Small Apartments: Tiny Places to Live in NYC and Beyond

Published on Aug 5, 2011


It's a seemingly inevitable part of NYC living: at some time or another, no matter how much we love our homes, residents of NYC rental apartments will wish we had more space. A bigger kitchen, say, or a larger bathroom. Or maybe more closet space. Or a second (or third!) bedroom. During those wistful, dreamy moments it might help to remember that there are plenty of people whose small apartments are much more tiny than ours, and they seem happy, right? Right!?


Anyway, there was a crazy story recently on Curbed about the as-yet-unbuilt World's Thinnest House (above), located in Warsaw, designed by Centrala, and measuring four feet at its WIDEST, and 28.3 inches at its most narrow (which is almost four inches larger, as the very fine Curbed writer Sarah Firshein reminds us, than a JetBlue coach seat!). Thoughts of living (or even working) there reminded us of other hilariously tiny homes, several of which the article links to, including the FORMER World's Skinniest House, Helenita Queiroz Grave Minho's one-meter-wide house in Brazil, pictured below.


But as claustrophobic as these two buildings seem, they are too geographically remote to really assuage our own occasional size-envy (and New York City narrowest house, at 75 1/2 Bedford Street, is, at 990 square-feet, far too big and beautiful to help). Ah, but what about teeny tiny NYC apartments, like these closets... er, homes:


The 175-square-foot Upper West Side "microstudio", owned by Zaarath and Christopher Prokop a couple of years ago, which measures just 10 feet by 14.9 feet, which is "about as narrow as a subway car". With no room for a dresser, the Prokops stored their clothes in the kitchen cabinets, and ate out for every meal.

The 90-square-foot (not a typo) "ministudio", also on the Upper West Side, right near the park, for which Felice Cohen pays $700 a month and says is "totally worth it" because of the location... even though she had a panic attack the first night she slept on her "shelf bed".


But the most insanely small NYC apartment we've ever heard of has to be Luke (no last name given)'s 78-square-foot hallway/home in Manhattan, which, truth be told, actually looks sort of doable the way it's set up here. Sort of. If you don't own any clothes or anything else.


Luke's NYC rental apartment was found on the always-worth-a-look Apartment Therapy, as part of their annual Smallest Coolest Homes Contest this year. And for even more small apartments that are probably tinier than yours, take a look at their Small Spaces, NYC Style feature, featuring 10 homes under 600 square feet, like Matt's 375-square-foor beauty in Astoria, above.

Honestly, some of these small "apartments" seem more like rooms for rent.  If there's no kitchen or bath, that's just a room, no matter what you call it. A "kitchenette" in the apartment, with a shared bath down the hall... borderline, but similar to the old tenement concept, or SROs. Whatever you call them, these are tiny living spaces, and for many people, part of the NYC living experience.

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