Trying Out Micro-Apartments at the Museum of the City of New York

Plus, see a video of the transformation from night space to day space

Friday, August 16, 2013

A micro-apartment on display at the Museum of the City of New York. (Courtesy Resource Furniture and Clei)

Some New Yorkers may soon be living in apartments roughly half the size of a city subway car. So the Museum of the City of New York decided to install one and have some New Yorkers try them out.

Over a four-day period this week, five locals are taking turns living in the micro-unit apartment that the museum set up back in January. That month, Mayor Michael Bloomberg had announced that the city's contest to find a micro-unit design of about  250 to 400 square feet had found a winner: Actors Fund Housing Development Corp, and nARCHITECTS will build the city's first 55-unit micro-apartment building in Kip's Bay.

The winning design, which is being showcased at the museum, has a bedroom, kitchen, dining room, living room and office. To maximize the space, the exhibition uses multipurpose furniture such as a bed that folds into the wall to become a couch and a bookshelf. 

Museum intern Taylor Jones is testing out the apartment by living in it with a colleague for 24 hours, from Thursday evening to Friday night. She said she could definitely see herself living in the micro-unit full time.

“I haven't encountered many challenges,” Jones said. “Everything has been so easy."

all the furniture has many functions, and it's very streamlined, so as a result living there has been very efficient] 
The 20-year-old is currently living in a dorm suite at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn. She says the exhibition's micro-apartment would be a step up from her current living situation.all the furniture has many functions, and it's very streamlined, so as a result living there has been very efficient] 
The 20-year-old is currently living in a dorm suite at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn. She said the exhibition's micro-apartment would be a step up from her current living situation. 

The exhibition will be open until September 2.




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Comments [14]

Bob S from West Village

I'm guessing that most people who live in micro-apartments have made a free choice to do so. Their decision is likely affected by the location in which they prefer to live, and the cost of that location.

If you want to live in almost any area in Manhattan below 96th Street you are competing for space for which there is enormous interest and demand. Many locations there are in demand from people living in other countries who wish to establish Manhattan as their primary or second home. The laws of supply and demand will favor this new money that wants to come in and there is little that can be done to arrest that phenomenon. Demand forces prices up.

I have had a residence in the West Village for many years and seen as, for one example, NYU students and teachers and the array of bookstores and stationary stores and apartments that accommodated them in the 1960's and 70's be replaced by upscale restaurants, haute couture clothing stores and the conversion of small and large rental apartment buildings to extraordinarily expensive condos and townhouses.

Micro apartments, however costly, seem to be one way of providing access to locations in Manhattan and other areas of the city for people who could not otherwise afford to live there.

Dec. 18 2013 09:55 AM

Kind of funny that the City would think this apartment set-up could be remotely considered affordable. We recently priced the sofa bed configuration in the video. Without built-in shelving units on either side of the sofa bed, you're looking at least $11k installed. If you can afford an $11k bed, you could probably afford a bigger apartment -- just sayin'.

Aug. 26 2013 11:08 AM
Ace from New Utrecht

Joyce Carol Oates on this very topic:

“Am I the only person who found it unbelievably offensive to see a billionaire and a millionaire—Bloomberg and [City Planning Commission chair] Amanda Burden—pacing off to see: How tiny a room can someone else live in?! There is a reason there are laws against apartments that are too small. There is a reason for it. There is a reason for it. He has to change the laws to make apartments this small. He’s used to changing laws. It’s his profession. [...] It’s important that it’s illegal to live in a place that small. It’s important because laws show the value of the country, of the city. So we say, we have a value, our value is that people shouldn’t live in a showbox. It’s not good for human beings. We know you’re going to go against this law. But we’re gonna have the law to show that we believe you shouldn’t do that!

But when you have a mayor who says: You know what? We just looked at the census and we see that there’s all these people in New York, it turns out, this is news to him—everything’s news to him, by the way—it turns out that fifty percent or sixty percent of the people who live in New York are single, or live in one or two-person households. So these people don’t really need these gigantic, 350-square feet apartments! They could live in 245-square feet. Michael Bloomberg lives in a two-person household. In eleven houses. I am offended. Aren’t you offended?”

Aug. 21 2013 05:20 PM
Miles from NY

If they could only sell us prison cells with nice furniture they would.

Aug. 21 2013 10:30 AM
Reyna from California

Yeah no thanks!I think I'll stay in sunny,gorgeous California where we live in homes bigger than the bathroom in our master suite!

Aug. 20 2013 12:10 PM
bev from arizona

American Cowboy Song "Let me ride let me ride below the starry skies above. Don't Fence Me IN"

Aug. 19 2013 10:00 AM

I lived in an apartment in NYC for 10 years that was 206 square feet. This looks spacious to me. Very clever furniture and fixtures.

Aug. 19 2013 05:46 AM
Adam from Fort Greene, Brooklyn, New York

I already live in a micro apartment in Brooklyn, and trust me, it isn't because of new zoning. But I love it(: ..... for now.

Aug. 18 2013 08:40 PM
Marie Coughlan from Australia

It still looks a lot bigger than most inner city Sydney apartments - you lucky people! And great if you only wear own three t-shirts and one skirt.

Aug. 18 2013 08:06 PM
Rafael from NYC

Where do I put the upright piano?

Aug. 18 2013 07:00 PM
jenny from uws

And where could one purchase the amazing nesting table set???

Aug. 18 2013 06:25 PM
Mo Money from Manhattan (But not for YOU!)

Great! More ways for greedy, rich real estate pigs to get richer. The rest of us can all live like chickens in twee designer coops.

Aug. 18 2013 05:38 PM
Kumari from Mile High Frazier Park

If you can live on a boat, you could live here no problem.

Aug. 18 2013 05:29 PM
Jane from NY

Let little Mayor Mike live in a micro apartment.

Aug. 18 2013 01:44 PM

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