Common at the Berkshires- our first destination event

A major perk of living in New York City is the plethora of gorgeous retreats only a drive away from the bustling city. We wanted to give our members an opportunity to settle into nature and relax for a weekend, away from their busy lives. In the spirit of loving the journey, one of our core values at Common, we rented a vacation home for our members in the Berkshires.

berkshires hike

Here’s how our members spent their time away.


8:00 PM: Arrival at the home. Our members coordinated train rides from Grand Central.

8:30 PM: Enjoy a late dinner cooked by Lior (Crown Heights) and others, then gather around the fire pit for smores and conversation.

10:00 PM: Crack open a couple beers and settle in for a quiet night of Jenga and Cards Against Humanity.

berkshires view


5:30 AM: Wake up to see a blindingly orange sunrise over cinematic mountain views from the destination home’s porch (and then immediately go back to sleep).

11:00 AM: Eat a luxurious brunch prepared by Elizabeth (Crown Heights), consisting of: leftover smores pancakes, fruit medley pancakes, Nutella and banana pancakes, oreo pancakes, and other fun creations, with a supporting cast of bacon, eggs, toast, and tons of freshly brewed coffee.

1:00 PM: Grab a snack and lace up your sneakers, ready to hike Mount Race’s scenic waterfall route.

3:00 PM: Enjoy a late lunch prepared as a group, a mix of pasta, salad, sauteed vegetables, and grilled chicken.

berkshires home interior

4:00 PM: Retreat to your room for a well-deserved nap, lounge on one of the many couches with a blanket, book, and cup of tea, or head down the hill to the adjacent Race Brook Lodge for a dip in the pool or to laze on a hammock. Grab a drink at the Stagecoach Tavern before heading back to the home for dinner.

7:00 PM: Fire up the grill for a barbeque dinner, then lay out blankets and stargaze.

berkshires dinner

9:00 PM: Pop open a bottle of champagne to celebrate Williamsburg member Stefani’s birthday.


hike11:00 AM: Sleep in, luxuriating in the rural silence, or take advantage of your last few hours by going for an early morning hike led by Williamsburg members Mike and Tjeerd, and Crown Heights member Elizabeth.

12:00 PM: Eat a late breakfast prepared by Steven (Crown Heights) and Penina, served in the style of “continuous delivery,” see? It’s every brunch lover’s dream. Musical accompaniment on the piano also provided by Steven, our resident Beethoven.

1:30 PM: Shuttles arrive to bring everyone back to the train station. Members say a goodbye to the Berkshires and head back to the hustle and bustle of New York City.

Our next vacation home? Maybe a ski lodge, or perhaps somewhere tropical. To join our community and enjoy all the benefits of being a member at Common, apply here.

Wine and Paint Night at Common

Previously our members got together for an interactive film screening in our Havemeyer home. In July, two of our members – Alex from our Albany home (Crown Heights) and Danny Pirajan from our Havemeyer home (Williamsburg) – came together to plan a wine and painting night for the community.

member led community events

Alex painted all through undergraduate and graduate school and had conducted group painting sessions before. Danny, one of our house leaders, was happy to step in and help plan. Common helped out by providing all of the supplies that Alex and Danny would need to make this event happen: paint, canvases, brushes, and palettes. “I was really happy that Common was so supportive in helping to make this come together,” Alex said, “Buying snacks and supplies, spreading the word, and also prodding me into action.”

member led community eventThe event happened at our Pacific home, and all of our locations were represented among the twenty members there. For our Williamsburg members, we helped them make the trek to Crown Heights by providing a custom Uber code for free travel. Everyone got their own canvas and settled down with a glass of wine and an array of snacks, watching Alex put on a quick presentation of different painting techniques before creating their own masterpieces.

Regarding her teaching method, Alex said:

I’m against the usual step-by-step process of having twenty people recreate the same vase of flowers. I wanted to encourage an atmosphere of loose experimentation and low pressure for individual expression. I’d requested small canvases; they’re inexpensive, but also less threatening, easy to transport and share, and most importantly, they let newcomers experiment.

wine paint night

Alex (standing) and Danny (seated left) during Wine and Paint night.

The result of this experimentative style was that each person produced vastly different pieces.
For a future event, Alex has in mind rotating canvases, like a game of musical chairs.

Danny attributes the success of wine and paint night not only to the wonderful demonstration by Alex but to the night’s other focal point: wine. “There’s absolutely a reason people drink wine and paint at the same time,” he said, “It helps us be open and creative. To be honest, I think most of the members had never painted before, but this night demonstrated that you don’t have to be an excellent painter to create some excellent art with friends. Wine helps.”

“Okay,” he admitted, “Maybe none of us will be the next Monet, but I can assure you that we had more fun than the guy in Picasso’s ‘Old Guitarist’.”

Some people took their art home to adorn their suites, and the rest of the pieces now decorate the common area at our Pacific home, a reminder of a great community event and the creativity present among our members.

As members of the community here at Common, Danny and Alex hoped to encourage people to explore their talents and even, for some, simply try painting for the first time. Staying curious and always keeping the door open to new opportunities and new people are two of the values we support at Common.

What’s up next? Members have taken it upon themselves to organize a second wine and painting night for August. Who knows, maybe our next Monet will be revealed then.
To join our community, fill out a quick application here.

Finding a Home in New York City: Sublets, Shared Living, and More

Finding a home can be a long and cumbersome process. Finding a home in a big city, takes even more work. Nowadays there are so many choices. We’re here to help break it down for you.

new york sublets

To Own or Not to Own? The Traditional Route

You could always own your home, but prices in big cities like New York, San Francisco, or Washington DC are constantly increasing. If you are the type of person that is moving around for work, home ownership may be a burden.

Traditional leases, as they force you to commit for 12-24 months, are also not the prime options. Your choices become limited if you don’t want to break a lease or incur unwanted fees.

What’s With All the Sublet Hype? The Flexible Option

Sublets are great because they are often furnished and provide flexibility if you do not need a home for more than six months. There are many ways to sublet apartments or rooms nowadays. So many apps and websites have popped up to make this process very easy.

  • Airbnb
  • Craigslist
  • Skylight
  • Facebook groups
  • Social Media

Subletting may seem too good to be true, but underneath the surface are complications that may outweigh the apparent flexibility and ease. A sublessor must get the approval of their landlord. Before you become a subtenant, make sure to get a copy of the lease and check with the landlord that this transaction is legal.

Illegal sublets are more common than not, so always do your homework. Being an illegal subtenant is risky because you can get kicked out if discovered, but also unpleasant as you don’t get the same benefits as a legal subtenant. If you need something fixed you can’t freely contact the super or landlord.

Why Do So Many Choose Shared Living? Community and Convenience

So maybe you’re not ready for the commitment of ownership and want to avoid the risks of subletting.

new york subletsThe benefits of shared living are endless: the shared expenses, the company, and the possibility of affording to live in a neighborhood you otherwise couldn’t on your own. Not to mention a group of people to explore it with!

Curious to learn more? You can apply to join our community in just five minutes. No broker fees or lengthy forms to fill out. Our memberships start at a minimum of three months, to offer you the freedom and flexibility that fits your lifestyle.

At Common, you’ll have your own bedroom with many friendly suitemates a door away. Common homes are fully furnished with our members in mind. We provide beautiful basics and you put your own touch on your spaces.

new york subletsJoining a Common home can be a great alternative to searching for a Williamsburg sublet. Our homes are always located near great eats, local transportation, and some of our favorite local small businesses. Are you ready to join the Common community? Apply today!