Well folks, you saw it for yourself: it turns out that Jonas, our dreaded, sledded and bedded snowstorm of 2016, was every bit as bad as Governor Cuomo said it would be, and then some. Streets were blanketed, cars were conquered and strange snow sculptures walked the earth. Meanwhile, in the real estate world, someone tried to make a killing by renting an igloo in Greenpoint for $200/night.
The rental listing was up on Airbnb for all of six hours before it was removed, probably due to the safety concerns of storing humans overnight in a snow cave, or the legal uncertainties of charging them for it. Regardless, it was yet another entertaining instance of Brooklyn’s residents taking any opportunity to capitalize on tourists’ unending hunger for “authenticity.” We caught a few screenshots of the ephemeral Airbnb listing, and shared them here for your Monday bemusement. [UPDATE 12PM: We also spoke with Patrick Horton, the creator of the igloo, who shared his process of building it, and the reason Airbnb gave for deleting his listing.]
“Dripping with ingenuity and alt-lifestyle aura lays this Snowpocalypse’s most desirable getaway,” read the listing for this one-bedroom igloo. “Built completely by hand all natural Come experience this chic dome-style bungalow with Bae.” Bizarrely, the listing claimed that the igloo had one bathroom, as well as a washer and dryer. And air conditioning, which makes sense, since there were holes to let the light in.
We caught up with Patrick Horton, 28, who built the igloo in his private backyard in Greenpoint with the help of his roommates, Griffin Jones and Justin Seeley. He admitted that he and his roommates had actually been planning the igloo long before Jonas hit.
“We decided we were going to do this 2 months ago,” Horton told us. “We were sitting and joking around that we should build an igloo, and then we decided we’d actually do it. We were just waiting for a snow day.”
Horton is a freelance art director, which might account for the impeccable structure of the rental property — but he also said that he and his building crew watched hours of Youtube tutorials to guide their hands. “We built an eight-foot high pile of snow on Saturday, let it freeze overnight, and then spent three hours on Sunday digging it out.”
The inside of the igloo could only house a pile of blankets and some pillows, so one can assume that sleeping (or boning) is pretty much the only thing you would have done inside. Horton explained that the purported “amenities” of the igloo — a bathroom, washer and dryer — could be accessed inside their apartment, since the igloo was in the backyard.
Horton’s igloo received 5 rental requests before it was taken down. After removing his listing, Airbnb sent Horton the following message:
My name is Dustón and I work with the Airbnb Trust and Safety Team. I am contacting you regarding your new listing the “Boutique Winter Igloo for 2.”
We are happy to see that you guys are busy and having fun during the Blizpocalypse. Unfortunately, your igloo, while very well constructed, has failed to meet our occupancy standards and has been removed from search results.
The note went on to praise Horton as “an appreciator of igloos around the world” and offered him a $50 credit to be applied to a stay at any of Airbnb’s other igloos. Because yeah, it’s actually legal to rent out igloos, and this isn’t the first time an American has tried it (successfully). Dustón’s message ended by offering up a recommendation clearly directed at Horton’s future endeavors in the igloo rental market: “Be sure to pick a place with running water, electricity, and a roof that doesn’t melt.”
“Okay, so we had a roof that could melt,” Horton said. “But I’m pretty sure that defines every igloo.”
Whether or not this first attempt at Airbnb-ing his snow fort will propel Horton into a life of seasonal micro-apartment real estate remains to be seen. As you’ve probably inferred from the listing’s price and the language he used to describe the igloo, the business side of this blizzard bungalow was conceived half-jokingly. But, riding on the heels of today’s media attention from the around the world, Horton told us that his igloo rental may not be entirely defunct. “We might put it up on Craigslist and see if anyone wants to do it.”
By the way, it’s worth noting that even though this living situation might seem a little chilly, it’d actually still be cheaper than any of the nightly rates at Williamsburg’s Wythe Hotel.
Follow Sam on Twitter to catch more news-worthy absurdities at @ahoysamanta