The brutal real estate market in Manhattan has created such desperation that a 15-square-foot graffiti-covered bathroom in a Lower East Side bar can pass nearly unquestioned as a “hip artist loft.”
A fake ad on Craigslist purporting to offer the $30-a-month shared dwelling received heart-rending, apparently sincere responses from would-be renters.
“This place is perfect for me and I am interested, only I did not really understand how the living situation works,” wrote one person who claimed to be an actor studying at New York University. “Can you please elaborate a bit?”
“Hi, is this room still available? I’m a 41-year-old black man, very quiet and introverted,” wrote another person. “About how much would the lease be if I were to take it over after you leave?”
The ad described the “cozy artist loft” as being a “stone's throw away from organic grocery stores, the hottest brunch spots and hipster bars.”
“Room includes a window, a door, your very own bathroom and walls dressed with authentic NYC street art,” it continued. A shower, it said, was next door at the Comfort Inn where the doorman, Juan Pablo, would need to be available two nights a week to apparently let the renter in.
The ad was the idea of bartender Alana Reali, who told blog Jezebel that she posted it as a kind of experiment after being witness to the out-of-control rent costs of the Lower East Side.
“One day I was in the bathroom of one of the dive bars I work at and thought to myself that people are so desperate to live here that someone would probably even go so far as to live in a bathroom to acquire a New York City zip code,” Reali told Jezebel.
The ad was just another agonizing reminder of how congested New York City has become, backed up by a study released by Comptroller Scott Stringer’s office last week showing that 1.5 million New Yorkers live in crowded homes.
Asked by amNewYork if she was surprised by the sincere responses to her ad, Reali said she wasn't.
"I've looked at some ridiculous places in my time living here. Bedroom has a whole different meaning in NY," she wrote in an email.