Three Things I Learned As An Apprentice Junklugger in New York City
Until three weeks ago, I hadn’t really thought much about junk removal, furniture removal, or hauling. Let me introduce myself: My name is Paloma and I’m the new Marketing Assistant at the Junkluggers. Until recently, I was just an average 30-something, who had moved a lot as a young adult, but never thought about where things went when I threw them away. Now, however, as I start considering settling down, maybe buying a house and starting a family, these issues are good for me to think about. Since, of course, once I start staying in one place for more than a year, I’ll inevitably start accumulating more.
Whether our trucks are helping people with an estate clean out, finding a new home for old furniture or appliances or just getting rid of all types of clutter, in New York City “junk lugging” is quite a unique experience. The trucks are about 20 feet long and ferry our movers everywhere from the Bronx to Flushing in Queens, Coney Island in Brooklyn to all over Manhattan, from SoHo to the Upper West Side.
In my ten hours of junk lugging in New York, I mostly learned the following three things:
Lesson One: New York City is beautiful
Driving around NYC is both time-consuming but can also be beautiful. Our luggers (what we call our strong and friendly moving staff) normally start their day by 7:00 am. Mike and Justin, my senior luggers, both mentioned that they never know when they will encounter traffic. For example: one day last week they got stuck on the Brooklyn Queens Expressway (BQE) for 2 hours only driving 2 miles in that time since the roadway got flooded.
Still, both guys mentioned that they actually really enjoy the experience of driving around since you get a better sense of the city’s geography. For example, we drove up 1st Ave. from near the UN (44th Ave) all the way into the Bronx, past Yankee Stadium, and the beautiful Van Cortlandt Park all before 10 am!
Then, after our full morning, our next trip took us from there all the way down to Sheepshead Bay, which is adjacent to Coney Island.
What a journey and what an amazing city!
Lesson Two: NYC is full of stories
In NYC we all have a lot to share with each other. We all have stories and interesting perspectives on life. One of my senior luggers, Mike is actually a writer and he said one of his favorite things about the job is hearing each persons story as he helps them move things around.
In addition to sharing stories, New Yorkers have many physical things to share with each other. Between books, clothes, furniture, and appliances, on the job our junk luggers encounter a lot of things that are very useable. Understandably, given the limited amount of space in NYC, all of us have to get rid of things. Thankfully, the Junkluggers donate clothes to the Salvation Army and Goodwill and take furniture to places like Build It Green in Brooklyn and Long Island City.
The amazing thing about New York is that all 18 million of us in the metro area are just so close together. And so we have lots of opportunities for sharing things!
Lesson Three: Junk Lugging is Hard Work!
The last thing I learned is that junk lugging in NYC is hard work. Of course, many of you readers must feel like this is a no-brainer insight, but trust me it’s even harder than it looks! From driving, to carrying heavy things, eating on the go, to dealing with walk-up apartments, our guys have a tough job!
The job is physically demanding, and the hours are long! When I finished the day at 5:45pm in Sheepshead Bay, the Mike and Justin still had to take the truck to the dump in Williamsburg for the second time that day and then had to drive the truck back to its parking space in Gowanus. I wouldn’t say that it is unreasonable to imagine that they clocked at least twelve hours that day since they started the day at 7:00am! And I’m told that 10-12 hour days are the norm for them. Wow!
More than anything, my time on the truck definitely has given me a much deeper respect and appreciation for the hard work that our luggers put in every day.
So, that was my experience as an apprentice lugger with NYC’s finest Junkluggers. My day out with the guys made me think that maybe I could get out of the office once every month or two so that I can both understand our business better and get a little exercise, too.
For this month, however, I’m done. Even though I didn’t haul much, just books and small furniture items — not couches and other large furniture items like the guys carried! – I was quite tired and sore the next day!