Movers in N.Y.C. Are So Busy They’re Turning People Away

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Squeezing a 350-pound sofa down four flights of a narrow prewar staircase isn’t easy on the best of days. Doing so in a heat wave while wearing a mask is a lot harder.

“Sweat is dripping down your face, it slips,” said Vladislav Grigor, a foreman and dispatcher at Empire Movers in Manhattan. “It is just terrible.”

While the work can be merciless, movers are busy this season, and glad of it.

For Mr. Grigor and his colleagues, it is fair to say this summer has been like no other. Not only is he having to meet the strenuous physical demands of his job during a steamy summer, but he is also having to do so while abiding by the new rules of social distancing.

On top of these challenges is just how overworked movers are. “It’s nuts out there,” Mr. Grigor said. “There is double the volume of customers — maybe more — than last year.”

While the moving industry is fractured among numerous small business owners, and official statistics are tough to come by, one thing is clear: From professionals who are downsizing following a job loss, to students moving back in with their parents, to families fleeing the city for the suburbs, New Yorkers are changing their addresses in droves.


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