Tours
Man lives in teeny NYC apartment on minimum wage and shows how he makes it work
His micro-apartment is less than 90 square feet, but he couldn't be happier with his lifestyle. It's very interesting to see too!
Irene Markianou
01.13.23

For barista trainer John Richard Willis, going to New York and following his dream was what kept him going over the years.

YouTube - Erik Conover
Source:
YouTube - Erik Conover

He didn’t grow up in New York, but he had always wanted to pursue his dream and work and live in the Big Apple, so after spending some years in other cities and different homes, he decided to give up everything and move to the city of his dreams.

“I gave up almost everything in my life,” he said in an interview with Erik Conover.

“Family, friends, possessions, my car. I wanted to be here more than anything else. This is the first place since my hometown that I feel I belong here.”

YouTube - Erik Conover
Source:
YouTube - Erik Conover

You see, JR is not just your basic barista trainer.

He’s also an artist, he loves going to places and meeting people, and he loves building a connection with them. And this is why he enjoys training new hires, too.

At the same time, he’s an artist. He plays the guitar and he also loves to paint.

YouTube - Erik Conover
Source:
YouTube - Erik Conover

Whenever he can, he takes his guitar and goes to his favorite spots to play. He also takes his watercolors and brushes and he paints any building that catches his eye.

And if you’ve ever been to New York City, then you know it would be an incredible place to do either activity.

Then when he returns home, he parks his bike- inside- and he chills on the second-hand armchair his apartment features.

YouTube - Erik Conover
Source:
YouTube - Erik Conover

JR’s apartment is in Hell’s Kitchen. It’s no larger than 84 square feet plus a spot upstairs for his bed, and there’s a shared bathroom.

But it’s just perfect for him. He pays $687 per month, which is about one-fifth of the average price for a NYC studio.

JR is able to make it work on his $22K a year income since he also does some budgeting too.

YouTube - Erik Conover
Source:
YouTube - Erik Conover

The micro-apartment has everything he needs.

In the apartment that he shares with his cat, Mandy, there’s enough room for his bike, his guitar, and his bookcase, where he keeps his favorite books.

He absolutely loves reading them by the window, while Mandy is enjoying the sun right next to him.

It features a wardrobe for his clothes, hats, and shoes, a tiny kitchen, where he can cook some easy meals, a small living space, and a bed upstairs.

JR likes leaving the window open sometimes and hearing the city sounds. They help them relax and go to sleep, he explains.

YouTube - Erik Conover
Source:
YouTube - Erik Conover

Right opposite his room, there’s a bathroom he shares with other residents, but he says it’s very clean and he’s happy to share it with his neighbors.

For this man, pursuing his dream and going to live in New York City is probably the best thing he ever did. And he couldn’t be happier.

YouTube - Erik Conover
Source:
YouTube - Erik Conover

Would he do it all over again if he could turn back time? Absolutely, he replies.

“If I was living in half the size of the space paying twice as much, it would be worth it to me, Erik,” he told Erik Conover whom he showed off his tiny studio to.

YouTube - Erik Conover
Source:
YouTube - Erik Conover

You can watch the fascinating tour of his tiny apartment in the video below!

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By Irene Markianou
[email protected]
Irene Markianou is a contributor at SBLY Media.
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