The New York Times relaunched its Real Estate section today with a doozy of an article, titled “So You Think Your Place Is Small?” They talked to Jack Leahy, a 25-year-old dude who moved to New York City last year, and who has a pretty unusual living situation: he lives in “a 40-square-foot cubbyhole tucked into the ceiling of a performance space a few blocks from the waterfront in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.”
And that’s the point at which we started screaming incoherently, because there are so many things wrong with that sentence. For starters: 40-square feet! “Cubbyhole”! “Tucked into the ceiling”! Jack! Jack. Bro. Dude: it doesn’t have to be this way.
But wait: It somehow gets worse!
“His windowless [ed note: !!!!!!!] den measures roughly 9 feet long and 4.5 feet wide. You can stand at the entry, but once inside you mostly stoop — it’s only about 5 feet high. A twin-size futon mattress takes up most of the space.” Also, his “quasi-roommates” are “seven other artists and creative types who live in the warren of more traditional rooms at the back of the building.” Oh, brother.
Look, we know that these living situations exist in New York. We’ve written about similarly small spaces—the 90-square-foot West Village studio, a sad 100-square-foot rental, 100-square-foot hotel rooms, and the like. And as long as there are 25-year-olds moving to New York with little more than the clothes on their back and a dream of making it big in the city, these places—which cannot possibly be legal, by the way—will keep getting rented.
But it shouldn’t be this way! No one should live in fear of falling out of their extremely tiny cubbyhole simply because they want to live within their means. No one should be renting out a space that can best be described as a “cubbyhole” for $450.
But even if we (and the rest of the Internet) are horrified by this, the tenant himself doesn’t seem to be. He told the Times this:
“I think I was happy to be in New York and that I actually had a place,” Mr. Leahy said. “It was just kind of comical. It is comical. Whenever I show people where I live, they always laugh.”
Which, you know what? You do you, bro. You’re only young and willing to tolerate terrible living situations once.