by Tracy Kaler
|The compact living room in the Alphabet City studio is somehow large enough and gets plenty of natural light.|
John McMahan shares an Alphabet City studio with his partner, Tim Schirmer, and their three canine companions, Rocco, Otis, and Moni. At 260 square feet, one could say that that this apartment is cozy, especially as a full-time residence for a party of five. Yet, the couple and their four-legged friends live comfortably in what McMahan feels is “more like a small one bedroom” than a single-room flat. "The layout is killer," he said. During the search and prior to finding the downtown dollhouse, "We were trying to get out of a really bad slumlord situation in Washington Heights," he continued. And no matter the square footage, it was the floor plan that sold the apartment. The flowing natural light – often hard to come by in NYC apartments – didn't hurt either.
He and Schirmer have comfortably made the unit their home for the past two years, and plans to upgrade to a larger space aren’t yet on the radar. “It helps that we have completely opposite schedules,” McMahan said. “We split the space when we are there, one of us in the bedroom, one of us in the living room.” Unbelievably, they don’t feel like they are on top of one another, and they manage to accommodate guests in the sleeping loft.
Beyond the well-functioning layout, favorite features of the apartment include the great distribution of storage areas, the charming kitchen, and the details of a coveted circa 1900 building. Lack of a bathtub and microwave, not to mention the characterless Pergo floors, are the weak links in the third-floor unit. But the exposed brick, cool sleeping loft, and the hip neighborhood more than make up for these few undesirables.
“Alphabet City is amazing – great food and drink just steps away.” Go-to spots include the 7A café with the best veggie burger in the East Village, VBar is the choice to watch the city go by with a beer in hand, and Pommes Frites "gets me through late nights," said McMahan.
As far as squeezing their belongings into the walk-up apartment sans elevator, it wasn’t easy – they hired movers to get the job done. And according to McMahan, it was the best money he's ever spent.