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Burning Questions

High Rises vs. Walk-ups: Choosing the Right Apartment

When searching for apartments in New York City, many people will have to choose whether or not a high-rise or walk-up is better suited towards their lifestyle. The average New Yorker moves every six months. Understanding the benefits and drawbacks to both types of apartments can help New Yorkers make more informed choices when moving. It is important to consider these factors when choosing an apartment.

High Rises

High rises are typically tall buildings with nine or more floors that house an elevator. People often tend associate high rise buildings with high prices and snobby neighbors. This isn’t necessarily the case. While you will likely pay a premium to live in a high rise, there are a few major amenities that high rises provide:


Doormen are the best part of high rise buildings. They can be a major help for people who are busy and/or travel often. A major task they help with is taking care of packages and mail. They can also help you get into your apartment if you become locked out. These are major inconveniences that are taken off the shoulders of the tenant. Doormen are also a huge security boost. Their presence ensures safety and security. They ensure that no unwelcome guests sneak their way into the building. Also, apartment owners may leave details of welcomed guests with the doormen, and the doormen will let them in without the need for a key.


Most high-rise buildings are located in premium neighborhoods. These neighborhoods are in central locations around Manhattan and Brooklyn. This means that most high-rise buildings are a walking distance away from restaurants, public transport channels and workplaces. Some high-rise buildings even offer stunning views of the city. High Rises also come with the following drawbacks:

Extra Costs

While there are many advantages of living in a high rise building and which justify the higher rents associated with it, it does come with its own disadvantages. For example, while doormen are a huge advantage in any high-rise building, they do contribute to the higher rent rates. On top of that, during holiday seasons, when it’s time to tip doormen and other staff around, the costs may become unjustifiable.

Lack of Privacy

Most doormen understand the need for secrecy and privacy among tenants. However, understand that the doorman will see who you bring in and out, what type of mail you get, and your personal habits. This presents a lack of total privacy, especially if you don’t plan on tipping at all during the holidays.


The most classic, traditional New York City apartments are walk-ups. Many people are drawn to walk-ups. They provide affordability, character, and a sense of community that can be lacking in high-rise apartment buildings. For this reason, not all walk-ups are cheaper than high rises. However, the most affordable options will almost always be walk-ups. Walk-ups have major appeal for the following reasons:


While walk-ups might not have the best views, they typically have more outdoor areas, such as patios or balconies, as compared to high rises. Some high rises might have balconies as well but they usually much smaller. In addition, most high-rise buildings are located in areas with other high-rise buildings and their views are blocked by other buildings.


Some people also prefer walk-ups because they get to interact more with their neighbors and feel more involved in their community. The omission of elevators certainly helps, as neighbors get to meet each other more often around staircases. Also, there are usually more bodegas and dive bars around walk-ups where neighbors often hang out and interact. The main drawbacks of renting a walk-up are:

Lack of Modern Utilities/Amenities

Many walk-ups in the city were built before World War 2. For this reason, they often lack amenities like air conditioning. However, this problem can be solved by purchasing either a window A/C unit or a portable A/C unit, depending on what fits the apartment. Be sure to ask the landlord about this, as summers in the city can be sweltering.

Lack of Elevators

One main disadvantage with most walk-ups is that they don’t have elevators. Elevators are an absolute necessity when it comes to buildings with more than 6-8 floors. While elevators aren’t always necessary, they can be super convenient. This is particularly the when it comes to moving in and out of apartments and having to carry heavy objects through flights of stairs. However, with the proper moving crew, this is something you won’t have to worry about.

Challenging to Move-in

Moving into a walk-up demands the help of professional moving services. We are NYC-based professional movers with a solid reputation for being helpful, courteous, and effective. Get a quote today and see how easy it is to utilize our moving services, whether you’re moving into a walk-up or a high-rise.

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