Moving in New York

People do it all the time. I myself have done it three times so far. The first time was in a taxi. The second time was via taxi and subway. The third time was by U-Haul and foot. There are many ways to move in this city.

When I had first gotten here, I had stayed in a hotel in Queens. After finding a suitable apartment in Brooklyn, the only plausible way for me was to take a cab and make my way over there. I did have at least one convincing advantage at that time: Only two suitcases to go to stuff into that gypsy cab I ended up taking. Not much baggage for someone who wants to move. No furniture or other petty things I had to worry about.
Fast-forward 8 and a half months and I was once again on the move. This time I had accumulated somewhat more of a baggage: A chair here, a futon there, and a few more clothes. Way too many extras to squeeze into a simple cab ride. So I took two suitcases with me on the train. The trip turned out to be a pain in the arse, as schlepping two bags up and down the subway stairs was a bit too much, even for ambitious me. I then got a cab for the rest of the clothes, the chair, the trash can and you-know-not. Should have taken that directly, seven bucks and 7 minutes was a real bargain deal compared to those tedious 40 minutes underground. On my last day, in an adventurous action during which one of my friends was locked up in the apartment by my former, drugged-up roommate, we snatched another cab just to transport a twin-size futon. This time, of course, the driver overcharged us with a hefty 15-dollar-bill, but I guess it was worth the trouble of not having to buy it myself and having a place to sleep on right away.

Then followed the obligatory visit to Ikea. Pretty much my first time I bought actual furniture there (my first room had already been furnished, whereas my second place gave me some room for ideas and also left a blank hole in my wallet). So whatever movables I had purchased about a year ago, they were still standing around in my room. This time I was so not in the mood of going back and rebuying all the junk, even though price-wise it wouldn’t have been so bad. The thing about Ikea is, you can’t just look at it from a price-perspective. You have to calculate the hours time it takes you to get all of those steps right and see the end result standing in front of you – not toppling over. Which in my case had taken me two painfully long days for simple, basic things such as a chest, a shelf, a desk and even a desk chair. The table, on the other hand, was easy, just screwing four legs onto the fundament, and tadaaa… one fine result in minutes!

But I almost had to pass on the idea of renting a car and shoveling all the bits and pieces over to an apartment that was after all only 7 minutes away – by foot. Heck, I even thought about carrying some furniture over and leaving the rest behind. Then I talked to my friend.Luckily. My friend knows many things which make life easier in New York. So he simply suggested to take U-Haul.

“U-Haul?,” I wondered, because I had never heard of it before. The concept is easy: Rent a van two times the size of a normal van and pay about 20 bucks for a 24-hour-period. U-Haul’s strength, if you can call it that, lies in charging its customer for the mileage. Now this might be a “slight” problem for the rest of the States. But for New York, where people need a U-Haul truck for about anything, from moving furniture to packing up the music instruments of a band, it is a splendid concept! You can actually manage to not burn as much mileage and still have your precious things transported. U-Hauls’s prices start at $20 and counting. With tax, insurance (the company gives you a damage waiver fee option of $11, which I took), and a mileage of 5 miles I paid about 42 dollars. Almost a bargain, I think. My entire room fit into the truck’s, sorry, VAN’S interior and I could have put more in it. I am one of the few (illegal) folks who have lived in the City for an extended period of time and still do not possess an American driver’s license. But U-Haul accepts international and foreign driver’s licenses (wheeeew!) and the company let me insure my friend at no added cost. I let him drive and maneuver this huge monster of a car through Brooklyn’s streets. He claims that I could have easily driven it but I wasn’t’ in the mood of trying it out and maybe bumping into something. I can still see the picture of him trying to squeeze the van into a parking lot in front of my apartment until an Arabic guy offered his help. He had much more experience with these types of automobiles and perfectly placed the large car into the small spot. Bravo! Other than that nothing happened, luckily. I am not sure how U Haul’s insurance really works in case of, say, an accident but then I wasn’t keen on trying it out either.

So, for the record: I highly recommend a cab if you don’t have too much stuff to take with you. Otherwise shoot for U-Haul or, if you own a zipcar account and don’t have to pay the registration fee, then zipcar. U-Haul has great trucks of immense size, though; they really do fit a lot in them. And since you can borrow it for 24 hours straight, the move and the obligatory trip to Ikea, if in need, can be accomplished all in one day.

Good luck on moving in New York, it is all part of the game!