6sqft’s ongoing series Apartment Living 101 is aimed at helping New Yorkers navigate the challenges of creating a happy home in the big city. This week, we’ve put together a list of tips for hiring movers and making sure the big day runs smoothly.
With universities about to let out and warmer weather leading us out of hibernation, moving season in NYC is upon us. And if you’re not one of the brave souls who plans to enlist family and friends to help with the dreaded schlep, you don’t want to blindly hire the first man with a van you come across. From big corporations to small family-run operations, movers in NYC run the gamut in terms of services, pricing, and proximity, but regardless of which route you take, there are several things to consider before deciding. Ahead, 6sqft has rounded up 12 tips for hiring movers, including performing background checks, making sure you’ve accurately counted your boxes (no one wants to be that person), and negotiating the estimate.
All the tips ahead
While loud noise has been found to be harmful, new research shows residents who live in the loudest NYC neighborhoods may be healthier than residents living in quieter nabes. According to a study by NYU Langone Medical Center, neighborhoods that called in the most noise complaints to 311 had residents with a lower body mass index and blood pressure (h/t Metro NY). While researchers do not believe the actual noise is behind the healthier numbers, the study points to an area’s walkability to be a contributing factor to the health of residents.
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Image: Jazz Guy via flickr
Though it’s not too hard to understand the logic behind a mansion tax, a bagel tax…oy vey! Next time you hit your local bagel shop, know that if you get your breakfast sliced–or heaven forbid, with schmear–you’ll get smacked with an 8.875 percent sales tax. If you eat it in the store, (even if it’s still whole), boom, more tax.
The folks at Turbotax explain that, “the state adds an eight-cent tax to any altered bagels,” which includes, “bagel sandwiches (served buttered or with spreads, or otherwise as a sandwich)” or even just sliced for you. According to the New York state Department of Taxation and Finance, “Generally, food and food products sold by food stores are exempt from sales tax.” That bagel loses its exemption when it is “sold heated; it is sold for consumption on the premises; or it has been prepared by the seller and is ready to be eaten, whether for on premises or off premises consumption.”
In honor of Tax Day, we ask: What’s with this bagel tax?
To celebrate the ahead-of-schedule launch of the Citywide Ferry service, Mayor de Blasio rode the first ferry (named “Lunchbox” by second graders from Bay Ridge) this morning into Brooklyn Bridge Park’s Pier 1 as part of an official dedication ceremony. Beginning May 1st, all New Yorkers can join in the revelry when the new Rockaway Route and the existing East River Route kick off. Service to South Brooklyn starts in June, and the Astoria route will be launched sometime in August. In all, there will be 21 stops added throughout the city as part of the expanded service. On top of today’s festivities, the city also released the official new ferry schedules.
See the NYC Ferry routes
To make money and stay social after retirement, older New Yorkers are turning to Airbnb. According to a report by the company, the population of senior citizens hosting visitors through the website continues to grow faster than any other demographic in both New York State and City. The Daily News reports that in NYC, the number of elderly Airbnb hosts jumped 60 percent in the last year. Specifically, the Bronx saw a 120 percent leap and Queens a 199 percent increase. While this shows a clear boost, senior citizens still only make up about four percent of the city’s total listings, or about 1,043, up from 649 the year before.
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Advocacy group Transportation Alternatives has been trying to stay focused on grounded solutions–literally, as opposed to the tunnel and skyway ideas that are also being discussed–to mitigate the anticipated possible chaos when the dreaded 15-month L train shutdown hits. The organization is aiming for the ear of the Department of Transportation (DOT) and the MTA which control street design and bus expansion, respectively. The group recently held an “L-ternative” contest seeking pedestrian-centered proposals for main transit corridors along the L line, such as 14th street, Gothamist reports. The winning proposal, called 14TH ST.OPS, imagines a (car) traffic-free 14th Street with a six-stop shuttle bus using dedicated lanes, plus protected bike lanes.
Check out the winning post-L-Train vision
In response to the state’s film production tax break, a record number of TV and movie crews have scouted NYC locations for shoots. The mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment issued 149 location permits for 72 projects to film between March 9 and March 15 alone. And as reported by Crain’s, studios will pay residents hefty sums to rent their apartments or homes for shoots. While this can be quite profitable for those occupying the property, with location managers doling out anywhere between $5,000 and $20,000 per day, some neighbors are tired of the inconveniences these projects create on their block.
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When looking for that perfect city abode, apartment hunters often create a list of must-have amenities that also fit within a budget. Now, thanks to Priceonomics and Renthop, you can determine which apartment features have the greatest impact on the overall rent. While the number of bedrooms and bathrooms drive up rent prices the most, the research found that having a doorman, an elevator, available parking and/or laundry-in-building most likely would increase the total rent. In a closer look at NYC, the data shows having a doorman creates the biggest increase of rent in the city, adding about $260 each month.
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Mayor de Blasio announced today that the Citywide Ferry Service, now officially named “NYC Ferry,” will be launching two routes on the first day of May: the new Rockaway Route and the existing East River Route. As DNA Info learned, the Rockaway route takes passengers from the new dock on Beach 108th Street to the Brooklyn Terminal, and then Wall Street’s Pier 11. Expect service on the South Brooklyn Route with stops in Bay Ridge, Sunset Park, Red Hook and Brooklyn Bridge Park to begin on June 1. The Astoria Route will be launched sometime in August and the Lower East Side and Soundview Routes have a launch date set in 2018. Find out more here
In New York City, and the rest of the country, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to find affordable housing. To combat this, the Habitat for Humanity NYC announced a plan to build affordable houses for buyers in Brooklyn and Queens. The organization, aimed at constructing quality housing for families in need, will bring 48 units of affordable homes to these boroughs by redeveloping abandoned or foreclosed properties. Since most of these homes have been left vacant for decades, many are run-down and have negatively impacted the surrounding neighborhoods. As Brick Underground learned, the city’s Housing Authority first acquired these properties and then sold them to Habitat for Humanity at $1 each.
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To date, close to 700 LinkNYC Wifi kiosks have been installed throughout the five boroughs. Among their features are an app that lets users make free calls anywhere in the U.S., as well as a dedicated red 911 button for emergencies. Coupled with the fact that most New Yorkers have cell phones on them, it seems that the city’s 14,813 red alarm boxes serve basically no purpose anymore. In fact, as Crain’s tells us, last year, the boxes were used only 11,440 times to call the FDNY, which is an average of less than once per box. And, of these calls, only 13 percent were for actual emergencies and just 1.5 percent for fires. But yet, the city spends a whopping $6.8 million annually paying electricians to repair the call boxes and others to paint over graffiti.
What’s the deal?
Some of the greatest literary giants of all time lived and wrote in New York City. In celebration of the 200th anniversary of HarperCollins, which was founded in NYC, the publishing company created an interactive walking tour map that narrates the history of each author as you walk (h/t DNAinfo). Just a few of the famed Big Apple authors include Harper Lee, Mark Twain, Zora Neale Hurston and Richard Wright.
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Like most things in New York, creative communities come and ago as new development and rising rents force artists to move on to the next best, or cheaper neighborhood. While 6sqft found ‘hoods like the Upper East Side, Harlem and Long Island City to be the best places for artists a few years back, we’ve updated our top-10 list to reflect the changing times. Ahead you’ll find some areas you may expect–Sunset Park and Bushwick, for example, along with more up-and-coming artsy enclaves like Newark, Washington Heights, and the South Bronx.
The full list right this way
It’s official. The Metropolitan Transit Authority board voted to approve a 15-month shutdown of the L train on Monday, instead of the originally proposed 18 months. The Board also awarded a $477 million contract to Judlau Contracting and TC Electric, who will responsible for repairing the train’s Canarsie Tunnel, which suffered severe flooding damage after Hurricane Sandy (h/t WSJ). The planned shutdown is set to begin in April 2019 and cuts all L train service between Bedford Avenue in Williamsburg and Eighth Avenue in Manhattan.
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After getting through the see-sawing weather of March, spring seems to have finally sprung in New York. To fully experience the changing seasons, check out these cherry blossom trackers from both the Brooklyn Botanical Garden and the New York Botanical Garden. Right now, more blossoms can be spotted in Brooklyn, with the first flowers appearing last Wednesday.
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Data shows the borough in which you work could decide what income you bring home. CityLab looked at the city’s divided class structure in three main classes of employment–creative, service, and working–and in which borough these workers reside. The data shows that the creative class, made up of tech workers, artists, designers, and educational professionals, cluster in Manhattan, which employs nearly 70 percent of the city’s entire creative class. On top of that, clear income discrepancies exist among boroughs with the average salary for a creative class worker iat $96, 970 in Manhattan, $79,248 in Queens, $77,875 in the Bronx, and $76,565 in Staten Island. Surpisingly, Brooklyn’s creative class earns the least, with an average of $74,963.
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The map, the first of its kind, highlights the intensity of noises made by cars and airplanes across the country through geospatial data.
When comparing the perks of NYC to New Jersey, add the adjective “quieter” to the list. According to a noise map released by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), noise pollution has been found to be worse in Jersey than it is in Manhattan. However, the density of highways in the city, and sounds from LaGuardia, JFK and Newark airport, do rank the New York metro area as one of the loudest areas in the entire country.
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Our ongoing series Apartment Living 101 is aimed at helping New Yorkers navigate the challenges of creating a happy home in the big city. Previously, 6sqft rounded up a list of 10 nearly indestructible plants that are ideal for apartment dwellers with black thumbs. Now, we’re taking a look at plants that are powerhouses when it comes to cleaning indoor air.
Outdoor air quality is a concern for all, but few of us consider the airborne pollutants that have infiltrated our homes. Toxins from carpet, paint, upholstery and cleaning products are just a handful of modern-day products that can degrade indoor air quality, and studies have shown too much exposure to these manmade elements can cause lung and respiratory issues over the long run. Luckily, there are a number of houseplants that moonlight as efficient purifiers. Ahead you’ll find 15 of the best air-purifying plants suited for apartment living, according to Dr. B.C. Wolverton, a scientist who worked with NASA to develop a breathable environment for long-term lunar habitation.
15 plants to help keep indoor air its purest
As a symbol of resistance to the Trump administration, Chelsea-based contemporary art gallery BravinLee created a Kickstarter to raise $10,000 for an inflatable, 15-foot rat sporting a comb-over and an ill-fitting suit (complete with an inflatable piece of scotch tape to ensure his tie won’t blow in the wind) that will be placed outside Trump Tower. As the A.V. Club learned, artist Jeffrey Beebe was inspired by Scabby the Rat, the inflatable rat that attends union strikes to signal unfair and unsafe practices by management. With the deadline to fund “Trumpy the Rat” set for April 19, the project has raked in just over $5,500.
Find out more here
As the population of New York City continues to rise, so does the amount of garbage lining its sidewalks. But getting all this trash out of sight is not an insignificant expense. As the Post reports, a new study by the city’s Independent Budget Office (IBO) has found that the price of exporting trash is swelling and there appears to be little remedy in sight.
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In light of NYC’s recent subway fare hike that bumped the price of a monthly pass to $121, the data jocks at ValuePenguin took a look at public transportation systems throughout the U.S. and ranked them according to affordability, based on the cost of a pass as a percentage of income and the median income of the city’s commuters. Among the findings: New York City’s transit system isn’t the most unaffordable; that honor goes to Los Angeles. Washington D.C. topped the most affordable list among large cities, followed by San Francisco and Boston.
Read on for more insight on the cost of a commute
For the second year in a row, New York takes the title of the city with the most billionaires in the world. According to Forbes, NYC is home to 82 billionaires with a total combined net worth of just under $400 billion. In last year’s list, the city placed first, but with 79 billionaires and a total net worth of $364.6 billion. Despite gaining a few more wealthy inhabitants, New York’s David Koch (worth $48.3 billion) and Michael Bloomberg still rank as the first and second richest in the city, though last year they were flip-flopped.
See the full list of cities here
Swiping a fellow New Yorker through the subway turnstile with your MetroCard is practically a New York pastime. But is it actually legal? As DNAinfo reports, the NYPD and MTA say it’s completely lawful to help another rider gain access to the subway, as long as you’re not charging them for the swipe. And for those looking for a free ride? Last year, the city changed their policy on “fare-begging,” which lowered the consequence for riders asking for a swipe from an arrest to a ticket or summons.
Find out more here
Finally, there’s some good news for the nearly 225,000 daily L train riders commuting to Manhattan. This weekend the Metropolitan Transit Authority announced that the Canarsie tube, which carries the L train between Manhattan and Brooklyn, will be closed for 15 months instead of 18, three months ahead of schedule. As reported by the Daily News, the MTA plans to begin rehabilitating the tunnel in April of 2019.
Find out more here
It’s difficult to imagine the hustle and bustle of New York City without its culturally-iconic yellow taxicabs. And while it’s obvious companies chose the color yellow to be more visible to ride-hailers, a study conducted in Singapore found that not only are yellow cars harder to miss, they get in fewer accidents (h/t Mental Floss).
What are the origins of the famous yellow cab
Snow may be piling up on the sidewalks as we speak, but we won’t likely be seeing more than they did in December of 1947, when a blizzard dumped 26.4 inches of snow on New York City. According to NYC.gov, “the City was paralyzed when the blizzard barreled its way through, stranding cars and buses in the streets, halting subway service, and claiming 77 lives.” It took $6 million, nearly 30,000 workers, and weeks of digging and plowing to get the city moving again (you can watch a video showing what 99 million tons of snow does to a city of eight million people, ahead). But there’s nothing unseasonal about a mid-March blizzard. In fact, the record for most snow to fall in a day was set on March 12th of 1888, when 16.5 inches piled up in Central Park.
March is no lamb, and we ain’t lion
In 2007, officials launched MillionTreesNYC, an initiative with the aim of greening New York City through the planting and care of one million trees. While the city surpassed its goal in 2015, planting 1,017,634 trees by the year’s end, efforts to increase leafy canopy coverage across the five boroughs has not wavered since. With that said, if you’re a New Yorker who feels that your street could use a bit more greenery (ahem, Sean Lennon), getting a tree planted on your block is much easier than you may think. By simply filling out a request with the New York Parks Department, you can get a tree planted, for free, so long as the plot you have in mind is suitable for planting.
find out more details here
New York City’s avenue blocks are long, as are its winters; getting from Rockefeller Center to Times Square can be an unpleasant, cold and crowded experience–unless you take the underground passageway, the city’s largest, that spans the entire two-block-plus distance. Below, take a virtual stroll from avenue to avenue (and from the B/D/F/M to the N/R/W subways): Enter on the west side of Fifth Avenue between 50th and 51st Street and exit at Seventh Avenue and 49th Street–and buy yourself a few more minutes before you burrow into that parka.
Take a virtual trip through the tunnel
After initial skepticism and half-hearted arguments from bike-haters and snide remarks from bike snob cities like Seattle and San Francisco, New York City’s first official bike sharing system has turned out to be a success–that much we know. The numbers compiled by Priceonomics Data Studio for their client Spin reveal some surprising numbers when it comes to how we’re using those bikes. D.C., for example, beat the other cities handily on most metrics, with San Francisco and Seattle consistently at the bottom of the list. Ok, so the research was done for a bike sharing startup hoping to expand its station-less system (more on that, too), but it’s interesting to compare statistics of share programs in the nation’s biggest adopters of this new public transportation option–and get a chance to see how Citi Bike fares.
Find out more fascinating bike share facts
There’s even more to love about the NYC subway this week, as Hypebeast and The Cut report on the branded collaboration between cult skatewear brand Supreme and the MTA. The limited-edition Supreme-branded Metrocards arrived at stores and select stations on Monday and limited outbreaks of mayhem have ensued as fans scrambled to buy the custom cards from Metrocard machines. The cards cost $5.50, though according to the MTA they’re sold out, and it’s reported that they’re selling for
$1,000 $38.88 on eBay.
Ruckus locations, this way