by Laura Matiz
Last month, the New York Times ran an article on micro-apartments. According to the article, pre-fabricated units are being assembled at the Brooklyn Navy Yard and they will be constructed like Lego pieces at 335 East 27th Street. The My Micro NY building will house 55 units that will range in size from 250 to 370 square feet. That's small. The architects are betting that design touches, such as high ceilings and Juliet balconies, will make the apartments feel airy, avoiding a college-dormitory feel given that rents are expected to be between $2,000 and $3,000.
Many observers, especially those outside the New York area, must think New Yorkers are crazy to pay such high rents for such a small space, but demographic trends show that New York is increasingly a city of single people and getting more expensive. Micro-apartment buildings feature common amenities, such as gyms and storage spaces that are attractive to singles, to help make small-apartment living feel more comfortable. Others have raised mental health concerns about living in such small spaces, especially if kids are present.
This article on micro-apartments is in stark contrast with the recent focus on high-end real estate development and sales. On one hand, as the recent NYT series, Towers of Secrecy, documented, wealthy international buyers are swooping up large apartments that are 10 to 20 times the size of the micro-apartments, yet many of these palaces-in-the-sky stay vacant. The population densities of these buildings is obviously another contrast. But, that defines New York: a city of contrasts.