Last December, Charles Pastore, a real estate investor who owns property in East New York, purchased a century-old Bushwick brownstone, on the corner of Cooper Street and Wilson Avenue, just a block off the Wilson L stop. He and his partners, Hillary Megroz and Lauren Douglass, spent a few months renovating the house and now they’re ready to launch the Unruly Collective, a 2,500-square-foot space dedicated to artistic creation, offering co-working studio spaces as well as short-term rentals for travelers and resident artists.
With hotels, Airbnbs, and gifty boutiques popping up all over Williamsburg to serve an influx of out-of-towners, one has to wonder: how many people strolling Bedford Avenue at a given time are locals, and how many are tourists? To answer that question, we posted up outside of the Bedford station and polled over 300 passersby. Our findings: 1 in 3 people we spoke to were from outside of New York City (about half of those visitors were Europeans), while just 1 in 4 of them actually lived in Williamsburg. As one of Williamsburg’s many French tourists might say: “Mon dieu!”
It’s no secret that the Airbnb economy is thriving in New York City — after all, the Times was on it this week. Visitors to the city can tap in to the crash-pad social network to rent out anything from enormous luxury loft apartments in Williamsburg (for mere hundreds of dollars a night) to cozy, but apparently windowless futon-hallways in the East Village for as little as 60 bones. Airbnb isn’t couch-surfing cheap, but it still offers travelers a more affordable option than hotels and lets outsiders in on the less tourist-riddled pockets of the city.