How to live off-grid in Manhattan

Sleep in back of workplace

The New York Times web site is in a lather over a report that students at NYU are having to share office space as living accommodation. There are hundreds of comments at dissing the muppets at NYU, and describing readers’ own experiences at making do in expensive city centers here are the most inventive the final contribution is the best we ever heard.
I also am an NYU student. I currently live in a variety of places- couches, rooms, offices. I alternate week to week depending on the availability of my hosts. This way I save thousands of dollars a year and still have some extra money for booze! I use this booze money to entertain my hosts and make new friends who allow me to use their couches. Another good technique is to get a girlfriend and sleep with her – always remember- in America you have a right to party, but not a right for housing.

Posted by Mike D.


I worked as a biologist for a university and was laid off when administrators fumbled the budget. When my mom died, she left me enough to buy some undeveloped property where I have camped out in a tent for the last four years.

Posted by Linda Abraham

Try this in Central Park


i have lived in a variety of trucks in both urban and rural settings. lived for a year in a 2 car garage in venice ca. for $50 a month. lived in a stack of plywood at a boatyard where i worked.

Posted by burton


I lived for a while under my desk at work, setting up my bedding at night and packing it away in my truck in the morning. Fortunately, my employer was located in a converted house, so I could shower. Given that I was always the first one in the office in the morning and the last one there at night, my co-workers just thought I was obnoxiously eager. This set-up lasted until early one day when an unexpected cleaning lady and a sleeping-bagged me scared each other half to death.

Posted by Tyler


I used to shift between 10 different rooftops of some swanky Manhattan buildings, some in Brooklyn not so swanky, but who cares it is FREE!

Same as with the booze for a couch guy earlier, I use the barter system, though with work exchange vs. the booze.

Usually i teach the children/teens/20′ some good kung-fu, with elders I usually offer to run errands, using my own money that they pay back, that way they do not have to trust me first, I trust that they will allow me a rooftop access into the building, for my errands, then pay me back, hasn’t failed yet, also since I teach kung-fu they may respect the profession, so they are honest, or most NYorkers that I choose are helpful and good by nature, plus what skin off your back is it, if I offer my services, look very clean, and well dressed so as not to tip off the neighbors, I sleep on a super thin pilates mat, and use a tiny tent that my feet stick out of so there is no bulky tell-tale backpack (winter I have to smuggle in a cold bag) on me when I pass through the door-goons for these elite buildings. I then park myself up on a ledge, or around an overhang, using safety lines in case I roll while asleep. This way even diligent staff/security/door goons, do not find me. I stay out of the way, sleep very early, and rise with the sun, usually finding a shower is offered in the morning, if not, off to the YMCA for one.
Bags stay in the terminal lockers. Post 9/11 these lockers are VERY safe, with cameras, cops, etc.
This way I could pay for books and food without the hassle of a full-time brain-sapping job.

Part time I make enough to buy mostly fruits and veggies at the lower end markets (which basically have the exact same food for around 1/5 to 1/10th the cost. When it comes to fruit and veggies, you can buy enough for a 6?3? man to live and eat well for around $15.00 per week, so $60.- and out on food, another $10.- for transportation, using mostly roller skates transit is free many weeks.

And maybe a beer here and there..with one or two meals out a week for some healthier foods..and I can live in Manhattan, well fed, well rested, for around $100.00 per month. Given if I work at all I can make 4x that amount in a single day..I usually just study hard in the many awesome libraries around NYC, and skate around the best city in the world enjoying myself without the worries of the financially strapped student.

This system can apply to any environment.
I am currently exploring SF in this same way.though that pesky fog, makes it more difficult to be prepared. People here are even friendlier than NYC, they are usually basically rich, so they tend to just give me a spare room, or a couch in front of the fireplace.
SF is WIFI city, so with a cheaply restored broken laptop, I have now branched into online sales of products, that earns me enough to live with 2 days of work per month, this way working full-time I will have a down-payment for MY new HOME within one year.

I wonder if I will miss my nights under the stars, or in NYC under the very brightly lit up sky with my sleep noise machine being the distance whining of cars and pesky millions of honking taxi cabs?

Posted by bpo

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