A New Yorker who traded her luxury apartment for a tiny room the size of a parking space revealed that she pays $650 per month for the micro-unit — but she insisted the rental was a ‘very hot commodity’ when she scooped it up.
Alaina Randazzo, 25, stunned the internet after she gave YouTuber Caleb Simpson a tour of her Midtown apartment as part of his new video series exploring interesting spaces in New York City.
The digital creator explained that she is saving $2,600 per month living in the space, which is just 80 x 150 square feet. It is so small that it doesn’t have an oven, toilet, or shower. She has to use a communal bathroom that is located down the hall.
‘It’s so college. It feels like a dorm,’ said Randazzo, who works in fashion.
Alaina Randazzo, 25, from New York City, pays $650 a month to live in an 80 x 150 square feet apartment in Midtown with her dog
The digital creator, who works in fashion, gave YouTuber Caleb Simpson a tour of the micro-unit as part of his new video series exploring interesting spaces in NYC
The first thing she sees when she opens the door to her apartment is her kitchenette. There is a stovetop with two burners and a sink that are situated above a mini fridge and a small cabinet, where she keeps both food and her makeup bin.
There is a microwave above the stovetop, as well as two more small cabinets. She explained that she used to store food up there, but she stopped after she realized there were mice in the unit.
Randazzo told Simpson that she cooks sometimes, despite the lack of kitchen space, but she has to buy all of the ingredients fresh before because she doesn’t have anywhere to store them.
The kitchenette is in the living room, which consists of a small pullout couch that sits across from a flat-screen TV that is mounted to the wall.
She admitted that she buys a mattress pad to put on the uncomfortable pullout every time a friend comes to stay with her and then returns it because it’s too large to store in her apartment.
She used to live in a luxury apartment building and is saving $2,600 a month by living in her new place. Simpson noted that the apartment is barely big enough to do an at-home workout
‘You can almost reach over and wash your hands from the living room if you wanted to,’ Simpson noted while sitting on the couch.
Unsurprisingly, Randazzo doesn’t have any closet space aside from a small area located underneath the loft’s stairs.
‘This is the thing about this apartment, like every time I want to get something out, something else has to move,’ she said of trying to get into the storage area.
Randazzo has the rest of her clothes and bags hanging on the wall leading up to her loft bed, which is just inches away from the ceiling.
She explained that hitting her head when she gets up is a serious concern, and she has never had a guy sleep over because the space is just too tight.
The closet-sized apartment has a small kitchenette with a sink and stovetop but no oven
Randazzo stores her makeup bin in a cabinet along with her food due to the lack of space
She used to keep food up in the cabinets above the microwave, but she stopped after she realized there were mice in the unit
‘I tell them it’s actually not possible. They’re like, “We won’t judge you.” I’m like, “No, it’s not about judging. It’s like you actually won’t fit,”‘ she said.
Randazzo doesn’t live alone, however. She has a dog that she will either keep in the apartment during the day or take to daycare in the morning.
She makes the most of her space by keeping her shoes outside of her apartment in the hallway, which, thankfully, is fine with her neighbor.
Her communal bathroom is located down the hall, but she insisted that she has never felt unsafe using it as a woman.
‘It might be because I know all of my neighbors,’ she explained. ‘I feel like I can just walk out. I can rock out here in a towel and like a robe, and it just doesn’t matter because we are all really close.’
There is just enough space in the living room for a small pullout couch and a flat-screen TV
Randazzo admitted that she buys a mattress pad to put on the pullout every time a friend comes to stay with her and then returns it because it’s too large to store in her apartment
Simpson helped her take off her shoes before they climbed up to the loft together
Randazzo stores all of her toiletries, including her skincare and makeup brushes, in the bathroom without any issue.
She works from home three times a week and likes to utilize the building’s rooftop when the weather is nice.
‘Sometimes I get a little claustrophobic, so it’s nice to just kind of like relax up here, read, write, [do] yoga,’ she said. ‘It just gets so tiny and tight in there.’
Randazzo said she found the apartment on StreetEasy and liked that it was a short six-month lease because she was debating moving back to Los Angeles at the time.
‘I just found it and thought it would be nice and convenient,’ she recalled. ‘I can travel and not have to worry about a lot of rent.’
And while most people would struggle with living in such a small space, she said there was a lot of interest in the unit.
Randazzo sleeps in the cramped loft where her mattress is just inches from the ceiling
She explained that hitting her head when she gets up is a serious concern, and she has never had a guy sleep over because the space is just too tight
‘I was actually supposed to get the one below me that had a bathroom in the unit and, I think, an oven. But that was $850, and the girl was like, “It’s gone. It’s taken. These are going like crazy.”‘
Randazzo said the real estate agent then showed her the $650 per month apartment that she ended up renting.
‘There were so many people touring this apartment when I came, and the agent was just like, “You’re really fun. I think you should have it,”‘ she recalled. ‘It was a very hot commodity.’
‘It was funny because all of the FIT [Fashion Institute of Technology] students were like, “Oh my gosh, this is so cool. We want this,”‘ she added.
When asked what was better, her previous luxury apartment or the micro-unit she now calls home, she insisted that she prefers the smaller space.
‘People need a lot less than what they think they need,’ she said, ‘and I learned that here.’
Randazzo has to use a communal bathroom that is located down the hall because the unit doesn’t have a toilet or shower
Randazzo stores all of her toiletries, including her skincare and makeup brushes, in the bathroom without any issue
Randazzo works from home three times a week and likes to utilize the building’s rooftop when the weather is nice
Simpson later noted in the comments that Randazzo doesn’t have plans to renew her lease, explaining that the year she spent there was just a ‘fun experience to see what tiny living is like in NYC.’
The YouTuber’s video tour of her apartment has been viewed more than 1.3 million times and has earned thousands of comments from shocked viewers.
‘It literally is a walk-in closet. She utilized her space extremely well,’ one person wrote, while another added: ‘I cannot wrap my head around how she is able to live in such a tiny apartment.’
‘My claustrophobia and anxiety could never,’ someone else shared. ‘Just watching you both on the bed made me want to hyperventilate.’
Others pointed out that this type of living situation is normalized and even celebrated in New York City.
‘People do not realize how insanely cheap $650 a month for MIDTOWN MANHATTAN is,’ one viewer noted.
Simpson’s video tour of Randazzo’s apartment has been viewed more than 1.3 million times and has earned thousands of comments from shocked viewers
‘I think it’s a huge problem how many of us think this is a steal,’ someone else commented. ‘That’s absolutely wild how our generation is.’
‘It’s insane and it has to be illegal to rent something so small!!’ another added. ‘Am I the only who doesn’t understand how can people live like this only to say “yes, I live in Manhattan!”??’
The average rental price in Manhattan hit another all-time high this summer, as higher mortgage rates and home prices drove potential homebuyers into rentals.
Average rents in the nation’s most densely populated county rose to $5,113 in July, a 28 percent increase from a year ago, according to a report on from the real estate brokerage firm Douglas Elliman.
Median rent, which is a better reflection of the prices a typical renter would face, hit $4,150, a 2.5 percent increase from June and a 29 percent bump from last year.
Most landlords in the city require an annual income of 40 times the monthly rent, meaning renters would need to bring home a salary of at least $166,000 to secure the median apartment.
High demand for Manhattan apartments is keeping the market tight, with July’s listing inventory for rentals down 44 percent from last year’s level.
The typical apartment spends just 26 days on the market before being snapped up by a renter, down 48 percent from June and less than a third of the standard turnaround seen a year ago.