When you need to be smart about New York, knowing how much a shoebox is worth can be an important part of that smart.
Alex Verhaeg is 23 years old and lives in New York City. He was recently interviewed by CNBC Make It and showed them around his 95-square-foot, $1,100-a-month apartment.
Verhaeg says that the apartment is in the East Village neighborhood of Manhattan and has easy access, even though it doesn’t have a toilet or shower and only has a cooktop instead of a full kitchen. This is because the apartment is in a place that is easy to get to.
“I wanted to move to Manhattan for the convenience,” Verhaeg told CNBC Make It. “I don’t like taking the train a lot. So I’m very happy now that I can walk everywhere, as well as I have a terrible sleep schedule, so it’s nice that stores and restaurants are open 24 hours near me.”
Verhaeg is in his early 20s. Like many people his age, he lives in a big city and works more than one job. He is also licensed to cut hair and works as a content creator in addition to being a bike messenger.
Verhaeg says that moving into his East Village apartment, which he found on Zillow, cost him a total of $2,000. This number may not be correct, though. At that time, his apartment rent was $1,000 per month, which was a big cost for him. He started by paying the $1,000 rent for the first month and the $1,000 security deposit. This was the first payment he got. The rent has gone up by $100 per month since Verhaeg moved into the apartment for the first time. Since then, Verhaeg’s rent has gone up by $200, bringing the total to $1,400 per month.
Verhaeg’s apartment is only big enough for a single twin bed, so the only way he can sleep there without having to sleep on his side is by lying on his back. He also has a small breakfast table that he got for free from the sidewalk in front of a restaurant that was closing down. There is a wardrobe, a TV wall unit, a few plants in pots, and a sink in the corner with a medicine cabinet above it, and a TV wall unit.
“My mother has come to visit me one time, and it was the same reaction she gave me as everybody else does,” he recalled. “First, you’re amazed by how small it is. But once you spend more than 10 minutes here, you realize it’s just like any other place.”
The building has a total of five floors, and each floor has ten apartments, three shared bathrooms, and two shared showers. Only stairs lead up to the building.
“Living in the building can sort of feel like you’re in the college dorms by the fact that you share bathrooms and you share showers,” Verhaeg explained. “Sometimes, you’ll see your neighbors walking around in the hallway in either a towel or a bathrobe but you sort of just get used to it.”
The building also doesn’t have any amenities, like washing machines or dishwashers, so the people who live there can’t use them. Even so, Verhaeg is glad that he doesn’t have to pay the bills for the house’s utilities. The rent doesn’t cover all of the tenant’s utility bills, so he or she is responsible for those. This includes the bill for water, the bill for heat, and the bill for electricity. He says Wi-Fi is the only extra cost he has, and it costs him $50 a month. This is the only money he has to spend.
“The main benefit of living in such a small space is that it makes you appreciate your things and be a minimalist,” he said. “You really can’t just go out and buy random things because you don’t have the space to store them.”
At this point, Verhaeg has lived in the apartment for two years. Even though the apartment is cute and simple, it’s possible that he will only stay there for one more year.
“I’m currently working on my third year, which I think will be my last year living here,” he said. “I’m very excited to see what the next chapter of my life is.”