Tale of two cities

Rather a different scale

New York City and Birmingham do not, for many if not most people, share much in common. One is bursting at the seams with new arrivals and fantastic mass transit; the other struggles with slow growth and not much transit at all. But these two cities happen to be your author’s favorites in the US–and a new opportunity has arisen to take advantage of both (a little corner of a new residential development, above at 54th Street and 10th Avenue on Manhattan‘s west side, will be the new pied-a-terre). We will be looking for ways to enjoin projects and resources in the Big Apple with those we continue to work on in the ‘Ham. We will also be racking up some frequent flyer miles.

It can all fit, I promise

In the meantime, the hunt for apartments in that famously space-poor city makes the recent New York Times article about micro-units all the more relevant. The image above illustrates that City’s effort to revise the local building code–which currently stipulates a minimum of 450 SF for a studio–to allow micro-units of less than 300 SF (full disclosure: your author lived in a 3rd floor walk-up apartment in the East Village which measured a whopping 340 SF). A competition is now underway for designers to produce creative visions for a model micro-unit apartment building, which could then set the stage for more plentiful (and hopefully more affordable) housing in New York.

So, stay tuned for more regarding the new Birmingham-New York City axis. It’s bound to be exciting.

[images courtesy The New York Times]

12 responses to “Tale of two cities

  1. Michael Calvert

    If people can be happy in very tight quarters on boats with fold-down tables and beds, why not live in significantly larger spaces in a city? You can escape to the deck on a boat, but a choice of parks and cafes in the city might be even better.

    • This is precisely the philosophy of the building whose 474 SF studio we are renting–there are 90,000 SF of “amenities” for common use of the tenants (lounges, gym, pool, etc.)–not to mention the endless amenities out the front door like parks and restaurants. It’s an inverse of how many Americans have come to live, and quite appealing to us. Thanks.

  2. Congratulations. Remember seeing that building with its remarkable profile. And with the Mercedes showroom on the ground floor, you can go in and pat an M-Class and feel connected.

  3. so jealous…that building off to the right in the picture is where we used to live! Your place is in a fantastic neighborhood…go to the thailand restaurant on 10th avenue just north of 55th. Best pad thai ever…

  4. Good luck with your new ventures. I hope you can stay as much of an asset to the community at large here as you have become.

  5. When space planning, I always reference Japanese and European micro space planning. They do fantastic planning with very little space, and make storage units/multi purpose untis out of everything.

    Good luck!

    • You are so right–while here in America we always expand or move, rather than “right designing” a smaller space. Which has led to sprawl, waste of resources, loss of community, etc. etc. Thanks.

  6. a 2BR in West New York NJ costs half as much as a 2 BR on 11th Avenue. Why? Clue: land use planning

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