Woman Lives in 90-Square-Foot New York Apartment

small new york apartmentWatch your knees in the bathroom ... careful you don't knock down those towering shelves ... and don't bang your head on the ceiling in the loft! Those are words to live by for New Yorker Felice Cohen, who lives in a 90-square-foot apartment. (That's her in her loft bed at left.)

That's right, it's just 12 feet long by 7 feet wide. But she's happy with this small apartment for two reasons: location and price.

It's in the heart of the desirable Upper West side, and she pays just $700 a month.
"I don't think in terms of what I'm living without, but what I'm gaining," says Cohen. "Sure, I don't have a large refrigerator or an extra room, but when it comes down to it, I live in New York City, steps from Central Park, Lincoln Center, numerous restaurants, theater and wonderful museums."

Luckily, Cohen also happens to be a professional organizer, so she put her skills to work with floor-to-ceiling shelving, labeled bins and a wardrobe scaled down to fit into one closet.

She says small apartments have their benefits. "I know where everything is. I don't have a lot to clean. It also keeps you from buying or collecting a lot of stuff; stuff you don't need."
The small apartment--or micro-studio--doesn't even have a kitchen. Instead, Cohen makes do with a mini fridge, toaster and hot pot. Since there's no cabinet space she stores bananas in the toaster. She eats out often and otherwise has adjusted her diet; she picks up prepared foods from supermarkets, eats fruit or makes salads.

The downside of the small space: "I don't get to entertain and cook as much as I would like," says Cohen, "but I have an uncle who lives in the Bronx who lets me have dinner parties there."

Since the one-room apartment has no bedroom, she created a loft for her bed that allows for just 23 inches of headroom, just enough to read in bed. Cohen doesn't do much lounging in her apartment, although she says she's had as many as nine people over at one time. ("It wasn't a long visit.") She owns no sofa, instead has one upholstered chaise by the window for reading, plus her desk chair and two folding chairs. She spends the majority of her time in the apartment working at her desk or reading in bed.

When she needs to stretch out, Cohen practices yoga in the floorspace beside her desk, watching out for the shelving, of course. And on weekends she takes extended bike rides to stretch her legs. (She keeps the bike at her uncle's house.)

Cohen has no complaints. The apartment allows her to vacation and do other things she might not be able to afford if she lived in a bigger apartment. And she has no plans to move: She's been there three years and counting.

Carrie Culpepper blogs about design at CultureFix.wordpress.com.

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another reason NOT to live in NYC, as if anyone needed another reason. Z. maybe she is counting the space where she put her cot as the rest of the sq. footage.

April 30 2011 at 10:42 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

My husband and myself own a cabin that we live in full-time t is 12 ft X 32 ft which includes the porch. We don't need or want anything bigger. It is the perfect size for us. It people would build and buy with in their means and not keep up with the Jones we would not of had the housing problems here in the US.

April 29 2011 at 7:36 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

What an absolute waste of Internet space...

April 29 2011 at 9:32 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Sorry but this is NOT the smallest space in Manhattan. I have a friend who lived in less space than this on 53rd and Broadway.

April 13 2011 at 8:42 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply


April 13 2011 at 4:59 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

you will live withen your means. weather you are welthy are poor, thx HOGHAIR

April 12 2011 at 9:31 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

She needs to move to Tx! Three years ago I moved to Tx from NV. For $71,000, I bought a 1639 sf home and am paying only $725 a month!!! and it has a 2 car garage, lg yard surrounded by huge trees!!!
Texas Rocks!!!

April 12 2011 at 6:26 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Somebody should tell them that 12 x 7 is 84 square feet.

April 12 2011 at 3:46 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

IF she can take it, GREAT! Too small for me! AND, just a question- People who put up with all the negatives associated with living in a large city, like NYC, ALWAYS cite the pluses like the museums, ballet, theater, etc. NOT against those pluses- Just does she ever make it to any of these famous PLACES?

April 09 2011 at 8:29 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

I admire this woman who is doing what she loves for a job, enjoying the city (if you like big cities), keeping fit and just living the New York lifestyle. Its not for me but it just brings to mind how people are often most happy when things are simple and less complicated. My affluent friends have learned from day one, it easier to manage homes, finances and life's issues when you keep it simple

April 08 2011 at 9:14 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply