Welcome, Guest! - or
Easy to remember!  »  VinNews.com

New York - New York City Extols Virtues Of Tiny Apartments

Published on: January 22, 2013 10:25 PM
By: AP
Change text size Text Size  
Bookmark and Share
Jack Sproule tries out a fold-down bed in a 325 square foot model apartment at an exhibit called "Making Room: Models for Housing New Yorkers" at the Museum of the City of New York in New York, Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2013. Sproule lives in an apartment even smaller than the model in the exhibit. The exhibit grew out of the city's PlaNYC, which projected the city's population  will grow by about  600,000 people by 2030. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)Jack Sproule tries out a fold-down bed in a 325 square foot model apartment at an exhibit called "Making Room: Models for Housing New Yorkers" at the Museum of the City of New York in New York, Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2013. Sproule lives in an apartment even smaller than the model in the exhibit. The exhibit grew out of the city's PlaNYC, which projected the city's population will grow by about 600,000 people by 2030. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

New York - Sam Neuman jokes that he doesn’t casually throw off his coat when he gets home at night — it would take up half his apartment.

Advertisement:

Such is life in his walk-up studio a few blocks from Manhattan’s bustling Times Square, which at 280 square feet is barely the size of a one-car garage, with just enough space for a bed, a desk, a TV stand on one wall and a kitchen against the other.

“I’ve developed this weird Stockholm Syndrome, which you identify with your captors,” said the 31-year-old publicist. “When I go to other people’s apartments, I think, ‘Why do they need more than one bedroom?’ I’m really very happy here. There’s not really time to let things accumulate because ... where would I put them?”

The Big Apple is legendary for its legions of residents who live in really, really small apartments. Many of them are fiercely proud of it and can even find the humor in their cramped quarters. Now the city is about to see just how small New Yorkers are willing to go.

With the population and rents expected to keep climbing, New York City planners are challenging architects to design ways to make it tolerable — even comfortable — to live in dwellings from 350 square feet to as small as 250 square feet.

A stemware cabinet behind the TV, stacking tables hidden in an ottoman and a Murphy bed all help to make a 325 square foot model apartment seem roomy at an exhibit called "Making Room: Models for Housing New Yorkers" at the Museum of the City of New York in New York, Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2013. The exhibit grew out of the city's PlaNYC, which projected the city's population  will grow by about  600,000 people by 2030. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)A stemware cabinet behind the TV, stacking tables hidden in an ottoman and a Murphy bed all help to make a 325 square foot model apartment seem roomy at an exhibit called "Making Room: Models for Housing New Yorkers" at the Museum of the City of New York in New York, Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2013. The exhibit grew out of the city's PlaNYC, which projected the city's population will grow by about 600,000 people by 2030. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

The city wants to incorporate those designs into an apartment complex to be built on Manhattan’s east side next year featuring mostly “micro units.” The aim is to offer more such tiny apartments throughout the city as affordable options for the young singles, cash-poor and empty nesters who are increasingly edged out of the nation’s most expensive real-estate market.

If the pilot program is successful, New York could ultimately overturn a requirement established in 1987 that all new apartments be at least 400 square feet. Smaller living is a concept already endorsed by some cities. San Francisco recently approved construction of apartments as small as 220 square feet. And Tokyo and Hong Kong have long offered tiny units.

As a way to get New Yorkers to think small, the Museum of the City of New York is opening an exhibit Wednesday featuring a fully furnished 325-square-foot studio apartment that incorporates the latest space-saving designs. There’s the bed that folds out over a couch, a padded ottoman containing four nesting chairs, a fold-out dinette table tucked neatly under the kitchen counter and a TV that slides away to reveal a bar.

Neuman was amazed at how much more spacious and airy the demonstration apartment felt than his own flat.

“If they hooked up the cable and plumbing, I’d move in tomorrow,” Neuman said during a walk-through of the exhibit with a reporter. “You could actually have a cocktail party in there without it feeling like the subway at rush hour.”

Other amenities in the 12-foot-by-24-foot model include a cute bathroom that is 5 feet 9 inches by 7 feet 9 inches, a refrigerator and separate freezer tucked under the counter, and the holy grail of New York apartments, a dishwasher. The Murphy bed, like most of the features, glides out with only a light touch of the hand.

“It’s almost like a space shuttle or an ocean liner in how it’s designed,” said Donald Albrecht, the co-curator of the exhibition.

Wardrobes hidden in closets, a foldaway table and under-the-counter appliances all help to make a 325 square foot model apartment seem roomy at an exhibit called "Making Room: Models for Housing New Yorkers" at the Museum of the City of New York in New York, Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2013. The exhibit grew out of the city's PlaNYC, which projected the city's population  will grow by about  600,000 people by 2030. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)Wardrobes hidden in closets, a foldaway table and under-the-counter appliances all help to make a 325 square foot model apartment seem roomy at an exhibit called "Making Room: Models for Housing New Yorkers" at the Museum of the City of New York in New York, Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2013. The exhibit grew out of the city's PlaNYC, which projected the city's population will grow by about 600,000 people by 2030. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

On Manhattan’s west side, it doesn’t take long for 67-year-old school finance director Jack Sproule to give a tour of the studio apartment he owns with his wife. At 290 square feet, there’s just enough room for the bed that folds into the wall, a kitchenette and an adequately appointed bathroom, which Sproule jokes is the only place to escape when there’s an argument.

But the signature feature is the picture window at the far end of the unit.

“Look at that view,” Linda Sproule said, pointing to the sprawling expanse of Central Park, with the reservoir, the great lawn and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in the distance.

The let’s-get-small initiative taps into that trade off — an ultra-tiny apartment for the opportunity to live in one of the world’s great cities.

It grew out of a confluence of sobering statistics. New York City, which already has 8.2 million people, is projected to grow by about 600,000 people by 2030. A third of the city’s households consist of just one person, a percentage

A model of micro-apartments are displayed at an exhibit called "Making Room: Models for Housing New Yorkers" at the Museum of the City of New York in New York, Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2013. The exhibit grew out of the city's PlaNYC, which projected the city's population  will grow by about  600,000 people by 2030. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)A model of micro-apartments are displayed at an exhibit called "Making Room: Models for Housing New Yorkers" at the Museum of the City of New York in New York, Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2013. The exhibit grew out of the city's PlaNYC, which projected the city's population will grow by about 600,000 people by 2030. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

that climbs to 46 percent on the island of Manhattan. Residents face average market-value rents of $2,000 a month for a studio apartment and $2,700 a month for a one-bedroom.

Newly constructed tiny apartments, depending on location, are expected to go for the price of a current studio but would have the added state-of-the-art amenities.

Sproule said living small has personal benefits.

“It helps us focus on one another,” he said. Without a lot of maintenance, “it’s amazing how much free time we have to be with one another. It also allows us to explore New York more.”

Neuman would not say how much he pays for his tiny studio, other than it is less than market value for his neighborhood.

After five years of living there, claustrophobia has been replaced by a much different fear.

“Maybe every two years I have some version of an anxiety dream where my apartment is enormous,” Neuman said. “It completely terrifies me.”


More of today's headlines

New York - For many investors, Apple's best days are behind it. Competitors are catching up, they believe, and the latest iPhone is stumbling. The company's doubters... Washington - Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Democrat, signaled on Tuesday that despite earlier indications to the contrary, he may allow a vote on a possible ban...

 

You can now automatically hide comments - New!

Don't worry, you can always display comments when you need to.

Total11

Read Comments (11)  —  Post Yours »

1

 Jan 22, 2013 at 10:31 PM Anonymous Says:

Who are you kidding? These small hotel room sized apartments will benefit only GREEDY landlords. Hashem doesn't like greed!

2

 Jan 23, 2013 at 04:35 AM Anonymous Says:

Meanwhile, Bloomberg owns one townhouse and he's buying apartments in an adjacent one. I believe he's up to 8,000 square feet. That's a lot for one guy rattling around.

Yet he calls for the rest of us to live in sardine cans. The chutzpah of this minuscule megalomaniac stands in complete contrast to the size of his Willie Jefferson.

Nothing like "Do as I say, not as I do," right, Mayor Bonaparte?

3

 Jan 23, 2013 at 10:14 AM Bubby of Many Says:

Where would my children and their families sleep or play when they come to visit? I think such tiny apartments are good for loners who don't have family. I have a lot of children and grandchildren bli ayin hora and I think I need more space now than ever.

4

 Jan 23, 2013 at 10:43 AM Sherree Says:

This is utterly ridiculous, hotels should offer better discounts to long term visitors, and make larger rooms into studio apartments. Renters would be better off because at least they would have amenities and have place to entertain guests and have the ability to use the restaurants, garage parking, valet service, concierge service, room service, etc. For the prices they are asking for these dog houses, a savvy New Yorker would make a better investment in a dwelling with service! If you are going to live in a space no bigger than a hotel room, it might as well come with maid service! A hotel would do well to take in long term guaranteed rentals, who would take good care of the rooms and the staff. No one trashes their own homes. They would have less turnover, and much more cooperation.

5

 Jan 23, 2013 at 11:21 AM chayamom Says:

In general I find the mindset of those who typically like living in cosmopolitan areas such as Manhattan to be single, eat out, spend their free time socializing outside of their apartment. The only reason they need the view is to get an illusion of space and air when they are home.
On the other hand for those of us that have families in our lives, we b"h have (and should continue to have) reasons for getting together inside our homes with our loved ones. We need space space space! Personally I'm hoping to one day live in a home that I can have an private area for guests.
I find the tiny apartment thing for appropriate for selfish, self-centered, small minded people. The only way to put a positive spin on it is to sell it as a conservation issue.

6

 Jan 23, 2013 at 02:45 PM Anon Ibid Opcit Says:

A kitchen you can't cook in, so you constantly eat out. Pay through the nose forever to use the laundry room.

And people wonder why living in New York adds up so quickly

7

 Jan 23, 2013 at 08:21 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #2  
Anonymous Says:

Meanwhile, Bloomberg owns one townhouse and he's buying apartments in an adjacent one. I believe he's up to 8,000 square feet. That's a lot for one guy rattling around.

Yet he calls for the rest of us to live in sardine cans. The chutzpah of this minuscule megalomaniac stands in complete contrast to the size of his Willie Jefferson.

Nothing like "Do as I say, not as I do," right, Mayor Bonaparte?

when you have as much money as he does, you can do whatever you like with it. In the meantime, the only thing unreasonably large here is your envy and jealousy.

8

 Jan 23, 2013 at 08:23 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #5  
chayamom Says:

In general I find the mindset of those who typically like living in cosmopolitan areas such as Manhattan to be single, eat out, spend their free time socializing outside of their apartment. The only reason they need the view is to get an illusion of space and air when they are home.
On the other hand for those of us that have families in our lives, we b"h have (and should continue to have) reasons for getting together inside our homes with our loved ones. We need space space space! Personally I'm hoping to one day live in a home that I can have an private area for guests.
I find the tiny apartment thing for appropriate for selfish, self-centered, small minded people. The only way to put a positive spin on it is to sell it as a conservation issue.

seriously? You're calling OTHER people "selfish, self-centered, small minded people"?

You don't even know the people who live in small places, and you think you have the right to judge them? what a self-righteous joke you are!

9

 Jan 23, 2013 at 08:25 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #4  
Sherree Says:

This is utterly ridiculous, hotels should offer better discounts to long term visitors, and make larger rooms into studio apartments. Renters would be better off because at least they would have amenities and have place to entertain guests and have the ability to use the restaurants, garage parking, valet service, concierge service, room service, etc. For the prices they are asking for these dog houses, a savvy New Yorker would make a better investment in a dwelling with service! If you are going to live in a space no bigger than a hotel room, it might as well come with maid service! A hotel would do well to take in long term guaranteed rentals, who would take good care of the rooms and the staff. No one trashes their own homes. They would have less turnover, and much more cooperation.

Sherree, you seem to have a strong opinion on what other people should with their lives and their money.

Feel free to go into the hotel business whenever you like, but until you do, no one in the business needs advice from a no-experience heckler.

10

 Jan 24, 2013 at 09:31 PM Sherree Says:

Reply to #9  
Anonymous Says:

Sherree, you seem to have a strong opinion on what other people should with their lives and their money.

Feel free to go into the hotel business whenever you like, but until you do, no one in the business needs advice from a no-experience heckler.

Really, but of course I should take your advice because you are who again????

11

 Jan 27, 2013 at 12:57 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #10  
Sherree Says:

Really, but of course I should take your advice because you are who again????

you should take the advice because it's good advice, not because of who gave it to you.

#9 is 100% right. You have an opinion on virtually every article on VIN, and usually are wrong. Is VIN commenting a full-time job for you?

12

Sign-in to post a comment

Scroll Up
Advertisements:

Sell your scrap gold and broken jewelry and earn hard cash sell gold today!