Smallest Apartment in Town? The New York Post Isn’t Even Close


The New York Post thinks it’s found the tiniest studio in New York City. Reporter Angela Montefinise has a fun story about a couple sharing a 175-square-foot Upper West Side apartment with a couple of cats, but that place is a castle in comparison to the living situation we wrote about last month at 81 Bowery — a lodging house for Chinese laborers located one block north of Canal Street.

At 81 Bowery, residents (largely Fujianese immigrants who work in the kitchens and construction sites of Chinatown) live in cubicles that are 64 square feet — We know, because we checked with a tape measure.

The tiny cubicles are made of dry wall and have no ceilings. People standing atop their beds can peek down and stare into their neighbor’s rooms. Some of the residents have been living there for decades, and their cubicles are piled up with belongings. The landlord charges about $150 a month to live there, and when that’s too expensive, the more entrepreneurial of the bunch cram in extra roommates. They build makeshift bunk beds and some sleep in shifts, packed like sardines. There’s no kitchen on the floor, and everyone shares a large bathroom with four toilets.

Like the Post‘s Upper West Side couple (who keep their running clothes stacked neatly in two cabinets above the sink), the residents of 81 Bowery have figured out how to make things work, even if it means piling their clothes and other household objects into stacks of shopping bags that grow higher with each passing year. But for real tips on how to use space, the UWS duo should come on down to Chinatown.

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