A lighthearted look at news, events, culture and everyday life in New York.
By Nina Pajak
Forgive me for being late on the uptake here, but . . . “micro-apartments?” In New York?
You’d think that would simply be a blatant redundancy, but it isn’t. It’s an idea. A lightning bolt from Mayor Bloomberg, who probably hasn’t had to use an under-counter refrigerator since 1973.
In case you, too, were stricken by plague last week and missed this gem: in an effort to address the lack of affordable housing in Manhattan combined with the constant onslaught of bright-eyed, bushy-tailed kids who can’t afford . . . well . . . anything in Manhattan, Bloomberg has announced a plan to introduce teeny-weeny apartments into the market. The studios would be around 275-300 square feet. For frame of reference, the smallest apartment that is legally permitted by the city is 400 square feet. So, think of the smallest apartment you’ve seen in New York, and shrink it by a quarter.
Think interrogation room or an SRO, only with something resembling a kitchen and a bathroom crammed in. On the bright side, this is significantly larger than your standard Rikers cell. Hooray!
The apartments will naturally be cheaper than some studios, though with the promise of a rent ceiling of $2,000 a month, I’m not convinced the pricing will be worth the sacrifice in space. Naturally, the first development is destined for a spot on a currently vacant lot in Murray Hill.
There will be a special loading dock behind the building designated for periodic turnip truck drop-offs.
There are obvious negatives here, chiefly among them the fact that this concept does not help middle- and working-class families who have been unceremoniously ejected from our island. Also, living in a 275 square foot studio sounds like a special kind of hell which most people past the age of 19 cannot endure. But I’m trying to think of the positives here, for the sake of our next crop of young hopefuls. Just off the top of my head:
- They’ll probably be able to fry an egg, brush their teeth, and pee (men only, please) all from the edge of the bed.
- No roommates! No one to blame for not washing the dishes or letting unwanted boyfriends crash for weeks at a time.
- For that matter, no dishes! Residents of the micro-units will likely need to subscribe to my brother’s “one of each” philosophy. “If I had more than one dish, there’d be a pile of dishes in the sink,” he reasons. It’s that magical moment where laziness actually transforms into efficiency.
- When they come home from the Murray Hill bars black-out drunk, they’ll be 75% more likely to land in bed.
- They’ll have the privilege of being able to boast a new and unique type of New York newbie street cred. No one will be able to compete with their “my apartment is so tiny . . . ” stories. Officially.
- They’ll all have a built-in incentive not to gain any weight, lest they outgrow the apartment.
- Anyone with hoarding tendencies will automatically be cured, without ever having to debase oneself on reality television.
Things are already looking up!
Dear Readers: While I am rarely at a loss for words, I’m always grateful for column ideas. Please feel free to e-mail me your suggestions.
Nina Pajak is a writer and publishing professional living with her husband on the Upper West Side.
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