It's hard being a single person in Manhattan. Jobs are hard to come by, rents are high, and it's easy to get lost without some sense of community. So $1,000/month for a single room and shared bath, hot breakfast and dinner, maid service, and a roof deck with a view of the Empire State Building sounds pretty good, right? There's just one problem: no men allowed.
The New York Times reports today on the continued existence of archaic all-female residences in Manhattan, where matrons knock on doors and check closets for men in hiding. The most famous residence is the Barbizon House, known for sheltering the likes of Grace Kelly and Sylvia Plath. Though men are still not allowed without a chaperone, there are no curfews. Sister Marlene Rust, the administrator of the Jeanne d'Arc (a home for "friendless French girls') said "On Saturday night, you start seeing everyone all dolled up and walking out the door...You might see them walking in again on Sunday morning or afternoon." Clearly, this is no finishing school.
Despite the shared bathrooms and strict opposite-sex policy, many women still find the living arrangements attractive. One resident moved from a cramped East Village apartment, finding the rent and conditions much nicer than most, and that the residents "still manage to go out and meet men.” However, the houses are not just homes to the 20-somethings. The Times writes of one middle-aged resident who moved there after her divorce, and another silver-haired resident who "arrived decades ago and never left." Well yeah, who would leave when you have that skyline view!?