Sometimes, having New York savvy means knowing the worth of a shoebox.
In a recent interview with CNBC Make It, 23-year-old Alex Verhaeg gave a tour of his 95-square-foot New York apartment, for which he paid $1,100 a month.
The apartment, which has no in-unit toilet or shower and has a cooktop in place of a full kitchen, is located in Manhattan’s East Village neighborhood and has the benefit of access, according to Verhaeg.
“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.”
Like many early 20-somethings living in big cities, Verhaeg is a job juggler. He works as a bike messenger, licensed barber and content creator.
According to Verhaeg, the upfront cost for moving into his East Village apartment, which he found on Zillow, was a total of $2,000. At the time, his apartment was $1,000 per month. He put down a $1,000 security deposit and paid $1,000 for the first month’s rent. Since his initial move into the apartment, Verhaeg’s monthly rent has increased by an additional $100.
Verhaeg’s apartment is big enough for a single twin bed, which he sleeps on diagonally to fit. He also has a small breakfast table, which he retrieved for free outside the curb of a restaurant going out of business. There’s a television wall unit, a few plants, a sink in the corner with a medicine cabinet overhead, and a closet.
“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 five-story walk-up has 10 apartments on each floor, three shared bathrooms, and two shared showers.
“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.”
There are also no amenities in the building, which means no dishwashers or laundry units. Still, Verhaeg enjoys the perk of not having to worry about utility payments. Things like water bills, heating and electricity are all included in his rent. The only additional expense he has is Wi-Fi, which costs him $50 a month.
“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.”
For all its humble coziness, the apartment in which Verhaeg has lived for two years might only get one more year out of him.
“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.”
This article was originally published on TODAY.com