shopping 07.13.05

The Sebo Felix

As you might have noticed, we're all over the map. Uptown, downtown, trendy, traditional, a luxury, a bargain, useful, or…not so much. When it comes to stuff, our preferred MO is top quality, but not top dollar, a variation on the old saw that New Yorkers never pay retail.

So bear with us when we recommend what we think is the best upright vacuum anywhere: It costs a small fortune and it ain't even all that purty. But the German-engineered Sebo Felix rocks our house-cleaning world.

If you're more of a canister-type, the Miele models are still the best choice. But for uprights, Sebos are the gold standard (we hear that Miele tried to buy Sebo at one point for their upright line).

Why are they so good? Dozens of details: its swivel neck means you can reach places you never could before. Drives like a dream. Flattens out to less than six inches in height, which means you can vacuum under tight spaces. The suction's perfect — it really hugs the road — and the power control adjusts for different types of carpet. Pull out the suction hose, telescope the handle and you've got the meanest handheld ever. The filtration system keeps almost every last mote of dust inside the machine. String catch in the brush roller? Baby, it's a snap to fix. Yes, we've fallen hard for the thing.

Now the bad news: the entry model starts at $599. But sometimes you find a product that takes a little bit of the drudge out of an ordinary task and is so well made that it's worth the premium price. Test drive the Sebo at Desco, 131 W. 14th [6th/7th] 212.989.1800, and decide for yourself.
Questions We Can't Answer
How many apartment houses in Manhattan comprise an entire city block? That's the question posed by a reader and he's stumped the panel.

He says, "We know the following:
Manhattan House (200 East 66th St) on the Upper East Side
Schwab House (Upper West Side)
Apthorp (Upper West Side)
Are there others? Or do we have the complete list?"

Weigh in here.

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