Moving House in New York City

Thursday, August 2, 2012
Moving apartments in New York City

Monday was moving day.

Mr M journeyed to Brooklyn to collect our U-Haul truck, while our hired manpower (aka Bronco) and I emptied our apartment into the lobby. Upon the truck’s arrival, I took my next job as ‘$115 parking fine avoider’, and sat in the driver’s seat of the double-parked U-Haul while the manpower x 2 loaded the vehicle. Mr M, Bronco and two pot plants then squeezed into the front of the truck with me for the drive to Brooklyn.

From the Upper West Side we took a rather sedated West End Avenue before jumping across to the West Side Highway.

Then we hit Canal Street. Argh!

Canal Street, passing directly through Chinatown is 6 (?) lanes of general chaos, trucks, buses, bikes, pedestrians, a police woman directing traffic, taxis and horns. Our 14ft U-Haul, with side mirrors that stuck out like the handles of a Toby jug had great visibility (so Mr M says, I did not drive!) but proved a liability in our ambitiously narrow lane.  And, unavoidably, those mirrors did make a little contact, right and left, truck and bus, and in that quick succession, but no damage was done.  Two thumbs up to Mr M!

Across the Manhattan Bridge, a few more turns and we pulled up in the only ‘no parking permitted’ spot available.  Once again, I was on parking fine duty, which largely limited my labour to carrying awkward heavy things across the road to the brownstone entrance.  I abandoned my post briefly to assist Mr M and Bronco with the couch and mattress wrapped in sweaty plastic, the latter of which wins the "most difficult item to carry up two flights of winding stairs without hitting wall lights" award.

Then we were in.

And so on Monday evening, with tired bodies and a sense of achievement we sat in our new apartment on the couch with some Chinese take-away and a bottle of Rose. Not much later we went to bed.

Moving in New York City?

Tips for a DIY move
  • Hire a U-Haul
    • Be aware - the advertised cost of $29.95 for 6 hours rapidly increased with mileage, fuel, insurance and random taxes (about $150 all up for us)
    • Return it on time or get slugged another 6 hour fee and an inconvenience fee
  • Need extra manpower? 
    • We used a guy who works in our building, but there were also about a dozen men loitering outside the U-Haul office looking for moving work (as reported by Mr M)
  • Don't get a parking fine
    • Someone should stay in/near/by the truck)
  • And plan your trip around roads which allow commercial vehicles (of which the U-Haul is one) or risk a fine

Tips for hiring a mover
  • Leave the lifting, sweating, driving and illegal parking to someone else.
  • I sought quotes from Band with a Van (they have amazing reviews, but were unavailable) and Man with a Van (the real one). Craigslist also advertises many different versions of “Man with Van”, affectionately known as “Man with a Scam” (although I am sure they aren’t all bad)
  • Book early if you are moving when everyone else is moving - i.e. the end of the month especially late summer
  • Expect to pay for driving time, flights of stairs, move time and tips.


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