APRIL 8, 2011 by: Juliet Kinsman
Very Rear Window,” says my other half approvingly. We’re admiring the view from our New York sitting room through huge, floor-to-ceiling, fourth-floor windows over a yard into scores of other apartments. Next we doff our caps to the vast wall-mounted plasma television, the stack of movies on offer, an Apple Mac with wi-fi and a first-class music system. Nosing further reveals two smart bedrooms with white linen sheets, stacks of pillows and ensuite bathrooms. But we’re not in a hip Manhattan boutique hotel. Instead, we’ve borrowed a strangers’ apartment in Brooklyn, and it’s not costing a cent. This is our second stab at a house swap. We know New York well but for round two we wanted to experience a different part of town, somewhere grittier than our leafy north-west London locale, a place of street artists and mustachioed men serving cocktails in jam jars. Ah yes, Williamsburg, in the borough of Brooklyn, home to hipsters, musicians and wannabes. The bigger ask: how to get a fashionable flat here for free?