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16 posts tagged nyc

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

Details here.

On to my review…

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.

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The prints on the wall were a nice touch and kept the communal area from feeling too sterile.

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Each of the two floors has a common lounge area.

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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.

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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). 

Plenty of places to grab lunch - Katz’s, Clinton Street Bakery, Pok Pok Phat Thai, Tiny’s…just to name a few! This neighborhood is great for foodies. You even have Il Laboratorio del Gelato for dessert.

What could be better:

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.

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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.

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Cost:

$25 for a coworking day pass

Rates and options here.

laureadeocampo Posted by laureadeocampo

Laurea’s take on coworking at Rev on Friday, June 15, 2012

I found out about Rev from the Loosecubes site when they announced their Summer Coworking Challenge which you should definitely check out!

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.

Lunch: Martha, Jen and I went to http://www.friedmanslunch.com/ in Chelsea Market and then brought our food to the Highline.

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.

More details about costs and benefits here.

Since Rev is still new, it is not really clear who the community is yet but I’m definitely keeping an eye on it to see how the community develops since it is such a beautiful space. 

laureadeocampo Posted by laureadeocampo

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.

laureadeocampo Posted by laureadeocampo

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

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.

Happy hour: We didn’t have time for a neighborhood happy hour but if we did we might have gone to the bar in the ice skating rink at Bryant Park.

More info about costs and options here.

laureadeocampo Posted by laureadeocampo

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

More info about costs and options here.

laureadeocampo Posted by laureadeocampo

Laurea at Green Spaces Green Spaces Kitchen Green Spaces private desks

Martha’s take on Greenspaces (NYC location) on November 11

Wow, time flies when you are having fun, doesn’t it?  Laurea already wished you a happy holiday and I echo that and wish you a happy future holiday, too.  All of em!  

Anyway, on a lovely sunny but crisp day, Laurea and I checked out Greenspaces, just a block south of New Work City, aka 3 blocks south of Canal on Broadway.  We walked into a lovely but small lobby and took the elevator up to the 5th floor, right above a karate studio and below a design studio.  We were greeted by a very bubbly and nice receptionist who gave us the tour and then came back and chatted with us after we settled into the open area in the back.  

The space is split into private desks in the front and communal working in the back, near the kitchen and bathroom areas.  There are 2 conferences rooms that have glass walls.  As you’d hope from a “green”  aka “environmental” space, most of the furniture is reclaimed, giving it a cozy feel.  The kitchen area has an elaborate recycling system, splitting out cans, paper and composting.  There is also a nice little sitting area with coaches near the kitchen, so you could take a break there.  Some people really do use that area as a break because we saw a guy sleeping there half he day with jackets all over him.  No one said anything or thought oddly of him.

It seems that coffee supplies are a concern there, because I had to ask to have a new pot made and the coffee was taken out of a secret spot.  Good coffee, though!  And good to know:  da coffee be hidden, ask for more!

Everyone there has a green slant to their work, including various internet designers, writers, investors, someone who works for GOOD and NPR, and others.  There are various green oriented meetings there for both networking and community knowledge purposes.  Certainly a place to check out if your primary industries are green oriented.

The crowd is a bit older than the tech spaces, some folks seem more established, others seem like they’re struggling a bit (we overheard a lot of “I’m working on my resume” conversations).  But everyone seemed a laid back.  We did get a noise complaint(Laurea and I are talkers and we bring a lot of energy with us), so do speak quietly.  We found that noise travels in general in that space, we could overhear meetings in their conference rooms.  So, be aware of that!

Onto the random Martha list (you know to go get the facts in Laurea’s take):

  • There are slightly more men then women in this space.  If you like dating writers and political activists and are a single woman (which I am and you all know this by now), this is a good venue
  • The racial mix is a bit more mixed up here.  We saw more Asian and Black people than other spaces we’ve been to.
  • The lighting is a bit dark.  Not a good space to work out of if you have say, glaucoma.  
  • Seems like a great space to work out of if you’re a small green start up.
  • Also a good space to work out of if you want to do karate at lunch (there’s a place in the building).
  • There is a mix between introverts and extroverts, some people doing lots of chatting, others deep in their email.  A wider mix of personality types than other co-working spaces we’ve been to.
  • They follow up!  I got an email from the community manager afterwards to ask what we thought about the space and if we’d want to join.  We like people who follow up.
  • Lots of awesome cheap lunch options, it’s Chinatown after all.
  • Good train action.
  • Good office supplies – we saw an area of paperclips, recycled paper, books to trade.
  • They have another venue in Denver, so it’s possible to travel between the two and work in both.  Neat concept.

All in all, this space feels like a real community.  There seems to be something about organizing a space around basic shared values.  Not sure this is where we’ll join, though, I love green politics and putting money where my mouth is, but it may not be the perfect fit.  I would be happy to go to events here, though!

marthadenton Posted by marthadenton

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…

Green Spaces is a few doors down from New Work City so everything I wrote about NWC in terms of the neighborhood is relevant. Canal Street is the stop you get off at to go to Green Spaces and it is in Chinatown.

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.

Wifi: Download speed 23.85 mbps, Upload speed 4.89 mbps, Ping 15 ms

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.

Special features:

Colorado and NYC locations

Event space rental, use of the space to host workshops for $175 an hour and events with a Green community focus

Curated connections, an intern program and a referral network

Costs:

The costs and benefits for each tier are outlined very clearly here

laureadeocampo Posted by laureadeocampo