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The Big Clean-Up: New York's Little Elves
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The annual Kips Bay designer showhouse always features some pretty nifty rooms filled with sumptuous furnishings -- the finest carpets, extraordinary draperies, and countless objets and bibelots all just waiting to be manhandled and broken. The delicate task of cleaning the tchotchke-filled mansion during the month-long show falls on the shoulders of New York's Little Elves, run for 30 years by the intrepid Barbara Fierman. (In addition, Fierman numbers among her clients the Southampton Showhouse, countless fussy designers, and the party space at the Time Warner building.) In short, these elves know how to clean up after a major bash and for very particular folks...and they'll know how to scour and polish after your engagement party or at-home wedding -- or how to tackle that spring cleaning you've been putting off. Some of Fierman's staff have been with her for over ten years, and many of her employees are part of extended families. (Most importantly, she points out, all her people are covered by workers' comp, something very few firms can boast about.) And they're fussy, careful, and thorough. The cost is $34 per hour per person, and if you need three or more, she'll supply a captain for the crew at $43 per hour. They'll use your supplies ("Most people have pretty weak vacuums, though," she points out) or they'll bring their own ($125), everything from Q-Tips to an industrial vacuum. One thing she jokes about: "We don't do windows," but she'll bring in the service she regularly uses that does! By reservation only. 212-673-5507; www.nyelves.com (This article originally appeared in the 4/06 issue of Manhattan Living.)

Posted on November 26, 2007 - by


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About the Author: About the Author: Ruth J. Katz is a well-known shopping and service writer based in New York City. She has written about shopping for 25 years for New York magazine; covered the topic on-air at Fox-TV for several years as the Home Services expert; and had her own show on both the USA and Lifetime Cable networks. Katz wrote extensively for The New York Times as well, and contributed periodically to the New York Daily News. She is a passionate shopper, always looking for not merely a good buy, but the best buy, ferreting out a "steal" or discovering up-and-coming designers. She has written five books and is a former contributing editor to Hearst's Redbook, Classic Home, and Colonial Homes; she is currently a Contributing Editor of New York Home, Golf Connoisseur, The Modern Estate, and Promenade magazines. She is also the former Shopping Director for Davler Media's Manhattan Living.


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