|New York City: You are looking Uptown, East side; click to enlarge.|
Here in New York City you grow accustomed to seeing small apartments and weird configurations when you enter other people's homes (not to mention an occasional "only in New York" fetish, it is best to overlook. Ooh, that's an entirely different discussion). But now Mayor Michael Bloomberg has launched a plan for a residential building in Kips Bay [at 335 East 27th Street, near First Avenue] to develop teeny-tiny, cubical apartments, about half the size of a subway car. According to local newspapers, he will have to suspend zoning laws in order to build the 80 proposed micro units, which are to be even smaller than what developers can now build. Currently, apartments must be 400 square feet or larger.
The proposed micro units will measure between 275 and 300 square feet. The flats will only be 10-by-30 feet. Bloomberg says it's the wave of the future. Presently, 75% of Manhattan residents live alone, or with one other person, and there is a shortage of studios and one-bedrooms. Average studio apartments now rent for $2,000 a month. Rent for the cubbyhole apartments is to be determined, but city officials expect it to be below market rate. It will be interesting to find out, just how much lower. And you know what? Whatever the asking price, people will line up to pay it. These units will go.
Bloomberg has launched a contest, asking architects to come up with a winning design for the units. All must be well-lit and have kitchens, bathrooms and a sleeping-dining area. (Hmm, I'm thinking futon. And forget about entertaining.)
It's not a bad idea to create affordable [that's a relative term in a big city] housing, but when is a space too small? Realistically, how far could you downsize to live in a desired area? Can you imagine not having anywhere to go during a television commercial? Arghhh!!!