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Coworking in Manhattan, NYC

The Broadway area is home of nine coworking spaces: New Work City...

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Despite being such a big city, New York is home to mostly small and medium-sized coworking spaces. Very few of NYC's many coworking spaces have more than 40 desks. Here, comfort and communities are more important than size. Yet the sheer number of spaces can be overwhelming. Our guide to New York coworking can help explain the differences between the myriad spaces. In this edition we focus on Manhattan where almost all coworking facilities are located on or near the Broadway.

 

Manhattan Coworking Profile (as of April 2011)

Number of Coworking spaces: 12

Number of Desks: 340

Average Desk Prices per month:

Permanent desk, 24-hour access: $474

Flexible desk, office hours: $278

Desk for one day: $30

Desk in traditional offices: $1312

 

42 West 24

42 West 24 opened over twelve years ago – long before the term “coworking” entered popular use. Even back then, the idea was to offer a pleasant work environment with desks available for rent on flexible terms. As well as individual desks, they also offer team offices for those who need a bit more space.

This space stands out for reasons other than its long existence. Unlike many other coworking spaces they don’t enforce community participation and seldom organize events for members.

However, they quickly filled a hole in the market, and have been so successful that they haven’t had to alter their concept. The 50 coworkers who occupy 32 desks across eight offices get to know each other on their own initiative. The space works dazzling, in any case.

The background story is similar to the classic coworking space biography. 42 West 24 was established by a software company, who today still occupy a section of the large shared workspace. They rented out the remainder of the space in their office to other companies and individuals.


General Assembly

General Assembly houses one of the youngest coworking spaces in New York. Its so-called “campus” occupies 2000 square meters of space on Broadway between 20th and 21st Street, holding three wide open workspaces, a large classroom, a library, a media lab and many small seminar rooms.

It offers training programs focused on the tech sector (though other topics are also broached). These events can be attended by anyone for a fee. As well as workshops, they offer memberships that allow access to the rest of the campus, including the coworking area.

The two largest rooms with permanent desks are reserved for members who have been selected as among the “most promising startups in New York”. The selection process is not entirely clear, however, the permanent workspaces are currently fully occupied anyway.

 

Green Spaces

Green Spaces is known particularly for its nice interior design. The furniture is a mixture of second hand items, which generates a very homely atmosphere. Wooden pallets serve as semi-transparent partitions between permanent desk spaces.

There is a good range of usage options for the tenants, offering a flexible mix of team and individual desks in what they call the hotdesking lounge. Monthly rent with 24-hour access here costs $250. Permanent desks cost slightly more than double the price. A total of 80 members currently work on the 40 desks.

Although it is not a stated requirement, Green Spaces is directed toward socially and environmentally sustainable enterprises. Its members are called “ecopreneurs.” The flexible work area is transformed into a meeting space for events (SalonEco) during evenings and on weekends.

Eighteen months ago the founder Marissa moved with the coworking space from Brooklyn to Manhattan. Today Green Spaces is located directly on Broadway, near Canal Station. There is also a sister space in Denver, Colorado.

 

In Good Company

This is New York’s first coworking space to focus exclusively on women. In Good Company opened four years ago to offer female entrepreneurs not just desks, but also courses and a community.

Flexible desks with unlimited access you will get for $400, part-time plans are available from $150 a month. All options require an annual membership fee of $400 which provides full access to the community and its events.

Fifteen women can work simultaneously in the flexible work area of In Good Company. However, there are many more members in the wider community. At any given time they support up to 300 of them. IGC also offers permanent desks and private offices a floor below.

 

New Work City

New Work City (or NWC) is located directly on Broadway in southern Soho. Its logo describes its location perfectly – at the intersection of seven subway lines. Finding the front door is a little more tricky, however. There’s only three letters on a doorbell.

Unlike at the neighbouring Green Spaces, there are only flexible desks available, although for especially loyal members they make exceptions. Work is done on large shared desks. The atmosphere is productive. Rarely there are annoying noises or distractions. Three meeting rooms are available at no additional cost. The monthly contribution is a favourable $300, including coffee and copies.

NWC recently founded the NWCUniversity with regular training courses aimed primarily at techies and startups, which is sponsored by Google and Pearson. The large lobby area offers a space for events.

Since Tony Bacigalupo, one of the founders of NWC, is very active engaged in the Global Coworking Community, people from other countries often visit NWC to gather information and ideas about opening their own coworking spaces.


Paragraph

Paragraph is especially for writers seeking a peaceful location to do their work. Due to this goal, the core principles of most coworking spaces are reversed; talking in the shared work area is prohibited, and partitions prevent any eye contact or interaction. This concept has worked exceptionally well for them since they opened near Union Square in 2005.

As space is limited, Paragraph has a constant waiting list. 250 members currently work here, although not all at once. They share about 40 desks. 24-hour access costs $172 a month. If members sign a half-year contract, the price goes down to $132 a month.

Paragraph offers more than secluded professional desks. There is a bright and friendly kitchen where interaction is allowed. Later in the evening, members can sit around a fireplace and talk. There are also regular events, which take place both on and off the premises. Publishers drop in for round-take discussions, which have been fruitful for many members.

 

SoTechie Spaces

SoTechie Spaces, as the name hints, was recently founded by a software company. They took over a large street-level room on 39th Street between Fifth and Sixth Avenue near Grand Central Station. In January they opened their doors with fifteen desks.

The room is set up with traditional office furniture. Desks can be combined to form islands for small businesses. The founders occupy a corner of the large room. So Techie Spaces organize events and seminars for their members, mostly focusing on programming. Membership starts at $30 a day.

 

Sunshine Suites, Tribeca

Although the name suggests something bright, Sunshine Suites is actually very dark as the walls are painted completely black. The cubicles spread over two floors are very appropriate for small companies. For freelancers, there is a work area with four large tables, around which sits a total of almost 30 people paying $275 a month for their seat.

Sunshine Suites organizes regular events for its members, including sports events in outside locations. They entered the market in 2002, which might explain why the interior design is closer to an traditional office concept with lots of doors and walls in order to provide more privacy and security. But they are very successful with this concept and host over 500 members at the Tribeca location, and another 500 at the Noho space. A new space is about to open in the Bronx with the support of the city government.

 

The Hive at 55

This coworking space arose out of the “Alliance for Downtown New York” initiative, which was aimed at the economic improvement of lower Manhattan. In mid 2009 the mayor of New York announced the MediaNYC2020 program, including public support for a workspace for freelancers, small businesses and startups. The Hive at 55 was born out of this program in December 2009.

The coworking space also helps its members in their networking by cooperating with institutions such as Pace University, the Freelancer’s Union, or Girls in Tech, as well as media and local tech institutions.

The 40 desks spaces are grouped in six islands around the large workspace, as well as some isolated desks. Monthly membership during regular opening hours costs $300 per month, or $500 for 24-hour access.

For small companies, they also provide individual offices with space for two or three people. Printer, copier and conference room can all be used free of charge. There are at least three weekly seminars to choose from, including a Spanish course.

 

We Work: Lounge

Located on a ground floor space, with a shop window onto Grand Street, We Work: Lounge combines the feel of an office and a café. Currently up to 30 coworkers can work here. A part of the café space is still under construction and will be added soon.

We Work: Lounge is actually part of a much larger office rental company that occupies the upper floors of the same building, servicing 400 members and 170 companies. But the downstairs Lounge area is only for coworking.

The space makes good use of natural light, with glass panels separating the offices. The doors are usually open to allow discussion. The founders invested a lot of thoughts in creating a comfortable work atmosphere.

Due to its popularity, We Work had opened a second location on 34th Street. A potential third in the Meatpacking District will come soon. Another location is about to open in San Francisco this summer. To stay in touch, all members operate on the WEConnect corporate network.

 

We Create NYC

Another new coworking space will appear on the Manhattan map in May. We Create NYC is currently being built in cooperation with the London Cube (The Cube’s founder is originally from New York). The members not only expect a classic concept with coworking events and seminars, but also access to the local community. Members from London are able to visit here, and vice-versa.

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Newer articles:

1. Coworking in Dumbo (Brooklyn)

2. Coworking in Williamsburg & Greenpoint (Brooklyn)

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