Moving in NYC during the coronavirus is a nightmare

Robert Sosin gave his 8-year-old son Lyric the middle name Woolworth after Sosin’s favorite building in town, a choice he calls “the cheapest way to get real estate in NYC”. But Sosin was finally close to reality: home ownership.

The 44-year-old creative director closed a three-bedroom, one-half bath apartment in Southbridge Towers, a complex at 80 Beekman Street in the Financial District.

For a purchase price of $ 1.27 million, he would finally have enough space for his wife and two children as well as windows with a view of the actual Woolworth building.

He tries to put deeper roots in the neighborhood where he has lived all his life: his grandmother Natalie Sosinsky lives on the same floor of the Southbridge Towers as his new cooperative.

“I love this city,” says Sosin. “I want a part of it. This house represents us very much. “

Sosin’s grandmother, who lives in the same building, drops cookies from her balcony because she cannot see his children in person at the moment because of the lockdown.Brian Zak / NY Post

The family began packing boxes and planning renovations while awaiting final approval of the mortgage by the bank for its expected completion on April 1st. Then the coronavirus pandemic hit New York and froze the gears of the economy. People like Sosin – in the middle of planning a move, the most difficult task in New York – were left in uncertainty. Some are still struggling to find backup plans.

New York’s stay-at-home order hits the market at the worst possible time: traditionally, the busiest moving day in town is May 1st.

Sosin’s closure is still being put on hold, but his family is lucky. You can stay in your current apartment until the lock is over.

Other New Yorkers are trapped between an expiring lease and an uncertain new lease. To make matters worse, many buildings limit visits by non-residents and make it more difficult to show, view, clean or paint apartments. Some completely prohibit movement.

Jersey CityA couple with a baby on the way moved from downtown Brooklyn to Jersey City (above). But the couple who took over their Brooklyn lease have pulled out due to the coronavirus, and the couple may be ready to pay off the remainder of their lease – a whopping $ 17,500.Shutterstock

Daniel, a 34-year-old who works in advertising, was in the middle of quarantine – and it could cost him as much as $ 17,500. Daniel – who asked that his last name not be used because he was still negotiating with his old building – and his sixth month pregnant wife moved to Jersey City on March 19. Your two bedroom apartment in a new high-rise near the Grove Street PATH station is an upgrade for the growing family. But a San Diego couple who were supposed to take over their old downtown Brooklyn lease failed; One of them lost a job thanks to the coronavirus, then both felt sick, so moving abroad was a bad idea. Daniel is now trying hard to find a new renter or face to pay off his old lease, which would be $ 3,500 / month by August.

Days after it moved, the downtown Brooklyn building banned outsiders, meaning no visits from painters, cleaners, or potential tenants are required. In the meantime, he is repainting the apartment himself and using Ubers to travel between Jersey City and Brooklyn to avoid public transport.

New York’s stay-at-home order hits the market at the worst possible time: traditionally, the busiest moving day in town is May 1st.

“The building makes it very difficult for me to make the apartment presentable to someone,” says Daniel. “They don’t answer calls, they just replied, ‘You are still responsible for paying for your lease.’ ”

Daniel and his wife may have savings, but they prefer to spend them on the new baby. Others in the city have less financial stability.

Jay Martin, Executive Director of the Community Housing Improvement Program, which represents the owners and administrators of more than 400,000 rental-stabilized properties, estimates that 2,000 renters have asked to cancel leases to move in with other family members because they can can’t afford to keep their apartments. The move comes when a wave of historic unemployment hit the state that has struck many in the service industry and other professions that have had no way to work from home.

Thousands more, Martin adds, are demanding lease extensions or delays in rent payments. If the quarantine continues after April, he will prepare for a much worse scenario for the 2 million people in rent-stabilized apartments – and for the buildings that rely on their rent payments for outbreak-related cleaning, maintenance and security costs.

“Without being hyperbolic, I can tell you the cascading effect of literally 2 million renters in this city who can’t pay their rent,” he says. “It’s going to be a disaster.”

Moving companies that are considered essential companies continue to operate.  Imperial Movers (above) is still fully booked with moves, including helping Barnard students clear their dormitories in March.Moving companies that are considered essential companies continue to operate. Imperial Movers (above) is still fully booked with moves, including helping Barnard students clear their dormitories in March.Stephen Yang |

It is technically possible to move now: the state has considered moving companies as “essential” businesses so they can stay open during the lockdown. In fact, Manhattan-based companies like Imperial Movers, where most office workers work from home but still have crews sent to work, have full speed ahead. You have to wear ankle boots, gloves and face masks, says sales manager Adit Thakur.

The company struck around March 15 when Barnard College ordered students to vacate the dormitories as soon as possible – in the middle of the spring break. Imperial communicated with students through FaceTime and in some cases signed contracts remotely. Thakur said prices typically range from $ 500 to $ 650 for moving to town or over $ 1,000 for shipping across the country, but the company gave discounts to some students, especially those paying without parental assistance.

“It was mostly mass chaos,” recalls Thakur.

Andrew Beasley first hired moving companies to move apartments in Greenpoint.  He will now go to a walkup on the third floor to adhere to the social distancing recommendations.Andrew Beasley first hired moving companies to upgrade apartments in Greenpoint. He will now go to a walkup on the third floor to adhere to the social distancing recommendations.Brian Zak / NY Post

Andrew Beasley, 26, was looking to get into moving business for the first time when he moved from one Greenpoint apartment to another on April 1. However, when the recommendations for distancing and isolating became stricter, he became concerned about interacting with moving companies and exposing his new roommate, whom he found on Craigslist, to strangers coming in and out. For the same reason, he didn’t want to make friends to haul boxes.

So he canceled the moving company and booked a U-Haul van that he can unlock contactlessly with his phone. The U-Haul was only about $ 40 compared to $ 200 for moving companies. However, he expects to spend hours dragging all of his boxes and furniture to his new location, which is on the third floor.
“I try to make sure they are as comfortable as possible and let me move in,” says Beasley, who works for a political company.

He’s also trying to find someone to take over his old room. A prospective tenant came by in a blue full-body lab suit and mask on March 24th. Beasley adds, “He came in and took a look at the room, didn’t touch anything and left.”

Some buildings have banned non-resident visitors, making it difficult to show potential tenants apartments.  Others, such as 525 W. 52nd St. (above), are flexible with regard to moving in as well as start and end dates for rental agreements.Some buildings have banned non-resident visitors, making it difficult to show potential tenants apartments. Others, such as 525 W. 52nd St. (above), are flexible with regard to moving in as well as start and end dates for rental agreements.

The luxury rental building with 392 residential units at 525 W. 52nd St., in which prices range between USD 3,100 for a studio and USD 6,806 for a three-room apartment, is extending the rental contracts and, according to leasing manager Teresa Chavin, is flexible in terms of moving-in dates . Some residents, she adds, have asked to end their leases early in order to flee to the Catskills or Hamptons.

Meanwhile, Justin Truglio has been trapped by quarantine. The 24-year-old and his current roommate were due to move from Midtown East to a $ 4,000 / month West Village block on April 1st. However, the current tenants of the apartment extended their lease due to the lockdown, and the couple’s current landlord would only offer a six month extension. Instead, he retires to his roommate’s family home on the Jersey Shore until they can work out a game plan.

“It’s just crazy because we have nowhere to move in,” says Truglio, “and we can’t renew our lease.”

For Truglio, as for most of the people trapped in the resettlement situation, there is nothing left to do but wait.

“The uncertainty is very high at the moment,” says Sosin, whose conclusion has not yet been postponed. “Nobody said, ‘It’s over’ [or] “It’s still on.” We just know that there could be a big shoe that falls at any moment. “

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