Alternative Living Spaces that Subvert New York Real Estate Rent Oligopoly

1. Rent an elevated parking space in a prime location such as SoHo, buy a ladder (mountain climbing gear) to climb into a cargo van-camouflaged 100 sq ft live/work studio. Most memorable studio visit a L.E.S. gallerist will ever have.

Mary Mattingly and Greg Lindquist, The EDGE of Williamsburg Waterfront, After Ai Weiwei "Study in Perspective" series, 2013.

2. Restore a decommissioned houseboat near Rossville, Staten Island and dock it on the Newtown Creek. Install solar, gray water systems, and a garden to remain largely off grid.

3. Take a cue from Occupy Wall Street set up your tent in any privately owned public space. Or tent on the rooftop of a friend’s apartment building—ideal for summer sun showers.

4. A decent sized storage unit with 24-Hour access where you can store your belongings and create a crash pad co-op, the kind that the airline industry’s rookie pilots have resorted to.

5. Transform an unused crane in the Ikea parking lot on the Red Hook waterfront into an elevated two-bedroom apartment.

6. Abandoned shipping containers: they are at every peripheral site.

7. Convert a janitors’ closet into a studio compartment (Flight of the Conchords), and order the Chinese food you are now in range of delivery for (Seinfeld).

8. Rent out a plywood-boxed terrace of an apartment in South Williamsburg, just tell them you just need a place to store your fixed-gear bike. Or squat a construction-stalled luxury apartment on Williamsburg’s waterfront.

9. Rent a truck on trash day at Crozier and assemble a home out of art shipping crates in Greenpoint, it will blend in.

10. Or simply find an illegal loft and just stop paying your rent.



Mary Mattingly

Mary Mattingly is an artist based in New York. In preparation for a burial of her belongings, she is currently writing obituaries at Mattingly is getting ready to launch a partially submerged home, WetLand, on the Delaware River in Philadelphia.

Greg Lindquist

GREG LINDQUIST is an artist, writer and editor of the Art Books in Review section of the Brooklyn Rail. He is currently a resident at the Marie Walsh Sharpe artist residency.