Unusual NYC Services
by Heidi Ran Chen
Summer is hurtling towards us. Once it arrives, real-human-being considerations will be sublimated under the haze of Brooklyn rooftop parties, Far(Rock)away beaches, festivals and heated dissipation. You’ll have to start thinking about that closet you promised, back in 2014, to clean out, or your happily-forgotten New Year’s resolution to “cook” more. Maybe your thoughts are even beginning to gravitate, despite your best future riverfront-boozing effort, towards how you’re still sleeping on a mattress on the floor because you were too lazy to put your bed together from your cross-borough move back in fall.
We’ve all been there (we are still there). Whether your ethos on the subject tends toward checking items off your to-do list or hunkering down in your apartment with carton-ed food, delivered alcohol, and Netflix, New York City, that great metropolis with its diversity and niche-filling entrepreneurial spirit, has got you covered. Check out this list of unusual but so helpful services in NYC that you can crutch on for your perennial procrastination.
Because even your sofa needs a little TLC, and because you’re maybe a little useless when it comes to spatial reasoning, it’s time to call the couch doctors. This service, which covers the New York tri-state area and beyond, will disassemble, transport, assemble, re-upholster, repair your couch, sofa, tables, armoires, you name it. These guys specialize in making your furniture fit in spaces they weren’t meant to fit in - yea, we know, it looked so good in the store that you positively “forgot” that you lived in a 5th floor walk-up with tiny staircases - and they’ll give you a free estimate to boot.
Ikea Delivery and Assembly Service
Although one of the "joys" of buying Ikea furniture is perusing the convoluted instruction manual while desperately clutching your third glass of wine (for creativity), sometimes you just cannot. Sometimes you just need to not sleep on a mattress on the floor for the 4th month while the skeletons of your Fjellse bedframe gathers dust. If you must summon help in the epic battle of Man vs. Bjursta, a service like Perfect Assembly is the urban trifecta of awesome: Men of few words but many power tools, Perfect Assembly will take your shopping list to Ikea and pick up items for you, deliver the flat packs and assemble the furniture in your home. Perfect Assembly is insured and will speedily deal with your building's request for Insurance Certificates. Remember to generously tip those who have the power (tools) to save your sanity and personal relationships.
Little Fido needs a shot. Except Little Fido is a 120lb Tibetan Mastiff that you can almost ride like a Vahana. He’ll hardly fit into an Uber and you can’t take him on the Subway (no pets, no matter the size, is technically allowed on NYC’s public transportation, but people often get away with smaller animals). This is when the Pet Chauffeur comes in handy. These guys, who’s been doing this for 15 years, will transport your pet to vets, groomers, boarding facilities, and airports, with specialized vehicles outfitted with crates and safety belts. They also do air “shipping” for your pet so when you finally call it and move to the south of France, you can do it with a little less worry.
It’s like Uber, but for bodyguards. A fairly recent entry into the Uber-but-for-blank genre, this app allows users to order security at the click of a button. Visit their site or on the app, and put in your requirements - date, address, number of security needed - and they’ll get it done. You can book in advance and also at the last minute deal - that Bushwick warehouse party you planned got too bumpin’ right? - they claim to be able to find a guard in an hour or less. Even better? It’s a manageable flat hourly rate of $35 per guard, always, even on holidays and “surge” times.
Yes. Alcohol. Delivery. Finally, you can stop pretending like you want to “have a party” so people will bring alcohol to you. (Just kidding, we love parties.) Whether you’re watching Orange is the New Black for the third time and refuse to get out of your pajamas, or your famous Saturday night banger ran out of booze because Chad had way too many of the shots, you can now order the good stuff to your door. Just get on the site, browse their selection of wines, beers, and liquors, pay for the ones you want, and someone will bring it to you in 30 to 60 minutes.
It’s the day after and Chad isn’t feeling so well. The shots. He wants to get up and try to help his raging hangover but he simply cannot. Enter: The Hangover Club. The new start-up actually offers in-home “hangover treatments”, a cocktail of nutrients, electrolytes, and pain-killers (with optional boosters) via IV. All you have to do - if you can manage this - is schedule an appointment online or with their hotline and someone - someone qualified, i.e. IV-certified, registered nurse - will literally come to your house and administer the “NutriDrip iV” into your body. It takes between 30 minutes to an hour and prices range from $179 to $249, but the relief (if you believe in such a thing as a hangover cure that is not time plus water) is priceless.
It’s fall now and you wanna feel productive again. Instead of Seamless, you want to cook for yourself, like an adult. But you don’t know how and you’re too lazy to gather the ingredients. We get it. That’s why you need Blue Apron, the subscription-required app/service that’ll let you choose from a rotating set of recipes and deliver the ingredients as well as easy-to-use recipe cards to your door. A lot of the ingredients are locally sourced, the recipes are inventive, healthy, and delicious. And at $9.99 per person per meal, this might just be the most painless alternative to being a real, I-cook-for-myself, human being.
New York City, the city of dreams and tiny apartments. You deserve a break; you deserve space. Now you can have space - private, Wifi-ed, spacious space - if only for a few hours, with Breather. The new service is essentially a rent-a-room, an Airbnb without the overnight, a ZipCar but for apartments. How it works: you browse, via the app, available spaces and book it for 30 minutes, hours, or an entire day. It costs $25 an hour, and the “Breathers” are usually extra spaces in private apartments/properties. But don’t worry, the company sends a cleaning crew after each booking and they do tell you “If you wouldn’t do it in your office, you shouldn’t do it in a Breather.” Use it for a brainstorming session, a nap spot - because you live in Astoria - or simply to take a little breather from the city.
Perhaps the greatest invention since mankind came up with locks, KeyMe, a “digital locksmith”, is the savior for the more technologically-inclined yet organizationally-challenged amongst us. If (when, let’s be honest) you lose your keys, KeyMe will be there for you. While locksmiths can cost unseemly amounts of money, KeyMe let’s you make copies of your keys at $3 to $6 a pop. All you have to do, pre-loss, is go to one of their kiosks - located in various 7-Elevens and a Bed Bath & Beyond) - put your key into their fancy slots and a digital copy of your keys will be made and stored, along with your fingerprints (technology amirite). And when the inevitable finally happens, just head to one of the kiosks and “print” a new set for a few bucks. It’s like magic.
Because you’ve been outside all summer, you’ve all but forgotten that corner of your apartment where Christmas sweaters, middle-school memorabilia, and other treasures you refuse to throw out have piled to a physically improbable height. What are you gonna do? If you, like us, refuse to do any more than the bare minimum, then MakeSpace might be right for you. The start-up is the Uber for storage: head to the website and order a MakeSpace driver to your home. They’ll get there with some bins and wait for you to pack. Then they’ll take bins away to a magical kingdom facility in Jersey City where your beloved goods will be stored at $25 per month for four bins (one fits about ten sweaters). Larger items come with a premium, but their rule is if one person can carry it then they can store it. And when you’re ready to be reunited with your stuff, just order them to be delivered to you for a $29 fee.