How Airbnb is transforming Harlem

Update II

Airbnb, the home-sharing site, ran into problems New York City and in the cities of the country. But not in Harlem. Increasingly, visitors to our neighborhood are skipping hotels and using Airbnb and similar sharing services to find local apartments to stay in upscale neighborhoods.

A thousand Harlem residents hosted 28,310 Airbnb guests from around the world between August 2012 and July 2013, according to company statistics. They contributed $ 18.1 million in direct spending, making Harlem one of the city’s most popular destinations for the many customers who prefer to stay “off the beaten track.”

Companies like Airbnb, Far from home, OneFineStay and Cloud 9 have been a godsend for all New Yorkers. So-called sharing economy companies emerged several years ago in the midst of a perfect storm of opportunity. The Internet has made it possible to consolidate the supply and demand for temporary and affordable, cheap and easy excavations, serving as an alternative to expensive hotel stays.

This has created a win-win situation for visitors and hosts alike: adventurous tourists with money to spend but not to spend enjoy an “authentic experience” as the growing ranks of New York’s creative class freelancers, entrepreneurs and artists stay afloat. Sixty-two percent of business survey respondents say that accommodation has enabled them to purchase their home.

But as sharing services have become more popular, they have run into some hurdles. Last year, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman cracked down on Airbnb for seeking information on thousands of New York-area hosts to flush out tax frauds that would raise dollars under the table.

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