HEALTHY LIVING
05/15/2008 05:12 am ET | Updated Nov 17, 2011

McKibbin Lofts: Would You Live Here?

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."

"Where the stalls are just superficial sight lines that block the other person, but you can hear everything they do," said Robyn Frank, a 23-year-old artist. She had just moved in to the McKibbin lofts in East Williamsburg, Brooklyn, and sometimes they literally become bathrooms. They are known for their giant, raucous parties; revelers occasionally urinate in the halls.

This is life in what some refer to as the McKibbin "dorms," a landing pad for hundreds of postcollegiate creative types yearning to make it as artists, and live like them too, in today's New York.

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