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Laurea’s take on The Hive at 55 on November 3 

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.

From their website:

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. 

Special features:

- 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. 

You can check out their calendar here: http://hiveat55.com/events

- They also rent out their space to events that match their mission. 

Their capacities are:

1. Conference room with table for up to 12 people

2. Classroom space for up to 30 people

3. Main space for 30-75 people

Application form here: http://hiveat55.com/files/hive-event-application-form.doc

- A membership also comes with discounts with Zip Cars, Mints Cars, Voxel, and others.

Costs below.

(Note: all lockers are subject to availability)

Drop in $25 daily 

- Does not include mail, locker, ID card, or key access

Basic $50 a month

- Mail for $25 a month

- Locker for $25 a month

- No ID card and no Key Access

Part-Time 1 $150 a month

- Includes 8 visits a month

- Mail is included

- Locker is $10 a month

- ID card is included

- Key access is not included

Part-Time 2 $200 a month

- Includes 12 visits a month

- Mail, locker and ID Card are included

- Key access not included

Full time 1 $300 a month

- Includes 20 visits a month M-F

- Mail, locker and ID Card are included

- Key access not included

Full time 2 $450 a month

- Unlimited access

- Mail, locker, ID Card and Key access are included

Off Peak $150 a month

- After 6 pm, Weekends

- Mail and ID card are included

- Locker is not included

- Key access is included

laureadeocampo Posted by laureadeocampo

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. 

They have multiple locations in NYC already despite being just about a year old. They are also working out a way so that NYC members can also co-work in the San Francisco office.

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.

Costs:

WeWork: Lounge - Grand Membership

monthly fee - $275

days included - unlimited

additional days - n/a

setup fee - $100

security deposit - $400

conference room - 4hrs/mo

more conf room time - $45/hr

70 megabit internet - inc.

unlimited phone - conf room

fax/scan - inc.

included b+w prints - 120

included color prints - 20

mail handling - inc.

Office space pricing here

Location: 154 Grand Street near Lafayette

Hours: 8 am to 8 pm

We Work and the Grind are my frontrunners right now but we have to check out some more places!

Martha and I were *much happier* with the space this week than last week and it also wasn’t gross and rainy. You can see it in her smile!

laureadeocampo Posted by laureadeocampo

Big The guy behind me was being kinda weird

Wix Lounge  Sept 23, Martha’s take

This space is free.  It’s sponsored by Wix websites, which are easy to use portfolio sites for design professionals.  It’s in a really awesome location near Union Square on 18th Street, right near a lot of ad agencies.

We were greeted by a lovely British lady, who was very informative and helpful.  Lots of personality at her desk, quite a homey feel.  After giving us the password and the information of where things are (free coffee and tea, bathroom, etc), she asked us to sign up on their site so they could track all that marketing stuff that is good to do.

There are couches all over that are nice and tables with chairs that were not nice.  Our desk was somewhat wobbly.  Cell phone reception was spotty all arund, so I had to move around a bit, not always fun.

In the front there was a photo shoot happening all day, which is kinda neat to be around.  Looking over people’s shoulders, it seems that most people are designers and developers of some type.  So, in line with the Wix brand.

On average, there seemed to be a bit of a struggling artist/student vibe to the space.  Kinda dorm like, but friendly.  People did get up and chat with each other throughout the afternoon.

The bathroom is clean and has paper towels, good thing.  There is no conference room and it’s only open during the week from 10-8 (typical designer hours).

the pros:

  • Fast internet, upload speeds are some of the fastest we’ve come across
  • Friendly reception
  • Clean bathroom
  • Free coffee and coffee bugs
  • Plenty of seating options
  • Big windows in the front
  • Designers around
  • No hard sell, despite it being a sponsored space
  • International people, we heard all sorts of languages
  • If you are a young art student, you’ll find other peeps to hang with
  • The plants are alive
  • There’s a help desk for tech problems
  • They hold events

Cons

  • Some of the folks that came creeped us out a bit, most are fine though
  • Feels a bit worn out
  • Furniture isn’t great quality (Ikea office chairs again)
  • Bad overhead lighting
  • A lotta logos all over the place, whatever, it’s sponsored though

This is a good place to hit up if you don’t want to make a commitment and really want to get out of your house.

marthadenton Posted by marthadenton

Source wixlounge.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

Laurea’s take on Grind on Sept 16

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.

Welcome to the future of work from Grind on Vimeo.

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.

Costs:

$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.

More info on membership here

Location: 419 Park Ave South (between 28th and 29th street) 2nd Floor

Subways that go there: 6 to 28th Street

Hours: 8 am to Midnight

but they say “but if you need us to keep it open all night, we will”

Martha sipping her iced coffee and rocking her monkey mousepad!

Intelligentsia stand! Hello Chemex! We did not get to take advantage though because we were already too caffeinated.

A view that reminds you why you love New York

laureadeocampo Posted by laureadeocampo

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.

Lunch in Chinatown is a big plus! Excellent Dumpling House is a few minutes walk away.

Good happy hour spots close by at Sweet and Vicious or Lucky Strike

What could be better:

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.

The upload speed could be faster.

The kitchen area could be cleaner.

Special features: Classes and events, the group sign-ups, space rental

Costs:

$25 a month allows you to join internal discussion groups, access to free late night co-working Tuesdays and discounts on classes.

$100 a month allows you to co-work 4 days per month, get discounts on classes & events and book meeting rooms in advanc.

$300 a month allows you to have access to unlimited co-working Mon-Fri, get discounts on classes & events, book meeting rooms in advance and a locker & mailing address

More info on membership here

Location: 412 Broadway (at corner of Lispenard) 2nd floor 

Subways that go there: N, R, 4, 6, J, Z to Canal

Hours: Open at 9 am and members work as late as they want

laureadeocampo Posted by laureadeocampo