Ten resources beyond Craigslist that can hook you up with the perfect stranger.
Tue Apr 26 2011
Photograph: Veronica Chan
Roommates Wanted NYC (roommateswantednyc.com)
Roommates Wanted NYC holds about seven meet-ups—usually in bars—each month in Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens. Events are $5 in advance, but if you post an ad on Craigslist publicizing the event (and include a link to your R.S.V.P. comment on Roommates Wanted), you can get in free. According to founders Dene Farrell and Jeff Orlick, attendance depends on the season and location, but about 30 people tend to turn up for each boozy get-together, and the Brooklyn meet-ups in particular get a good turnout. Next meet-ups May 8. Harlem/Washington Heights: Lenox Lounge, 288 Malcolm X Blvd (Lenox Ave) between 124th and 125th Sts (212-427-0253, lenoxlounge.com). 2--4pm. * Western Brooklyn: Bar Reis, 375A Fifth Ave between 5th and 6th Sts, Park Slope, Brooklyn (718-832-5716). 5--7pm. * Williamsburg, Greenpoint and Bushwick: Alligator LoungeAlligator Lounge: 600 Metropolitan Ave between Leonard and Lorimer Sts, Williamsburg, Brooklyn (718-599-4440). 8--10pm.
Bang It Out (bangitout.com)
Young Orthodox New Yorkers looking for a share on the Upper West Side need search no further than Jewish humor site Bang It Out. People advertising an opening tend to receive between four or five e-mails almost immediately, according to the site founders, twin brothers Isaac and Seth Galena. "I would honestly say that 90 percent of Orthodox Jews on the Upper West Side use our site," he added. "If you want to live in the observant community on the Upper West Side, this is the only way to do it."
Rainbow Roommates (rainbowroommates.com)
This service, which launched in 1995, caters to the LGBT community, though founder Douglas Leavy notes that everyone is welcome. The site typically runs between 100 and 150 postings at a time, although it depends on the season—spring and summer tend to be busier. Most customers find a roommate within two weeks, according to Leavy, but that efficiency is going to cost you—30 days for $65 (there's also a single-day fee for $40). "The cost acts as a filter," Leavy says. "If people want some mischief, they'll go to Craigslist." The service is also very personalized: Leavy vets the listings himself and e-mails members back with appropriate matches. And if within two months of signing a roommate agreement you realize your situation is not working out, Rainbow Roommates will give you a one-month membership free so you can try again.
Roomie Match (roomiematch.com)
Roomie Match screens all profiles in its system; employees delete all the "spams, scams or scums," according to co-owner Robin Owsley. And RM doesn't actually post profiles on its site, either—in an effort to maintain subscribers' privacy, your matches are e-mailed straight to you based on your answers to various questions. You'll receive an e-mail with your matches several times a day. The $19.95 fee is good for one year.
Astorians (astorians.com) and Jackson Heights Life (jacksonheightslife.com)
These Queens-centric community forums both have real-estate sections ideal for apartment hunters: Astorians covers Astoria and Long Island City, and Jackson Heights Life encompasses Jackson Heights, Elmhurst, Corona and Woodside. Although most of the listings here are apartments for sale posted by landlords or by tenants looking for apartments, about once every couple of weeks, there are share listings available.
Metro Roommates (metroroommates.com)
Short-term offers with quick turnovers abound at Metro Roommates, which is owned by Sublet.com (a domain run by online services company Spyder Web Enterprises). But you can find a few longer stay options here, too. (Sublets usually last between one and nine months, but there are some longer-stay options as well.) Search the database according to your criteria, then contact other members directly. Three months' access varies by borough (from $25 for the Bronx to $39.95 for Manhattan), and on a recent browse through the site, we found around 200 postings for pads in Manhattan, 100 for Brooklyn and 40 for the Bronx, all with plenty of photos.
Roommate Happy Hour (roommatehappyhour.com)
John Jourden used to waste a lot of time with too many roommate-matching services: "I signed up for about 20 of them and they were worthless," he says. "I got too many e-mails and went back to Craigslist." Once he connected with people on Craigslist, Jourden would ask them to meet him for a drink, before deciding whether or not to embark on an apartment search with them. "The first week it was me and three other people [getting drinks together], and then me and seven other people, the next week, me and 22 other people." Based on this experience, Jourden launched Roommate Happy Hour in March: Now he organizes weekly get-togethers at eight bars in Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens. All the venues have agreed to extend happy hours until 8pm, and you can expect drink specials as low as $1. The official launch party will occur on May 21, but plenty of happy hours will take place before that (check the site or like RHH on Facebook for details). Because the business has just launched, the service is free through the end of May. After that, there will be three different membership levels; stay tuned for price details.
Roomster encourages members to write lengthy profiles—up to 10,000 words—to increase the chances of a positive roommate match. There's plenty of opportunity to get specific about your interests and your personality, and the site also has its own Facebook app. The free basic service lets you access all of the site's features and section, but you'll be minus the key mailbox tool. Sign up for the Full Membership, which does include the messaging feature, costs $5.95 for three days, $14.95 for two weeks and $29.95 for four weeks. Note: All subscriptions are automatically renewed, so remember to cancel once you and your roomie are living in bliss.