SMALL SPACE, LARGE LIVING

January 17, 2019 at 5:00 am

City dwellers make the most out of living in small spaces. Tonight, we take you inside the next generation of tiny apartments that actually feel spacious!

Aired on January 16, 2019.

Transcript Print

>> LIVING SPACE IS HARD TO COME
BY HERE IN THE CITY.
WE ALL KNOW THAT.
BUT WHAT IS THE NEXT GENERATION
OF APARTMENTS IN NEW YORK GOT
EVEN SMALLER?
THAT'S NOT JUST A POSSIBILITY.
IT'S ALREADY HAPPENED IN ONE
MANHATTAN NEIGHBORHOOD.
YOU'RE LOOKING AT CARMEL PLACE,
THE FIRST MICRO APARTMENT
COMPLEX IN NEW YORK CITY WHICH
OECHD IN JUNE AND ONLY RENTS
UNITS THAT ARE SMALLER THAN 400
SQUARE FEET.
"THE NEW YORK TIMES" RECENTLY
SPENT A NIGHT INSIDE ONE OF
THESE APARTMENTS TO GET A SENSE
OF WHAT IT'S LIKE AND HERE'S A
LOOK AT WHAT THEY FOUND.
>> WHEN THE TINY HOUSE MOVEMENT
COMES TO NEW YORK CITY, YOU GET
THIS.
THE MICRO APARTMENT.
FULL LIVING QUARTERS IN A MODEST
300 SQUARE FEET.
THAT'S ME, P/E NELL PEA.
I'M A REPORTER FOR THE TIMES,
AND I'M ABOUT 5'8" TALL.
THIS MICRO APARTMENT IS LOCATED
IN THE CARMEL PLACE DEVELOPMENT
IN MANHATTAN FOR 32 MARKET RATE
STUDIOS RENT FOR ABOUT 2400 TO
$3200 A MONTH.
IF YOU THINK YOU CAN MAKE THE
LEAP, THAT IS, DOWNSIZE TO 300
SQUARE FEET, CONSIDER THIS.
YOU'D BE OCCUPYING A SPACE
THAT'S ABOUT 100th THE SIZE OF
THE GRAND CENTRAL TERMINAL MAIN
CONCOURSE.
AND ABOUT THE SIZE OF THIS
BATHROOM IN THE ELIZABETH TAYLOR
SUITE AT THE WALDORF ASTORIA
HOTEL.
AT ITS WIDEST IT MEASURES HALF
THE WIDTH OF YOUR TYPICAL NEW
YORK COMMUTING PLATFORM.
AND AT ITS LONGEST, ABOUT A
THIRD OF THE LENGTH OF THIS
METRO NORTH CAR.
IT'S JUST SMALLER THAN THE
INSIDE OF THE METROPOLITAN
MUSEUM TEMPLE OF ENDOOR, WHICH,
BY THE WAY, IS 3 FOOT.
BUT THEN AGAIN, WE NEW YORKERS
HAVE EVOLVED TO APPRECIATE SMALL
SPACES.
WE DINE IN THEM REGULARLY.
I CAN WALK FROM ONE END OF THIS
APARTMENT TO THE OTHER IN SIX
SECONDS.
BUT THE SPACE, DESIGNED BY THE
ARCHITECTURE FARM N ARCHITECTS,
IS SURPRISINGLY FUNCTIONAL, WITH
LIGHTS OF CLOSETS AND NOOKS TO
HIDE ANY MESS.
THE KITCHEN IS OUTFITTED WITH A
REFRIGERATOR, ELECTRIC STOVE
TOPS, A MICROWAVE, AND EVEN A
DISHWASHER.
MOST OF THE FURNITURE IS
MULTI-PURPOSE, AND MADE TO
CONVENIENTLY STOW AWAY WHEN NOT
IN USE.
TAKE THIS DESK.
IN A COUPLE OF MINUTES IT WILL
TRANSFORM INTO A FULLY EXTENDED
DINING TABLE.
THE BATHROOM HAS A SHOWER STALIN
STEAD OF A BATHTUB.
IT MANAGES TO FEEL, AT LEAST BY
OUR STUDIO APARTMENT STANDARDS,
ALMOST CASTLE SIZED.
BUT THERE ARE COMPROMISES.
LIKE THE MERCER BED.
IT'S NOT RAISED INTO THE WALL.
YOU FIND IT TAKING UP MOST OF
YOUR LIVING SPACE ALTOGETHER.
PUTTING IT OUT OF THE WAY EVERY
DAY WOULD GET YOU YOUR DAILY
UPPER BODY WORKOUT.
SO IT'S A SPACE PURPOSE BUILT
FOR ONE.
BUT WHAT IF YOU'RE THE TYPE THAT
LIKES TO ENTERTAIN?
>> WELCOME TO MY SMALL
APARTMENT.
>> WELL, FIRST OF ALL, IF YOU'RE
LIKE MANY NEW YORKERS, YOU'D
PROBABLY SKIP COOKING AND ORDER
IN.
HAVING SIX AT THE DINNER TABLE
IS PUSHING IT, BUT NOT IF YOU'RE
CLOSE FRIENDS.
IT WILL BE COZY AND SEATING
ARRANGEMENTS ARE TRICKY.
AND SO IS STEPPING OVER EACH
OTHER TO USE THE FACILITY.
YOU'VE PROBABLY SEEN WIDE ANGLE
SHOTS LIKE THIS USED IN
APARTMENT ADVERTISEMENTS TO MAKE
THINGS LIKE ROOMIER THAN THEY
ARE IN REAL LIFE.
SO, TO PUT THIS SHOT INTO P
PERSPECTIVE, THAT'S OUR VIDEO
PRODUCER IN THE FOREGROUND.
AND SHE'S STANDING JUST ABOUT
HERE, CLOSE TO THE FARTHEST END
OF THE APARTMENT OPPOSITE WHERE
WE'RE HANGING OUT.
NEW YORK CITY WAVE REGULATIONS
REQUIRE THAT APARTMENTS BE AT
LEAST 400 SQUARE FEET SO THAT
THE CARMEL PLACE DEVELOPMENT
COULD BE BUILT.
STILL, IT IS YET TO BE SEEN
WHETHER OR NOT THIS STYLE OF
LIVING WILL CATCH ON.
THE APARTMENTS ARE ABOUT HALF
THE SIZE OF AN AVERAGE STUDIO IN
MANHATTAN AND COST CONSIDERABLY
MORE IN RENT PER SQUARE FOOT.
BUT IT'S A NEW, MODERN, AND
LEGAL NOOK, ALL OF YOUR OWN
WITHOUT ROOMMATES, AND PERHAPS
WITH ALL THE SPACE ONE PERSON
MIGHT NEED AS A HAVEN FROM THE
CITY.
THIS IS PENELOPE GREEN FOR "THE
NEW YORK TIMES."
>> AND JOINING ME NOW IS MORE ON
MICRO APARTMENTS AND THE IMPACT
THEY COULD HAVE ON THE CITY IS
VIVIAN TOY, THE EDITOR OF "THE
NEW YORK TIMES" REAL ESTATE
SECTION.
VIVIAN, WELCOME.
>> THANK YOU.
>> NOW, VIVIAN, YOU WERE AT THAT
DINNER PARTY WE JUST SAW THERE.
WHAT WAS THAT EXPERIENCE LIKE?
IT LOOKED COZY INDEED.
>> IT WAS DEFINITELY COZY WHEN
WE WERE SEATED AROUND THE TABLE.
I TELL YOU, WHEN WE FIRST WALKED
IN, IT DIDN'T FEEL SO TIGHT
BECAUSE THE TABLE WASN'T UP YET
AND THE CEILING HEIGHT MAKES A
HUGE DIFFERENCE.
>> IT'S 9 1/2, RIGHT IN
>> YES.
AND THERE WAS THE FLOOR TO
CEILING WINDOWS AND THAT JUST
LENDS AN OPENNESS.
AND THAT SORT OF SPECIFIC TO THE
DESIGN OF IT.
THEY KNOW WHEN YOU'RE IN A TIGHT
SPACE, IF YOU GET A LOT OF LIGHT
IN AND YOU HAVE HIGH CEILINGS,
YOU'RE NOT GOING TO FEEL AS
ENCLOSED ADDS YOU MIGHT
OTHERWISE.
>> IT WAS MADE CLEAR EXCEPT FOR
THE 14 UNITS SPECIFICALLY SET
ASIDE FOR BELOW MARKET RATE
RENTALS AND EIGHT THAT WERE SET
ASIDE FOR FORMERLY HOMELESS
VETERANS, THESE OTHER APARTMENTS
ARE FAR FROM CHEAP.
YOU PAY $35,000 A YEAR FOR ONE
OF THEM.
>> RIGHT.
>> AS A MATTER OF FACT, MOST
MICRO OR NEAR MICRO APARTMENTS,
AT LEAST IN MANHATTAN, I'M
WILLING TO WAGE, ARE FAR FROM
CHEAP NOWADAYS.
SO WHAT'S THE ATTRACTION OF
THESE MICRO, NEAR MICRO
APARTMENTS?
>> WELL, I THINK -- THIS
BUILDING WAS BUILT WHEN MAYOR
BLOOMBERG WAS STILL IN OFFICE,
AND HE OPENED UP A COMPETITION
JUST TO SORT OF GET THE
CONVERSATION GOING TO SEE, YOU
KNOW, IS IT POSSIBLE TO BUILD
MORE OF THESE AS OPPOSED TO
HAVING FIVE 23-YEAR-OLD GIRLS
LIVING IN A TWO BEDROOM
APARTMENT ON TOP OF EACH OTHER.
BUT THE BOTTOM LINE IS LAND
PRICES ARE SO HIGH IN MANHATTAN,
YOU CAN'T REALLY BUILD ANYTHING
AND NOT CHARGE THOSE KINDS OF
PRICES.
AND AT THE SAME TIME, THE APPEAL
OF LIVING IN THE SMALL SPACE IS
THE COMMUNAL SPACE OUTSIDE, AND
THAT BUILDING HAS IT.
IT'S GOT A ROOF DECK, IT'S GOT A
GYM, IT'S GOT -- AND SO IT'S ALL
ABOUT PROVIDING ENOUGH SORT OF
OUTLET OUTSIDE OF THE APARTMENT
SO THAT YOU DON'T FEEL KWLOS
TORO PHOBIC.
AND IF YOU ADD ALL THOSE EXTRAS
IN, YOU CAN'T BUILD THEM
>> BUT HOW ARE THE CHANGING
DEMOGRAPHICS OF THE CITY
CREATING A MARKET FOR THESE?
>> WELL, THE PERCENTAGE OF
SINGLE PEOPLE IS GOING UP,
PARTICULARLY AS PEOPLE POSTPONE
GETTING MARRIED, AND WITH THE
AGING POPULATION, A LOT OF THE
OLDER PEOPLE --
>> ARE BY THEMSELVES?
>> BY THEMSELVES.
AGAIN, THEY'RE NOT GOING TO BE
ABLE TO AFFORD $3,000 A MONTH
FOR THAT SPACE.
NOR WILL THEY WANT TO MOVE OUT
OF WHERE THEY ARE.
A DIFFERENT SITUATION.
>> THE LAND ON WHICH THIS
COMPLEX WAS BUILT WAS DONATED
FROM THE CITY.
AS WE'RE SAYING, THESE ARE
LUXURY MICROS, NOT AFFORDABLE
MICROS.
WHY DID THE CITY DO THAT?
>> AGAIN, I THINK IT WAS TO JUST
GET THE CONVERSATION STARTED SO
THAT THEN THEY COULD THINK ABOUT
IS THERE A WAY THAT WE CAN BUILD
THIS SOMEWHERE ELSEWHERE THE
LAND PRICES MIGHT NOT BE AS HIGH
AND COULD WE MAKE IT VIABLE.
AND AT THIS POINT, I DON'T THINK
THE De BLASIO ADMINISTRATION HAS
MOVED THAT FAR ALONG.
THEY'RE DEALING WITH AFFORDABLE
HOUSING ISSUES IN OTHER WAYS.
>> I THINK WE HEARD BRIEFLY
THERE WAS A LAW THAT LIMITED --
IT WAS PASSED IN 1987, THAT
LIMITED THE CONSTRUCTION OF
APARTMENTS TO NO LESS THAN 400
SQUARE FEET.
WHAT WAS THAT -- WHY WAS THAT?
>> THAT WAS BECAUSE OVER TIME --
YOU NEED TO GO BACK IN HISTORY.
IF YOU GO -- FOR EXAMPLE, IF YOU
VISITED THE TENEMENT MUSEUM,
THOSE APARTMENTS ARE ALL 350
SQUARE FEET AND THERE'S THREE
ROOMS.
THERE'S A LIVING ROOM, A BEDROOM
AND A KITCHEN.
PEOPLE IN THE EARLY 20th CENTURY
LIVED LIKE A FAMILY OF FIVE, AND
THEN THEY WOULD RENT OUT THE
KITCHEN TO A BOARDER.
YOU WOULD HAVE TEN PEOPLE IN
THIS TINY SPACE.
>> THE IDEA WAS TO AVOID THAT
KIND OF -- A NEW TENEMENT ERA.
>> RIGHT, THEY WANTED TO AVOID
THAT.
BUT IN THE INTERIM, THERE WERE A
LOT OF BUILDINGS THAT BUILT
APARTMENTS THAT SMALL.
>> I LIVED IN AN EFFICIENCY, I
THINK MUST HAVE BEEN 400 FEET.
IN 30 SECONDS WE HAVE LEFT, HOW
IS THIS GOING TO CHANGE THE REAL
ESTATE MARKET OF THE CITY?
WHAT DO YOU PREDICT?
FIVE YEARS FROM NOW WHAT'S IT
GOING TO LOOK LIKE?
>> FOR THE TIME BEING I DON'T
THINK IT'S GOING TO HAVE A HUGE
IMPACT ON IT.
IT'S MORE THEORETICAL AT THIS
POINT.
>> VIVIAN, THANK YOU FOR JOINING
US TODAY.
>> WELCOME.

Mutual of America PSEG

Funders

MetroFocus is made possible by James and Merryl Tisch, Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III, the Sylvia A. and Simon B. Poyta Programming Endowment to Fight Anti-Semitism, Bernard and Irene Schwartz, Rosalind P. Walter, Barbara Hope Zuckerberg, Jody and John Arnhold, the Cheryl and Philip Milstein Family, Janet Prindle Seidler, Judy and Josh Weston and the Dr. Robert C. and Tina Sohn Foundation.

WNET

© WNET All Rights Reserved.

825 Eighth Avenue

New York, NY 10019