martes, 30 de agosto de 2016

Dinner for Six in a Bite-Size Space

What does a night in one of New York's new micro apartments look like?

Self-study activity:
Watch the video and answer the questions below.

1 How big is the apartment?
2 How much does the rent cost?
3 How wide is it?
4 How long is it?
5 What does ‘six’ refer to?
6 What does the desk transform into?
7 How do New Yorkers usually get their food when they entertain friends at home?
8 What used to be the legal minimum size for an apartment in New York?

When The Tiny House Movement comes to New York City, you get this: the micro apartment, full living quarters in a modest 300 square feet. That's me, Penelope.  I'm a reporter for the "Times," and I'm about 5' 8" tall. This micro apartment is located in the Carmel Place development in Manhattan, where 32 market rate studios rent for about $2,400 to $3,200 a month. 
If you think you can make the leap, that is, downsize to 300 square feet, consider this. You'd be occupying a space that's about 1/100 the size of Grand Central Terminal's main concourse and about the size of this bathroom in the Elizabeth Taylor suite at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel. At its widest, it measures about half the width of your typical New York commuting platform, and at its longest, about a third of the length of this Metro North car. It's just smaller than the inside of the Metropolitan Museum's Temple of Dendur, which, by the way, has three bedrooms.
But then again, we New Yorkers have evolved to appreciate small spaces.  We dine in them regularly.  I can walk from one end of this apartment to the other in 6 seconds.  But the space, designed by the architecture firm N Architects, is surprisingly functional, with lots of closets and nooks to hide any mess.
The kitchen is outfitted with a refrigerator, electric stove tops, a microwave, and even a dishwasher.  Most of the furniture is multi-purpose and made to conveniently stow away when not in use. Take this desk.  In a couple of minutes, it'll transform into a fully extended dining table.  While the bathroom has a shower stall instead of a bath tub, it manages to feel… well, at least by our studio apartment standards -almost castle-sized.
But there are a compromises like the Murphy bed. If not raised into the wall, you'd find it taking up most of your living space all together. Putting it out of the way every day would get you your daily upper body workout. So it's a space purpose-built for one.
But what if you're the type who likes to entertain? Well, first of all, if you're like many New Yorkers, you'd probably skip cooking and order in. Having six at the dinner table is pushing it, but not if you're close friends.  It'll be cozy, and seating arrangements are tricky, and so is stepping over each other to use the facilities. You've probably seen wide angle shots like this used in apartment advertisements to make things look roomier than they are in real life.
So to put this shot into perspective, that's our video producer in the foreground, and she's standing just about here, close to the farthest end of the apartment opposite where we're hanging out.  New York City waived regulations requiring that apartments be at least 400 square feet so that the Carmel Place development could be built. 
Still, it's yet to be seen whether or not this style of living will catch on.  The apartments are about half the size of an average studio in Manhattan and cost considerably more in rent per square foot.  But it's a new, modern, and legal nook all of your own, without roommates, and perhaps with all the space one person might need as a haven from the city.
This is Penelope Green for the New York Times.

1 300 square feet
2 between $2,400 and $3,200
3 half the width of a platform
4 a third of a (train) car
5 the time the reporter takes to walk the apartment from one end to the other.
6 a dining table
7 they order it
8 400 square feet