Editor’s note: This is part three of a three-part series on coworking in New York City. A link to parts one and two may be found at the conclusion of this section.
In the final part of our three-part series on alternatives to working from home in New York City, we will highlight some of the more unique and atypical options that you might need to dig a little deeper to find. While monthly coworking, hourly or daily access to a coworking space may be more reliable, these options can be affordable and functional given your needs.
Why not just work from a coffee shop?
The obvious alternative to working from home for those that do not want to cowork (or pay for a membership) is a coffee shop, like Starbucks or one of New York City’s myriad of trendy cafes. While it may seem easy and affordable, you will find that the stresses of finding a seat, locating a power outlet, navigating unreliable wifi, and the cost of a coffee and snack to keep you going can add up and wear you out. In fact, just three or four days a month working out of a cafe can easily exceed the cost of a KettleSpace “Lite” plan. Not to mention, the noise and crowds of coffee shops are hardly conducive to productivity or client meetings.
If you ask around, you’ll surely get a recommendation from a longtime freelancer on their favorite free coworking space; and while they might be hard to find, there are a few options. Amazon’s AWS Pop-Up Loft is a good example, with free desks and coffee in SoHo for anyone with an Amazon web services plan. Also in SoHo is Cadillac House, another sponsored space with free coffee, WiFi and couches that plenty of freelancers set up in for a few hours to get work done.
In Brooklyn, A/D/O is a great space with large desks and WiFi available for drop-in work sessions, in addition to a membership-based coworking space with a creative focus. A/D/O is also home to Scandinavian restaurant Normanif you are looking to grab a bite to eat or host a working lunch in Greenpoint.
Coffee shops and restaurants tailored for coworking
In addition to dedicated restaurant coworking through KettleSpace, a few coffee shops and restaurants in New York City have established themselves as ideal places to work from by altering their set-up to appeal to freelancers.
In Europe, there has been a rise of “anti-cafes”, where you pay per minute or hour and get unlimited coffee or snacks, although the few attempts in New York City like Williamsburg’s Glass Hour have all closed. Instead, places like Freehold in Williamsburg, Gotan in Tribeca and Blank Slate in Nomad have built out spaces with large communal tables, steady WiFi and ample power outlet access. You are of course expected to order from their coffee and food menus, but laptops are more welcome at these venues than most New York City establishments and they can provide a good alternative to working from home for a few hours.
One of the lesser known options in New York is to make use of some of the large, desk-filled hotel lobbies throughout the city. The classic example is the Ace Hotel, which for several years has been known by New York’s startup circle as the hotel to work from. With a Stumptown Coffee Roasters on site and large shared tables to work from, you can find rows of freelancers at the Ace Hotel from morning to night. Nearby, the NoMad Hotel has followed suit and many freelancers take advantage of the two-story library, which can be found behind the hotel’s main restaurant.
Other hotels, like 11 Howard in SoHo, The Arlo Hotel in Tribeca, Boro Hotel in Long Island City and CitizenM in Midtown West also have large lobbies that freelancers will find are open to work or host a casual meeting from.
Whatever your needs may be, from finding a full-time alternative to working from home at a large or small coworking space, to joining KettleSpace or Croissant for a 10-hour-a-month coworking plan, or just popping into a hotel for a few hours, you’ll find many alternatives to working from home in New York City. Explore a few options on our list, many of which have free trials, and let us know your thoughts. Happy freelancing!