Tiny apartments are technically illegal in New York City, but thousands of them exist

My Micro NY adAPT NYC Mayor’s OfficeOne rendering for the My Micro NY apartments coming to New York City.

City-approved micro apartments are coming to New York this spring in Manhattan’s Kips Bay.

Known as My Micro NY, the apartments won a design competition back in 2013 and are currently being built in the Brooklyn Navy Yard, according to The New York Times.

The units range from 260 to 360 square feet and have some amazing amenities such as big windows, storage space, Juliet balconies, public areas, a café, a rooftop garden, and more.

My Micro NY adAPT NYC Mayor’s OfficeDifferent set ups for New York’s new micro apartments.

Then-mayor Michael Bloomberg allowed the My Micro NY units as an exception to the 1987 zoning laws, which state that “a dwelling unit shall have an area of at least 400 square feet of floor area.”

Yet even though by law New York apartments should be bigger than 400 square feet, thousands of New Yorkers live in apartments much tinier than that since the law did not penalise homes built prior to 1987.

My Micro NY adAPT NYC Mayor’s OfficeThe exterior rendering of the My Micro NY apartments.

In fact, Jonathan J. Miller, president of real estate appraisal and consulting firm Miller Samuel, told The Times that there are an estimated 3,000 apartments in the city that are below the zoning-mandated square footage.

But some New Yorkers think that the trade off for less square space and greater savings in rent is worth it.

“Sure there are some compromises, but it’s worth it,” author and artist Felice Cohen said to FairCompanies.com in 2010. Cohen lived in a 90-square-foot apartment on Manhattan’s Upper West Side.

90 square feet micro apartment new yorkYouTubeFelice Cohen’s 90-square-foot apartment she showed FairCompanies.com in 2010.

Her apartment didn’t even have a kitchen or a bedroom, but she paid only $US700 for rent and lived quite comfortably. The FairCompanies.com video of her apartment went viral and has been viewed by over 6.5 million people.

And she’s not alone. Luke Clark Tyler told SPACEStv in 2012 that he found his 78-square-foot New York apartment on Craigslist. “I think it called it a studio, which I don’t know if it qualifies as a studio,” he laughed.

78 square feet micro apartment new yorkYouTubeLuke Clark Tyler’s 78-square-foot apartment he showed SPACEStv in 2012.

Almost 1.5 million people have watched the video to see how he lives in such a small space by hiding his bed and sharing a bathroom dorm-style.

Many New Yorkers are willing to live in tiny apartments, a fact proven by the city’s waitlist for the My Micro NY units. Hopefully as the trend catches on and more small apartments are built across New York, the real estate market will become more affordable.

“Coming home to a tiny apartment, I mean, this is what I’ve been doing for at least five years now,” Tyler told SPACEtv. We adapt very easily as people.”

Read more about New York’s coming micro-apartments here.

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