The Smallest Apartment in NYC is 55 sq ft and Costs $1,400 a Month!

The smallest apartment in New York City, located on St. Mark’s Place in the Lower East Side, serves as a hallmark of urban micro-living. Measuring a mere 55 square feet (5.1 square meters), this micro-studio apartment resides in a bustling Manhattan neighborhood. Apartments in this area, including the smallest ones, range from 165 square feet (15 square meters) to smaller dimensions. These living spaces, often repurposed from former office or storage areas, offer an affordable alternative in Manhattan’s real estate market. Renters typically pay between $1000 and $1500 (€944 to €1416, £800 to £1200) monthly for just 653.4 square feet (60.703 square meters) of space, emphasizing the premium on location over the living area. The architectural and design aspects of these apartments highlight space efficiency challenges in urban settings. The interiors often lack separate bedrooms, with the entire area serving as a multi-functional space for living, sleeping, and cooking. Bathrooms are minimalistic, providing just enough room for necessities. These apartments utilize wood and metal for space-saving and functional purposes, focusing on durability and efficient use of space. Materials are chosen for their ability to withstand the demands of compact living. The kitchen and bathroom designs showcase the ingenuity required in confined spaces. Kitchens feature multifunctional appliances and space-saving features such as fold-down tables and wall-mounted storage. The market demand for such apartments in New York City remains strong, catering to a demographic of younger, single professionals who prioritize location and affordability over space. This trend reflects a broader shift in urban preferences, where convenience and accessibility outweigh the desire for larger living spaces.

Where is the smallest apartment in New York City located?

The smallest apartment in New York City is located at St. Mark’s Place on the Lower East Side. The apartment is in a six-story building near the intersection of St. Mark’s Place and 3rd Avenue. The closest subway stations are Astor Place (6 train) and 8th Street-NYU (N/R trains), 0.5 miles (0.8 km) away. The GPS coordinates of this intersection are 40.728861 and -73.989538. It measures only 55 square feet (5.1 square meters) and rents for $1400 (€1327, £1130) monthly as of September 2023. The micro-studio apartment features a microwave, sink, vanity, mini fridge, and a sleeping loft. It does not have a private bathroom – the toilet is shared with other tenants in the building. 

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What is the size of the smallest apartment in New York City?

St. Mark’s Place can be as small as 165 square feet (15 square meters). A tiny room measuring 12 feet by 14 feet (3.7 meters by 4.3 meters)—the size of a medium-sized bedroom in a regular apartment. At this compact size, fitting even the basics like a bed, mini kitchen, and tiny bathroom requires smart space planning. The tiny apartments rent for around $1400 (€1327, £1130) per month, which is affordable for Manhattan. The trade-off is that residents get only 645 square feet (60 square meters) of living space. Every inch must be used efficiently when the entire home is smaller than many people’s walk-in closets or master bathrooms.

What is the price of the smallest apartment in New York City?

The tiniest micro-apartments on St. Mark’s Place often rent for $1000 to $1500 (€944 to €1416, £800 to £1200) per month. This apartment is mainly converted from former office spaces or storage areas rather than initially built as apartments. The tiny dimensions mean residents get just 653 square feet (60 square meters) of living space for their money. The $1000 to $1500 (€944 to €1416, £800 to £1200) monthly cost makes them relatively affordable compared to regular apartments in one of the most popular downtown Manhattan neighborhoods.  The micro-apartments offer cheap rents in the heart of the action on St. Mark’s Place.

How many bedrooms are there in the smallest apartment in New York City?

The tiny micro-apartments on St. Mark’s Place are open studios with no separate rooms, with just a single bed, a tiny kitchenette, and a petite bathroom squeezed in. There is no space for a separate bedroom in these minuscule converted living spaces. The apartment is an all-in-one living, sleeping, cooking, and storage area. Murphy beds, loft beds, hideaway desks, and modular furniture help maximize horizontal and vertical space to carve out different functions. There is no room for walled rooms or divisions in these petite pads. The 653 square feet (60 square meters) micro-apartments are smaller than many people’s walk-in closets or en-suite bathrooms. There simply is not enough square footage to include any separate bedrooms.

How many bathrooms are there in the smallest apartment in New York City?

The micro-apartments on St. Mark’s Place can accommodate only one small bathroom. These compact converted living spaces leave little room for more than the bare necessities. There is no space for large bathroom vanities or linen closets. Some units rely on a partial wall or curtain to delineate the petite bathroom area from the rest of the studio living quarters. There is no possibility to incorporate more than one tiny utilitarian bathroom in these efficient Lower East Side micro-apartments. With the cramped quarters and singular bathrooms, the tiny apartments continue to attract renters looking for affordable apartments in one of downtown Manhattan’s most popular neighborhoods. 

Who is the current owner of the smallest apartment in New York City?

The tiny micro-apartments on St. Mark’s Place are carved out of former commercial spaces like office units or storage areas rather than originally built as residential apartments. This means that the owners may be investment groups or developers that purchased the buildings for adaptive reuse rather than individual condo owners. Property records indicate that several buildings along St. Mark’s Place were recently sold to limited liability companies backed by real estate investors looking to capitalize on the demand for affordable housing in desirable downtown locations. The owners are business-minded landlords rather than resident owners. Without access to the deeds on specific micro-apartment units, it is difficult to name the owners of the smallest spaces on St. Mark’s Place. 

Who designed the smallest apartment in New York City?

St. Mark’s Place is a former commercial space rather than a custom-built residential unit, so no specific designers exist. Their origins as office spaces, storage rooms, or other utilities mean their layouts are more utilitarian than purposefully designed. Some micro-apartment developments, like those from startups including Urban Space and nArchitects, employ architects specialized in space-efficient modular designs to maximize livability. The majority of tiny apartments are done via individual DIY conversions of existing buildings, there likely isn’t an architect on record. Each landlord’s floor plans focused on optimizing the limited square footage more so than aesthetics. The priority is packing basic living necessities like a single bed, mini kitchen, and tiny bathroom.

Who built the smallest apartment in New York City?

The builders behind St. Mark’s Place did larger-scale renovations and adaptive reuse projects to transform old buildings. Developers like Zella Group or Fales Building LLC are carving out tiny apartments under 200 square feet (18.5 square meters) in desirable downtown city locations. Contemporary builders retrofitted century-old buildings rather than built new ones. The original builders behind New York’s structures often require digging into obscured records. The names of the masons and carpenters from a century past are unknown but today’s real estate developers willing to capitalize on the demand for pint-sized urban housing deserve credit for constructing liveable spaces.

What architectural style is the smallest apartment in New York City built with?

The apartment in St. Mark’s Place spans different eras and areas, making it difficult to pinpoint one architectural style. Many of the city’s tiniest homes are carved out of century-old buildings originally constructed in popular styles like Beaux Arts, Neoclassical, Italianate, and Art Deco. Landlords transform unused spaces in these ornate structures into contemporary living areas through renovations. Prioritizing function over form, these layouts often incorporate space-saving furniture and modular design elements but likely don’t adhere to a specific architectural style. Some purpose-built micro-apartment developments feature trendy industrial chic aesthetics with exposed pipes, brickwork, and modern accents. Ad hoc conversions in historic buildings take on the stylings of their origins, new boutique projects may design tiny spaces featuring sleek, contemporary aesthetics. Across adapted and ground-up builds, the consistent focus for New York’s micro-housing is on efficient use of space rather than architectural styling. 

What materials are preferred for small-scale apartments in New York City and why?

The materials for small-scale apartments in New York City are wood and metal. Stud walls with drywall surfacing allow thinner, space-saving dividers between rooms than masonry. Stackable modular wood and metal furnishings stow away easily. Concrete floors are left exposed or with basic coatings to conserve space that would be taken up by carpeting or wood floors with padding. Compact tiling with grout rather than whole tiles facilitates cleaning in tight bathrooms. Sturdy metals like stainless steel optimize durability and moisture resistance for kitchen cabinetry and appliances while occupying minimal visual space. Technology like Murphy beds, units with built-in storage, and other convertible furniture allow the use of every inch for multiple functions. 

What furniture solutions are used to maximize space?

Listed below are the furniture solutions used to maximize space:

  • Murphy Bed: This space-saving furniture piece, a Murphy bed, maximizes small apartment living. It folds into the wall when unused, freeing up valuable floor space. Often featuring built-in storage like shelves or drawers, it also doubles as an attractive wall unit.
  • Extendable Dining Table: An extendable dining table is vital in the smallest apartments. It compactly folds down for daily use and expands to accommodate guests. This versatile piece often comes with built-in storage for added convenience.
  • Convertible Sofa: The convertible sofa stands out in tiny living spaces. It transitions from a sofa to a bed, providing a dual-purpose solution without occupying extra room. Modern designs incorporate storage underneath, offering a way to reduce clutter.
  • Wall-Mounted Desk: A wall-mounted desk is a crucial element in utilizing minimal space. It folds up against the wall when not in use, creating an open area. Some designs include additional shelving, making it a multifunctional piece that supports both work and storage needs.
  • Corner Shelves: Corner shelves offer an ingenious solution in the smallest apartments. They utilize often-overlooked corner spaces, providing extra storage without encroaching on the living area. Their design varies from floating shelves to tiered units, adapting to different décor styles.
  • Hanging Pot Racks: Hanging pot racks are essential for maximizing kitchen space. Mounted above an island or counter, they keep pots and pans within easy reach while freeing up cabinet space. This solution adds a stylish, functional element to small kitchen areas.
  • Stackable Chairs: Stackable chairs are a practical choice in space-limited apartments. They offer additional seating when needed and stack neatly when not in use, occupying minimal space. Available in various designs, they can easily blend with the apartment’s aesthetic.
  • Under-Bed Storage: Under-bed storage utilizes the often-unused space beneath the bed for the smallest apartment. Drawers or rolling boxes provide convenient, hidden storage for clothes, shoes, or linens, helping to declutter the living space. This solution is effective in studio apartments.
  • Folding Kitchen Island: A folding kitchen island is a versatile piece in a tiny apartment. It extends counter space when extended and folds away for more room. Often equipped with wheels for mobility, it is a functional addition for small-scale cooking and dining.
  • Drop-Leaf Table: The drop-leaf table is a classic space-saving furniture item. Its sides fold, allowing it to fit snugly against a wall or in a small nook. When extended, it provides ample dining or working space, making it ideal for fluctuating needs in confined spaces.

How is the kitchen area designed to be functional in such a restricted space? 

The kitchen area can be designed to be functional for several reasons. Firstly, the kitchen makes use of vertical space as much as possible. It likely has a wall-mounted fold-down table that can act as extra counter space when needed, then folds flush against the wall when unused. A microwave may also be mounted high up, leaving the limited counter space free. Secondly, the kitchen maximizes storage density. Drawers and cabinets extend to the ceiling, with specialized inserts, dividers, and organizers inside to neatly store cooking equipment. The doors may have storage racks or mesh pouches to take advantage of vertical space. Stackable, nesting cookware helps fit more into less footprint. Lastly, the kitchen prioritizes multifunctional and compact appliances. There is probably a combination microwave-convection oven rather than a full stove and oven. Appliances like an Instant Pot or air fryer save space while offering multiple cooking functions. The under-counter refrigerator is likely a small, apartment-sized model. A shallow sink allows more room for food prep.

What designs are used for the bathroom in a minimal space setting?

Several designs are used for the bathroom in a minimal space setting. Firstly, the kitchen area often utilizes compact and multifunctional appliances to save space. A two-burner cooktop might be installed instead of a full-size stove, or a convection microwave could be used to perform the duties of both a microwave and an oven. Secondly, vertical space is maximized through wall-mounted shelves and racks, which can store utensils, spices, and other kitchen essentials without taking up valuable counter space. Thirdly, foldable or retractable features are incorporated, such as a drop-down table or a fold-out counter, which can be used when needed and tucked away to free up space at other times. Fourthly, storage solutions are considered to make the most of every inch. This might include using risers in cabinets to create additional storage levels or adding organizers inside drawers to keep tools and utensils neatly arranged and accessible. Lastly, the design often includes innovative space-saving techniques such as under-counter appliances, magnetic strips for knives, and hanging pots and pans to keep the counters clear.

What are the main architectural challenges in designing such a small living space?

Listed below are the main architectural challenges in designing such a small living space:

  • Efficient Use of Space: The primary architectural challenge in small living spaces is the efficient use of space. Designers must ensure every area serves multiple purposes without overcrowding. Ingenious solutions like foldable furniture or convertible spaces are often employed to address this issue.
  • Natural Light Optimization: Ensuring adequate natural light in tiny apartments is a major challenge. Limited window space can result in dark interiors. Architects often use skylights, strategically placed mirrors, and translucent materials to enhance light penetration and distribution.
  • Adequate Ventilation: The small living spaces, providing adequate ventilation is crucial yet challenging. Limited exterior walls reduce opportunities for windows, which are essential for air circulation. Innovative ventilation systems and creative window placements are often necessary to maintain air quality.
  • Storage Solutions: Creating sufficient storage space without consuming valuable living areas is a significant challenge. Architects must design clever built-in storage solutions, such as under-floor compartments or multi-functional furniture, to maximize space efficiency.
  • Sound Insulation: Sound insulation becomes a critical issue in compact living spaces. Ensuring privacy and quiet in densely populated areas requires innovative materials and construction techniques to prevent noise from traveling through thin walls and floors.
  • Plumbing and Electrical Systems: Integrating plumbing and electrical systems in small spaces is complex. Architects must design these systems to be efficient, safe, and unobtrusive, often leading to custom solutions that fit tiny apartments’ unique dimensions and requirements.
  • Building Code Compliance: Complying with building codes and regulations in small living spaces is challenging. These spaces must meet standards for safety, accessibility, and livability, which can be difficult in a reduced footprint. Creative design solutions are often required to meet these regulations.
  • Aesthetic Appeal: Maintaining aesthetic appeal while addressing functionality in small spaces is challenging. Architects must balance practicality with design to create spaces that are not only efficient but also visually appealing and comfortable.
  • Thermal Comfort: Achieving thermal comfort in tiny living spaces is a complex challenge. With the limited space for insulation and HVAC systems, architects must find innovative ways to maintain comfortable temperatures year-round.
  • Flexibility for Future Changes: Designing small living spaces with the flexibility for future changes presents a challenge. As needs evolve, these spaces must be able to adapt without extensive renovations. Architects often incorporate modular or adjustable elements to address this need.

Is New York City’s smallest apartment part of a condominium complex?

No, the smallest apartment in New York City is not a part of a condominium complex. The building is a traditional rental property, with various apartments available for lease. It is common for buildings to contain a mix of rental and owned units, including co-ops and condos. The building’s status could change over time, as properties in New York City are frequently bought, sold, and redeveloped.

What is the market demand for such small apartments in New York City?

The market demand for small, micro-apartments in New York City is growing. There were over 5,100 studio and one-bedroom rental units in Manhattan in 2021.  Occupancy rates remain tight in this apartment segment, averaging around 95% leased across the borough. Developers have responded to the demand. The demographics occupying these micro-apartments are predominantly younger, single professionals in their 20s and 30s. A 2021 survey showed 67% were single residents without children, 83% were employed full-time, and 68% had an annual income of $60000 to $99000 (€56640 to €93606, £48000 to £79200). They were willing to compromise on living space to get an affordable foothold in one of the costliest housing markets in the world.

Photo and Video Courtesy of Erik Van Conover

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