Brooklyn real estate project for polyfolks draws more publicity than expected...
“You’ve heard of gayborhoods?” remarked Elisabeth Sheff to a Slate interviewer a couple years ago; “This is the first poly-neighborhood I’ve heard of.”
That was in Seattle, but now comes this from Brooklyn. The instigator is Leon Feingold, longtime poly-community organizer, co-founder and co-president of Open Love NY, and all-around nice guy; you may remember him from ABC-TV's The View last November. His day job is real estate — he runs his own company — and he's nearly done completely redeveloping a building into a 15-bedroom poly intentional community.
Is this a big deal? Starting Thursday morning it swept through Brooklyn's local media, and by Friday morning it was all over New York.
The first up was this piece, in the neighborhood-news site DNAinfo New York:
Polyamorous Home in Bushwick Looks For Tenants Wanting Judgment-Free Life
By Kaitlyn Mitchell
Prospective tenants on Hacienda Villa's front steps. (Photo by Kait Mitchell.)
BUSHWICK — This gives new meaning to "open house."
Decked out with a hot tub and wet bar gazebo, a residential building in Bushwick is looking for polyamorous tenants hoping to live in a judgment-free space.
"Sometimes it’s hard for poly people to find housing where’s there’s no judgments," said Leon Feingold, the realtor showing the property.
...Polyamory is the practice of having meaningful romantic connections with multiple partners, with the knowledge of all partners involved.
Living with non-polyamorous people can get sticky for "polys," one open house attendee said.
“I found it to be very hard to find people who are willing to take you in when you’re polyamorous,” said Kate, who declined to give her last name.
As a 28-year-old graduate student at Columbia University working towards her masters degree in social work, Kate currently lives with her parents outside of the city. She has three partners — one is married, one is engaged and the other she has been seeing for eight months.
“I just want a place where I can take my partners to and it would be like a sanctuary,” said Kate. “It’s not exactly what I was originally looking for, but I feel safe here.”...
...The Bushwick building, located one block from the Myrtle Avenue M stop and known by the group as “Hacienda Villa,” is owned by a member of the polyamory community who will occupy an apartment with his girlfriend on the first floor.
The three-story building has 15 bedrooms. Each floor is an individual apartment, where a member from the community living on that floor vets potential roommates who apply to live there. Rent ranges from $750 to $1,500 per month, depending on room size and whether it has a personal bathroom.
Renovations on the building started in January. Some apartments on the upper floors have already been rented, with the first floor expected to be ready for occupancy by July.
“We’re not advertising. We’re not looking for other people. This is just friends, and friends of friends,” said Feingold. He has done five showings in the past month, and half of the rooms have been rented out, mostly by people who already knew Feingold....
...Feingold calls the house a communal space, meaning members who don’t live there can use the first-floor common space for events, at the discretion of the owner.
“Once it’s finished, we hope to make it available for events for any community stuff," Feingold said.
"Anything from workshops, to speakers, to parties, to bar mitzvahs, anything. It’s a really nice, big space down there when it’s done. It’s going to be an asset to the community as a whole."
Read the original (May 15, 2014).
Within hours, Brooklyn Magazine got up a similar story:
Bushwick House for Polyamorous People Is Open For Business
By Rebecca Jennings
Here in Brooklyn, it’s difficult to think of ourselves as prudes — we’ve got awesome drag balls and an entire Tumblr page devoted to the Boobs of Bushwick — but polyamory seems to be a rather sticky taboo, perhaps one of the last to become completely eradicated. However, thanks to a new a Bushwick apartment complex for solely polyamorist tenants, it seems like the process of poly acceptance is speeding up....
...Here’s the tricky part: In order to secure a spot at Hacienda Villa, you’ve got to know someone (or know someone who knows someone) who’s a friend of Feingold. Wanna make fast friends? Join Open Love NY’s Facebook page, which has over 1,500 members....
The whole article.
Then The Gothamist, New York-wide, picked it up:
Of Course Bushwick Has Its Own Polyamorous Building.
...Does this appeal to you? TOO BAD. “We’re not advertising. We’re not looking for other people. This is just friends, and friends of friends,” Feingold said. Well then! More like polyamorous-not-them, amirite?
The gritty Brokelyn also went with the exclusivity angle:
This place has a hot tub. Do you know what we would do for a shower with reliable hot water? Do you know when we last encountered decent water pressure? Please, polyamorous house, give us a shot. We can play Marvin Gaye on a recorder if you ever need background music. We can trade Tinder tips. We’ll stay up playing bananagrams and laugh and laugh and laugh....
More publicity than Leon bargained for? Maybe not. By 5 p.m. he was doing another showing of the building to insiders and friends. Mischa Lin, OLNY's other co-president, posted,
"That explains the 13-and-counting requests today for membership. [Update from membership honcho Marton: ">40!"] ...It is leading to more interviews for Leon which we're working on today, so hopefully the stories will get better as the media outlets get larger!"
Poly these days grabs attention.
Update the next morning: Yep, I knew it! The tabloid New York Post raced right into this one. Might I ask, why did they even talk to the Post?
Brooklyn love shack gets makeover as swinger haven
By Sophia Rosenbaum
Residents of a three-story Brooklyn building don’t worry about catching their lovers in bed with someone else — they expect it.
A Bushwick brownstone is being gutted and repurposed as a haven for the “sex-positive community,” according to Open Love NY, a group dedicated to the polyamory community, which encourages consensual romantic relationships with multiple partners.
The “Hacienda Villa” is a 15-bedroom apartment building only open to those that defy the “one true love philosophy.”
“It’s not a one-size-fits-all relationship-style like monogamy, where you get one partner,” said Mischa Lin, who co-founded Open Love NY in 2009. “With polyamory, it’s all about how much you can handle.”
Each floor of the sex haven boasts multiple bedrooms ranging from $750 to $1,500, depending on size and if there is a private bathroom attached.
...As of now, all the renters are just friends — but that could change with the “anything goes” mentality of the community.
“It’s not like a reality show where everyone is hooking up,” Feingold said. “It’s just going to be home for most of the people.”
There are no rules in the polyamory community besides being respectful of others’ boundaries, no matter how crazy their fornication fantasies are.
“The key to polyamory is compersion,” Feingold said. “It’s when you derive happiness from the happiness of those you love, even if they get that happiness from someone else.”
“Jealousy is normal,” Feingold admitted.
The house, which is just blocks away from the Myrtle Avenue stop on the J, M or Z lines, has gone through a top-to-bottom makeover in preparation for its new community.
The first floor has a huge common space that Feingold hopes to rent out for private events, parties and even bat mitzvahs.
“The whole idea is that this is a community that doesn’t judge, so whatever people want to rent the space for, who are we to judge?” Feingold said.
Additional reporting by Jennifer Bain
"Hopefully the stories will get better as the media outlets get larger"??
At least Mischa got a PM from the reporter apologizing for the Post using "swingers" in the headline. That was an editor's doing, the reporter said.
Update a little later: Mischa now posts, "Follow-on coverage today - Leon did an interview with 1010 WINS radio that will be playing every half hour starting at around 10:30 am today." WINS is a major all-news AM radio station. The piece is airing with the teaser "It's 'love the one you're with' at a brownstone in Bushwick." Notes a commenter on the OLNY Facebook page, "The tone is balanced between a smirky condescension and an outraged titillation."
But others feel that anything that gets OLNY's name out is worth it; the few who need to hear about the group will hear about it, and the rest can be ignored.
New Yorkers are known for being thick-skinned....
Update noonish: Mischa posts, "Channel 7 and New York Daily News interviews happening today!"
Update, afternoon: Here's Channel 7's news truck that showed up. This will supposedly be on the 5 o'clock news.
Continued in next post.
Labels: New York