How can New York City cram more people into its already overcrowded and overpriced housing market? To go about finding a creative and cheap answer, the city put a piece of public land up for grabs and sponsored a contest called adAPT NYC. The parameters? Build and operate the city’s first micro-unit apartment building in Manhattan.
The winner’s “My Micro NY” design beat out the 32 other submissions by squeezing 55 apartments into the building, each measuring a mere 250 to 370 square feet. The key was to minimize the square footage while maximizing natural light and a feeling of openness. According to the judges, the winning architects achieved this via high ceilings, big windows and multi-functioning spaces. The Juliet balconies didn’t hurt either. To escape the confines of these cube-like rooms, a whopping 18 percent of the building will be designated for shared use—lounges, party rooms, a rooftop garden and a fitness center.
Ratpocolypse, flood of rats, the ra(p)ture…Ever since Hurricane Sandy flooded New York City’s subway systems, reporters have been waxing biblical as they wonder: what happened to all the rodents who once scampered and snacked in New York City’s tunnels? People aren’t sure how many rats there were to begin with—28 to 32 million, perhaps—but though many may have died in the storm, people expected to see swarms of them appearing on the street after the storm, feasting on tasty, soggy storm debris. So far, New Yorkers seem to have been spared that sight.
New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg made news yesterday when he proposed perching windmills on top of the city’s skyscrapers and bridges, and building windfarms off the coasts of Queens and Brooklyn. The move would make the city less dependent on the national energy grid, he said, and would also express the city’s commitment to renewable energy. As Bloomberg put it: “I would think that it would be a thing of beauty if, when Lady Liberty looks out on the horizon, she not only welcomes new immigrants to our shores, but lights their way with a torch powered by an ocean wind farm” [Washington Post].
However, the day after the announcement, experts are expressing numerous doubts over the plan’s feasibility. Skyscrapers would have to be designed — or retrofitted at great cost — to accommodate the extra weight, vibration and swaying of the turbines. Insurers would have to be persuaded that turbines are worth the risk. And New York is not a particularly windy city, so a few buildings facing New York Harbor might be the only sites that make sense [The New York Times]. And while new, smaller, eggbeater-shaped windmills don’t pose the same major construction hurdles, they may not produce enough electricity to make them worth the cost.