On Tuesday, Mayor Bloomberg got to sit on the toilet of his dream apartment. No, he is not moving, and no he isn’t going to live there. It’s a style of living common in Hong Kong and Tokyo, micro-living. Some refuse to move to those cities because of the minuscule apartments being all they could afford. Others find it a way to force themselves to live with less, or simply an excuse not to spend their lives inside.
[Above, Planning Commissioner Amanda Burden asks the Mayor, “Would you live here?” Photo by Michael Schwartz for the New York Daily News]
Cramped quarters has finally returned to the city that practically invented it over a hundred years ago. When new immigrants were pouring into New York, so many moved to the Lower East Side in Manhattan, that it became the most densely populated neighborhood in the world. Many students and recent graduates share apartments in the same buildings their ancestors once suffered in.
The Global Financial Crisis had an effect on the rents and sales. However, the lower demand didn’t even endure one full Mayoral term. Housing prices in New York are astronomical. To share a two or three bedroom apartment in Manhattan or Brooklyn could run you well over $1500.
Developers we spoke to (all of whom requested we not divulge their names) were giddy about the proposed mini apartment? “For years we’ve been making new apartments smaller and smaller. Now the city is asking us to shrink them further? This is a dream come true!” Simple math allows one to see that smaller apartments means more apartments in the same size building. Another developer added, “When you create a new precedent on the low end, that means the prices on 4-to-600 square feet studios can be priced higher. And then one-bedrooms, two-bedrooms, etc. The sky’s the limit!”