While article after article may lament that millennials don’t speak to each other and have their eyes stuck to their phones, it’s not entirely true. While the younger generation may be overdoing it on screen time, they’re craving community in alternate ways – like their homes.
New York City can be the sort of place where it’s hard to get to know your neighbors. People may move after just a year inside their apartment, and striking up a conversation in the elevator is more uncommon than preferred. Because of this, certain enclaves in the city are re-defining community outside of Facebook or Instagram by building said communities into their homes.
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Let’s talk about co-living.
Are no, we’re not talking about getting a random roommate.
Co-living is having its moment in New York City. Described as similar to “adult dorms,” co-living allows you to have your private bedroom while sharing more communal elements like kitchens and living rooms with other New Yorkers.
Companies like Ollie and Common popped up to give New Yorkers the opportunity to have flexible leases and to make some friends along the way, while they take care of the hassle.
Most importantly though, these co-living communities come with community engagement and built-in experiences – the ultimate new amenity. Ollie invites residents to everything from rooftop socializing events to day trips skiing. The company also organizes volunteer opportunities for residents, along with vacations for the group.
Do people want this?
It seems so. The new amenity indeed is the experience – and specifically, the no hassle experience. A large group of New Yorkers are enamored by the idea of having less “stuff” and more unique opportunities to try something cool. New York is a great city that can feel very lonely, and these built-in activities are a great way to instantly build community while getting to explore the city. A shared kitchen often translates to shared dinners, and shared meals translate to new friends.
What if you want some cool experiences but still want your own apartment?
Well, developers are paying attention to these people as well! Many buildings are now showcasing amenities that give people the option to build communities. An incredibly trendy option is the community garden, which allows residents to feel like they aren’t in New York and also to have an opportunity to grow their own food. In Staten Island, a significant development includes a 4,500 square foot garden and a guide to help you grow your own produce.
At 225 East 39th Street in Murray Hill, the building showcases a bocce ball court and a shuffleboard court. Though these are simple amenities, they allow residents to interact with each other in a no-pressure situation and encourage residents to befriend each other, so they have someone to engage in these activities with.
A connection is key.
Many buildings also offer events for residents like movie viewings or Superbowl parties. Therefore, shared lounges and/or working spaces are a must. People living in small apartments need a scenery change once in a while, and the lounge offers the perfect opportunity to technically leave your apartment. MiMA in Hell’s Kitchen provides a building basketball league, summer movie events, and dog “yappy” hours for residents who own dogs to get to know one another.
Anything that helps people connect with one another – whether it be yoga class or book club is what the new wave of renters and homeowners is looking for. It’s no longer about your private wine fridge – it’s about meeting your neighbors over a carefully curated wine tasting.