Is There Really Some Guy Living In The Astor Place Cube?

It’s either the ultimate experiment in small-space urban living, or a (clever?) marketing ploy. Fast Company investigates.

Is There Really Some Guy Living In The Astor Place Cube?

Last night, Man in Cube, a roughly four-minute video unveiling the unconventional Manhattan digs of creative writer “Dave”–in none other than the iconic Astor Place Cube— had some New Yorkers spitting their drinks to the floor.


In the video, Dave claims to have inhabited the cube, formally known as “Alamo,” after “getting burnt out and overwhelmed with life in general.” He makes tea, plays guitar, and shows us his terrifying in-floor chemical toilet. Dave’s a really chill guy who’s got it all figured out–and he’s totally fooling us.

The video initially duped noted design blog Apartment Therapy, but turns out to be a hoax.

Skip to the end and you’ll find an advertisement for whil, an organization that promotes workplace meditation, blatantly plastered to a street pole. A spokesman from whil, which was created by Lululemon Athletica founder Chip Wilson and his wife, Shannon–confirmed it was behind the video.

As marketing stunts like this become more common, consumers are increasingly skeptical about gee-whiz videos they stumble across online. But this one worked well enough to get at least a few leery New Yorkers out of their apartments, as evidenced by one YouTube commenter.

I live a block away, I just ran over there. Totally welded shut. And the welds were the same welds that were used to assemble the cube. I think this is totally awesome, but I’m calling bullshit.

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About the author

Former Editorial Assistant Miles Kohrman helped run Fast Company's homepage and completed miscellaneous tasks around the newsroom. He is a 2013 graduate of The New School.