If New Yorkers think moving house in NYC is hideous these days then spare a thought for New Yorkers in Manhattan until World War 11. Up until then landlords let tenants know what there rents would be for the next year on February 1st with the new rent applying from May 1st. Of course if the rent went up too much then people had to find somewhere cheaper to live.
On May 1st everyone moved at once and it was bedlam. Manhattan streets were clogged with moving vans pulled by horses. Every stick of furntiure was piled on board and since the moving van people made the most money the more trips they took, then they weren’t too careful with what they were carrying. Tt was hardly possbile to move on the streets at all with the number of horses, vans, furniture piled up outside houses and people rushing on foot between their old addresses and their new ones.
Exploitation was rife with landlords, moving van proprietors and warehouse proprietors jacking up all their prices to take maximum to take advantage of situation many New Yorkers found themselves in. In fact that’s how the whole system ground to a halt eventually. Rent laws were brought in to protect pewople from unscupulous landlords and necessity finally drove many Manhattanites into Outer Bouroughs to rent and by the end of World War 11 the whole system had vanished and a more ordered and more considerate process took it’s place which definitely didn’t involve everyone moving on May 1st.