Adventures in Affordable Housing: Central Park Tree Houses

As rents climb back toward record highs and the city’s unemployment rate stays above 9 percent, affordable housing remains just as critical an issue now as it was during the real estate boom. Fortunately, two hoodlums from Florida may have a solution to the city’s housing problems.

The Times ran a quixotic story on the front page Saturday about Cory and Dana Foht, 25-year-old twins who on many nights climb into the canopy of Central Park to unfurl their sleeping bags and call it a day. “Really, the inspiration behind it was getting above the sidewalk level,” Cory told the Gray Lady. “You’re getting into your own little world and rising above the stress of the street life.”

And yet as the paper points out, this slumber party is an illegal one. (The watchdog bloggers at the NYT Picker even make some hay of trees and their occupants, that The Times failed to mention that Cory was once arrested on drug charges. Germane? You decide.)

Cute as these two scalawags are, they gave The Observer a brilliant idea that could go a long way toward solving our housing woes.

While we would never fathom developing Central Park (didn’t Donald Trump try that once already?) how about legalizing tree sleeping and turning those bountiful boughs into residential roosts? With roughly 25,000 trees capable of housing, let’s say, a dozen people a night, that comes out to more than 300,000 beds. Throw in some hammocks and we could probably get past the 500,000 mark.

Maybe half of those could be set aside for the homeless while the other half could be rented for $15 a night or $300 a month. What European tourist or desperate college grad wouldn’t pony up for such an affordable, cool and conventiently located experience?

Just watch out for those tornados.

mchaban [at] | @mc_nyo

Adventures in Affordable Housing: Central Park Tree Houses