Has New York City become Roommate City?

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By Teri Karush Rogers  |
May 23, 2011 - 7:02AM

This weekend's  NY Times story on getting along with roommates danced by a much bigger pain-point for renters....namely, the fact that roommates have become an economic necessity for many gainfully employed New Yorkers in their 30s, 40s and beyond.

"Capitalism isn't working, you're going to need to live in the American equivalent of a kibbutz just to survive. AND, for quite a long period of time at that!" says a commenter whose response was voted to the top of the discussion sparked by the Times story. "Now... why don't we see that in headlines on the front page? Why isn't this view bandied about and discussed in the op-ed column? Why does this view never get expressed in the business section?"

Another commenter says she bought a one-bedroom NYC apartment last year in her early 40s and plans to live there well into old age.

"The only solution to barely get by? A roommate," she says.  "By the way, more than half the people I've found on Craigslist who have been interested in being roommates with me have been 30 or over. So the roommate scenario is not just for 'kids out of college.' In fact, prior to buying this modest home in a modest neighborhood, I lived with a couple in their late 40s early 50s who were also had roommates to make the mortgage. My co-roommates? A woman in her mid 30s and a man in his 50s, all college educated, all gainfully employed, all unable to live on their own."

Then there's the recent college grad with a decent job who says the situation is similar in Chicago--but wonders whether there's an upside in the smaller footprint produced by roommates versus solo renters.

"Maybe when I'm in my 30s I'll feel too embarrassed to be living with randoms from Craig's List...." he says. "But here's the thing - is it really so bad, as far as use of resources goes? Do I really need my own refrigerator, for example, sucking up energy all day while most of the shelves sit empty? Do I need to heat my own living room all winter? Or have a wireless Internet connection all to myself?"




Teri Rogers Headshot - Floral

Teri Karush Rogers

Founder & Publisher

Founder and publisher Teri Karush Rogers launched Brick Underground in 2009. As a freelance journalist, she had previously covered New York City real estate for The New York Times. Teri has been featured as an expert on New York City residential real estate by The New York Times, New York Daily News, amNew York, NBC Nightly News, The Real Deal, Business Insider, the Huffington Post, and NY1 News, among others. Teri earned a BA in journalism and a law degree from New York University.

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