Category Archives: Miscellaneous

Is renter’s insurance right for you?

Following is a brief excerpt from an article written by V. L. Hendrickson for BrickUnderground. It provides renters with a good overview as to whether renter’s insurance would be a worthwhile investment. For home sharers, this may be worth exploring.

According to police estimates, at least half of New York City renters don’t have renter’s insurance. If that includes you, maybe you’re betting that nothing’s going to happen. Or you think that if there’s a flood or a fire, the building will reimburse you for your flat screen television and designer shoe collection.

Um, not so much. Your building won’t fork over a dime for your lost property.

“Denial is not a good thing when it comes to insurance,” says Rick Bingham, a manager at the Manhattan insurance brokerage Kornreich-NIA, Inc.

Agents recommend at least a basic policy to cover what you own – unless, of course, you think it would be no problem to replace it all in case of a disaster. And even if you think your possessions are not that valuable, all those clothes, furniture, electronics, and other personal items can really add up.

“People typically undervalue their possessions,” Bingham says. “But if the whole building goes up in flames, you need to think of things in terms of replacement costs.”

To read the full article, visit BrickUnderground.

Tips for better hosting from a pair of Airbnb junkies

The following is an excerpt from an article that appeared in BrickUnderground and was written by Michelle Slade, who is a freelance copywriter and editor. She’s the author of “Airbnb Pro” – a guidebook full of tips and techniques to help you find the best Airbnb accommodation at the best prices. She also blogs at These tips were specifically written for Airbnb hosts.

1. Respond to reservation requests speedily. Hosts in all other cities respond on time — and they do so politely. You, on the other hand, take about three weeks to message back with “mayb.ill think bout it an let u no.”

2. Don’t be mean when it comes to using your air conditioning in the summer. I’m talking to you, host #1 who emailed us daily to check on our a/c use, and you, host #2 who had post-its all over the walls reminding us to keep it off unless strictly necessary. It’s 100 fricking degrees outside; it’s necessary, okay?

3. Warn us that if we turn on the TV while drying our hair, the fuse will go (and of course, there’s no access to the fuse box because it’s behind three locked doors in the basement). 43.

4. Be honest about just how many stairs we’ll have to climb to reach your apartment. When we’re lugging around two suitcases, a kettle and a microwave (yes, we really did that), six flights isn’t “just a short walk up.” Normal people might not have so much random luggage, but they might have a knee problem or a fear of heights… or something.

5. Leave us a smidgen of storage space for our stuff — even if it’s just a collapsible clothes rail that you bring out when guests stay. When we’re staying in a shoebox and we have to store our clothes on the floor, arguments about “foot sweat marks” ensue.

6. Provide us with basic instructions for the apartment, so that we don’t end up hassling you with phone calls. For example, tell us any strategies for opening the front door if it has a particularly cumbersome lock. Let us in on the wifi password. And inform us where our trash should go on the street (it’s not always obvious).

7. Don’t be afraid to e-mail/phone and make sure everything’s going well. Airbnb is different from hotels: it’s meant to create a sense of community and reciprocity. We won’t feel harassed if you check in with us — and we understand that you’ll be a bit worried about leaving your apartment with strangers.

8. Don’t leave embarrassing medication in your bathroom cabinet: we end up wasting a lot of time hypothesizing about what could have possibly led to your “condition.”

Hosting guide book available for Kindle on Amazon

Airbnb Hosting Guide – Advanced Strategies To Attract More Guests, Earn More Money: An insiders guide to listing your property on Airbnb written by an experienced Airbnb host and traveller

This book by Ross McDowall is now available on Amazon. It contains best tips, strategies and insights to optimize a listing and make thousands of extra dollars per year renting out your space.

The guide goes item by item in your profile, description, photos, calendar and pricing. The book also contains an exclusive code to get a bonus $50 on your first accommodation listing as a host, or $25 off your first travel booking on Airbnb.

Other Airbnb books available include:

Inn Your Home: How To Turn Your Extra Space Into A Money Making B&B Using Airbnb” by Charlie Yzaguirre and Tim McCormick

Make 1600 dollars per month with the AIRBNB ultimate guide (How to make money with no money)” by Frederic Bibard

Airbnb A Travellers Guide – How To Search, Travel and Save a Fortune Using Airbnb” by Ross McDowall

Airbnb a Zerolution” by Rémy Giemza

Be My Guest… and pay me” by Pamela Demorest

Airbed Stories: Experiences of an Airbnb Host” by Nadja van der Heide

Hosting Airbnb Rooms: Tips and Tools” by Mark Huck

How To Get Rich Using Airbnb” by Stephen Liddell

An easier way to find the perfect apartment

I read a brief piece today and it brought to light the great opportunity people may have when looking for an apartment in New York City.

Airbnb, Wimdu, Booking and HomeAway are among the home sharing services that people coming into the city have been using to test out how the locals live while also looking for a place of their own.

Craigslist still remains an option for this, but it’s reputation has taken some shots over the years. People now wonder whether many of their listings are legitimate and have to be willing to take a major risk when they send out advance checks to cover their upcoming stay. Airbnb and others require upfront payment and have an internal screening process which can significantly reduce the amount o fraud on both ends.

I know at least a few locals who have used home sharing Web sites to find an apartment.

Whether moving to a new new city or just to a new apartment in the same neighborhood, finding the right place can be stressful and expensive. Home sharing can help reduce that stress a little — and more than likely some of the expense as well.

Super Bowl tickets available

As most everyone knows, the Super Bowl will be held in the New Jersey Meadowlands this year.

No matter what teams make it to this year’s game it’s intriguing to think of going because it’s so close to the city.

Out of curiosity, I checked to see the price of tickets and packages and they were more reasonable than I expected. Add to that the fact that it won’t require paying air fare or booking a hotel and it seems almost to0 difficult to pass up.

If you or any house guests are looking for tickets to the game, then you can buy tickets here.

Should You Tip For Bad Service?

Should you leave a tip if you’ve had terrible service at a restaurant? What about getting take-out: do you tip if you pick it up yourself? What’s a good tipping policy, anyway?

Ah, the perennial tipping quandary. It isn’t mandatory, for sure, but everyone knows that here in the U.S., the wait staff at restaurants makes a living largely thanks to the generosity of their customers. Tipping is customary, we know that much. But there really are few, if any black-and-white rules built into that custom. The result: most of us have, at one time or another, had a tipping-related question.

Get perspectives from others here.

For a terrific international tipping chart, go here.

Oakland teams feel more East Village-like than NYC’s own squads

It may not be the East Village, but I’ find that there’s some kind of psychic connection between this neighborhood and the San Francisco Bay Area.

I know I’ve personally had a connection with the Bay (in particular with Oakland and it’s sports teams) for pretty much all my life.

I guess it’s for this reason I find it a little disconcerting to read how Oakland may soon lose not one but ALL of it’s professional sports teams — the A’s, Raiders and Warriors — to other cities.

I thought about this when I read an interesting article in this month’s ESPN The Magazine, which details the challenges in Oakland. See the article here,

I grew up a fan of Oakland’s teams and never wavered. People think I must be from the Bay Area, but I’m not. The reality is that I never chose these teams because I lived in Oakland or even because they played their games in Oakland. Quite frankly, it would have been much easier to have chosen local teams. It would have been easier to watch their games, I wouldn’t have gotten a lot more sleep when I was younger because I wouldn’t have had to stay up late listening to games on the radio or trying to catch the updates and final scores, and I would have been in agreement with the views of a majority of my friends .

But, I’ve never felt any connection to the Yankees, Giants, Rangers, Knicks etc. They may be New York sports teams, but I don’t think any of them is representative of the people who live in the East Village. I feel like the people of the East Village would be more inclined to support the A’s, Raiders and Warriors.

The Bay Area teams long have had an eclectic mix of players who mesh together in fun, creative ways. The Raiders are well-known for having brought renegade players to their teams and wound up having great teams for several decades. And the A’s, well they had the “Swingin’ A’s” in the 70s, Billy Ball in the early 80s, the Bash Brothers in the late 80s/early 90s, Money Ball in the first few years of this decade. For the last couple years, the A’s have brought together a group of young, fun-loving guys who are known for forming home run tunnels and smashing pies in the face of players responsible for walk-off victories. And, look at the Warriors! They almost accomplished the unbelievable in last year’s playoffs — falling just short of beating the perennial world champion San Antonio Spurs.

There’s something unique and different about the East Village, even today despite the gentrification that has taken place over the past couple decades. There is still that air of creativity, the progressive views, old-world charm, and the great nightlife that attracts people from all around. Its residents are unique, fun, creative mix of people not only from all around the country, but from all around the world.

No I’m NOT suggesting that the East Village try to steal away Oakland’s teams.

I just think that — like Oakland — it would take a lot to destroy the East Village’s uniqueness. Teams may come and teams may go. People may go and people can come, but for many of us the East Village remains the place that we call our home.

Pumpkins up the wazoo!

Today, I stopped for lunch at Chipotle restaurant and saw that St. Mark’s Market (21 St. Mark’s Place between 2nd and 3rd avenues) had a whole lot of pumpkins! People were stopping and taking photos as they walked by, so I joined the crowd and took one as well. There were plenty of pumpkins both inside the store and outside overflowing the whole area under the steps leading to Chipotole. Halloween is coming! Booooo!

Find more on the market here: