The New Commun-ists


August 29, 2009 by Gsmith

This one contributed by my friend Allison in NYC…

It’s not your granddaddy’s Hippie commune.

In fact, a group of Brooklynites who want to buy a nice building near Prospect Park and share common areas with like-minded friendly people aren’t even hippies at all.

They’re called “co-housing enthusiasts.”

And they’re coming soon — they hope — to a neighborhood near you to create a vibrant form of social living in an otherwise indifferent city.

“We want more out of life. We want more community. We were lonely and felt too isolated,” said Alex Marshall, who started planning the first co-housing dwelling in the city with his wife last summer.

Alas, the 1970s are dead. This will not be a pot-smoking, patchouli-filled, free-loving, anything-goes compound.

“Take a commune and a condo, put them in a blender and this is what you get,” said Ben Watts, a likely resident of the building, which will probably be in Park Slope, Prospect Heights or Windsor Terrace.

Drug use and promiscuity — the hallmarks of the golden age of commune living! — will be purely coincidental. But there will be a shared mindset about how to live.

Marshall and about 20 other families say they want to solve what they perceive as the breakdown of capitalist civilization by doing more than acknowledging their building-mates with a slightly perceptible “New York nod” in the hallway.

Inside their walls, there will be communal meals, activities and relaxation. Members are expected to congregate with the group on a semi-regular basis, though there’s no stipulation to do so. It’s dorm living — without the studying.

Much more at:


2 thoughts on “The New Commun-ists

  1. Forest Simmons says:

    Back in the 90’s my wife and I looked into all of the cohousing projects here in Portalnd. We would have loved to live with any of those groups, but guess what?

    They were all way, way beyond what we could afford. We ended up buying a houose that we could afford for abouot one third of the price.

    Is this only for the $50K plus per year families, or are they trying to make it affordable so that ordinary people can be part of it?

  2. Grégoire says:

    I believe the article said 600,000 USD to buy in. Bearing in mind that’s more than twice the price of my house (and five times the cost of my condo) it actually does seem pretty reasonable in Prospect Park.

    There was a documentary on the original co-ops in the early part of the 20th century which aired on PBS a couple of years ago.

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