The idea for the “Meet a Member” series is to give you a behind the scenes look at the Cohabs Community and get a better sense of what Cohabs is all about.
So, are you curious to learn more about one of our members?
Meet Maxence, a Belgian reporter living at Cohabs Prospect 885, New York.
Can you tell us a little more about yourself?
I am Maxence, 38, from Belgium. I’m a reporter with two different Belgian outlets, one daily and one weekly. I cover politics and social issues.
I flew to New York shortly after I got the job, in January 2020. For the first three months, I stayed in the Lower East side of Manhattan, in an overpriced room of a shared apartment – a familiar story for many new residents in Manhattan.
Just when I started to get a chance to discover the city and feel like an insider, COVID hit. Shortly after, I moved to the Bushwick Area in Brooklyn. It was a rough summer I must say.
Can you tell us how you found yourself living in a Cohabs house?
That’s an interesting story 🙂
I got to know Cohabs from relatives in Belgium, and about three years ago, when I was looking for a new apartment, I had a chance to visit the Cohabs located near the Botanique subway station. It thought it was a gorgeous coliving concept.
When I heard that they were opening a house in New York, I sent an email to Laure (Community Manager @Cohabs) in order to make sure it was on the list.
Finding accommodation in New York is tricky. I wanted to make sure I wouldn’t find myself in a dire situation so I could get off to a flying start, from a professional or personal standpoint.
How has your experience with Cohabs been so far?
Though I might be a little bit old compared to my roommates, I made this choice willingly.
New York, very paradoxically, can feel pretty lonely, especially with this pandemic, and it can be very challenging to make connections. I thought that the best option for me was to sign a lease with Cohabs so I could get to know people, and start a social life from there.
What are your best memories in the US so far?
Without a doubt covering the last presidential election cycle.
I got to travel to many parts of the country, including Texas, where I’d never set foot before. Austin is fantastic, and I could totally see myself living there someday. I also had a chance to attend a Trump rally in Miami. People were fired up. I’m fortunate to have a job that enables me to travel extensively.
What are your “best and worst” of New York?
I would say that certain parts of the city can be a little rough, though people are always nice.
The area where I used to live prior to coming to Crown Heights was all about concrete, with very few green spaces. It can be very challenging from an emotional standpoint.
New York is a very demanding city. You need to stay active and create opportunities.
In the Brooklyn branch of Cohabs, we’re very fortunate to be located just next to Prospect Park. It’s a huge park, and I go there at least three times a week, either for a run or just to relax and read sitting on a bench.
The New York subway system is old but reliable, and downtown Manhattan is not that far away. I look forward to the COVID outbreak being just a bad memory.
Best of your experiences in New York City?
- A morning tradition: A bagel and a coffee at Lula Bagel. That’s just around the corner at Nostrand Avenue, and they’re good. Really good 😋
- A roommate tradition: On Friday evening, we like to play board games, and practically every other evening, the girls do puzzles!
- Best spot in the area: I would say Prospect Park. It’s such a blessing to be able to roam free in nature a mile away from your home. Also, the Brooklyn Museum and the Botanical Garden are just in front of the park’s entrance. What more could you ask for?
- Next big thing on your schedule: When I’m fully vaccinated, I will for sure attend a Knicks basketball game at Madison Square Garden. Hopefully a playoff game. They haven’t made the offseason in ages!
- Favorite neighborhood: Carroll Gardens. But better watch out for the mob! Kidding, that was ages ago … so they say!
Any last anecdotes?
Right before leaving Belgium, I printed my business cards with the Cohabs address in Brooklyn, since Laure had promised me a spot in the house, which was due to open in March.
Unfortunately, COVID hit and the opening was delayed. I had to find a plan B and I signed a contract with another company. But in the end, my business cards turned out to be useful since I was able to enter the Cohabs house, one year after the original date.
Just a matter of patience, I guess!