After spending a week at Jamie’s 23rd Floor Luxury Apartment, we were very excited to be heading to Suzanne’s apartment on Wall Street. The area is called “FiDi”, which stands for the Financial District and some NYC tourists couldn’t imagine why we would want to live at Wall Street since there was no night life once offices had closed and people had left for the day. How could we NOT! It was Wall Street! Of course Wall Street has a different vibe from sat, Lower East Side. And hence it also has it’s own character. Weekends are quiet and calm at Wall Street – there are tourists but there’s no office crowd. No throngs of suited-up ladies and gents walking around with their coffee cups and paper bag lunches.
Airbnb has been exactly what I’d expected and more. It is like a mini-adventure each time you book a new place. Most hotels in NYC seem to be clustered around Time Square and 5th / 6th Avenue – I can’t imagine finding a “don’t bust my bank” hotel to be available at Wall Street. Suzanne’s apartment was such a lucky find. Way better than any hotel room – cosy, well-furnished – like a custom boutique apartment just for me.
Akanksha and I were going to be super busy with New York Fashion Week and luckily, the subway station was across the road from the apartment building. Literally. You walked out of the door of the building, crossed the narrow, one-lane road, and you walked into the subway station and would NOT ever forget it because the station was SO HOT! High speeds fans throwing hot air toward you! On weekends, the subway station was closed and we had to walk across the public space hall or walk across a couple of blocks to get to another subway station. This made it super easy for us to get to NYFW.
Groceries were more expensive in this area. There’s a Duane Reade just next block but it had very few groceries. The other store that we ended up purchasing stuff from was Gristedes. Much better stocked than Duane Reade – freezing temperatures because the air conditioning was turned way down – but more expensive than Whole Foods. ( I’ve noticed most grocery stores have their air conditioning turned way down here in NYC – to protect their fresh produce I believe. ) We also bought some stuff like chopped onions and cupcakes from Taz’s cafe, which was at the base of our apartment building. Run by a kind Punjabi kid who would be playing Punjabi music on his phone late nights. Not many grocery options in the vicinity but lots of restaurants around the sea port area, which is walking distance. We ate at restaurants like Nelson Blue and Financier Patisserie and visited Battery Park, which was also walking distance.
Apart from that there’s the One World Center, Zucotti Park and many other things to see like the New York Stock Exchange! We also photographed a couple of #CoverUp editions near the Brooklyn Bridge and at Battery Park.
Suzanne was there to welcome us at the doorman’s reception desk! How kind! We chatted for a bit and hoped to meet for drinks before we left. She mentioned that although she had been running this Airbnb apartment for some time now and had had great luck, she herself had never stayed at an Aribnb listing herself. We told her we weren’t surprised – in India, Airbnb is still a new “thing”. This was our second Airbnb stay ever too! We encouraged her to try it out sharing our experience so far.
Suzanne’s apartment was like a little wonderland! It was clear to see that it had received a woman’s touch while being done up. The bathroom cabinets were loaded with goodies – hair spray, fake nails, hair oil and I lost track of the whole list. I’d been meaning to take photographs of the loaded cabinets but I got too busy using the products instead. The towel rack had dozens of fresh towels, there were many toiletries – I even discovered Castile Soap. There was cooking oil and we stocked the refrigerator with eggs and spinach and hummus as usual. Like Jamie’s apartment, I expected the apartment to have a washer and dryer like the listing mentioned but it wasn’t like that – the floor of the apartment building had a washer and dryer that we had to pay additionally for – nothing in the apartment. We didn’t end up using it. There was a dishwasher but since I didn’t know how to use one and was worried about breaking it or doing something wrong, I washed the dishes by hand – like I do at home in India.
The only underused electronic appliance in all Airbnb apartments so far has been the television! We didn’t turn it on at Jamie’s or at Suzanne’s.
The bed at Suzanne’s was really cool with a gadget to lower or raise each half end of the bed! Jamie’s apartment had had a queen size bed and so did Suzanne’s. As we would experience in two of our additional Airbnb apartments, they all seem to have Queen size beds. I’d have liked bigger because Akanksha is six feet tall 😛
The listing had mentioned that the apartment was located on the top floor of a boutique building and I was super excited about the views! Jamie’s apartment had set my expectations. But this new apartment, while on the top floor, was the shortest building in the area – surrounded by much taller buildings around it. So there were no views. We could, however, look into offices in the adjacent buildings. Large glass windows also meant there was plenty of sunlight streaming in to the apartment luckily.
I still cannot get over how gorgeous Suzanne’s apartment is – adorably well done. Cute. Well-stocked. It was perfect. Great if you want to live in ti each day and also great if you are at Wall Street for work and want a home away from home while you’re there. The fridge door even had notes tacked on it and magnets.
The central air conditioner outlet was in the main living room and very powerful – I had to continually turn it on and then off and then on. The bedroom had been equipped with a tiny table fan on the night stand to help circulate the cool air that would stream in from the living room. This was a good touch and thoughtful.
The Welcome Book had details of the WiFi password but it wasn’t half as detailed as Jamie’s house manual had been. This was only my second Airbnb apartment so I was learning that not everyone was the same. I think that’s the inroganic beauty of living in apartments via Airbnb. A kind of pleasant surprise at each new apartment. Like each human being is different, each apartment listing is different. You see this beauty only in retrospect of course.
There were so many closet spaces and cupboards at Suzanne’s apartment. We were able to store almost all of our month-long suitcase supplies in the closets. The next Airbnb apartment we stayed at had no closet space at all. Jamie’s had great closet space as well. I’ve always been one to experiment with new services and I’m definitely a convert to Airbnb. It seems like such a no-brainer now that I’ve actually lived in apartments via Airbnb. The brand partnership extended only for two apartments for 15 days but our experience was so great that Akanksha and I ended up booking our two additional apartments with Airbnb as well. We were thus able to discover two additional areas of New York : Bay Ridge and Canarsie in Brooklyn. At the end of #EyesForNewYork and #REDHUxAIRBNB, I don’t feel like a tourist any more – I feel like a New Yorker.
I still can’t wrap my head around living at Wall Street. It isn’t exactly cheap but that fact that it’s even possible, is fabulous. No need to trudge to Wall Street from your Midtown / Times Square hotel when you can live right AT Wall Street, all thanks to Airbnb. Especially if you’re a business traveller and you’d rather spend your time getting stuff done instead of in the Subway. And even if you’re a couple / bunch of friends travelling together – the apartment did NOT feel like it was in the Financial District – it was… home. ( Really do got to Taz’s Cafe and say hello to the chap at the till – he’s nice. )
Above, Zucotti Park and below the Wall Street subway station. Can you imagine the history?!
We went and photographed for my #CoverUp series near Suzanne’s Apartment. Above at Battery Park and below at the Sea Port area which has stunning views of the Brooklyn Bridge.
Jamie’s apartment was shared with the host and Suzanne’s apartment was where we were staying independently – no one to share the amenities and apartment with – we had wanted to try both types of listings.
With Airbnb, I just really like the fact that I don’t have to hang a “do not disturb” sign outside my door and still have hotel staff disturb me. And that I can cook my own breakfast – I like eggs and spinach and hummus and my disgustingly strong cold black coffee. Some of my friends have asked me if it wouldn’t be better to just stay with friends and family instead. While hotels can get clinical and cold after a while, an Airbnb is the ideal middle between not having to live with family and friends and bother them with your personal routine and still getting to live in an apartment that feels like home. Your own schedule and routine, your own privacy and space and in the case of apartments shared with hosts, living with a friend who’s not standing around waiting for you to do things with them. But still there if you need anything. It is a nice arrangement. You could make a new friend in a new city.
Airbnb is a great way to discover a new city / town. Because of the nature of the apartments, you can find one where a hotel chain wouldn’t ever dream of setting up. Wall Street above being a more business-travel option but you only have to look at Airbnb.com to see the options available – tree houses, beach shacks, air-conditioned well-furnished tents in the desert and what have you. You can actually plan something with you family – safely, without busting the bank account. And it’s kind of addictive – once you use Airbnb, there’s a 90% chance you’re going to want to do it again. And again. ( I totally made up that statistic but that’s how I feel. I’m already planning a getaway with the boy to a remote location on some island. We’ve done it earlier but we used a hotel and I wish Airbnb had been around then – we’d have saved a ton of money AND had a customized experience – more unique than any hotel could ever be. )
I’ve been considering doing this in more cities – living there for a month – to get a real feel of the place. One of the reasons I haven’t done it so far is that my only options were either to book a hotel for a month, which even if I got their media rates, would still not be justifiable in terms of a business expense. The other option would be renting an apartment for a month – not a suitable situation for most home owners who want to rent their apartments. They prefer long term renting – six months to a year. With Airbnb, a whole new option has opened up and Akanksha and I are thinking of doing this each year with a new city – maybe Amsterdam next year? I love having an additional option to make this possible. An option where you actually get to live like a resident of the city instead of just a tourist.
The Naina.co related Airbnb Referral Link. #BrandPartner