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.

More info about costs and options here.

laureadeocampo Posted by laureadeocampo

Room shot Room shot Laurea and Sandhya

Martha’s take on Hive at 55 on November 3

I had been part of a couple of meetings here with Live with Design, so I had already had a sense of the space at night and for giving classes (pretty smooth in the back room, a really great venue for group work in the big space, btw).  BUT, I had no idea what it was like to work there during the day.  So, this was a fun treat to see a new angle on a place I’d been to already.

First off, it’s in the Financial District which makes it a bit more difficult to find, but is still pretty convenient from my part of Brooklyn (I live on the 2/3, among other trains).  So, if you’re not an expert on the Financial District, be sure to bring your favorite mapping app (FourSquare, Google Maps, HopStop, etc).  Hive at 55 is located on the 13th Floor of a build owned by the city and is part of the Alliance for Downtown NYC.  So, the entire building is a fun mishmash of mostly non-financial companies (including the Reputation Institute, which is a name we are intrigued by.  If you work there, do email us and tell us about your work.)  Unlike most of the co-working spaces we’ve seen, Hive at 55 is only part of a floor.  (Co-working spaces seem to take entire floors of big and small buildings on the norm)

Daria, who mans the front, was quite friendly and gave me the tour (which she’s done many times considering that this space is 2 years old).  She gave me the password and told me how to pay the $25 drop-in rate on their website (quite easy).  

When I walked in, the first 2 things that stood out to me instantly were:  This space is unusual because there are private offices right off of the main space and it’s smaller than other spaces.    There’s coffee, coffee mugs, 3 conference rooms, a more casual couch area for phone calls, and a table in the kitchen.  People works in a variety of industries.  I overheard conversations in tech, real estate, development, beauty and design.

We found that the smaller size had 2 big affects on the community:  People are a lot friendlier with each other (they can clearly hear each other’s conversations)  AND  it felt cozier.  Being physically close to others was nicer than we originally thought it might be.  The one draw back to the smaller space is a bit of a battle for the best spots, not that it isn’t hard to be close to windows, but there does seem to be a bit of strategizing by the more experienced folks to get their favorite spots.  Since this is the day that our lovely friend Sandhya joined us, I was a bit nervous about being able to get us all together (luckily we did that just fine, phew!)

Lunch and Happy Hour options all seem to be best on Stone Street.  There is a strip of bars and restaurants that are well frequented by the financial community (aka men in blue button down shirts and women in suits).  We didn’t find them to be our people, but if you are comfortable with those types and overhearing conversations about derivatives and the like gets you excited, this is a good part of town for you.  If you’re starved for creative folks, this probably isn’t your best part of town to be spending time in.  Hive at 55 is also fairly close to Battery Park, could be a good outdoor lunch option as well.

OK, now for the silly Martha points:

  • There are more men than women (it was roughly 1/3 female), 1/2 of the men were wearing button down shirts, most of those being blue.  Seems to be a uniform for this part of town.
  • People are in their 20s-50s, so a nice range of experience in the room
  • There are fun little coin snack machines for your inner 8 year old, who doesn’t like that?
  • Overall feeling is pretty casual and friendly.  Not sure it’s ideal for all client, but certainly fine for some
  • Decor is very yellow and green, couch is modern, plug-ins at table easy
  • My friend Nathalie Molina has a private office there, how fun!  I didn’t know until I was there :)  Oh the fun-ness you find! 
  • Internet is generally super fast (certainly compared to my home network)

We liked Hive at 55.  Not so sure we’re huge fans of the part of town it’s in, but we liked the space and it felt homey.  Certainly worth checking out!

marthadenton Posted by marthadenton

Source hive55.com

Laurea with no one

We Create NYC Sept 23, Martha’s take

So, we went up in an old school elevator with an elevator operator.  We were greeted by some dude on the phone, who stayed on the phone most of the morning (he’s apparently the founder). There were some folks in a conference room with the door closed the entire time we were there.  And no one else.  We’re told other people work here.  It was apparently an off day.  We did however find 7 dead plants, no paper towels in the bathroom, poorly painted, desks, cheap chairs, fast internet, and 2 windows overlooking a bunch of apartments.  The windows were huge, though and there are some lovely skylights above.

We were shown free water and the internet password.  No other free beverages available.  Apparently there is free business coaching.  

They also have a venue in London, that apparently has 250 members.  They’re looking to expand into Detroit and Hong Kong as well.  The plan is for some art links between the various cities.

The whole concept is apparently based on some cognitive research and brain wave theory.  All color selections and layouts had that in mind.  Everyone has to face each other because they want the members to have conversations.  There are plans around having workshops around the concept of freelancing and something else around engineering and cognitive, brain something or other.  Talk of showcasing new art on a regular basis, ideally from new artists.

BTW, they’re sad about the plants being dead, too.  

The people who work here include a social media app tech start up, someone who freelances with Unicef and has an interest in game mechanics, a lawyer, an accountant, and someone related to Herman Miller some how.  So it’s more varied than some of the other spaces.

The pros:

  • No wait for the bathroom
  • No problem finding a place to sit 
  • All the dead plants made us giggle.  Maybe it’s a Friday thing
  • The location is great, being near Union Square is great
  • There’s a conference room, if you can book it
  • I got inspired to contribute to Laurea and her husband’s Fastest Possible blog, drawing a deadish plant
  • The founder is willing to chat about his theory at length.  Good guy to chat with about neuroscience and cognitive space design
  • There will be art featuring new artists
  • There are plans for creatively structured workshops

The cons:

  • The desks are big but not super high quality
  • The chairs aren’t high quality
  • No paper towels in the bathroom
  • 7 dead plants, weird that they didn’t throw them out

If you need a place on the cheap, check it out.  Fees here:  http://www.wecreatenyc.com/services/workspace-membership/

marthadenton Posted by marthadenton