Is Airbnb Bothering the Neighbors?

There is something odd about the first floor apartment in the Williamsburg townhouse my boyfriend rents: specifically, it’s unclear who lives there. The foot traffic through the front door makes for fodder for the speculative kind of gossip common in an intimately dense city like New York, where fights and guitar strumming sessions are audible and you occasionally glimpse the guy across the street sitting in front of his computer in the throes of an oily, full frontal Friday night odyssey of self-pleasure. So what’s more uncomfortable: seeing your neighbor naked, or knowing that they’re operating an ad-hoc hostel out of your building? ”I think the people downstairs are doing Airbnb,” the boyfriend stage-whispered suspiciously the other weekend. Read More


  1. Nataraj says:

    I recently moved into a share in a large Williamsburg apartment only to discover a month later that my sublessor had lied to me and was no my roommate at all but lives elsewhere nearby and uses her room in the apartment as a revolving-door airbnb spot.  The situation is far from desirable and I am re-packing my things as we speak… 

  2. janeyd says:

    Even though you can’t spot Stuy Town apartments on airbnb, the’re still there. Management  didn’t care and obviously they still don’t.  Lux Living is gone, but nothing died with Lux Living since there was no death. 

  3. Derek Kerton says:

    When the expert, Jamie Lauren Sutton, is quoted “It’s a really big deal. Hotels are hotels for a reason.”, I see what she means, but she has badly mis-stated her point.

    That’s because the #1 main reason ‘hotels are hotels’ is so travelers will know where to ask if there is a room/bed to rent when they need one. It is mainly a solution to the problem of discovery – where can I sleep when I travel. And the answer is lit in neon, on signs, brochures, phone books,, etc. Because ‘known availabiliy’ is the main raison d’etre for hotels, much hotel custom can be diverted to private residences by AirBNB, simply because they solve the discovery problem by matching available beds to arriving travelers that plan ahead and use the InterWebz.

    Yet as Ms. Sutton sought to express, there are many other reasons ‘hotels are hotels’, from security, cc cameras to catch bad guys, night watchmen, room service that can check up on a room, a front desk one can call to complain about noise, food service, fresh towels and sheets, cleaning, soundproofing (some), large elevators, wall protection for suitcases, doormen, to drop-off lanes, etc. AirBNB helps find the empty beds, but not much else.

    She should have said, “There’s a lot more to a hotel than an empty bed, and AirBNB only offers a partial solution.” Neighbors often pick up the collateral damage. I like the sharing economy, but not when it conflicts with reasonable courtesies we should offer our building-mates.