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About Time

July 10, 2012

Immediately after the video of my small apartment spread around the world last year, I received hundreds of emails from folks, several wanting to know, “Where can I find a small affordable place like yours?” Unfortunately I didn’t have an answer.

Now I do.

Having banned humungous-sized cups of soda in the hopes of decreasing New Yorkers waistlines, it turns out New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s real goal is to get them to fit into smaller apartments.

Yesterday he launched a pilot program to offer “micro-units,” studios that are no larger than 300 square feet, in Manhattan. Some are balking at the size as uninhabitable. Uninhabitable? Are you kidding? That’s more than three times the size of what I lived in for almost five years. That’s not uninhabitable, that’s luxury.

Many news outlets, including NBC news (which included a clip from my video), covered the mayor seeking proposals from architects to come up with a design for these tiny dwellings for a building on East 27th Street. (My dad had this idea last year.) The mayor hopes for 165,000 units by 2014. It’s a wonderful idea. And the timing couldn’t be better.

According to the 2010 census, 46.3 percent of households in Manhattan – the U.S. capital of single living – is made up of only one person. And with rents for studios in Manhattan upwards of $2,700, these smaller and more affordable studios would be great for college graduates, artists and many others.

When your life is about gaining experiences, do you really need a ton of space? Living in those 90 square feet afforded me a great opportunity to explore so much, without having to worry about rent. Life was happening right outside my door and I took full advantage. Sure it’s not for everyone, but most New Yorkers don’t spend a lot of time at home, that’s why they live there.

As people grow tired of their mounting debt and their mounting piles of stuff inside their oversized homes, they’re starting to realize it’s not worth it. Living within your means – living with less – actually gives you more.


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  1. rose ann berwald permalink

    Sign me up. I would live in 300 sf if it meant living in NY. It would be like camping!! 27th is only 20 blocks from the theatre district and my cousin lives in Soho and a friend lives near Chinatown. Where do you live?

  2. Living in small places is not for everyone, but I too know. It can bE done. When I got married 35 years ago I liv.ed in a efficiency. (bigger then what you lived in) I brought a bookcase home with me when mom and dad got sick and I needed to disassemble my bedroom there. A neighbor lady ask “where are you going to put it?”. I retorted that I would hang it from the ceiling if I needed to. Two years ago we sold, gave away and threw away a lot of things and purchased and moved into a 39 ft travel trailor. We do not need as much as we thought we did years ago, and yes, we truely are happy! Living on a campground and enjoying retirement.

  3. What you say makes so much sense Felice! We would all do better to simplify our lives!

  4. Can you post a link for the video about your apt.? Love to see it.

  5. Susan permalink

    Funny how we think we need more then when we have it, we want less. I guess you have to go through that cycle to really appreciate less and more simplicity.

  6. Frank permalink

    That sounds like a great idea. I mean with rents as high has they are in Manhattan, its a good idea to build smaller apartments. I mean if I had more than 300sq ft of space, I don’t know what I would do with the extra space. If I wanted to get some exercise, I would take a walk.

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