Renting

The fire escape ripped open the truck ‘like a can of tuna’

A look at moving-day past, present, and future.

Across the city, somewhere between 60 percent and 80 percent of leases turn over on Sept. 1. Jean Nagy/Boston.com File

Double-parked U-Hauls, household debris littering the sidewalks, and at least one roof-less moving truck causing chaos on Storrow Drive can mean only one thing: Moving day has arrived in Boston. 

Across the city, somewhere between 60 percent and 80 percent of leases turn over on Sept. 1, a nightmare for landlords, tenants, moving companies, and any bridges under 9 feet high

With the MBTA’s Orange Line shut down and record high rents, move-in may be bring more mayhem and tension than usual. For some Bostonians, however, it can’t be worse than past years … right? 

For people like Tina S. of Back Bay, let’s hope not. 

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“Years ago, I scheduled a moving truck for pickup on August 31,” Tina wrote in response to our call to readers for their craziest move-in day stories. “When I showed up to get my rental, they didn’t have any trucks, and the closest place they could find one available was in central New Hampshire.” Tina caught a ride to New Hampshire with a friend, and then spent the whole night packing. “To add insult to injury, my old landlord tried to take our security deposit because our porch wasn’t swept,” she wrote. 

Acquiring a moving truck on the region’s biggest moving day of the year is one thing; being able to drive it is entirely something else, as Jack from Brighton discovered. “Tried to back down an alley next to our Brighton apartment building,” Jack wrote. “The box truck caught the side of a fire escape, fire escape punched a hole in the truck and ripped the box open like a can of tuna.” Fortunately, he had purchased insurance with the rental. 

Indeed, the low-slung bridges of Storrow Drive aren’t the only threats to a moving-day vehicle. Laura I., who this year moved from Davis Square in Somerville to Kenmore, had her moving truck towed while she was moving out of her Mission Hill apartment. 

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“There’s a side alley that was always deserted, so we put the moving truck and my parents car there, our only car,” she said in an interview outside her new abode on Commonwealth Avenue. “We go up to the apartment for about five minutes, come back down, moving truck is gone, my parent’s car is gone.” 

Laura and her dad made the trek to Somerville to retrieve the car and truck from the tow company, while her mom stayed behind to fend off Laura’s belongings from “Allston Christmas” shoppers. “My mom was saying that people kept coming by and asking: ‘Oh is that for free? Is that for sale?’ ” Laura said.   

For those well-acquainted with Boston’s moving day madness, even smooth moves have their bumps. Rony Gomes, a self-employed mover, was wrapping up a job in Beacon Hill around 10 a.m. Thursday. “The size of this truck, I have to walk from here, a mile, just to make a delivery,” he said in an interview. The toughest furniture challenge he’s seen in his ten years on the job, however, was hoisting a piano up three flights of stairs – a feat that took three people.

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Parking woes aside, this year’s move went off without a hitch, he said. “I’m just good at what I do.” 

Having an extra set of hands can also make a big difference. Conor Horgan, a sophomore studying film at Suffolk, had an assist from his parents, Ann Horgan and Patti McGuire, who were helping him into his dorm on Temple Place near Downtown Crossing. 

“Last year was super easy, definitely easier than this time because I was living up on Court Street,” Conor said. “This time it’s in more of an alley, more of a tow zone, so I feel like we’re going to get arrested.” With Ann holding down the fort in the car while Patti helped unpack the trunk, the group seemed as if they would be safe from eager tow trucks for the time being. 

“Living in Boston, you kind of just have to go for it,” Conor said. 

On move-in day every year, that’s the sentiment around the city. 

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