The "tiny house" movement has a solid toe-hold in the United States, with self-contained micro-cabins sprouting up from the backwoods of Vermont to the back yards of Seattle. Now, small-scale living could be ready to take root in New York City. Following up on an initiative started during the administration of the city's previous Mayor, Michael Bloomberg, design firm nArchitects is overseeing construction of micro-apartments built at the former Brooklyn Navy Yard as stackable modules, slated for assembly into a brick-clad mid-rise apartment building at 335 East 27th Street in Manhattan later this year. The New York Times has the story (see: "Home Shrunken Home," by Natalie Shutler).
"For most single New Yorkers, the tyranny of living in a small space, or worse, a shared space, is all too familiar," notes the Times. "And with the number of single New Yorkers growing, the demand for more of these spaces is inevitable. Enter 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." To permit the project, New York had to waive rules requiring apartments in the city to be at least 400 square feet in floor area, the paper reports.
"Efficiently designed, the 'My Micro NY' units have a 16-foot long overhead loft space, a full-depth closet, a 'toolbox' with a compact kitchen with a full-height pull-out pantry and pull-out counter, a bathroom, plus a 'canvas' of flexible space for living and sleeping," reports Forbes (see: "Amazing Micro-Apartments").
Can New Yorkers stand to live in a space that small? Hey, says the Times: they already do. "Micro-apartments that were built before the zoning rules were enacted in 1987 exist throughout the city," the paper reports. "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."
Michael Baron, president of Simon Baron Development in the city, told the paper that his firm plans to introduce apartments designed for sharing by two or three young single people, with floor space of about 250 square feet apiece — including bedrooms of 110 square feet, stripped-down kitchens, and shared common amenities in the building. Said Baron: "People already live this way, by putting up pressurized walls and turning a two-bedroom into three, or a one-bedroom into two. We are seeking to legitimize things for both the landlord and the tenant, while still breaking up the cost of rent."