After using Airbnb as a guest, Jordan decided it was time to return the joy of the experience to people traveling to New York. “We always had such a good time staying at Airbnb listings and living like locals when we traveled away from home. My roommate at the time, Corey, and I decided it was a good way to supplement our income as we were just launching our lives in the Big Apple.” Fast forward to the present day, where Jordan and his boyfriend, Joshua, share their two-bedroom apartment in Williamsburg with Airbnb guests from around the world.
Previously the co-founder of an education initiative for TED conferences, Jordan is currently in the throes of launching a new nonprofit called VideoOut, a digital library of coming out stories told by real LGBTQ people. Joshua, part of Brooklyn’s robust creative class, is a puppeteer in the midst of creating his second show. “In the past, we utilized Airbnb when we were on vacation. It made sense just to make a little extra money while we were away and provide for a community of travelers. Now, both of us have less work than we’re accustomed to, so we’re relying on Airbnb more heavily to make ends meet.”
Beyond being a financial buoy for the couple, sharing their home allows them to tap into their hospitable nature. “I am a southerner,” Jordan says. “I was born and reared in Hueytown, Alabama, so hospitality is a very familiar concept to me. There was always sweet tea in the fridge and a jar of cookies ready just in case a guest popped by for a visit.” That southern hospitality translates seamlessly for the New York hosts. “Williamsburg is such an exciting neighborhood, so it’s really fun to play tour guide. It’s win win for us — we’re inclined to shower our guests with hospitality, and we live in such an amazing place to do it. It’s easy!”
Staying with Jordan and Joshua comes with a bevy of local recommendations. “We have a few places we send our guests, and all of them are local, unique, small businesses.” Among their favorites are Venezuelan restaurant, Caracas, Black Brick coffee, Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM), and their favorite restaurant, Maison Premiere.
The Brooklyn couple are also very connected to the family of hosts in NYC. “We’ve been to dinners, community events, and even concerts with them. I traveled to Albany to speak with New York state legislators, and I really had the opportunity to bond with other hosts in the city. In a way, it’s a tribe that we are definitely a part of. To be a host is to be a part of something bigger than yourself. In a few word, it’s quintessential to the 2016 NYC experience.”
Should an unfair home sharing bill passed by Albany legislators become law, Jordan and Joshua’s would lose their economic lifeline. To add insult to injury, the couple could be fined up to $7,500 just for advertising their space. To them, no longer hosting on Airbnb would feel like getting laid off from a job. “Airbnb has been such a part of our lives for a few years now. All we ever wanted is an opportunity for a better life. Airbnb has given us an opportunity to better ourselves and our lives here. We wouldn’t be living a joyful existence to the extent that we are able to now.”