60,000 New Yorkers have applied to live in tiny prefab micro-apartments in Kips Bay, all 14 of which were erstwhile Mayor Bloomberg's answer to the affordable housing crisis back in the day. And though there are only a handful of these eensy units available at the moment, it appears more may be on their way—the de Blasio administration is apparently trying to change certain building and housing codes in hopes that they'll be able to provide New Yorkers who need affordable housing with cheaper, smaller units than are currently legally available.
The Kips Bay units are all clustered in Carmel Place, a new city-owned development at 335 East 27th Street that'll serve as an experiment of sorts for micro-apartments. Developers were exempted from housing laws requiring apartments to be bigger than 400 square feet thanks to Bloomberg, and Carmel Place boasts about 55 of these micro-units, all of which clock in at about 250-360 square feet and come with 9-10' ceilings, Juliet balconies, and 16' foot "overhead loft spaces" for storage—the building also has a gym, bike storage, roof access and storage lockers for rent. Take a look around:
Though living in an apartment fit for a Lilliputian might not appeal to everyone, the Carmel Place units are priced at half market-rate, and the de Blasio administration thinks they could be a partial solution to the current affordable housing crisis. A city official told us that there's less of a demand for typical 2 to 4 bedroom apartments these days, and sprinkling in smaller units with bigger affordable living spaces might help the administration in its quest to build or preserve 200,000 units of affordable housing.
"The city’s changing, with a lot more seniors and single-person households," one City Hall spokesperson said. "We need our housing stock to adapt, so we’re taking a hard look at how to give more flexibility with apartment sizes, especially for affordable housing."
Still, the city's got a long way to go—they'll have to change zoning, building and state laws to slim down apartment size requirements, so don't tell your tall friends to move out of Manhattan just yet. Until then, the de Blasio administration will gauge how Carmel Place performs and perform a few studies to see if tiny apartments are livable or function better as bike storage. But to be honest, we've seen worse on Craigslist.