By Kirsten Dirksen
The average size of the American home is shrinking -- it dropped in both 2008 and 2009 after 15 straight years of growth -- but most of us are still living larger than people in the Big Apple. Home size in Manhattan is about half the national average. One New Yorker has taken her love of frugal living to the extreme. Felice Cohen’s apartment measures just 90 square feet, but she doesn’t see it as a sacrifice. With such a small space, she pays just $700 to live in a part of town where rents average $3,600 per month. Her kitchen consists of a toaster oven, hot pot, and mini fridge, but she claims her backyard is larger than average: “I look out my window, and it’s New York City. I mean, that’s my backyard. Central Park is a block away. I can go into the park. I have Lincoln Center. I have libraries. I have gyms all over the place. Sometimes, I feel like you’re in college, and it’s a huge campus, and you can take advantage of everything you want to take advantage of.” Learn how Felice organizes her 90-square-foot home.
Granted, Cohen had a bit of a panic attack the first night in her apartment when she woke up in the loft bed with the ceiling 23 inches from her face, but she’s grown accustomed to the small space. Now when she goes back to her childhood home, she misses her apartment’s coziness: “I think a lot of people have a lot of space that they’re not using. I grew up in a place where my bedroom was 17 feet by 17 feet with two walk-in closets that combined were almost the size of this apartment ... when I go home now, I go in the closet just to feel like I’m back in New York.” For more about small spaces, take a look at these tiny alternatives from cob houses to wee homes.