August 29, 2011

Man lives in a 78-square-foot space.

He's an architect in his 20s, living — roommate free! — in New York City.  Based on the street scene, he's right about here. He seems reasonably satisfied with it, as he describes minimalist impulses going back to childhood. There's room for a bed/sofa and a desk. My only outburst, watching that video, was "does he have WiFi?"

Picture a prison cell that size. Would it be too cruel? But inject the freedom to walk out the door at any time and have all of NYC. It's not cruel at all. When you're sleeping in your bed, the space around you doesn't really matter, and when you're sitting at that desk, it's not too different from a carrel in the library.


Scott M said...

as he describes minimalist impulses going back to childhood minimalism genetic or do you have to be beaten/abused as a child?

Scott M said...

Which bathroom does a minimalist use?

rhhardin said...

You really don't need any more than a coach seat and a tray table.

MadisonMan said...

So he's living in a converted closet.

Still, it's good for an architect to do this kind of thing, and then to be covered by CNN is good for business.

gerry said...

Ah, the benefits of rent-control! High costs, limited building, permitting nightmares.

I wonder when his cubicle will go condo.

Maguro said...

Anyone who's been in the military has lived with less personal space than that.

DADvocate said...

According to the blueprints shown in the video, the space is 14' 3" by 5' 6" which equals 78.375 sq. ft. I want some truth in disclosure!!

I like the "I'll be 28 Monday. I'm 27 now bit." Duh, Sherlock.

It's so easy to sound stupid when recorded.

All that said, I like a certain amount of minimalism. He carries it a little too far for me.

Irene said...

I am fine with this idea, as long as it's not a government telling me how much maximum space must be alloted to one person.

ddh said...

Does that closet have a closet or someplace for a change of clothes? Does it have a bathroom? Would it need a bathroom to be a legal residence in NYC?

ddh said...

If it were a prison cell in California, I think that he could get an injunction from the Tenth Circuit.

Pogo said...

Ah, the joys of modern monasticism.
Wear does he hang the hairshirt?

OK, it's cute and he seems okay with it, so fine.

People can learn to abide all sorts of conditions that have minimal amenities. Prison and poverty, for example.

Asceticism has its adherents and proponents, as does Epicureanism.

I favor low expectations:
"And I mean, I just don't know how anybody could enjoy anything more than I enjoy reading Charlton Heston's autobiography, or, you know, getting up in the morning and having the cup of cold coffee that's been waiting for me all night, still there for me to drink in the morning! And no cockroach or fly has died in it overnight. I mean, I'm just so thrilled when I get up and I see that coffee there just the way I wanted it, I mean, I just can't imagine how anybody could enjoy something else any more than that!"

Palladian said...

His apartment is the only closet this boy is living in, honey!

ndspinelli said...

It would appear Carol Hermanism is contagious. Our good professor asks the question if a prison cell this size would be cruel. Having worked @ Leavenworth and visited numerous jails and prisons the answer is simple. Inmates would kill for an individual cell this size..the average cell is about half the size of this apartment. Unless you're on lock down or in disciplinary segregation, you are out of your cell most of the time working, eating, socializing, and packing shit in the shower!

Prisons are hell. We need to have programs for kids to visit prisons and let them know just how hellish they are.

galdosiana said...

Where is his bathroom??

ricpic said...

Not only does he live in a tiny space but he looks out on a wall. For me no tree outside my window would be death. Obviously not the case for this dude.

Palladian said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Palladian said...

His place isn't "minimal", it's spartan. To be minimal you have to be able to afford a big place and then choose not to fill it, and also be able to afford the time and/or money necessary to keep it spotless.

Minimalism is just an extension of decadence.

Dan from Madison said...

I love these types of living spaces. If I had to do it all again I would love to live that way. I always feel like my family has too much crap.

gerry said...

or, you know, getting up in the morning and having the cup of cold coffee that's been waiting for me all night, still there for me to drink in the morning!

After taking a microbiology course, I stopped drinking day-old coffee, even if it was reheated, unless I promptly refrigerated it after manking it.

It's amazing what can grow in coffee, even just overnight.

Trapper Townshend said...

I have a friend who used to work in real estate in Manhattan and who I think rented out some apartments in this building.

The bathrooms are down the hall, shared. It's like a dorm, except the building has occupants of all ages.

The whole thing seems very sad and lonely to me. Unless it's a temporary measure for him. The smallness suggests that he doesn't want to share his life with anyone. I mean, you could bring a guy home for a night, and it would be a novel experience for him to see how you live, I'm sure, but you couldn't hang around with someone else in a place like that.

T J Sawyer said...

Google used the "good camera" for their Street View here. I've noticed a big improvement lately. In a story like this it lets you walk the neighborhood feeling a little like a voyeur.

Pogo said...

After taking a microbiology course, I stopped drinking day-old coffee"

What if that's actually good for you?

DADvocate said...

Tribute to Carol_Herman (collected quotes that will probably make as much sense here as they did where originally written).

But the maid in terror goes to her community Where some of the men there decide to go on the Internet. And find her a lawyer.

Stealing Ann's camera out of her hands should exactly count for points in your universe Mr Governor.

Maybe individually kids wouldn't listen to ya (They're heading for TWO!) ... Or at least that was the case I remember.

A few paid agitators (Well it keeps sign painters alive.)

As a matter of fact it's a tragedy that Ann Walsh-Bradley who should have known better .. gets away without anyone pressing her on FALSE CRIMINAL CHARGES!

And kids get to know the word LEDGE soon after they're learning words &#34'in general.&#34'

Don't all the locals (if they want) march in the parade?

Meanwhile OVER AT THE SOFITEL .. In the semen-soaked suite ... The maid is seen by her supervisor. And then by MANAGEMENT.

And please be careful!

When she flips on her TV (As lots of Americans do. Just after they wake up.) And she recognizes the guy who assaulted her!

DSK is arrested .. in full press mode ... at about 4:00 PM. While the maid? She's at the hospital for a time. Getting her vagina photographed. And she tells the story over and over again.

John said...

What's the rent?

John Henry

edutcher said...

The Euros would envy it nonetheless, one presumes.

WV "renobs" Getting it back up.

madAsHell said...

This guy ain't gettin' laid much!

jimbino said...

Even better is living in a 50sqft VW Van. You can sleep, as I have, in downtown Paris, Madrid, Barcelona, Lisbon, Buenos Aires and Rio de Janeiro.

Sometimes it was tight when there were three of us.

Carol_Herman said...

Does this "space" have a bathroom?

You know, there was a time when families were large ... this sort of "space" had to do for a lot of folk.

My mom used to say, first off, her mom was so clean you could eat off the kitchen floor!

Kids? They played outside, in the street. Coming home to eat and sleep. (And, where mom washed the clothes that had been on them, so they'd have clean clothes the next day.)

My mom also said some people had to put two chairs together, to create a bed for one of the kids.

And, all these kids were lucky ... because they were in America. So they escaped what happened next as a virus devoured Europe.

By the way, as an architect ... when this kid does plans on his computer ... he has to take them to Kinkos to get printed out. Lucky, he can roll the stuff into tubes.

But he can't work with pencil and paper IN that apartment.

I wonder what he has to pay in rent, though.

Which is how "tenants" rented spaces in Manhattan.

And, how once upon a time ... poor people took in tenants. Which added to the mom's workload.

But back then? You didn't need so many outlets to plug things into. You could read by candlelight.

And, listening to the clip, I did wonder why this guy "downsized." What happened to his 96 foot apartment?

Also, if he wants a glass of water, where is the tap?

Dark Eden said...

Flagellantism was a 13th and 14th centuries movement, consisting of radicals in the Catholic Church. It began as a militant pilgrimage and was later condemned by the Catholic Church as heretical. The followers were noted for including public flagellation in their rituals.

At first, flagellation became a form of penance in the Catholic Church, especially in ascetic monastic orders. For example, the 11th century zealot Dominicus Loricatus once repeated the entire Psalter twenty times in one week, accompanying each psalm with a hundred lash-strokes to his back. The distinction of the Flagellants was to take this self-mortification into the cities and other public spaces as a demonstration of piety. As well as flagellation, the rituals were built around processions, hymns, distinct gestures, uniforms, and discipline.

The movement did not have a central doctrine or overall leaders, but a popular passion for the movement occurred all over Europe in separate outbreaks. The first recorded incident was in Perugia in 1259, the year after severe crop damage and famine throughout Europe.

The prime cause of the Perugia episode is unclear, but it followed an outbreak of an epidemic and chroniclers report how the mania spread throughout almost all the people of the city. Thousands of citizens gathered in great processions, singing and with crosses and banners, they marched throughout the city whipping themselves. It is reported that surprising acts of charity and repentance accompanied the marchers. However, one chronicler noted that anyone who did not join in the flagellation was accused of being in league with the devil. They also killed Jews and priests who opposed them. Marvin Harris[1] links them to the Messianic preaching of Gioacchino da Fiore.

The movement spread across Northern Italy, up to 10,000 strong groups processing in Modena, Bologna, Reggio and Parma although certain city authorities refused the Flagellant processions entry. However enthusiasm for the movement diminished as suddenly as it arose. When they preached that mere participation in their processions cleaned sins, the Pope banned the movement in January 1261.

William said...

I could sleep there, but God help you if it's a cold, rainy day and you're broke and feeling depressed.

Peano said...

On U.S. Navy submarines, living quarters are called "berthing areas" that provide no more than 15 square feet of space per man for sleep and personal belongings.

Jimmy said...

Ann definitely nailed the location, here is google street view of the guy's front door

Scott M said...

Not only what Peano said, but on some vessels you have to get over the heebie-jeebies of "hot" bunking.

Ugh. Glad I was a flyboy. We got entire 20x12 dorm rooms with shared showers OR a 15x12 suite in which you shared the bath room with one other attached room. My "suitemate" was a chick, too :)

When my brother, a couple of his army buddies, and a navy guy came to visit one Thanksgiving, you'd have thought I lived in the penthouse in Trump Tower.

MadisonMan said...

I could sleep there, but God help you if it's a cold, rainy day and you're broke and feeling depressed.

There is no color in the place. I just realized that. And the guy is wearing beige for the interview. Beige! The only color is on the bottom of his shoes.


Palladian said...


He's an architect!

John said...

I was not on subs but an ammunition ship. In the main berthing compartment we had about 100 guys.

Racks (bunks) were 3 high. They were end to end (1" separation" and 2 wide (3" separation) with aisles of perhaps 2' in between. Each rack included a 6" deep locker under the mattress.

When I checked aboard, I was given a top rack that had a pipe running across it. It was so low that to roll over, I literally had to climb out and climb back in on my other side.

We had 4 shower stalls for all. At sea, they would be turned on for 15 minutes per day.

You have not experienced fun until you have attempted to take a shower with 50 other guys in 3 stalls.

(Don't drop the soap!)

This was actually fairly luxurious compared to some other ships such as destroyers or especially subs.

John Henry

Palladian said...

"You have not experienced fun until you have attempted to take a shower with 50 other guys in 3 stalls."

No disagreement here!

First the cute gay architect with the tight ... apartment and now 50 wet, naked sailors stuffed in 3 shower stalls... I'm not going to get any work done today...

write_effort said...

I lived in a run down trailer park my last year in college. My trailer was long but only about 8 feet wide. No shower or tub -- there was a public shower. Many of the other residents, some with kids, had less space.

Richard Dolan said...

Palladian: "Minimalism is just an extension of decadence."

LOL. Perfect exemplar of the NY state of mind.

Sigivald said...

I have a 1200 square foot house and I'm 3000 miles away from NYC.

I win.

deborah said...

The adventures of Jimbino...tell us more.

JAL said...

I think this apartment is a tad smaller than Palladian's kitchen?

Joe Schmoe said...

Good for this kid. At least he's walking the walk. Architecture history is littered with socialist nobs like Le Corbusier who were more interested in inflicting their social-engineering-inspired architecture on others.

This actually reminds me of the hotel rooms I've had in NYC. Usually a room big enough for a double bed with about a foot of clearance on 3 sides. Usually a window that looks out onto a brick wall.

NYC is frenetic, not a place where you contemplate life for hours at a time with your thumb up your ass. A tiny place is less of a detriment there as the city accommodates a lot of movement and exploration.

As far as the architecture industry goes, he couldn't be in a better place in the world. Lots of firms there to try and find work. NYC is to architects as DC is to govt workers. He can make a good nut there before marrying and moving to the suburbs to have kids.

Fr Martin Fox said...

Actually, isn't this harking back to something we used to have: Single Room Occupancy hotels, with bathrooms down the hall?

It was a really cheap way to live, and in a lot of cities, you could easily find fun things to do and places to hang out, away from work.

As I recall, SROs went away because of zoning, disapproval, and--I'm guessing--because the sorts of tactics that would be used to control undesirable behavior, and thus keep the environment acceptable, probably ran afoul of latter day regulations.

Methadras said...

Architect boy doesn't get laid very much does he?

Justin said...

Meh, the dorm rooms at my alma mater were 10 x 13, and you shared that with another person.

ken in sc said...

Maybe this is why people are doing it in restaurant washrooms.