Food & Drink Editor
You can find all sorts in Bushwick… if you know where to look.
On a quiet, open block of Stanhope Street, behind the unassuming brick façade of a two-story home and up a short flight of steps, you’ll find what could only be described as an urban oasis. It’s an open, bright, airy space, flooded with natural light and filled with décor that’s equal parts vintage and quirky.
This is The Funky Loft and it does triple duty. It is a film and photo shoot location, a functioning three-room bed and breakfast, and the home of proprietor Marcella Lentz-Pope.
Running these two businesses — The Funky Loft Locations and the B&B, guests for which she books using Airbnb — allows her the flexibility and freedom to pursue her passion of acting.
Lentz-Pope is a Los Angeles transplant who’s been in Bushwick for a bit over two years. She moved to NYC when she realized she needed a change in scenery.
“I was born and raised in LA and lived there my whole life,” said Lentz-Pope. “It was time to shake things up and get out of my comfort zone.”
After staying with her brother in Ridgewood for a while, Lentz-Pope ended up drawn to Bushwick.
“I did end up falling in love with Bushwick,” said Lentz-Pope. “I like being in a residential neighborhood. I don’t mind having to walk a bit to go to a place.”
She didn’t leave everything behind in LA, though. When Lentz-Pope moved cross country, she brought her business model with her. In LA, she operated a number of locations that she booked for film and photo shoots. She still operates those locations, and decided to branch out into her newly adopted home.
“I found this place last February,” Lentz-Pope said. “By March, everything was built out and we started having guests almost immediately.”
All three rooms in the loft are “pretty much always fully booked” and run about $40 a night — a steal, if you’re lucky enough to find them un-booked on AirBNB. Photo shoot clients are there regularly, roughly once a week.
The empty space that would become The Funky Loft was the perfect site for expansion. Lentz-Pope continues booking in her LA locations, eight in total.
Also a working actress, Lentz-Pope’s credits include “Superbad,” “The Social Network,” and” Big Hero 6,” as well as TV’s “Boardwalk Empire” and a host of video games. Moving across country hasn’t stalled those efforts at all.
“Moving to New York allowed me to now have connections and work on both coasts,” Lentz-Pope said. “I’m doing a lot more voice-over work here in New York and I’m loving it.”
“Plus living in a city that I actually love means I’m happy… go figure.”
UPDATE: Many BD readers have asked about the legality of AirBNB hosting in NYC — a fair question, given the city’s famously confrontational relationship with the hosting site. There are a number of laws, both state and city, that dictate whether a given hosting situation is legal or not.
Broadly speaking, there are three primary factors that determine the legality of an AirBNB hosting in NYC: the unit is in a structure with less than three units; the host actively lives in the rented unit; and landlords/building owners are aware and approve of the hosting. Lentz-Pope’s The Funky Loft meets these three legality requirements.
Cover photo courtesy The Funky Loft