One could argue that New York's questionably legal housing stock has been around for hundreds of years, ever since immigrants started populating the island in droves. You could also argue that it's reached a whole new level when one such place is featured in the real estate section of the New York Times.
Jack Leahy is a 25-year-old musician that moved to Williamsburg from Austin last September. He rents a 40 square-foot, windowless cubbyhole that is only accessible by ladder. The building is mostly a performance space but is also home to seven other people (in more traditional rooms), with whom he shares one and a half bathrooms and a kitchen.
Despite being an actual crawlspace (the ceiling is only 5 feet high at one end), Leahy faced fierce competition for the place, taking it sight unseen.
A study by Zillow pinpointed that housing in New York became unaffordable for young people in 2004, and factors such as scarcity due to building restrictions and fewer people buying homes have not improved the situation.
It's a sad reality that in this climate a 9-foot by 4.5-foot space is attractive, priced at $450 per month. Suddenly, that $400 San Francisco pod doesn't sound so bad, and 200 square feet looks practically palatial.
If the lure of inexpensive rent had you considering such cozy accommodations, I'm sorry to inform you that Leahy renewed his lease for another year.
- So You Think Your Place Is Small? | New York Times