NYT finds New Yorkers love micro-apartments



I always smile when I read an article in the New York Times which propagandizes in favor of a minimalist lifestyle. Give up meat, use less electricity, get rid of your car, and so on. But one of their favorite topics is the joy of living in tiny apartments not much bigger than jail cells. They seem to like it so much that I am certain the top editors and publisher of the NYT practice what they preach and also live in micro-apartments.

My Micro NY, the city’s first micro-apartment complex, at 335 East 27th Street, with 55 units ranging from 260 to 360 square feet. The building will begin leasing studios this summer for around $2,000 to $3,000 a month.

What a deal! 360 square feet for $3,000 a month, on the far eastern edge of Manhattan, about a half mile from the nearest subway line. Did you ever imagine that such bargains existed?

To help make living in a small space more palatable, tenants will have access to storage units and common spaces scattered throughout the building.

Isn't that great? They can store their possessions in different corners of the building; if someone is getting dressed for work and needs a different pair of shoes, he can walk three floors down, two corridors down, and simply get what he needs. And there are common areas! For $3,000 a month they get to share generic living rooms with complete strangers. It's like a virtual apartment!

To allow this building to come to be, the city had to waive current zoning and density rules that limit apartments to no less than 400 square feet. There are some 3,000 apartments under 400 square feet in Manhattan alone, according to Jonathan J. Miller, the president of Miller Samuel, a real estate appraisal and consulting firm.

Kelli Okuji, 27, a graduate student at Columbia University, lives in one, a newly renovated apartment of 313 square feet at the Greystone, a former hotel built in 1923 on the Upper West Side that has since turned its rooms into luxury rentals. Ms. Okuji occupies one of 26 efficiency units under 400 square feet, each of which comes with high-end finishes and appliances, a Murphy bed that tucks into the wall and access to a broad variety of building amenities, including a gym and a landscaped rooftop lounge.

Isn't that great? It may be a tiny apartment, but Ms. Okuji has high end finishes and appliances. I would rather have a tiny apartment with high end finishes than a big apartment with low end finishes. It's the finishes that make all the difference.

And she also has a gym and a rooftop lounge--a lot of big, open spaces to go to if she wants to forget that she lives in a sardine can (albeit a sardine can with high end finishes).

Rent is $2,600 a month, so Ms. Okuji knew she would not be saving money so much as buying the privacy she needs to complete her master’s degrees in business administration and international affairs.

I hope she's not also getting a degree in economics. Or common sense.

She was also taken with the design of the apartment. “I was really impressed with how everything is configured,” Ms. Okuj

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