Sunday, September 8, 2013

"Living Large While Living Small" at the Museum of New York

“Making Room: New Models for Housing New Yorkers” exhibit  opened at the Museum of the City of New York in the beginning if this year. The exhibition  was such a success  that it was extended  to September 15th due to popular demand.

The median sales price for homes in New York NY is now  $1,165,000 with average price per square foot $1,323. So if you do the math,  the average size of the apartment  is  880 square feet.  Since 1987, New York City has required that new apartments be a minimum of 400 square feet.  Before that regulation  there were apartment complexes that  were built mostly for the small families. I wrote about one of such  complexes  ‘Tudor city’  in one of my posts.
 Because regulations discourage the development of small apartments it is almost impossible to buy a studio in a good location.
 If you are young and alone, ask yourself - what do prefer – long commute and suburban big house with several bedrooms and bathrooms or a small flat in the middle of the city? 
At the moment, New York City has 1.8 million one and two-person households, but only has one million studios and one-bedroom apartments.
33 percent of New-Yorkers are single people who live alone, 15 percent are couples with no kids.   For young, single professionals in cities like New York, San Francisco, Seattle and Chicago, where rents are high, micro-apartments are gaining popularity as an affordable way to live in a city’s most desirable location. Studios and one-bedrooms are in perennially short supply in New York.

It is projected that 600,000 "new" New Yorkers, many of them single young professionals, will move to the city by 2030.

Last year Mayor  Bloomberg launched a contest for developers to design a small, efficient space for single people in Manhattan . In January 2013 he  announced the winner of the competition. 

The exhibit "Making Room: New Models for Housing New Yorkers"  in The Museum of the City of New York  features designs that were submitted to this competition. 

There is  a fully built 325-square-foot micro-unit inside the Museum of the City of New York to demonstrate how to live in a small space.  There’s a bed that vanishes into the wall, an ottoman that converts into a coffee table with four seats,   a pull-out rolling dining table. There is a refrigerator and separate freezer underneath the counter and even the dishwasher. The space storage is everywhere - there is even  a  glass-shelf bar behind flat TV on the wall.  

 Five real people demonstrated how to live in close quarters as a single person or as a couple -cooking, organizing, decorating and even throwing a dinner party.

 Also on display are videos and models of tiny apartments from around the world, including Hong Kong and Japan, where micro-living has been a necessity for generations.

A group of Developers that win the content will be building a 55-unit apartment building in Manhattan’s Kips Bay neighborhood ( between East 23rd Street and East 34th Street extending from Lexington Avenue to the East River) on land they bought from the city at reduced cost. 

The city has waived zoning regulations at the site, allowing the construction of apartments ranging from 250 to 370 square feet, with ample common spaces throughout the building.