Saturday, March 21, 2009

Stylish alternatives to living on the street.

Just because you’re totally broke doesn’t mean you have to abandon the dream of living somewhere spacious, beautiful, architecturally important and very expensive. I'm talking about living under a bridge.

The right bridge can provide excellent shelter as well as reflect your taste and status. And unlike your current housing set up, a good bridge comes with access to free running water, weekly janitorial service and maintenance, not to mention public transportation virtually right outside your front door. The ubiqutous tollbooths make living under a bridge the closest thing to a gated community you can get for $0/month.

Here are some examples of what's available around the country:

New York City: Pre-war classic.. This 3460 foot granite and steel suspension bridge offers spectacular views of Manhattan and Brooklyn. Easy access to the arts, fine scavenging, upscale shoplifting as well as some very nice parks and public spaces. Built in 1883, for 18million dollars (which was nothing to sneeze at back then), the original details are still intact, a little TLC will make it sparkle. Perfect location for Wall Streeters.
Florida: Post modern masterpiece. 29,040 feet of steel and concrete, the sunshine skyway bridge is for those who like their clean spacious design with a little edge. Completed in 1987 this beauty offers classic suspension construction coupled with dramatic details and views of Ft. Lauderdale and Bradenburg. With several golf courses nearby, year around sunshine and easy access to decent healthcare in the Caribbean and Mexico, this is an excellent place to retire.

Northern California: Views, views, views.. no matter where you're standing on this 8981 ft icon of steel and concrete, you'll have a spectacular view (except when the fog rolls in). Designed by Robert Straus in 1937, the Golden Gate bridge is now one of the most coveted pieces of real estate in America. Residents enjoy nature in the nearby Marin County public spaces as well as partake in the lavishly filled dumpsters in the city.

Chesapeake Bay: $200 million marvel of engineering.The Chesapeake Bay Bridge is the bridge equivalent of the Neverland ranch. A massive 89760 feet of steel and concrete, it dips over and under open waters with a complex chain of artificial islands, tunnels and bridges. This 200 million dollar futuristic wonder spans four separate states, convenient for anyone anticipating trouble with the local authorities.

Minnesota: Charming 19th century fixer upper. If you prefer rustic charm to grandeur and don't mind cold winters, this could be the bridge for you. The Archstone Bridge in Minneapolis consists of 2176 feet of native granite and limestone. Converted from a railroad bridge in 1965, 26 well-placed arches add character and warmth. As a pedestrian bridge and historic landmark, it's a great place to panhandle --just think, no more commuting!

A guide to world bridges for impoverished expats is coming soon. Suggestions and recommendations are always appreciated.


  1. Archstone MN looks great for an extended family, but how cold is "cold?" Thanks for the great tips, Dr. L.

  2. When I lived under the pont neuf in Paris I loved to wake up to the Parisian fireman running along the river bank every morning. Nothing like watching all those handsome men while enjoying someone elses buttery croissant! That was the life.

  3. Petey, you can expect winter highs on the Archstone to peak at 20 degrees. You may want to consider getting a second bridge in a warmer clime for winter vacations.

  4. Anonymous, when did you live under the Pont Neuf? I spent a short time there in 2004 and found the neighborhood a little rough. I grew tired of fighting the pigeons for baked goods and finally moved to the Pont Alexandre III. Sure, sometimes I miss the firemen, but when it gets really bad, I just set a garbage can on fire.