New York After Rent (I of III)

The financial crisis of September 2008 overshadows one of the most important events in recent New York History: the arrival of Airbnb. And while your host wasn’t paying attention back then either, today he is fed up with the commodification of every square inch of the city. But what if the Airbnb economy is also changing the way New York City dreams and makes art? Can it be stopped? Housing Activist Murray Cox gives us a tour of his insideairbnb project, Sociologist Richard Ocejo takes us on a jaunt through Hell Square, and legendary performance artist Penny Arcade shows us around “the big cupcake”.

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14 thoughts on “New York After Rent (I of III)

  1. stu

    awesome episode. i don’t live in nyc, but it’s the same shit here in sf…..and like penny arcade said, all over the country and much of the world. can’t wait for the other episodes. interested to hear ideas on how to prevent/stop/slow these trends.

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  3. josh

    Air bnb is not the enemy, now i dont love the whole sharing economy as mediated/brokered by silicon valley but this is not the problem as it relates to high housing prices in NYC.  The problem is lack of dwelling units, of price controls and the prevalence of low paying jobs.
    There are only 3.3 million housing units for a population of over 8 million, of these 3.3 million only 26000 are on air bnb (includind single rooms, not just whole apts) that is less then 1%, there are literally more pied-à-terres.
    Now i dont list on air bnb, but i did sell furniture to people who do.  Our little shop on houston st was kept alive by people who need to furnish rental units, these are not fat cats getting rich by keeping adorable housing away from low income families, most of the units they were renting were were already unaffordable, $2500 a month studios, $3600 tiny 1 and 2 bedroom apartments, one place i furnished was a $7000 a month 3 bedroom.  Who can aford this? Not a low income family, not even a middle-class couple.  Since we are on west houston most of the area we covered was Greenwich Village LES, Chinatown, alphabet city, west village and soho, some of the people we delt with had multiple listings, some just had a room, but none were millionaires, many people renting a room were just doing it to pay rent. 
    Since NYC started cracking down on these rentals we have lost about 1/3 of our billings, and bad as air bnb may be, at least they buy localy, belive me hilton, Marriott, W hotals and the other big chains are not picking up the slack.
    I stand firmly against uber and the rest of those outfits because they are ‘disrupting’ a functional system that serves people well and employs many people at reasonable pay, the yellow cab system is great, many owners, many drivers, many happy customers and support many ansilarie local bissness. The hotel system sucks and is basically monopolistic, run by big chains, staffs are generally underpaid and not well treated, buy from big outfits out side the city and are overpriced.
    We need more housing units (preferably city run and well maintained), and a licensing system for people who want to do rentals, set up a TLC for air bnb and run the bookings through a city beurocracy to cut air bnb out entirely.
    Love your show, you are the best, your pod cast is my favorite ever! I squee for theory of everything.

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  5. Tom

    I watched Billy Wilder’s “The Apartment” (1960) last night and there seems to be a lot in the film about the dark, unintended consequences of the sort of services Airbnb provides.

    On an unrelated note, there’s a brief scene where Jack Lemon, who works at an insurance company, reveals to Shirley MacLaine that he knows everything about her from her insurance information.

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  13. Carol

    I’m on a mac. I do realize that this might be a Mac/Safari problem. If so, I apologize for my intrusion.

    The “download” option doesn’t actually download an episode — it only plays it. I’m not interested in hanging around my desktop to listen! How do I download a single episode to my mac (for transfer) without subscribing? I don’t know whether I want to subscribe until I hear at least one episode.

    Sorry if this is my setup, and not your problem.

    Reply
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