets in the windows, covering everything with a film of filth so I’d love to reduce the dusting and cleaning on a daily basis. The noise on my street is crazy so it would be nice to keep that out, too. Central A/C is far superior to window units, it’s a pain in the ass to store and install A/C units, and window a/c units are super loud. Need I go on? -Neal, Upper West Side
  • Regular Joe windows for me I’d take the regular old windows over floor-to-ceiling windows. Central A/C is nice, but I don’t like A/C anyway, so I only use it sparingly. I like being able to open my windows. You can get fresh air blowing through and feel weather changing. It’s noisy, but it’s still nice to hear things going on in the city. -Olga, Bensonhurst                                                                                                           
  • SoHo no-no I used to like the look of those huge, industrial looking loft windows. But now I’ve been in a few SoHo lofts where there are large windows and here’s the thing: a lot of those lofts are dark anyway! Because those floor-to-ceiling windows are often just on one side of the apartment, the other windows look out onto the alleys behind the buildings. And what you get a lot of times in those funky lofts are interior rooms with no windows or light because all the windows are on just one side. So when I think of floor-to-ceiling windows that are decorative and not that functional,  that’s what I think of: awkward dark spaces, funny enough. So I’ll take standard, old fashioned sash windows and just get over the whole window unit A/C thing for the summer. -Laney,  Park Slope

Verdict: Floor-to-ceiling windows and central air, by a hair.


Read this before you install your A/C this weekend