If New York had an official pastime, it would be real estate. In between searching for increasingly remote crawlspaces to inhabit, we love to bitch about our astronomical rents and gloat shamelessly when we find the Brigadoon of sublets (rent-controlled, roof access, close to a viable train — the stuff your friends in lesser cities consider the most basic of dwelling criteria). One-downing one another about our living quarters is practically a bloodsport: “I paid $1,200 a month to sleep in a disused elevator shaft” vs. “I showered with a stranger for reduced rent in a good location.” The only solution anyone ever proposes is: “leave.” But before you discard your hopes and dreams, consider these creative alternatives to your pricey apartment (also available on Craigslist).
This rage-mobile will run you about as much per month as this Upper East Side studio. The apartment may have a quaint cement-patch “garden,” but it definitely doesn’t have a fog machine, illuminated ceiling and floor, or premium sound system (nor can it safely accommodate 32 of your friends). Wipe the body glitter off the seats, pack it with your cool art friends, institute a “no penis straws” policy, and this is guaranteed to become a thing.
Glamping is so last Burning Man. In 2015, it’s going to be all about Gliving. Impress and shame your rich hippie friends by taking up permanent residence in this twenty-foot yurt. Heat up your freegan hors d’oeuvres in the accompanying wood-burning stove and practice making smug comments about “getting back to what’s real”. Make sure you hide your sky-high Manhattan Mini Storage bill before the guests arrive. (Full disclosure: The yurt is being sold in Connecticut. So you might actually have to “leave” New York to pick it up.)
Ambulance, $4,500 ($375/month for a year)
For the same rate as a shared room in Kew Gardens, you can score one of the several pre-owned ambulances this Craigslist vendor has to offer. These are “all just taken out of service,” so there’s serious windfall potential in the form of a kidney that someone left under the seat (it’s just like moving into an old farmhouse). Even better: the promise of a world in which traffic signals are just suggestions.
For just a little more than a weekend in the penthouse of the McCarren Hotel and Pool (way to game the Google results, hoteliers), you can buy this corrugated-metal vestibule from the outside of Sean Avery’s Tribeca restaurant, Warren 77. Odds are good you’ll have to move it from the site, but with a good set of wheels and a “Closed” sign, you could probably get away with cozying up to random buildings for a while before anyone catches on. Tiny houses are so on trend right now.
Real talk: This houseboat is significantly nicer than most Brooklyn one-bedroom apartments. It has a dining room, full kitchen, and roof deck (duh). And it’s a motherfucking boat, bitch. Stock up on meerschaum pipes and nautical blazers and start living your best life today.
You’ve always fantasized about the perfect live/work space — now you can make that dream a reality for a surprisingly low price. This adorable, condiment-colored street cart looks like it was made by Playskool — a theory that seems to be confirmed by the seller’s claim that it “can be towed with a trike.” There’s ample room for a sleeping bag on the counter or inside floor, plus it’s been said that hot dog water has aromatherapeutic properties.
This is definitely the cheapest living option on the Upper West Side. You may have to brush up on bedtime stories and deal with the occasional nightlight, but it’s well worth it for a place to call home in one of New York’s most storied (and expensive) neighborhoods. You were never going to get off of the Dakota waitlist anyway. Sinister clown makeup optional.