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It’s Time for an Attitude Adjustment

Last week was, as Yogi Berra said, “Deja vu all over again.”

After Mayor Bloomberg announced his “micro-unit” apartment contest and TV stations replayed clips from the video of my tiny apartment, the calls and emails started coming. The New York Times, ABC World News with Diane Sawyer, CNN, The Wall Street Journal and others. Then, after an Op/Ed I wrote was published in the New York Daily News on Wednesday, I was contacted by Calcalist Daily, Israel’s business paper, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, and others.

People are still amazed how anyone can live in such a small place. And based on some of the comments to the mayor’s plan, folks are angry about it. There’s vitriol in their words. Such as:

“This man is evil. He is a tiny evil little man with small man’s disease who has nothing to do all day but run your life.”

No one is making anyone live in those 300 square foot studios, so why so much animosity? I think the reason many are angry at this idea is the same reason I had no problem living in 90 square feet. It’s about attitude. However, theirs is completely negative.

I made the choice to live in that tiny apartment because my priority was to experience living in New York City, but I enjoyed it because I had a positive attitude. After ten years commuting in from the Bronx, I was willing to sacrifice space for that experience, because I wanted to walk out my door and be in the middle of everything. It’s what many others want too, and they’re willing to live in 300 square feet to get it.

Everyone who lives in New York City (and maybe anywhere for that matter) makes some kind of sacrifice. Either you hand over the bulk of your paycheck toward rent, your apartment doesn’t get good light, is near a fish market or an elevated train or, as the majority of New Yorkers know, is too small. Whatever the reason, we put up with it because we love this city.

The mayor’s plan is a good one, as long as it’s affordable. Are the apartments smaller than average? Yes, but if you ask me, it’s relative. They’re three times larger than the space I lived in for five years. There will no doubt be a waiting list to get into this building as I still receive emails from folks asking where they too can find an apartment like mine. While the people who end up living in these micro units will not have a lot of stuff, one thing they’ll definitely be sure to have is the right attitude.

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