One of the hardest things to do in New York is to find an apartment. I starting panicking in January last year when I knew I would have to find a place by August. I’m sure this does not shock you. It turns out that I was semi-founded in my fears as I found out at the Museum of the City of New York this past week that only 1.5% of NYC’s rental housing stock is a studio or one-bedroom apartment ready for occupancy. That is insane.
I went to this museum for the first time over a year ago and went again last week with Kat and Sarah for a TimeOutNY party after the museum had closed. We got drinks, white cheddar popcorn, amazing cheese sticks, and a tour of the “Making Room: New Models for Housing New Yorkers” exhibit by the curator, Donald Albrecht.
The exhibit was to show submissions for a design competition held in 2011 for microapartments. The population of NYC is changing and now 50% of the population is single people, either living by themselves, with roommates, or at home with their parents. There are not enough single apartments for all of these people currently so the city is starting to build new microapartments on East 27th Street to meet the demand.
The curator took us through a bunch of the design entries. The main display feature was a life-size model of an apartment with everything built into the wall and/or with a dual-purpose. The murphy bed can be pulled down from the wall over the couch, the ottoman has nesting tables inside of it, the full-sized table slides into the wall, the desk chair turns into a ladder to reach the built in cabinets above everything. This apartment is way nicer than mine. The problem here is that custom furniture is uber-expensive, even if just purchased from Ikea. An apartment like this would also limit your ability to bring in your own furniture, like the cool bar that your dad salvaged from the sidewalk or the beautiful teal side table you made your mom buy you which you couldn’t get without the matching vase that was displayed on top of it in the store.
One of the entries was a woman who took a single-family home in a neighborhood in Queens and figured out how many single-resident apartments she could divide the home into while still following all the rules and regulations of the city. She was able to fit eight apartments into her design, the issue here being that in that particular neighborhood, there would need to be a corresponding eight parking spots; these accommodations are unlikely.
Other entries focused on dormitory-style housing, where you would have a bedroom but a shared living, office, bathroom, and kitchen space. This would be similar to living with roommates but you wouldn’t have selected these roommates or signed the same lease as them. I’m not sure how the common areas would get cleaned in a situation like this, but I won’t have to worry since there is no way I’m sharing a kitchen or bathroom with someone I don’t know.
I could actually see myself living in one of the entries – an apartment with a loft which has everything you need in an open space. It’s just so darn cute. I am especially loving the bookshelf on the second level.
But for now, I think I’ll stay in my current place, even though I found a tiny uninvited guest last week. Moving is the pits.