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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 whose recent projects include Swale, a floating edible forest on a barge in NYC.

Greg Lindquist

Greg Lindquist is an artist, writer, and professor who teaches at RISD and Pratt Institute, and who is working on a project of paintings, writing, and video exploring the both fascinating and troublesome cultural practice of rolling coal. He recently carried out a collaborative series of Get Out the Vote billboards and banners with Reggie Shuford, a fellow NC native and civil rights lawyer, drawing connections of voter disenfranchisement between a murderous 1898 coup of White Supremacists in Wilmington and the still-current election of 2020. The location of the billboards and banners, New Hanover County, was one of the few in the general election to go blue in a red state.


The Brooklyn Rail

FEB 2013

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