I spent July 2013 in Berlin, checking out the city and wondering what it’d be like to live there full time. So, in addition to checking out the line policies at Berghain (they seem totally random), I also checked out some coworking spaces. Like NYC, Berlin has a very clear coworking culture and it’s certainly a bit different. In some ways, more civilized than the workaholic mindset that so many New Yorkers have.
Here’s a list of Berlin features:
Hours are more sane. The work-life balance in Berlin is quite even, especially in summer when the sun is only down for 4-5 hours a night. It’s more common for people to role between 9-10am and to really stop working for the day between 5 and 6. Some people leave then, and others stay and get a beer from the cafe. This is of course a bit different for those in private offices for startups. But from what I could tell, everyone was following German laws around how many hours could be worked a week (in an office at least, but again this is a casual observation so who knows?)
Cafes are common. All of the coworking spaces I saw had cafes for buying coffee, Club Mate (the standard coffee alternative that is oddly addicting), lunch options (typically just one or two a day, changing each day), and beer for after hours. Some spaces like Betahaus and St. Oberholtz have cafe only spaces that you can go to instead of paying a day rate in the main space.
Service is German. Which means that there are specific processes to follow and that you’ve got to be a bit more patient with whoever is providing said service. People may speak with you a bit more direct than they would in the States. And they’ve be VERY thorough about it. But this is true of well, anything in Germany.
Eye for detail. Every space I went to was very well designed. But why wouldn’t it be? Everything else in Berlin has a clear design sense as well. This is different than some of the US spaces, which are more varied when it comes to design.
Community is important. Some spaces even encourage members to join a weekly group dinner to meet other members.
Spaces have a variety of workspaces available. Some may just have different types of seating areas if you’re just eating, having a meeting, or need silence. Others have a wide variety of conference spaces, conversation spaces or workshops with 3D printing or woodworking materials.
Spaces are all over. In NYC, the better coworking tends to be in Manhattan or one of the Brooklyn neighborhoods with more offices (not that there aren’t some really cute and nice neighboorhood coworking spaces, but they’re not really focused on bringing in the dough). That’s not the case in Berlin. There are major coworking spaces in all of the big neighborhoods, and each one reflects the neighborhood that they are in (edgier in the East, more traditional in the West, posher in more expensive neighborhoods, edgiest in the edgiest neighborhoods). So, if there’s a specific industry you want to work with or neighborhood you want to spend all your time in, your coworking space can really help support those goals.
In conclusion, I found the coworking culture in Berlin vibrant yet homey. And I really really wise I could bring their cafes back to NYC. Adding a layer of food culture would really make our spaces homier.
Ever hear of Regus? They had co-working in NYC before the term was even invented—yet, no one really thinks of them in the same conversation as GA, WeWork, etc. Well, perhaps that should change with their new Business Gold plan. Get this. It’s $29 a month to drop in to any one of their workspaces and work. Yeah, that’s right—for less than the cost of a mifi, you can drop into any one of their dozens of locations around the city and work for an unlimited amount of time. Maybe you’ve been hesitating to get an office because you only need it occasionally. They’ve got conference rooms, too, and the Gold membership gives you preferred rates on rooms. You’ll hardly use those rooms anyway, so you might as well pay for them on an hourly basis when you need them. Have you seen their space on 46th/3rd? It’s gorgeous—maybe the nicest, cleanest, brightest workspace I’ve seen. Anyway, their website could use some help, but the offer is seriously worth it. If you want to sign up for this deal (while it lasts) go here. Select “US” and the price will switch to $29.
Laurea's take on coworking at The Yard LES on Monday, June 17
Note: The Yard LES launch party is tonight, Thursday, June 20 from 6-8 pm. RSVP@WORKATTHEYARD.COM.
The Lower East Side’s new space to work celebrates the history and future of one of New York’s most vibrant neighborhoods. Enjoy food, drinks, music, and art representing the best of yesterday and today.
Featuring the photography of Brian Rose from his book Time and Space on the Lower East Side.
Music by Mr. Gibbons Photobooth by The Majestic Photobooth Company Beer by Brooklyn Brewery Wine by September Wines Ice Cream Sandwiches by Melt Bakery
When I first contacted the Yard about trying their space for a day a few months back, they said they only did tours of their Willamsburg location - no trials, so I was happy to find that their brand new location the Yard LES on 85 Delancey (right next to the Moscot store) offers a drop in rate of $25 to cowork in their lounge space for the day.
The Yard LES wasn’t taking credit cards as of Monday, June 17 for drop in day passes (cash only) but Beth the manager was very friendly and welcoming so her friendliness made up for the inconvenience.
There are two floors total that look pretty much identical with small private offices of various sizes. Most of the private offices actually have windows and natural light so if you are looking for a small private office space in the Lower East Side for 1-7 people, the Yard LES is a great option. The photo below shows the hallway and the private offices behind glass on both sides of the hallway. The columns are still being worked on but will get painted over once construction is complete.
The prints on the wall were a nice touch and kept the communal area from feeling too sterile.
Each of the two floors has a common lounge area.
Martha and I coworked in the lounge on the third floor. We had the place to ourselves for the entire day since not too many people had probably heard The Yard LES was open yet. I am anticipating the coworking lounge will get full soon because of its fantastic location.
They are also planning on opening a rooftop which I am really excited to check out once it is open, there are some great views of the city from Delancey Street.
If it’s a nice day, you feel like riding a bike and you have a Citi bike rack near you, you can ride it to the dock around the corner from the Yard LES on the West side of Norfolk Street near Broome Street.
What I liked:
The location on Delancey near the Essex street station is nice because it never gets too crowded, even during rush hour, so the commute is not as stressful as going to Midtown Manhattan. The building is an old former bank building so the lobby and interior of the building has character. The internet worked well throughout the day (but since we were the only people it will be interesting to see how the bandwidth holds up once more members join).
I am hoping in addition to painting the walls that the library/coworking lounge will get some art on the walls and plants to help prevent it from looking too sparse. The lighting is a bit harsh and touch and go right now in the coworking lounge so hopefully some light fixtures will be installed and the motion sensor will get worked out.
I didn’t see any phone booths so I am not sure what their plans are for when the coworking libraries get full and people need to make phone calls.
The doors to the lobby in the entrance were finicky and were locked on and off. There was a table in the lobby so hopefully they will get a door attendant to let people in since there is no intercom to get buzzed into the building.
Lunch: Martha and I went to Tiny’s for lunch which has a good selection of sandwiches (even for vegetarians!) with really fresh ingredients and salads. It’s a nice sunny spot with big windows and tasty home made sodas.
Happy hour: We went to Berkli Parc on 63 Delancey. It seems to be more of a coffee shop but they have a nice beer and wine selection and a happy hour from selected beers and wines ($5 for a beer or glass of wine) everyday from 4 pm to 8pm. If you need some serious liquor The Delancey deck is a nice place to have a drink.
The unique feature about Rev is that it is located under the Vitra store in Chelsea so it is furnished with Vitra furniture, giving this coworking space an advantage of having the nicest office furniture of any coworking space or most offices for that matter that I have seen so far.
Rev is located near the Highline, right next to Soho House and a few blocks from Chelsea Market - such a design lover’s neighborhood.
Even though Rev is in the lower level of the Vitra store, you don’t feel like you are working in a basement, which was my initial concern before seeing the space. The ceilings are pretty high for a lower level space and since the Vitra storefront is all glass, sunlight comes down into the Rev space.
What I liked:
The furniture was gorgeous, comfortable and functional. I had a big desk with a giant monitor (about 40 inches). The desk came with a laptop plug, iPhone charger, mouse and keyboard. Definitely the most complete desk I have tried working in so far. The chair was also extremely comfortable which most coworking spaces understandably so cannot afford to have so it was a luxury to work in the space for the day. Clearly the Vitra marketing with Rev worked on me because I had such a good experience with their furniture.
There was a communal desk that you could work from standing up. I was so into my desk for the day that I did not get a chance to try to work standing up even though it is supposed to be better for you.
There was a nice couch area if you wanted to have a meeting or just not work at a desk for a bit.
The fridge was stocked with IZZE soda and there were snacks available.
There restroom was super clean and fancy. Since the restroom is shared with the Vitra office, you got to walk by their gorgeous office on the way to the restroom.
Internet speed: Download speed: 15.60, Upload speed 5.02
What could be better:
If you are lucky enough to get a desk for the day then it definitely feels spacious but if the space is busy I can see the communal tables getting pretty crowded since the chairs are quite close together.
There isn’t space for a proper conference room so if you are someone who is looking for a space with a conference room then this won’t work for you.
If you make a ton of phone calls and want a phone booth then this open plan space is also not a good match.
The front door is locked until the Vitra store is open so you have to find someone on their staff of 3 to open the door to let people in who are meeting you if the store is closed; so you don’t have the freedom of having keys to the space unlike other coworking spaces.
This kind of lunch option is when you are reminded of why you work so hard to live in NYC - being able to enjoy a beautifully designed public space that people from all over the world travel to see with some delicious food during your lunch break.
Happy hour: Martha and I went to the bar at the http://www.hotelgansevoort.com/ for a drink. Ridiculously nice views (pictured below) but you have to go before 6 PM before the crowd gets unbearable. The drinks are pricey ($18 for one cocktail) but they are strong. There were tater tots on the menu which seemed like an awesome idea but there are only 3 of them for $9. So don’t order them!
Cost: Rev has two plans - occasional and unlimited.
The occasional plan reminds me of Zipcar because you can pay hourly and even by the minute!
The unlimited plan for $249 a month is a really good deal for a plan that is Monday - Saturday 9 am to 9 pm and located in Chelsea with some of the best office furniture you can get.
Laurea’s take on coworking at Projective space (Soho Location) on Tuesday, February 28, 2012
This was a really hectic day for me so I was glad that Projective Space was an easy 15 minute train ride with no transfer on the J from Williamsburg.
When things are really stressful for me, it is tempting to just hole up and work from home but I have found that since coworking enables small interactions with people it actually alleviates the extra stress that occurs from being isolated. Being able to quickly vent to someone or just talk about something unrelated to work for a minute helps a lot.
The border of Chinatown and Soho is one of my favorite neighborhoods - there are a lot of calm spaces in between the crowded streets, the architecture is interesting and there are a good selection of lunch and happy hour spots.
What I liked: The location on Broadway near Grand street makes it really easy to get to by train. All the Canal street stops are very close as well as a few stops on Spring street.
The ceilings are high so even though the desks are very close to each other the room doesn’t feel as tight as it would with ceilings that are a standard height. The lighting is nice because it warm and bright. It is not the headache inducing fluorescent type. There are floor to ceiling windows that look out onto Broadway so there is also a fair amount of natural light that comes into the space.
People were very friendly - they had a good balance of engaging in conversation but everyone was really productive. The atmosphere was very busy that day, lots of people on phone calls and you could feel a general sense of energy.
One of the people that works there teaches a yoga class from time to time at the end of the day and invites people to participate. I didn’t have time for the class that day but that is a big plus for me since I do yoga regularly.
Type of people who work here: Mostly established tech startups like Uber, SeatGeek, and IndieGoGo. Martha and I sat next to a developer that day and I also ran into Kat Popiel who I met awhile ago who runs content and community for IndieGoGo so it is always nice to run into people you know. She said she likes coming into work in the space and she gets a lot done.
What could be better: The desks in the coworking space were really suited to 2 people but since it was busy that day each desk had about 4 people working on it. I accidentally lightly kicked the person in front of me a few times (sorry lady) since I did not have enough leg room. Larger desks could fit into the coworking space with a different layout.
An area to take phone calls that is more insulated like a phone booth or room would also improve the space. Since the space has high ceilings and is long and narrow, when 2 or more people are on the phone the entire space echoes and it can be a bit distracting to hear every detail of someone’s conversation.
It would also be better to put up a barrier around the one conference table to allow for more privacy during any group conversations and in person meetings.
Projective Space did follow up right away with Martha and I about our visit and I told them about what could be better and they addressed my feedback right away and said they are already planning on building out a lounge with phone booths and lockers up front, and a few more tables to increase the coworking area capacity to 20.
This is another important thing for all coworking spaces to do - follow up with every person who tries your space out. Some spaces have been doing this but not all of them. This is such an important part of cultivating your coworking community. The physical aspects of the space are of course very important but without the community the space is not interesting and will not survive.
Lunch: Martha and I wanted to eat at La Esquina but the wait was too long so we ended up at Cafe Select since we were in a hurry.
The space is comfortable and well designed but the food isn’t very exciting, it falls under the category of French/American *not* one of my favorites but since we didn’t have much time we couldn’t afford the wait for one of the better spots.
Happy hour: There are so many great bar options, but we decided to try Lani Kai which is a kitschy tiki bar with good drinks. We tried it because people we knew on Foursquare had been a few times.
Coworking at Projective Space is by application. They also have another larger location in the Lower East Side which we are looking forward to trying.
Laurea’s take on coworking at In Good Company on February 17, 2012
It is amazing how much better the Flatiron neighborhood has gotten in the past few years. I really think that Shake Shack has had a lot to do with the transformation of the neighborhood. Madison Square Park used to be very quiet and there were not very many compelling businesses around then when Shake Shack opened it seemed like all the other interesting places followed.
In Good Company is right across the street from Madison Square Park so it is really easy to get to by subway. The building is on 23rd Street on a great block so their location is really desirable.
What I liked: The receptionist was very friendly and the front room had a lot of light. The workspaces are all well designed white desks and each desk had a tulip. Having a flower on each desk was a really nice touch that I haven’t seen at any coworking space yet.
It is amazing how that small touch can really add to the space. The chairs made you sit in a good posture but were not uncomfortable. There was a nice lounge area with clean couches so if one of the three conference rooms were booked you could use the lounge area for a meeting if you didn’t want to meet at your desk.
The space has soft track lighting and art on the walls (which are for sale, smart move) so even though there are no windows in the workspace (there are only windows in the front) you don’t feel like you are working in a dreary box.
In the front of the space there is a larger conference room that can seat about 8 people or so with windows overlooking 23rd street.
One of the three conference rooms. It has track lighting, a plant and art on the wall - it turns a tiny space into an appealing one with just those three details.
Internet speed: Download 15.01 Mbps, Upload 1.42 Mbps
Type of people who work here: Since this space is geared towards women the majority of the people working were women though there were a few men who came into the space throughout the day. The average age of the coworkers seemed to be between the mid-30’s to 40’s, so definitely an older crowd.
One of the founders, Amy Abrams pointed out that it was holiday weekend so last Friday was quiet but that since In Good Company is industry agnostic they have a wide range of people from different backgrounds such as marketing, social media, business strategy, tech businesses, product businesses and designers. She said they also have businesses that focus on health and wellness and people who are academic advisors, career coaches, caterers, recruiters and style consultants.
What could be better: A bigger kitchen and more tolerance for higher voice levels on the phone. I really tried to keep my voice down but apparently it was not low enough. There weren’t too many people on the phone and the enforced volume for the space is pretty low, about library level - so even though I really like the space, I am probably too loud for it since a lot of my job entails me being on the phone.
Lunch: We did not have time for lunch today but if we did we would have had a TON of options - Eataly, Shake Shack, Calexico, and if for whatever reason you really have to impress a client or are just feeling fancy in general there is Eleven Madison and Gramercy Tavern.
Happy hour: We didn’t have time for happy hour but we did do dinner at Shake Shack since we skipped lunch. If we did end up going for cocktails we would have gone to the Flatiron Lounge.
Laurea’s take on coworking at SoTechie Spaces on February 10, 2012
When we emailed SoTechie spaces to ask if we could try out their space for the day they emailed us back right away, were very welcoming and even said they read our blog so it was great to get some recognition!
I wasn’t too excited about the location since I am not a fan of Midtown but SoTechie Spaces is located at 28 W. 39th St between 5th and 6th Avenue closer to Bryant Park so it isn’t as hectic as being right in the Times Square or Port Authority area. I think that the park really diffuses hectic energy.
What I liked: There were fairly spacious desks arranged by block so you could easily talk to someone who sat next to you but since everyone is at a desk, space is delineated more clearly than a shared table. There were ethernet connections at most desks which I prefer using when available since wifi can be less reliable. The chairs at each desk were fairly comfortable.
Internet speed via Ethernet cable: 2.34 Download & .42 Upload
What could be better: The SoTechie space was longer, narrower and smaller than the other coworking spaces we have visited. The private offices are quite small so people leave their doors open and you can hear all their conversations. There were some tense conversations taking place that day so it made the overall vibe a bit strange. The people coworking in the space that day were not very social. Granted there were only 4 or so people working in the common area but no one introduced themselves to us. We got the impression that most of them were introverts. It seemed like most of the social interactions took place in the private offices.
The majority of the light sources in the space were standard overhead rectangular fluorescent lights which wouldn’t have bothered me so much if the ceiling was higher. I tried to turn the lights off since there was a fair amount of light coming from the main window but someone kept turning them back on so I just gave up on that light switch battle.
Lunch: I was really happy that one of my favorite restaurants, Szechuan Gourmet was right across the street so naturally Martha and I took advantage of the lunch special there.
The spicy sesame noodles are super yummy and they also do spicy fish dishes really well. If you can handle really spicy soup try their hotpot for dinner.
Laurea’s take on coworking at the Loosecubes HQ on February 3, 2012
Since Loosecubes is an online database of coworking spaces that enables people to book coworking slots in different spaces, features reviews *and* they allow anyone to cowork in their office if you sign up in advance and pay $5 to work there for the day; Martha and I were excited to try it out. It was the first time that we coworked in a space that was primarily made up of the company. The coworkers were the minority in this case which was new for us.
Loosecubes is in a building on 20 Jay Street in DUMBO. It is a quick walk to and from the York stop on the F train and there are plenty of places to stop by and get coffee on the way to the building.
DUMBO is growing and there are definitely more businesses than there were a few years ago, but the neighborhood still feels isolated. If you live in, within walking distance or a short bike ride from DUMBO, it is a good neighborhood to work in but it doesn’t offer the diversity of the other neighborhoods of the coworking spaces we have reviewed in the past. If you have a lot of meetings in Manhattan then this isn’t going to be a good place for you.
What I liked:
The Loosecubes office is in a spacious loft office with big windows and plenty of light which I loved since I need both while I work. The desks were large and there were monitors that I could plug into. It was great having the ability to replicate my exact external monitor set up at home for the first time in a coworking space.
If you have a bike you can bring it up into the office so you don’t have to worry about locking it it up on the street.
There is a tent where you can work, make calls, have a meeting, take a nap or just hang out if you feel like you just need some astroturf in your life!
What could be better: Some way for Loosecubes to more effectively integrate the coworking area into their space to facilitate a better interaction between their team and the coworking community in their space.
I wouldn’t be making this recommendation if the company office were just a shared space with no coworking objective but since the focus of the company is coworking they should take better advantage of connecting with the coworkers they attract.
We were given a friendly introduction to the space which covered all the basics - available desks, location of bathrooms and wifi password but since Loosecubes is about coworking and they have opened up their space to anyone to work in for a small fee, I expected them to take a stronger interest in how and why Martha and I chose to work in their space for that day and the kind of work we are involved in.
Since they let other people work in their space it would also be better if they built a conference room or some other private space for them to have their company meetings. It was a bit awkward for us to hear meetings that should be separated from the shared space.
Lunch: Martha and I ate at Superfine that day which has a solid menu and comfortable tables but it is not a great bargain. Lunch will cost you around $15-$20 per person. This is not the neighborhood for lunch specials.
Happy hour: There are a bunch of casual bars close by. The most popular one being reBar, but since we wanted to try something else, we ended up at 68 Jay Street bar. It is a small space and was mostly standing room which works if you don’t plan on drinking for too long. They offer standard, basic drinks - nothing too fancy or different but the main benefit is that it is affordable and close to the office.
Special features and costs: Cool tent, ability to bring a bike into the office, very affordable $5 day rate, $400 a day event space rental for a group, $400 a month for an individual desk, $1600 a month for a group desk
Co-working: Questions to ask yourself before you go hunting for a space
Various folks have asked us about co-working, frequently asking us which spaces they should join, what it’s like, should they do it, etc. We always come back with a “you should, but there’s no one right answer for every co-working.”
So, we’ve put this list together of questions you need to ask yourself before you choose a space:
Are you looking for just one space to be at all the time, or do you want to work from different spaces?
What’s your main motivation for joining a co-working space?
What sort of people do you want to network with? (age, industry, gender, types of clients they have, etc)
What sort of facilities do you want? (Do you want your own desk? Are you ok with sharing a desk or big table? Do you need access to a conference room? Do you want a mailbox?)
What sort of commute are you open to?
How important are regular networking events?
How often do you want to be in the space? (This will help determine if you should sign up for a monthly membership or a daily membership)
Do you want access to training facilities?
How do you feel about phone calls in a big room with other people around?
How do you feel about being in an open space versus a private office?
Do you want to chat all day or do you want a quiet workspace?
We are finding that these questions set the tone for selecting the type of co-working space a person will be most comfortable in.
Eventually, we’ll put some sort of a grid together laying this out for the NYC co-working spaces. Alas, we’re not done reviewing them yet! Next up: Loosecubes HQ!
There are still co-working spaces popping up all of the time in NYC and we still plan to review all of those fabulous places. However, we plan to expand our blog this year to get into talking about co-working on a higher level. We’ve already laid out some awesome questions and features that we want to cover. But hey, why not ask you what you want to know?
Please reply with questions you care about and we’ll try and address them.
EVERYBODY is invited to start a jelly at his place and to invite coworkers from all over the world. Push your local coworking initiatives and develop ideas and actions to connect the global community! JELLY is a casual working event. People are coming together (in a person’s home, a coffee shop, a public space or an office) to work for the day. Bring a laptop (or whatever you need to get your work done) and a friendly disposition. And you are free to create an interesting program (barcamps, exhibitions, workshops, networking events, exchange programs with other coworking communities etc.) during the jelly week.
Check out this global map to find a coworking group to join.
Here are some NYC coworking spaces that are offering free days this week:
- Bitmap in Williamsburg will be hosting three free days from today, Monday, January 16 until Wednesday, January 18
- Loosecubes HQ in DUMBO Brooklyn will be open today, Monday from 11am - 5pm to “host anyone who’s interested in working, hacking, catching up on personal to-dos or craft projects, and collaborating on new ventures.”
Laurea’s take on Greenpoint coworking on December 6, 2011 (Yeah I know super LATE!)
HAPPY NEW YEAR!
We hope you had a festive holiday and the new year is treating you well so far.
Yes our posts are SUPER LATE for the Greenpoint coworking space but that is what happens during the holidays.
Everything gets nuts in order to close out the year.
I got back from an amazing trip to Mumbai last Saturday so I am just now catching up and getting back into the swing of things here.
Ok enough excuses, here we go…
The Greenpoint coworking space would be perfect for you if you lived in Greenpoint and wanted to stay in the neighborhood but get out of your house. It is not super ideal for me since I live on the South Side of Williamsburg so it is an awkward location for me and actually faster for me to get to a coworking space downtown.
It is the smallest space we have seen so far which would work if you want to work in an intimate space and don’t need to do a lot of client meetings and phone calls in the space.
What I liked: The people working there were very friendly, there was a relaxed atmosphere and the workspace faces a window so you don’t feel like you are working in a small box. You get to hang out with a cute dog named Sushi.
Lunch: Martha and I had lunch at http://www.fireplaceny.com/ which had a pretty diverse menu of bistro type food. The portions were huge for the price so if you are super hungry then go here.
Good happy hour spots close by: We didn’t have time for happy hour that day but if we had we would have tried one of the spots on Nassau Avenue or went to Five Leaves by the park.
What could be better: More desks and bigger space but given this seems to be a very neighborhood space their amount of space is probably the right fit for the neighborhood.
- Discounts with Zipcar
- Up to 15% off at Moxie Bookkeeping
- Up to 15% off packages with Social Media Consultant/ Strategist Marian Schembari
-10% off any business coaching package with Susan Martin of Business Sanity
- 15% off legal work/contracts with Franqui Law Group
- Discounted rates on events and workshops at GPCW
- Free access to coworking spaces all over the world as a part of the Coworking Visa Program
Laurea’s take on Greenspaces (NYC location) on November 11
We are delayed in posting because of the craziness that ensued before Thanksgiving. Martha and I hope you all ate a lot and spent time with the people you loved. We definitely did and are going to try to squeeze in some more reviews before the holidays!
Here is my take on Green Spaces which we visited on November 11…
Most people working in the space were pretty quiet and only a few people were on the phone throughout the day. This was the only space where Martha and I were told to lower our voices and what was strange was that the person who thought we were talking too loud told the receptionist to tell us to lower our voices. Not sure why the person couldn’t have just told us themselves to lower our voices - that was like a weird grade school flashback so whomever you were that thought we were too loud you should have just told us yourself and we could have also apologized to you and bought you a drink or something to make up for annoying you!
I was surprised by the number of people who ate lunch at their desk. One of the benefits of being a freelancer is being able to leave your desk for lunch. Since there were a number of people eating lunch at their desk it got a bit smelly for an hour or so until everyone was done eating.
What I liked: I like how Green Spaces has a free day pass that is easy to find on their website.
All co-working spaces that are looking to be inclusive should have a link to a day pass on their website.
Amy, the receptionist was very friendly and gave a detailed tour and overview of the space.
There is a decent kitchen, one pretty good lounge area that you could add chairs to yourself to accommodate any meetings. There are two fairly small conference rooms which could fit about 4-6 people max. There is free coffee and tea all day and 24/7 access to full time members.
There is one phone booth which can fit a laptop if you need to duck somewhere to have a phone call.
You don’t have to be a part of the Green community to work here but they are aiming to be the hub for the Green community so if you are a freelancer or business looking for desk space then this is the best co-working community match for you.
Lunch: We went to Nha Trang One for a quick lunch which is decent but not the best since we didn’t have much time that day to really be picky but since Green Spaces is in Chinatown the options are numerous!
Good happy hour spots close by: We didn’t have time for Happy hour that day unfortunately but if we did I think we would have gone to Winnie’s for some divey drinks and $1 per song karaoke action
What could be better:
I prefer a space with more natural light. It was a bit dark here but they kind of made it work by going for a library look.
I wish there were plugs embedded in the desks. You need to be by a wall if you want an outlet though there are a few extension cords available.
From an aesthetic point of view I liked the eclectic mix of furniture but from a functional point of view some chairs were more comfortable and a better match to the desks. I had to take some time to find the right chair to work in for the day.
Wall Street is *not* my favorite neighborhood. Due to the location I was not very excited, though on the plus side the commute was extremely short for me - the J straight from Williamsburg to Broad Street (15 mins) so that was a plus.
I was not very inspired by the building (55 Broad street) but I got a good laugh in the elevator when I saw that there was a placed called “The Reputation Institute” on one of the squares that light up for each floor in the elevator.
When I arrived at the Hive at 55 the receptionist was friendly and the space looked pretty busy. This was the first time we co-worked on a Thursday so that might have had something to do with the space being busier. I also learned from the receptionist that their members are pretty diverse. Although there is a big base of tech workers there are also journalists, lawyers, writers and designers who work from their space.
(New iPhone = better pictures. YESSSS!)
The Hive is one of the oldest co-working spaces in NYC.
In July 2009, Mayor Mike Bloomberg announced the MediaNYC 2020 program, a series of initiatives to support and promote the city’s media and technology industries. Included in this announcement was a “freelancer hive” offering affordable workspace to sustain small business and start-ups. In December 2009, the Hive at 55 officially opened in NYC’s Information Technology Center, 55 Broad Street, in the heart of Lower Manhattan.
The Hive is an initiative of the Alliance for Downtown New York, the business improvement district for Lower Manhattan. The Alliance provides many services that make the neighborhood a better place to live, work, and visit. With a grant from the New York City Economic Development Corporation, the Hive partners with the local community as well as the city’s greater technology and media communities, such as Pace University, the Freelancers Union, GuruLoft, Girl in Tech, the Hatchery, and others.
What I liked: Friendly vibe, the members were of varying age ranges and worked in different industries, easy commute from Williamsburg, fast internet (I plan to measure exact internet speed starting at the next place).
Lunch: The most obvious lunch spots are chains like Au Bon Pain and Pret A Manger since they are right outside the building. Just because you name a chain with a French name it does not make it better than eating at Subway.
Stone Street seems to be the closest street to the Hive at 55 with non-chain lunch options.
We had pizza at Adrienne’s Pizzabar which is on 54 Stone Street. The pizza was good (square slices) and it was pretty busy. Everyone was wearing cornflower blue dress shirts except for Martha and I.
(I was too hungry to take a picture of the pizza so you just get to see Stone Street)
On the way to lunch I got shoulder checked by a bunch of tall white men who I guess didn’t see me. There were a lot of tall white pushy men in this neighborhood. I was not surprised.
Good happy hour spots close by: I was trying to make plans to jump on the J and do happy hour in the LES but Martha (rightfully so) insisted that we stick with the format and get drinks in the immediate neighborhood so we went back to Stone Street.
Again, anything decent seems to just be on that one street.
We had cocktails at Vintry which is on 57 Stone Street RIGHT next to Adrienne’s. It was pretty decent and the crowd was mellow. Douchebag quotient was low.
Sandhya co-worked with us for the day, here she is with Martha and I at cocktails!
What could be better: I wish the workspace was bigger. The tables are quite narrow and there aren’t many loungey spaces for meetings. There is only one area with one couch. The space was just busy enough when we went but with a few more people (even 10 more) it would feel crowded.
There aren’t many places to have a phone call since the private rooms are offices or rented out for meetings, so if there are meetings happening in every room that day and you need to make some calls everyone in the space will pretty much hear what you are saying. If your job doesn’t require many phone calls or you don’t mind people hearing everything you are saying then this space could work for you. I need private space for calls since a big part of my job requires me to be on the phone.
Since they have such a diverse set of members it would be better if they could develop their member page. They did say they are working on it but right now there are only 5 people listed on the page. They mentioned it has been a challenge to get people to fill out their profiles.
To me, the list of members, knowing who belongs to the co-working space and what they work on is just as important as the physical component of the workspace.
- A wide variety of membership plans, listed below.
- The Hive at 55 has events every day of the week so it is a very social space.
We have not disappeared or slacked off. Martha and I both got slammed with work. I finished event production for The Contact Summit and Martha had some project work which I am sure she will provide updates on and then she went to London for a few days!
Laurea's take on We Work (Soho location) on September 30
The We Work Soho location is in my favorite neighborhood in Manhattan - right between Soho, Nolita and Chinatown. It never gets too crowded in that area and it is a fast non-sardine commute for me from Williamsburg since I can take the J instead of the L. This location is definitely a big selling point for me.
What I liked: Besides this being my favorite neighborhood for a co-working space, I like how the work lounge is on the first floor so you can see Lafayette street, there are floor to ceiling windows so you get a great view of the street and since Lafayette never gets crowded it is kind of a cool feeling to be on the ground level and be able to see everything on the street.
There are offices you can rent if you are looking for a more private workspace than the lounge. I think the offices are also dog friendly since I saw someone with a cute Akita go into the office space area - so that is a big plus for animal lovers who need an office!
Reception was very friendly and informative, the lobby was sunny which is pretty rare.
The lounge has a great mix of furniture and lighting. The tables are nice, dark wood and there are different chairs all over the space and some nice living room type couches which make for comfortable meetings. The colors and furniture give the space a warm and textured atmosphere which is a nice alternative from the more common black, white and glass look that a lot of spaces have.
They have an online platform called We Connect which allows you to see who all their members are and also post business referrals you are seeking.
Each location has their own set of local deals, which I didn’t know about until I looked at their website to reference in this review. The Soho location has deals like a free trial week of Yoga and then a discounted membership if you decide to sign up after the trial. The local deals also offer 10% off on services such as dry cleaning, coffee and some restaurants a few blocks away. The local deals are such a great way to establish local relationships between We Work, its members and local businesses.
Lunch: We went to Despana for a Spanish lunch that day but you have a ton of options in Chinatown, Nolita and Soho just a few steps away. IMO this is the best lunch neighborhood in all of Manhattan.
Good happy hour spots close by: We didn’t have time for happy hour that day but if we did we would have gone to another Spanish place Martha knew about in Soho that has great, affordable sangria or we would have drank and sang at Baby Grand.
What could be better:
More space between tables in the work lounge. I could see it being a bit cramped if the lounge becomes full.
There is only one bathroom and it is very small. I understand why they needed to make it small since they needed more space for the lounge but it could possibly be an issue if the lounge becomes crowded.
More private meeting areas, I only saw one small conference room. A phone booth or area to take phone calls. If you make a lot of phone calls then the lounge might not be conducive for you. There are days when I have lots of calls so I would need to make sure I would work from here if I didn’t have lots of calls that day or be sure to book the conference room in advance.
The lounge is nice enough to take clients to, although if the lounge is crowded since the furniture is quite close to each other, it would be very difficult to have a private conversation unless you rented the one conference room for the meeting.
Difficult to have events in their lounge space since everyone has to leave by 8 PM, there is no option to leave later.
Special features: Multiple locations in NYC, a San Francisco location, upcoming location in Tel Aviv, office space rentals, dog friendly office, local deals for members, We Connect platform to encourage members to collaborate and connect with each other. Affordable pricing.
Laurea’s take on We Create and Wix Lounge on Sept 16
We usually visit one space and stay for the day but on this rainy day we decided to try two places that were pretty close to each other - We Create located on 58 East 11th Street (between Broadway and 4th Avenue) on the 8th floor and Wix Lounge located on 10 West 18th Street (near 5th Avenue) on the 2nd floor.
The reason we didn’t stay at We Create for the whole day is that there was no one else working there that day and we were seeking more interaction.
What I liked: Both spaces are in the Union Square area which means they are extremely convenient to get to.
We met the founder of We Create and he had some interesting ideas about multi-city locations and trying to create dialogue between different cities and trying to encourage people from those cities to collaborate with one another. The first branch of We Create was actually founded in London. The New York space is the second branch and they are considering expanding to Hong Kong or Singapore.
Wix has plenty of couches for a more relaxed working atmosphere, but that is only good for working for an hour or two, like if you need a free place to work that is not a coffee shop before meeting someone in Union Square. There is a mix of various tables and chairs spread throughout the space; some more comfortable than others. The bathroom is actually pretty nice for a free space. There is even an orchid and lotion by the sink!
The Wix space seems to be a marketing exercise to try and get clients for their website services so I wonder how long this will be around since the rent for the space can’t be that affordable since the location is really good.
The lunch options are numerous since it is Union Square. We ended up eating at Pop Burger on University Place which is decent but not great since it was pouring and we wanted to get out of the rain as soon as possible after leaving We Create. If it wasn’t raining we were going to go to Num Pang for delicious sandwiches.
We Create has high concept ideas since they said they are focused on the neurological impact of the way work spaces are designed to have on the workers but I did not see any of the ideas implemented yet. The space is currently very sparse and the two plants we saw were dead or close to dying. I wish there were other people there on Friday so we could have met the members.
Since Wix is free and you can drop in whenever you want the quality of the space is decent for what you get - think college dorm common area or rec center. There are tables and chairs of varying levels of comfort spread out around the space - it would be better if the furniture was more comfortable and consistent, but hey it is free so what complaints I have for it are not really that valid.
Neither of the spaces match what I am looking for in terms of design, comfort and community but if you are looking to get out of the house for a day or a few hours and don’t want to commit to a work space then Wix is a decent option that is free.
Depending on how We Create develops its space and community, it is an affordable co-working space in a convenient neighborhood.
Two pics above are of We Create
As you can see, Wix brands their space pretty well…no matter what angle you take a picture from you will see their logo.
Grind is FANCY! I already had a suspicion of its fanciness because of the Park Avenue South address. If someone was going to shoot a TV show/segment and needed a glamorous co-working space with iconic NYC views for a set this would be it.
What I liked: Beautifully designed space, LOTS of windows with a gorgeous view of Park Avenue South. You can see the energy of the city outside and sunlight occasionally hits your face while you work by the windows.
Friendly reception but quick intro to space - where to sit and the wifi password, not as involved in initial conversation to find out what kind of work you do like the reception at New Work City, but I think this was because we were dropping in for the day and they had a meeting going on so not that big of a deal.
Nice big tables with comfortable chairs and built in power so you can plug your computer right into the table, non intrusive background music which is good for making it feel like it is ok to talk and that it is not a library atmosphere, clean & big bathrooms that are away from the main space, 2 conference rooms with erasable walls, bulletin boards and flat screens.
Fancy spaces, especially with addresses like Park Avenue South tend to come with a “I am so cool who the hell are you” attitude but the people I interacted with at Grind were friendly and open. I think this is because the members so far (they just opened their doors a few days ago) are more mature and successful people that don’t have to prove themselves so they don’t have to project that ridiculous attitude.
This is definitely a place where you can take clients and feel proud of the space.
The lunch options around here are incredibly diverse. Shake Shack is an obvious choice but check the Shack Cam to see if you have time to deal with the line.
Since Martha and I did not have time for the line that day we went to Tiffin Wallah for an Indian vegetarian buffet which was filling and delicious. If you have a client taking you out to lunch the classic Les Halles is right next door.
We didn’t have time for Happy Hour but if we did we might have tried The Hurricane Club which is just down the street.
What could be better: A more diverse set of memberships, right now there are only two options - monthly and daily.
Even just a third option, something in between the monthly unlimited and the daily would be good.
Right now there are only two small phone booths so it would be better to have more phone booths or enclosed areas for phone calls.
Special features: A beautiful row of framed screens designed by Breakfast where members can show off a slideshow of their portfolio on Behance just by waving their membership card over one of the frame’s control panels.
An Intelligentsia Coffee stand where you can brew your own Chemex coffee.
Coming soon is something they are calling the agora. They said they are working on a platform that will encourage Grindists to tap into the skills of other Grindists to enable people to collaborate and build valuable working relationships.
I’m really interested to see how this platform develops since this is something that I want out of the co-working space I decide to settle into.
They host happy hour gatherings in the space.
$500 Monthly Grind gives you access to the space for a month, and you’re guaranteed a seat.
$35 Daily Grind gives you access to the space for a day, subject to availability
For the next few weeks, they are giving away a free day at Grind ($35 value) in exchange for a Tweet.
For our very first trip on our co-working journey, Laurea and I hit one of the very first co-working spaces in New York, New Work City. It was super easy for me to get to from North Park Slope via the N train (one whole stop!)
It’s located on the second floor of a Chinatown commercial building. To get into the space, you go down an aged metal hallway and up a flight of stairs, pretty old skool NYC stylee. when you get in, you are greeted by a nice receptionist who takes you on a tour of the space and answers your various questions. You can make copies, print, use a conference room, and drink free coffee.
The seating areas seem to be split between the more populous back area and the the quieter and brighter front areas. People seem to sit in the front to be more shut off or quieter from others, the back seems to be more social. Big chatting meetings seem to happen in the center of the floor.
There are 2 one-holer bathrooms that are clean and have nice soap and paper towels. Plenty of toilet paper so there is no awkward moment of yelling out to the other co-worker bees that you need some TP for your bunghole.
Desks are easy to move around, chairs are basic but better than folding chairs. The space is easy to reconfigure and they do for classes, happy hours and other social outings. They are really cool about social groups. So if you want people to go to the gym with, be at the office at 9 am with or anything else you can think of, you’ll find those peeps here.
There seems to be more of a programmer vibe, meaning it’s a bit more casual, bit more dude.
It’s ok to talk
There are attractive men bopping around, some even with accents
Organizers are open to hearing about what you do and collaborating (I hope to teach some classes here)
Down to earth vibes
The big ass window in the front lets in a lot of natural light
Is in the midst of an NYC cheap lunch mecca
Desks and chairs are easy to configure in all sorts of arrangements, awesome for big events
Flexible billing plans
It’s not the sort of space you can take any client to, you can really only invite your more casual clients here
Bathrooms are really close to the receptionist desk
Yup, I’d go back. Is it our final home? Not sure. Partially because we’ve just started exploring and there’s just too much to see, first!
Odd thing from the day: I bought a bottle of water that I thought was in a black plastic bottle, turns out the actual water is black. Too weird not to share.
Update! I just had a meeting with one of the founders and their education director. The training programs they’re in the process of developing are something to really take note of. There’s a huge community orientation to it. If you take a training there, you’ll get to have office hours with the trainer for re-enforcement of whatever you’ve learned. New courses will be showcased in a Meet up style so you can get a sampling of the importance of that skill and a sense of the instructor. They already host 8 Meet Ups so they’ve got a sense on how to use the space.
Instructors are selected by quality of courses and if they jive with the whole New Work City vibe, which is now more focused on entrepreneurs, not just tech. Super cool!!!!!
…is to get the hell out of our apartments and work with other people.
We’re freelancers who both primarily work from home. Which on the positive side means we get all of our packages, have cleaner than average kitchens and know that all of our stuff is in one location. On the not so bright side, it means that we get sad and lonely sometimes. (And in Martha’s case, a little weird.)
The irony is that we’re professional village makers. We’ve chosen careers where we bring people together to network and transfer ideas (Laurea a professional conference producer, Martha a presentation designer and delivery coach).
So, we’re off exploring the world to see other people’s villages. We wanna work in awesome co-working spaces, meet awesome people, and do after work happy hour, like normal people (extra exciting for Martha). We’re excited about it.
First post by Laurea! New Work City visit on September 9
I am excited that the Fall has started off with the exploration of co-working spaces with Martha. Checking out co-working spaces was something I had been thinking of doing but never got around to until Martha suggested we explore them together. She said she would never get around to doing it unless she had someone else motivating her and of course I was in the same boat so finally we decided to start an awesome Google spreadsheet and that inspired us to begin our exploration.
The first co-working space we visited was New Work City on September 9.
What I liked: Friendly reception when you walk in, they give you a tour of the space on the spot and also ask what kind of work you do. Lots of light in the front area of the space.
Two small rooms which you can use when you want to make a phone call and each has a small desk with a monitor and a chair so you can actually use your computer and be on the phone simultaneously. The people working there were receptive to conversation if you wanted to talk but also left you alone if you seemed to be busy.
I was also intrigued by their group sign-ups. If you are looking for a fun way to integrate more structure in your freelancing life you can sign up for groups like “Show up to New Work City at 10 am for 4 days in a row” or “Go the gym.” Sometimes it is easier to keep a commitment if you belong to a dedicated group - especially as a freelancer it is easy to slip into having a schedule that is not structured enough. This seems like an engaging and social way to bring more structure into your freelance schedule. You will probably also meet some like-minded people during the process which I think is another really important aspect that freelancers miss and co-working can give you that your home office definitely cannot provide.
I also appreciated how the receptionist introduced me to the person in charge of their events and workshops since they learned that I was a freelance event producer and they thought it would be a good connection for me. Not only am I looking for a place to work but I would also love to be part of a community that is always looking to make meaningful connections for its members.
The work tables and chairs. The tables are pretty narrow so you don’t have much space between you and the person sitting across from you. The chairs are regular office chairs that do the job but could be more comfortable.
It would be nice if there were outlets built into the tables.