One of former mayor Bloomberg's tiny affordable housing dreams is finally being realized: My Micro NY, a tower of prefab micro-apartments in Kips Bay—which looks suspiciously like shipping containers stacked on top of each other— started accepting applications today.
Back in 2012, Bloomberg waived zoning regulations at a city-owned building at 335 East 27th Street that would have otherwise required new apartments to measure at least 450 spacious square feet. The zoning adjustment gave Capsys, a modular construction company based in the Brooklyn Navy Yard, free rein to begin construction on these "micro-units."
When Bloomberg first floated the micro-unit proposition a few years ago, 76% of the city's population was composed of 1-2 bedroom households. He reasoned that teensy apartments would suit them, and even had plans to rezone further if the Kips Bay pilot took off.
According to Housing Connect's overview of the project, only 14 of 55 total micro units are available in this first round of applications. 11 of the glorified shoe boxes will rent for $950 per month, and will be set aside for singles who make between $34,526 and $48,350 per year, and couples who make between $34,526 and $55,250 combined. The remaining three studios will go to singles earning between $53,109 - $78,650 and couples with a combined yearly income between $53,109 - $89,830. (It's worth noting that the city-wide Area Media Income is currently $60,500 for singles, and $69,100 for families of two.)
Cozy! (via nycmayorsoffice)
In addition to 260-360 square-feet of living space, 14-to-28 lucky New Yorkers will be #blessed with 9-10' ceilings, itty bitty Juliet (a.k.a. "very shallow") balconies, and 16' foot "overhead loft spaces" (a.k.a. horizontal closets) that, if the renderings are to be believed, are suitable surfboard storage. There will also be a gym, not to mention bike storage, a salon, a roof terrace, and "storage lockers"—albeit for an "additional fee."
Applications close November 2nd, and 50% priority will be given to residents of Community Board 6. Still, if you're used to paying $1,795/month for a shower in the kitchen on Orchard Street, or $1,150/month for an elven shoebox on St. Marks, or $1,100/month for 100 square feet of pure bliss on the Upper West Side, there seems to be no harm in applying.
Alternatively, check out this video of Kips Bay's first micro-unit being lowered into place in June, and ruminate on the sad real estate landscape that's the backdrop to all this: About 36.3% of New York households make less than $35,000 a year, 47.8% of them make less than $50,000, and de Blasio recently announced a trickle of 20,325 affordable housing units towards his goal of 200,000 over ten years—that's about 70,000 shy of the 93,000 New Yorkers who recently applied to live in 925 affordable apartments in Queens.