- Last Updated: 4:52 AM, July 16, 2012
- Posted: 1:29 AM, July 16, 2012
Mayor Bloomberg has to be messing with our heads.
Our Nanny in Chief is telling us not just to reduce what we eat and drink, but also how big we live. The mayor wants to cram people, like air-breathing sardines, into apartments barely fit to store a pair of shoes.
Like a mad scientist experimenting with human flesh, Bloomberg is pushing a change in zoning laws that now require flats to measure a minuscule 400 square feet. He wants to wedge young and childless singles and couples (who’ve hopefully slimmed down by avoiding Big Gulps) into microscopic flats measuring just 275 to 300 square feet.
That’s about the size of a large walk-in closet, a medium-sized animal cage or the vestibule of an ATM.
It’s also not much more spacious than a prison cell, where couples will end up after cabin fever makes them kill one other. Then again, that would solve the city’s housing shortage nicely.
Bloomberg unveiled plans for teeny-weeny Manhattan “micro-units” last week to great fanfare before heading back home to his lavish townhouse. He plans to put some 60 pint-sized apartments in a city-owned building before taking the movement viral.
But, at perhaps as much as $2,000 a month for a modified hat box, renters should be required to undergo psychological examinations before moving in.
While touting expensive torture as the solution to homelessness, the mayor failed to address the elephant stuffed into the room. The answer to more and cheaper housing isn’t micro-units. It’s ending rent regulation.
Rent controls artificially lower the price of more than a million Manhattan apartments, while boosting rents in all other available spaces to make up for the shortfall. Landlords have to make a living, too.
But who gets a regulated flat is not determined by need. So when a couple I know tried to find a cut-rate Manhattan apartment, they were laughed out of the city. Like A-list parties, only the connected get in.
New Yorkers’ interest in scarce housing borders on obsession. We read about it. Talk about it. I’ve run into Americans in Cairo and, within minutes, we’re talking bedrooms, baths and closet space. Our preoccupation with real estate is the new porn.
Yet the micro-unit folly won’t help people such as Ann, who badly wants a piece. She’s 26, college educated, employed — and sleeps on a Queens couch in a house owned by Mommy and Daddy. They’re a nice, older couple who are quickly driving Ann to drink.
Ann lives like a loser — try dating with Mom rapping her nails on the living-room door — because she can’t find an affordable apartment.