Brooklyn-based JP Urban Moving has been slammed with work since New Yorkers started fleeing the city in March as the coronavirus spread through the five boroughs.
Business still booms with customers finding new digs, variously out of town and in the city, amid a rapidly changing real estate market.
JP Urban Moving has operated every day, with most workers getting just one day off a week, for more than five months, helping people safeguard their most valuable possessions while navigating varying building safety protocols.
“Once we discovered that moving was an essential service, we reassured customers and those who were still uncertain or didn’t feel safe,” owner John McCutcheon told THE CITY.
“We were understanding and compassionate to their requests waiving cancellation fees and refunding deposits.”
THE CITY tagged along with a JP crew for one moving day:
Foreman Marcos Rodríguez, left, with workers Felix Ortega, Alfredo Plaza and Timothy Forde make their way up to meet their first client of the day in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, on Aug. 14.
Plaza disassembles a bed before packing it onto the truck.
A pile of hardwood dollies sit stacked in the building’s hallway.
Rodríguez pushes a sofa through the building lobby.
Nicole Patton decided it was time to leave the apartment she shared with her wife, Jenny Coerbell, after the couple had a baby.
“She’s a flight attendant and we were concerned about her safety going back to work after our baby was born,” Patton said. “We knew moving was something we needed to do.”
Coerbell uses one of the few unwrapped furniture pieces to prop up her computer ahead of a job interview.
Plaza loads a couch onto the moving truck.
“There were a few times when I considered going into quarantine and not working for a while,” he said. “But people need to pay rent and other bills — you know, the things that no one forgives. I will only stop working if I get sick or there is no other option but to stop.”
Ortega said recent months have brought long days — and nights of heavy lifting and long drives.
“Oftentimes, we’ll work with bigger families moving three-stories worth of belongings across state lines,” Ortega told THE CITY.
Rodríguez carries a chair up the stoop and into Coerbell and Patton’s new home in a Brooklyn brownstone.
Rodríguez sweats through his surgical mask after lugging furniture up two flights.
Plaza sweeps dirt off the moving truck just before heading back to the storage facility in Gowanus and getting rest before the next day’s job.