6sqft’s series Apartment Living 101 is aimed at helping New Yorkers navigate the challenges of creating a happy home in the big city. This week we’ve got some artistic ways you can update your rental without spending a lot of money.
No matter how ephemeral a rental unit may feel, refusing to put any love into your space will ensure a feeling that your lease is taking forever to end. But it doesn’t take a professional or a full-scale renovation to make a shoebox of an apartment go from a depressing Craigslist find to a lively and stylish pad. Ahead are some creative DIY ways to decorate your space that can be done inexpensively—and without putting your security deposit at risk.
Smashing a mirror can be good for decoration
Under the New Yorker Hotel, a former guest convenience has been rendered an Art Deco artifact by the times. While not built to be a secret, a tunnel connecting the Midtown hotel’s lobby to Penn Station was sealed on the station’s side sometime in the 1960s and subsequently forgotten, according to Atlas Obscura.
See what the tunnel looks like today, almost a century later
As intangible a concept as feng shui may seem, it all comes down to the basic idea of having a space you’re happy to come home to because its energy is positive. “Feng shui is an ancient philosophy about how you can improve your life and create a space that supports and nurtures you,” explained Anjie Cho, a New York-based architect, author, and founder of online mindfulness design blog and shop Holistic Spaces. Indeed, adjusting your apartment in just a few small and informed ways can make all the difference in the look and feel of your unit and, resultantly, your own wellbeing. Ahead are some ideas you can apply to your space, straight from a pro.
First off, take that mattress off the floor
Set sail for home in Jamaica Bay on this $59,000 houseboat, now for sale. According to its listing, the 400-square-foot model is good for year-round living and is equipped with central cooling, carpeted floors and wonderful waterfront views. Plus this “single family” vehicle has one bed, one bath, a very large covered deck and “great solar potential”—not to mention you’ve got the ocean as your playground. The listing says the houseboat, a 2007 Custom Flo-Lodge, was hauled a year ago across the Verrazano Narrows to its current docking point at Far Rockaway’s Marina 59, and has been floating there ever since.
Yo ho a pirate’s life in Queens
Located at 1 West 67th Street, the Upper West Side‘s landmarked Hotel des Artistes co-op, this apartment abounds in original details, most notably a Smithsonian conservator-restored ceiling mural above a carved staircase and a carved stone fireplace in the living room. Central Park is visible from the living room and one of the bedrooms, and the beamed ceilings soar to almost 20 feet, dwarfing even the 14-foot windows. And it can all be yours for $4.5 million.
See it all
Reserving three of 5th Avenue’s five traffic lanes for pedestrians will ease the traffic paralysis that President-elect Donald Trump‘s continued residence in his 56th Street tower has caused, former NYC Department of Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan argues. In an op-ed for the New York Times yesterday Sadik-Khan, a principal with Bloomberg Associates and a key player in the introduction of the Times Square Pedestrian Plaza, angled 5th Avenue’s traffic problem as a bipartisan issue that requires change to get better. With the President-elect saying he plans on visiting his Manhattan home frequently even once he has moved to the White House, it is clear New York will need to adapt or risk forever needing to budget an extra three hours to get through Midtown.
Without big changes, the chaos isn’t going to improve
In an effort to promote urban tree cover, researchers at MIT’s Senseable City Lab have developed Treepedia, a platform for mapping the canopies of ten different major cities. Using Google Street View panoramas to serve as a Green View Index (GVI) to compare and evaluate green canopy coverage, Treepedia provides a visual map of trees and vegetation in Boston, Geneva, London, Los Angeles, Paris, Sacramento, Seattle, Tel Aviv, Toronto, Turin, Vancouver and of course, New York.
New York is one of the least green cities