NEW YORK - Elevators are the life-line of a high-rise building. If they break down,
everything becomes inconvenient.|
The elevator in my apartment building in Manhattan, New York, rises comfortably to
the 27th floor in 35 seconds. Ears get slightly blocked.
By calmly climbing the stairs, the same ascent takes over six minutes. And that is,
by an ordinary man in his thirties, unburdened by grocery bags or a sleeping child.
To the top at the 43rd floor the elevator rises in 48 seconds. By stairs the climb
took almost twelve minutes. I encountered no-one on my way up.
The three personnel elevators in the house get occasionally overcrowded in the morning
when people go to work. There are 250 apartments and about 600 residents -- one may
have to wait for over a minute for an elevator. The fourth elevator is reserved for
the staff and for service.
In the Meritorni at Kivenlahti there should be a bit less congestion, as the two
elevators in the 22-storey building are to be used by about 250 residents in 114
Peeping is a popular pastime
If the Meritorni gets built, the best things about it will be the generous views to
the sea and to the neighbors' yards. Peeping to the neighboring building is a popular
pastime also in Manhattan.
In New York the apartments get more expensive the higher they are. The same can be
expected to happen at Meritorni too.
My own view outside isn't the best in Manhattan, but definitely not the worst either.
Halfway up the building, I'm still a couple of meters higher than the summit of the
Meritorni. On the other hand, on the roof there is a nice cityview indeed. In fog it
is like from a dream or a nightmare.
In New York there are great height differences between buildings, but so there are at
Kivenlahti too, where one-floor midgets will remain next to the Meritorni.
In the upper floors of the Espoo small-giant the most likely sound will be the sound
of wind. In Manhattan the sound of traffic isn't subdued even at night at the height
of one hundred meters.
The small children suffer from living high|
Living high hardly affects the adults, but the small children may suffer from it: how
to use the elevator, how to shout mummy to the window, how to see the mates in the
yard. In New York the large apartment buildings have made small playrooms for the
In the uppermost floor of our house is a gymnasium and a swimming pool that cost 700
marks [$140] per month. Mail is delivered to boxes on ground floor. A parking lot
from the underground carage costs about 2 500 marks [$500] per month. In the
laundrette a machineful of laundry costs one dollar.
These are the only places to meet neighbors. There's no yard, neither cellar nor
Apartments are heated with hot-air fans that whirr like propeller planes. In
summertime they cool. Hot water for household use is heated with steam that the city
sells like the hot pipe water from heating plants [used in Finland].
Water is pumped up. In the city of skyscrapers, rather a large water tank would be
needed if the water had to flow everywhere on its own pressure. Hot water is heated
by city's central heating steam.
A large building needs staff
To a building the size of the Meritorni, it would be a good idea to employ its own
janitor and a couple of substitutes for him.
There are several people working in the Manhattan high-rises. In the lavish -- by
Finnish standards -- ground floor of our house there are at best three men: one opens
the doors, the other orders elevators and the third sits behind the desk saying 'good
morning' or something alike. Sometimes a fourth man stands aside -- apparently
watching the proceedings, just in case.
The service elevator has its own operator. There is one security person and two
The staff is needed to make the residents feel safe. No trespassing visitors are
wanted in the building. There are four security cameras.
It is customary to give the staff a small present. In practice this means a joint
check worth $300-400. If any present isn't given, the service may suffer or even
become strange, as the New Yorkers living in other apartment buildings have claimed.