One “room” is a cramped cubby that measures, in all, perhaps 25 square feet, just enough for a full-size mattress and whatever can be stashed beneath. The first-floor rooms, in the basement, are musty and windowless, like caves. The second-floor rooms have plywood walls but no doors, only cut-out windows that overlook a kitchen cluttered with day-old dishes, a chore wheel and the odd paintbrush.
One of the residents likens her home to a “giant treehouse.” Another says it is like “living in a public bathroom.”
Young Artists Find Private Space, Without Privacy
Perhaps 300 people live in each building, which face each other and sit, respectively, at 248 and 255 McKibbin Street. Between one and eight people live in each loft. Few were born before the mid-1980s. Rents can range from $375 for one person to roughly $800 for a space. Perhaps not surprisingly, there have been citations for more than a few housing violations at one of the buildings.
Warrenlike as the loft spaces may be, they are, for the most part, legal. No. 248 is zoned for residential use. No. 255’s owners were given a permit to convert the space into artist lofts, though according to the Buildings Department, the required work was never done. Repeated violations have been issued. One came after a vacant second-floor apartment in 255 exploded three years ago, possibly because wood sealant combusted.