Speed dating has been an item for years — but now another creative enterprise has appeared in a similar vein — speed roommating. What, you might ask, is speed roommating? It’s a creative way to help exasperated apartment hunters find that roommate that they need — and it seems to be catching on.
Launched originally in London in 2004 and sponsored by Spareroom.com, which is the UK’s biggest roommate service, the local organizer Josh Wellman said that it’s a “spin on speed dating.”
Recently, such an event took place on the second floor of Gossip Bar in Hell’s Kitchen. These speed roommating events started at the bar in January, and they have people pouring in looking for the right match. When the attendees get to the registration desk, they get a nametag that declares that they either have a room or need a room. As one person at the recent event explained, it’s a “welcome relief to the uncertainty of ads and expensive roommate services.”
One participant, Anita Nyer, explained why she arrived at the speed roommating event. As she said,
“If I had my way, I’d live alone, no question about it, but that’s simply not possible on a teacher’s salary in Manhattan. A friend sent me a link and I like the fact that you can meet so many people here in one place without any pressure.”
The founder, Rupert Hunt, took his time bringing speed roommating to New York. He explained that it just seemed to make sense, with the economy in New York recovering and rents rising to bring it to New York. He said that he hopes to expand to other locations soon in the U.S. All events are free, with the purpose of driving traffic to Spareroom.com.
The events at the Gossip Bar have been drawing in approximately 50 people each time, although the company isn’t keeping statistics on the matches as they are made.
For those interested in speed roommating — the next event will be from 7 to 9 pm next Wednesday, May 2, at the Gossip Bar.