1. Parking. I have my own parking spot, and it's all mine! I no longer have to weigh how much I want to go on a particular outing (grocery shopping, the gym, etc) with how willing (or unwilling) I am to give up my current parking spot. I no longer have to worry that if I return home later than about 6pm, I may have to circle the block for anywhere from 5 minutes to an hour and a half. (I wish this was an exageration, but it really isn't - on more than one ocassion we clocked an extra five miles just looking for a parking spot within a five bock radius). And, in order to get a gauranteed parking spot, I don't have to pay $250 a month!
2. Street Cleaning. Related to point #1, but most definitely deserving of it's own point, is that we no longer have to move our car a minimum of three times a week for street cleaning. Yes, that's right, once we found a spot, even if it was right outside of our building and we didn't have anywhere to go for several days, the longest it could possibly stay where it was was four days, and only if it fell over a weekend. Too many times we would find a perfectly good spot after circling for 20 or 30 minutes, only to have to get up at 6:30 or 7 the next morning to find a spot on the opposite side of the street, which could again result in another 20 or 30 minutes of circling. (Wow, I'm feeling all kinds of stressed out just remembering the parking hoopla!)
3. Laundry. I can do laundry any old time of the day I want to, and I can do it in my pajamas! In my first apartment in New York, there was no laundry facility, so I had to take my clothes to a laundromat. In those days, I did not have a car, so I had to haul my stuff around the block. I couldn't very well leave my laundry there, so I had to sit and wait for it to wash and then dry. In our second apartment, we had laundry facilities in our building, but it was almost as if we didn't. See, for some reason, the building managers locked the laundry room at 7pm. Now this might not seem terribly late in the grand scheme of things, but the thing is, we rarely, and in fact, most people in New York rarely, got home before 6 at the very earliest, and an hour is just not enough time to wash and dry your laundry. So, we had to do it on the weekends with every other person in the building who also worked too late to utilize it during the week. Which means, we had to fight for washers and dryers, which wouldn't have been so bad if all six of each worked all of the time - but they almost never did! In fact, the building managers seemed to have a policy that four of one machine had to be broken before someone could come in and fix them. Jason and I seriously considered breaking a fourth machine when we were down to three just so that they would all get fixed (we never did, but we came close). Again, the stress is building at the mere thought!
4. The Subway. Actually, more specifically, the walk to the subway. We lived about 10 minutes from our subway stop, which isn't such a bad walk when the weather is nice...However, the weather is often not nice, and bad weather is just made worse when you have to walk through it! Though it doesn't rain in NYC nearly as often as it does here in Portland, when it rains in NY it rains hard! And, remember, we then had to walk to work in it! There's only so much waterproofing you can do while dressed in work appropriate attire. Then sometimes, it was bitterly, bitterly cold. So cold, in fact, that more than once I actually wimpered while walking to the train! Then there was trying to dress for the weather outside while taking into account the temperature on the subway. For some reason, even though nearly everyone walks through the elements to get to a train, the trains were never set to a temperature that took into account what we had to wear on the walk. So if it was bitterly cold outside and we were bundled up in layers, the subway car would be set to a living-room-appropriate temperature of 75 degrees! Ugh. Yuck.
5. Having control over the temperature of my living quarters. In our Bronx apartment we had radiator heat. Now, with most radiators, you can adjust them with a little nob on the radiator. However, in our building, the super had decided that those nobs were too easy to break, so he just removed them. This wouldn't be so bad, except that the heat was routinely set to about 85 degrees during the winter! So warm, in fact, that having the windows open did nothing. Yeah, those windows that let in that same bitterly cold air, did nothing to the temperature of our apartment! We finally had to simply shut off our radiators all together - it was all or nothing.
Wow. I have a renewed gratefulness for having left New York! There were good things about living there, and there are actually things that I miss, but I'll save those for another post.