The Owner: Temperature Control, New York Style

The Owner: Temperature Control, New York Style

Maxwell Ryan
Mar 29, 2005

On a recent below-freezing day, an out-of-town friend and I had a giggling fit over the fact that my air conditioner was on, turned up to full blast.

With steam pipes in my kitchen, bathroom and living room, I have virtually no control over when the heat comes on in my home. This always amazes non-New Yorkers: very few of us have total dictatorship over our apartment temperatures.

In my last apartment, I slept with my windows wide open during January and February, until I awoke one morning with snow on my couch. I've learned my lesson, and now run my air conditioner through the winter to counteract the stiflingly hot pipes.

I am often struck by the various Eccentric Utilities that New Yorkers have to deal with. Spending Easter weekend at my parents' suburban McMansion in Pittsburgh, I was reminded of their luxuriously steady water pressure and temperature. Here on West 96th street, my shower changes temperatures every minute, so I spend my bathing time counting to sixty and dodging alternately scalding and freezing water.

At the end of the day, I put up with Big Apple quirks because my parents may be able to count on good water pressure, but they can't walk to The Met. TF

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