In accordance with New York City laws, the website Airbnb, and other websites that matches residents looking to rent out their home for a short period of time to visitors, has been ruled as not operating within city code, and thus, is illegal. This ruling could not have come at a worse time, in the peak tourism of summer, when locals love to leave the city to escape the unbearable humidity. Isn’t renting in New York City tough enough as is?
Once again, the government has ruled that we do not truly control the things we use every day. Because if we did really own things, we would be able to do with them what we please, even if what pleases us, does not please the government. The powers that be who do not want you to unlock your phone or Playstation 3, have the same paranoid line of thought that NYC lawmakers do. They assume their bread and butter will be largely lost to a black market, rather than slightly changed by independent individuals who would rather break the law than not. This is why libertarianism persists in this day and age, because of hegemonic, paranoid greed.
Airbnb and businesses and like accounted for approximately $1 billion worth of economic growth not given to hotels and the like. This is a good thing. What better way to mitigate this misrepresentation of the culture of New York than to sell a taste of our housing to whomever’s down to experience “the Real New York?”
We locals agree that most New York City hotels provide an insular and inaccurate perspective on city life. All the tourists are jammed into Times Square and Downtown hotels, and are forced to trudge through mounds of crooks and one another. And we wonder why New York has such a bipolar image. Who’s the real criminal: Airbnb users or the hotels that rob tourists and residents of this seemingly important exchange of urban experience?