In one Manhattan building, New Yorkers are trying to live large in apartments that are among the smallest in the city. Borough reporter Michael Scotto has the story.
When Dario Luciano first opened this door, he said the feeling was amazing.
"It felt phenomenal," Luciano said.
Phenomenal because until earlier this year, Luciano was living in a Bronx shelter for veterans.
Now home is Carmel Place, the city's first micro-apartment house, which officially opened last week.
The apartments range from 260 to 360 square feet. Some come with furniture, like pull-down beds, to conserve space.
"This becomes my bedroom," Luciano said.
These teeny tiny apartments are barely half the size of an average Manhattan studio.
But for Luciano, who is single, it's just the right size.
"It's perfect for one person," he said. "It's completely perfect. I mean, I know where everything is and know that nothing is out of place, and I can walk around freely.
Carrmel Place is on — appropriately— a tiny side street in the East 20s.
There are 55 micro apartments. Thirty-two are market rate renting for the not-so-small price of $2,500 to $3,200 per month.
The rest are set aside for low- and middle-income New Yorkers and for formerly homeless veterans, like Luciano, who pays $537 a month.
An aspiring fashion designer, he was in the Navy for 14 years before ending up without a place to live.
The building was conceived during the Bloomberg Administration to ease the housing crunch and accommodate the large number of people living alone. The building needed a waiver of zoning rules prohibiting new units smaller than 400 square feet.
The de blasio administration has eased those rules to allow for more micro-apartments, but other zoning restrictions still in place prohibit the construction of an entire building of them, which is why Carmel Place, for now, remains just an experiment.
But the demand for micro-living is huge. There is a wait list of more than 60,000 people for the affordable apartments.