A friend of mine recently arrived in New York City ready to find herself a job and the illustrious E3 visa. She was committed to applying herself to the task as if it were a fulltime job.
“I’m going to work on my applications from 9 till 5,” she told me.
But after two days of 9 till 5 job hunting from my one bedroom New York apartment she was going a little stir crazy.
“Where can I go to work in this city without having to buy a cup of coffee every hour in a jammed cafe?” she asked.
A bit of research and a shout out to other New York-based lady friends in similar situations – some freelancers or just starting their own business – turned up a treasure trove of opportunities for people who just want to get stuff done.
You can jump straight to our list of free worker-friendly places by neighborhood, or check out some of the other interesting options below.
Office space by day, restaurant by night
Spacious and KettleSpace are similar in their approach. They take New York venues that would otherwise go unused during the day and transform them into office-hours workspaces with fast WiFi, plenty of power outlets, bottomless tea and coffee and conference areas great for small meetings. Better yet, you have heaps of flexibility with locations all over the city.
Because this model is essentially taking restaurants and other private venues and turning them into offices, they’re not quite as well-equipped as some of the other co-working venues. But, they come at a fraction of the cost. Memberships start at $99 a month at both Spacious and KettleSpace, which, let’s face it, is pretty much the cost of a daily cup of coffee. And you get free coffee! So who’s winning?
Both companies offer one week free, so you can try before you buy, and KettleSpace runs a referral discount program where you get 50% of a month’s membership if you refer a friend (and they do too!) using your unique code.
No man’s land
The Wing is a network of co-working and community spaces designed for women. They believe that the act of coming together as women creates new opportunities, ideas and conversations that will lead to greater mobility and prosperity for womankind. We can get on board with that!
They have locations is Flatiron, SoHo and Dumbo (as well as DC and San Francisco) and put on some really inspiring events as part of their offering with some kick-arse women speakers. Membership to The Wing starts at $215 a month and includes access to open-plan and private workspace, plus amenities designed with women’s needs in mind.
Membership co-working spaces, with all the perks
If you have a bit of money to throw at the situation, then membership co-working spaces are an option. Only too aware that New York real estate comes at a premium, countless collaborative work spaces have cropped up across the city. Typically, these are slick, designer buildings equipped with modern technology and conveniences. There’s also an attempt to create a sense of community, with events, conferences and offsites, as well as that hipster vibe we all crave (even if we say we don’t).
WeWork is the most prolific with countless venues across Manhattan and Brooklyn and more opening every month. A hot desk at one of their less popular locations will set you back $350 a month, and it goes upwards from there.
Camp David is based in Industry City in a restored industrial complex in Brooklyn. Connected by the D/N/R trains, Camp David has sweeping views of downtown Manhattan and is “in the heart of ‘away from it all’”. A floating desk membership starts at $300 a month, and there are also assigned desk and private office packages available. Camp David comes with the usual perks, as well as a gym, a courtyard area, and a maker space and photographic studio.
NeueHouse has just two spaces, one in New York and one in Hollywood. NeueHouse is certainly at the pricier end of the scale, with a $500 month membership gaining you a desk for five days, as well as evenings and weekends. Their facilities seem pretty a-mazing though! If you want a more affordable option and consider yourself a bit of a night owl, their Noir package starts at $200 a month for unlimited after 5pm access. Some of the member perks offered include Linus bikes as well as an all-star Aussie lineup with Aesop bathroom products and coffee by Bluestone Lane.
Free worker-friendly cafes and public spaces
Finding someplace to set up the laptop and get a little work done, with comfortable seating and some free internet doesn’t sound like a very hard task. But it can be!
The Work From website offers a raft of cafes and places that are worker-friendly that you can search by location.
Here are a few others we really like:
- Battery Park: outdoors there is WiFi and there are some park benches you can work from as well as a small outdoor cafe
- Battery Park City: Brookfield Place at the World Financial Centre has various tables and chairs to sit at with WiFi, plus you get your pick of places to eat at the decent food hall
- West Village: Think Coffee on Mercer Street between 3rd and 4th has a culture where working from the coffee shop is acceptable – people hang out there all day without feeling at risk of being kicked out, plus you get to feel like you’re on the set of “Friends” and you can enjoy a Nutella bagel…
- FiDi: The atrium at 60 Wall St by Pearl St (a bonus is that there are also coffee shops and food places inside so you can work and eat)
- Midtown: The Urban Garden Room at the base of the Bank of America building on 42nd Street and Avenue of the Americas provides plenty of calming leafy greenery while the New York Public Library at Bryant Park doubles as a museum when you’re in need of a break
- Midtown East: The atrium at 590 Madison by 57th Street
- Upper West: The Lincoln Center has a beautiful indoor atrium with free WiFi on Broadway and 62nd Street
Know some other places we should add to the list?
Tell our readers about them in the comments!
Excellent list Julia – well done! 🙂 Spreadhouse in Lower East Side is also great!
Lizzie – Thanks for the tip about Spreadhouse.
Angela Tohl – AWNY Volunteer