This isn’t exactly New York City

When my dear wife Karen and I were walking up from our favorite reasonable-rate parking lot down the big hill Saturday on our way to see the Syracuse Orange battle No. 1 Clemson in football in the Carrier Dome, I noticed another newly refurbished building finished about two-thirds of the way along our journey.

Say it ain't so.

Say it ain’t so.

It’s really big sign seeking residents caught my eye.

Skyler Commons obviously is pushing “Luxury Studios.”

That’s an oxymoron in my book.

I’ve never lived in a studio apartment, full confession. When I was a student at the University of Maryland, friends and I shared a two-bedroom apartment in a complex a few miles from the campus in College Park. It started with two friends, and ended up with three to get that monthly rent down even more. After living two-to-a-bedrooom and dozens to a big “floor bathroom” in a dorm, four to one toilet and shower still seemed like a luxury. And we had a kitchen. When I moved up to Syracuse from a four-bedroom house three friends and I rented in Greenbelt, Md., I rented a one-bedroom apartment for myself. Luxury, I felt, with my bathroom and kitchen.

I have seen a studio apartment visiting friends in New York City. It was small. It had one small nook, and half a cranny.

OK, maybe this building will have a big nook and a cranny and a half. I’m open for reports.

Have you ever lived in a studio apartment, and if so, did you enjoy it? What was the tightest living quarters you’ve experienced? What was the largest living quarters you’ve experienced?

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72 thoughts on “This isn’t exactly New York City

  1. my first apartment was a studio, on the western hill of Camillus, a converted hotel call Southview Manor, I liked the location, it was fine for what it was, cooking on a hot plate, dorm fridge, easy to clean, low rent, could not imagine calling it luxury. I think a studio would be fine for a single person who spends most their time elsewhere

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  2. Like you, I’ve never lived in a studio. My first place was a 3 bedroom townhouse with Tori, and then after she moved out, I had three more roommates. Eventually, I moved into a 400 sq ft apartment all by myself and I really liked it. No sharing the bath, lil galley kitchen, built-ins — quite nice. The largest living space I’ve had was out last home, which was 2200 (great for four kids) but we were totally ready to downsize here.
    We have some awesome studios and lofts here in Indy, no doubt, but like you I wonder who would want to live in these studio apartments you’ve photographed. Students seem ideal, until you consider the word ‘luxury.’ Maybe couples? I dunno. Maybe there are a lot of young professionals there? If real estate is high, this might make a good option? It’ll be interesting to see how they do.

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    • Students with parents that have a lot of cash is my guess now, Joey. Young professionals doing well might prefer a location in the now-growing downtown area a couple of miles down the hill. It’s a new age, I must keep telling myself, I guess.

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  3. I think the smallest place I ever lived in was my little townhouse in Tachikawa, Japan. I think it was about 900 square feet (and that was considered spacious). Utilities were so expensive over there I would sit in my kitchen during the summer and watch the sweat form into beads on my arms and in the winter the house became so cold, the water in the down stairs toilet would form ice crystals. I don’t think I could tolerate living in an apartment, I need to have direct access to the outside, a garden of some sort to sit in.

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    • That’s bad, not being able to afford AC and heat, SD. And, hey, 900 SF isn’t so bad. The Little Bitty is smaller than that, and MDW Karen and I picked it ouit on purpose. That’s not counting the screened-in porch, though, and of course our lovely little yard had all that potential, too. πŸ™‚

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      • See a yard makes all the difference in the world. I don’t think I would make it if I didn’t have a garden. They did have a cool toilet in the downstairs. It had a little sink with a faucet in it, so when you flushed the toilet, fresh water came out of the tap as well. They even sold special things to put in the little sink at the department store down the street. I had little penguins sitting on ice cubes in my little toilet top sink. I miss those little penguins.

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  4. My youngest daughter rents a studio apartment over a garage. Hers is a large studio – she has one 12 x 16 bedroom/living room, but she does have a separate alley kitchen and a separate bath. It’s fine for one person, provided that person isn’t a pack rat. I don’t know how my kid walks around in there, but it’s cheap and she’s saving up to buy a house. Can’t wait to see how quickly she’ll fill up an entire house! πŸ™‚

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  5. I lived in a few, but we call them “efficiency” apartments down here. I remember one of them being 380 sq ft. I’d come in from waiting tables, open the door–bed to the left, TV to the right, kitchen in front, and a bathroom. Not much, but with a nice pool to sunbathe in all day, it was fine for a college kid. When you’re young, all you need is a place to lay your head.

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  6. In College the first year was dorm room (myself) small, my closet at home was bigger. That lasted one year (Freshman) my parents and I found a nice one bedroom apartment not too far from campus and I had my car!Growing up with brother’s I was always separate in my own bedroom and bathroom! Today I look at my five in a 6,000 sq.ft. home and think you have all the space you could possibly need! Yes, lucky indeed. Never lived in another apartment after college! LOL The Gatorette.

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  7. The first apartment I lived in was in NYC and I lived in a studio apartment with my sister. It was kind of divided because when you entered there was one ‘room’ and then a little kitchen hallway, and then another ‘room’ in the back. No doors but you couldn’t really see into one ‘room’ when you were in the other one. The place was rat infested though, and the heat would go off so it wasn’t great mostly for those reasons. Thankfully, we didn’t stay there for long.

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  8. I’m not sure what a nook or cranny is, but can say that I do not like apartment living one little bit. One, two or no bedrooms I don’t care, I like to have a yard to look at!

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  9. My friend had a “luxury” studio in New York City, in Battery Park City, by Wall Street. They called it a “River View” unit, and in fact, if you opened the kitchen window, sat in the sill and leaned all the way out, you could catch a glimpse of the river through the trees. It had one main room open to the kitchen, a small bathroom and a Murphy bed. This was back around 2006 or so? and I think she paid $2500 or more a month.

    It had a nice little park and access to the Esplanade, but still. Wow.

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  10. I grew up in a 4 story house. It ‘sounds’ large, but it held 10 people so it never seemed large enough. πŸ˜‰ At one point we had a ranch with a full basement that had PLENTY of space, we moved to where we are now with half the space. But Ive been happy in all of my spaces, large or small MBM.

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  11. I’m presently living in the smallest place ever for me bro Mark. The largest has to be the old farm house, with the 2 storeys, and basement. Eight rooms, but we actually closed most of them off, living in the five downstairs rooms, all huge old-style rooms built 150 years before we moved in. Not sure it is still standing, but it was cold, drafty, and we could always tell which way the wind was blowing by which curtains were blowing. I loved almost every minute, or maybe I’m just remembering dreams of how it could have looked if we had renovated it. And I can’t believe I just said that “r” word after what I’m going thru in this building this year.

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  12. One of my homes as a teenager was a good size, then my last one (married with 6 kids between us) we built from the ground up. Not expensive but the arched doorways and great room were really nice, we finished the basement into three rooms. One we used daily as our living/family room, Mark. As you know I live in a dorm like situation but my money doesn’t go into a house or my apt but into activities and fun! πŸ™‚

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  13. The largest place I lived was our last home in Florida that we sold and moved to NC; (3000 sq. ft.). I loved our home. We lived there for more than twenty-five years and remodeled it the way we wanted including the pool and screened enclosure. But it was when our kids were small and we needed lots of room . We’ve downsized now to a much smaller place in the Smoky Mountains; the smallest I’ve lived in at (1400 sq. ft.). But I love this place as well. Perhaps the location more than the home. My daughter dreamed of living in a studio apartment in New York City while pursuing her writing career. She watched movies like “Someone Like You” & said that would be her life. Then I let her talk to her Uncle Rudy who lives in the City. He told her how much apt’s like that cost & reality took a big bite outta that dream. lol πŸ˜‰ great post Mark!!

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  14. I’m with you…. I’ve only seen tiny studios, and they suck! I think the best use of space was one I knew in Hell’s Kitchen where the bed was on a loft over the living room area, the book shelves were up a ladder over the window, and the kitchen sink and counter folded up for access to the bath tub and shower!

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  15. Helloooooooooooooooooooo Mr. Mark!
    I have lived in a two bedroom apartment… smallest place ever.
    I have seen the studios… and holy cow… SOOOO SMALL!
    and yes… Clemson is #1 for now. HA HA HA HA

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  16. isn’t it amazing how ‘re-branding, re-marketing’ can change something? but not really. i lived in a tiny ‘garden’ (basement) apartment once and also shared a huge old house with roommates and daughters once when i was first divorced. both were adventures )

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  17. I have lived in a lot of things in a lot of places,but never a studio apartment. I am like you Mark I question the use of the word luxury. Around here it would mean exposed brick, built in microwave and 2K a month,plus utilities.

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    • A ship’s room is kind of like a studio apartment, I think, Mark, but they don’t have to cram a kitchen element into the equation. What kind of job did you hold on the ship, I wonder? Hmmmm. Play guitar in a band?

      In the comment section here, Merril put the link to the pricing for these babies. It has pictures and the floor plan. The rates, aimed at Syracuse U students, are $1250 a month for a year lease, $1650 a month for a six-month lease. Less than half the Big Apple going rate, right?

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  18. Smallest space ever was a “bunk” in temporary housing on campus…they squeezed 10 freshman women into the employee’s cafeteria adjacent to the dorm kitchen. We were the “kitchen women” for months, until dorm rooms opened up as folks dropped out. Biggest was a 200 year old leased property on the Schuylkill River…we were lost in it..5000 square feet, fireplace in every room, 12 ft. ceilings, no insulation, and during the year of blizzards. It was an adventure. ☺

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    • Both were to the extreme, Van! Kitchen woman, oh, my, what an awful way to start a college life. That university housing official who put you 10 in there should have been branded with a traumatic identifier for the same amount of time it took to get the last of you out of the cafeteria. Good grief. On the flip side, the fireplaces sound grand, but no insulation and 12-foot ceilings in the year of the blizzards is somewhat more than an adventure in my book. 😦

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  19. Back in 2000 I had a chance to open a service center for a lab in Sacramento, CA. I was up for an adventure so I planned for the 6 month turned into a year an a half opportunity. I ended up in a horribly little studio apt. One room with a Murphy bed. Rent cost as much as my mortgage back in FL. I traveled a lot though which was good because most hotel rooms were bigger than that apt. I could not wait to get back to FL. But you are on to something with your NYC comment. Large cities have “studio lofts” that are ginormous so yes they can be luxury. But I would still rather have a shack on a piece of land -preferably on the water.

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