By FERNANDEZFEB Manny.
The women on the first floor hung a pure white curtain in the middle of the room, using the bed to separate the space from the tables and chairs.
The room she stayed with her husband was 23 feet long and 11 feet wide.
They pay $650 a month plus electricity.
Their room was illegally converted into a living area within three months.
Story apartment building in Bushwick, Brooklyn.
According to city records, the building's check-in certificate allows five families to stay in five units.
But rooms on the basement and other floors were rented and there were 9 to 12 families living there.
The 49-year-old woman, Guadalupe, asked not to publish her last name and address because she and her husband, both of whom were immigrants from viracruz, Mexico, were afraid of being driven out of the place, has been calling home since November.
Bush Wick's rooms, like the immigrant communities in Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens and Bronx, are one of thousands of rooms.
These rooms make up the secret world of housing in New York City: Hidden from the public eye, unregulated, and often unsafe.
Earlier this month, a trial in the Bronx gave us a brief insight into the world.
Two tenants in a building in Bronx were charged with installing drywall partitions in their apartment to rent windowless rooms for $75 to $100 a week.
On a Sunday in 2005, when a fire broke out, two firefighters died after jumping off the window, and prosecutors argued that the illegal partition had left firefighters lost their way, forcing them to jump off the building and die.
A jury acquitted the tenant and another jury found the owner and former owner of the building guilty of manslaughter.
In some of the city's poorest communities, legally remodeled rooms have always been a fact of life.
Some rooms, such as those in the Bronx, are divided up by tenants who wish to turn their apartments into sources of income.
Chinatown in Manhattan and some other buildings in Jackson Heights in Queens were remodeled by owners to generate more rent.
All of this was built without taking into account the urban building and housing maintenance specifications, which set out the maximum allowable occupancy rate, the way of exit, ventilation and lighting.
In the Bush Wick room, Guadalupe and her husband Pedro had no stove and only a microwave on a large TV.
They put clothes and shoes on the metal rack.
They don't have a lease or a mailbox.
They gave the first money for rent and electricity.
A floor tenant with a lease, who hides the Mail under the door.
Guadalupe says she feels lucky.
The couple has their own bathroom.
In a building near their past rental room, they often had to queue up to use the toilet.
"Have you been to the Lower East Side apartment museum?
Javier Valdez asked that he recently visited the room in Guadalupe, deputy director of Make the Road in New York, where Guadalupe is a member of the community service team.
"It's like a repeat of history.
It's just a different group of people who have experienced it all.
"In the whole city, illegal units are made for advertising.
Temporary living arrangements are not always for economic reasons.
Last week, the head of a building owned by the nonprofit Fordham Bedford Housing Company in the Bronx saw a tenant moving construction materials into the apartment.
Tenants in building one
The bedroom apartment split the living room by installing a wall panel partition and built two bedrooms for the family members who moved in.
Robert Donovan, director of building services at the group, said: "What happened behind the tenant's door, we don't always know . " He told the tenants to tear down the wall.
Construction is often rarely required.
Tenants or landlords can rent them as rooms simply by installing locks on the bedroom door.
Residents of illegal units sometimes do not pay for the rooms, but rather for the use of mattresses in these rooms, a practice known as "hot sheets ".
"This means that several people share a bed at different times of the day.
"We have heard of these cases," he said . "
The courage of New York Road.
A firefighter in East Harlem recalled a day a few years ago when he found himself in an apartment packed with plywood bunk beds, and the man was spinning 8-
"It's like it's on a submarine," he said.
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A report released last year analyzed census data for 1990 and 2000 and found that 114,000 people were "unaccounted --
Between 300,000 and 500,000 residents live in New York City.
These illegal units include private houses engraved in the room and two
Family home with unauthorized basement apartments.
The two teams that produced the report, researchers from the Pratt Community Development Center and Chhaya Community Development Corporation, said the 114,000 housing units accounted for about 4% of the city's housing stock.
The majority are in Queens, Brooklyn and Bronx, with the largest number of 48,000 autonomous cities in Queens.
The report describes many units as reasonable options for low levels
Many housing advocates argue that it is difficult for income tenants to find affordable accommodation.
The two groups called on the city to legalize many units and provide technical and financial assistance to landlords for the necessary repairs.
"We actually have a system that doesn't ask, doesn't say," said Brad Rand, director of the Pratt Center . ".
"The only remedy is to vacate the unit and that's the way out we're looking.
"Another group, the homeless Union, criticized the city for helping fill dozens of illegal and crowded boarding houses.
The coalition has identified more than 100 unregulated apartments, and while many buildings are found to be in dangerous conditions, the city's homeless services and its contracted shelters have placed homeless adults in
For Guadalupe, the $650 rent is already hard to pay.
She produces and sells tamales and Pedro works in the construction industry.
To pay the rent for the month, they had to borrow $200 from their cousins.
Their time in the room was coming to an end.
Because the tenant who paid the rent was about to move away soon, she said he told her that she had to go too.
She bought a receipt pad for him to fill in when paying the rent, which is a small way for her to try to impose some orders in case of instability.
"I feel like I'm going to be kicked out any day," she said.
"A version of this article appears on the print on page A21 of The New York edition with the title: illegal shredding-
Up apartments are secret, dangerous and universal.
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