A New York condo owner is in hot water after allegedly making Being John Malkovich a reality, the New York Post reports. Officials say Xue Ping Ni turned his Lower East Side Condo into a bustling village of 11 sub-units, some of which have 4 1/2-foot-high ceilings—not unlike the "7th 1/2 floor" in the 1999 indie film. "This is like the room out of the movie Being John Malkovich," says Manhattan Councilman Ben Kallos. "It was funny in fiction, but a horror story in real life." The 634-square-foot apartment was divided into 11 units with no windows and an illegal bathroom, officials say.
Ni was hit with over $144,000 in fines for renting out the apparent fire trap, which lacked proper sprinklers and permits. Seems a second Ni apartment was turned into a similar nine-unit bonanza with air conditioners stacked floor-to-ceiling in the windows, which one tenant said cost $600 a month. A neighbor called the fourth-floor residence "a revolving door of people." Only hours later, the Post reported on a similar Manhattan setup owned by Jing Ya Lin, who turned his 643-square-foot condo into an illegal duplex "with similar ceiling heights," per a Buildings Department spokesman. (Read more New York City stories.)