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In Brooklyn, coworking takes an artistic twist. There are three coworking spaces exclusively for writers. One space has almost no desks and regularly welcomes nude models. Another offers a bicycle repair service. But as well as authors, painters and cyclists, creative workers from all sectors can find plenty of great places to work. You can spend as little as $99 a month for a desk, or up to almost $500, depending on your needs. Most of the coworking spaces are just a few subway stops from Manhattan.
By Carsten Foertsch - Wednesday, 06 April 2011


Brooklyn Coworking Profile

Number of Coworking Spaces: 10

Number of desks: 340

3rd Ward

Amidst the faded charm of an old industrial area of Brooklyn, 3rd Ward provides a glimpse of a bright future. As an incubator since 2006, the space has offered creative people from all professions the chance to explore their potential and draw on an extensive range of resources.

On two floors above Morgan Avenue, 3rd Ward offers a wood and metal workshop, photography studio, jewelry workshop, a media lab, and a coworking space. The area for coworking is divided into two rooms, a hotdesking area and a permanent desk area, both of which hold up to 25 people.

Members can take part in a variety of regular courses to further their creative education. In the large event space they can also attend gallery openings, film screenings, parties, workshops and art markets. There are currently 800 members. A basic monthly membership costs $49, or $99 for a coworking desk.

For those who come by bike, there is a repair service while they work. For others, 3rd Ward is just a few minutes walk from the L subway line.

195 Morgan Av (Grand St, Morgan Av: L)


Bitmap Creative Labs

If the Mad Men type creatives of the sixties were replanted in today's freelance world, they would probably work at Bitmap Creative Labs. It's a co-working space with a store front location on Graham Ave, just two blocks from the Graham L stop, making it a convenient place to meet with clients who may be coming in from Manhattan to hear a pitch. The conference room covered in whiteboard paint helps get big ideas across, and free coffee helps keep all parties interested.

The space has a communal open workspace area in front and private offices in the back. Office amenities such as unlimited laser printing for members, access to large format printing (ink and paper costs apply), table with large cutting mat surface, a motion graphics render farm, secure file storage space, and 24/7 access for lease holding members, make Bitmap a really productive work environment.

Open desk space is available for rent for daily, weekly, and monthly rates. Daily rates start at $35, weekly $150, and monthly at $385. The more spacious workspace areas are $50 a day and $525, though the price drops to $495 with a six month lease. Conference room use is free to members who are renting on a monthly basis, and is available for rent on an hourly or daily basis to all.

300 Graham Av (Graham Av: L)

Brooklyn Artists Gym

This coworking space has almost no desks, but instead provides almost 2000 square meters of space for artists. With a membership to the Open Studio artists can find a place to be creative, dry their works and wash their brushes and tools. There is also wireless internet, lockers, a kitchen, and a lounge room. Members can display their works four times a year in the gallery of Brooklyn Artists Gym.

Membership costs $199 per month and operates like a gym, hence the name. Semi-private rooms with more personal space are slightly more expensive. Almost every second day a nude model pays a visit for all to draw, and there other fee-based drawing classes available.

To become a member, artists must submit an application with two references, and pay a $35 fee. For 24-hour access, a $20 fee is required to provide a personal key code. Members who help out at the space get better deals.

168 7th Street (3rd floor): (4 Av: F, G - 9 St: D, N, R)


Brooklyn Creative League

The Brooklyn Creative League sits on the third floor of an old sweater factory and is open to all professions. It sees itself as a production platform of small creative businesses and freelancers from Brooklyn. It works together with partners from the neighbourhood to create a vibrant community.

The desks are designed for people who prefer more privacy, yet without total isolation. Prices start at $225 for part-time use (40 hours per month), and a full-time desk is $495 a month. The fee includes free access to the conference room, printer and regular events. All memberships require an admission fee of $75.

540 President St., 3rd floor (Union St: R)


Brooklyn Writers Place, Room 58 & Annex

The Brooklyn Writers Place is located in a quiet side street, about ten steps from the Union Street station. Up to 24 authors and journalists write here at the same time in a peaceful work area. The rooftop terrace offers a sweeping view of the New York skyline. The kitchen also functions as a space for interaction.

The Writers Place has existed since 2002. They later opened a second workspace in Court Street, Brooklyn. And they formed a joint venture with Brooklyn Artists Gym to operate Room 58, offering fourteen desks in an undisturbed atmosphere with permanent access.

Brooklyn Writers Place: 58 Garfield Place (Union St: M, R)

Brooklyn Writers Space Annex 286 Court Street (Bergen Street, Carroll St: F, G)

Room 58: 168 7th Street (3rd floor): (4 Av: F, G - 9 St: D, N, R)

Greenpoint Coworking

The Greenpoint Coworking space in Brooklyn has a classic coworking biography. The owner, Sara, started a web design company called Command C, and was hunting for a suitable coworking space. Since she couldn’t find one in her area, she decided to open her own.

The bright sunlit coworking space is located in a quiet neighbourhood. All ten desks offer panoramic views. After being open for just two months, the space already has eleven members.

The interior design isn’t too minimalist, nor is it too overdecorated, just a good mix of both. Regular events, especially those on web and graphic design themes, help strengthen the community of small coworking spaces.

A permanent desk costs $350 a month, with an unlimited supply of coffee, a great kitchen, and the regular office infrastructure.

240 N. Henry St. (Nassau Av: G)

No Space

In the evening, the No Space shopfront presents free readings, film screenings, workshops and presentations, but from 9am until 7pm it operates as a little coworking space for up to 15 people working in the creative industries.

For $200 a month you can book a permanent desk here, or if you come only every second day it’s $50 cheaper. A day pass costs $15, but the first day is free. The coworking space operates as a not-for-profit organization. For vidoe production, they also offer a workshop and studio.

84 Havemeyer St (Bedford Av, Lorimer St L - Metropolitan Av: G)


The Metropolitan Exchange: MEx, GenSpace, Common Spaces

The Metropolitan Exchange is kind of coworking space that is difficult to describe in a few paragraphs. It actually consists of three different coworking spaces across three floors – MEx, Common Spaces and GenSpace.

The house belongs to Al Atarra, who had wanted to start an incubator since he bought the old building 30 years ago. Due to legal restrictions, the concept was only able to get started five years ago.

Each floor has its own manager and develop different kinds of communities. In MEx there are mostly architects and city planners. The floor below hosts food companies next to designers. Upstairs they provide a metal and wood workshop for interested freelancers and small companies, including a desk.

Events take usually place across the different floors, otherwise it could become too crowded. More than 500 people work in the building, and many of them have more than 1000 Facebook acquaintances each.

All renovated floors have a similar range of basic equipment – a large and communicative kitchen space in the middle, and dedicated desks for rent which can be left on short notice. MEx is currently at 100% capacity, and all newcomers must go on a waiting list.

The rent is cheap and can be reduced, for instance, by helping out on a building and renovation project underway on the roof of the house. The nameplate "Metropolitan Exchange Bank" was installed during the production of the comedy film “Definitely, Maybe”. Ironically, it brings the long history of the building to the point. However, since 2006 you can cross out the “maybe.”

33 Flatbush Av (Nevin St: 2, 3, 4, 5 - Atlantic Terminal - Fulton St: G - Lafayette: A, C)


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