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Last week Deskmag published an article about coworking in Dumbo, Brooklyn. This week we are going to focus on some of the other celebrated neighborhoods found in New York City, which are also (surprise surprise) full of awesome coworking spaces! Hurricane Sandy did her fair share of damage, but the ferry between Dumbo and Greenpoint is up and running, and on a beautiful clear day in December, it's the perfect chance to visit these coworking spaces.
By Amanda Gray - Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Coworking in Greenpoint, Brooklyn 

We went over to North Henry Street in Brooklyn to pay a visit to Greenpoint Coworking. We had the chance to sit down with founder Sara Bacon, who describes her motivation for opening the space on GPCW's website “as a means to an end to the isolation and lack of sharing that exists when one works alone from a home office”.

Bacon runs both Greenpoint Coworking and her own boutique web design studio, Command C. She has combined both her coworking space and web studio and now plays them off of each other. Since Bacon uses GPCW as her own office, where she works on her website and other projects, there is an atmosphere of productivity, which has ultimately led to other interested coworkers joining the community. 

GPCW is an intimate space, with shared desks located in the central area, all of the office amenities, and a small kitchen with “unlimited coffee and tea and snacks”. There are a wide variety of coworkers using the space as well, including developers, a caterer, an events planner, and designers. There is also Joshua Adam Brueckner, the founder of SKINNYFATTIES, a clever name to describe a business that focuses on tailoring wide-neck ties into the trendier skinny tie. Not only has his business been fashionably successful, but it also gives back by donating 1 US dollar with every purchase to Career Gear, a non-profit that helps men get back into the workforce. 

We discussed with Bacon the coworking phenomenon, specifically in Brooklyn, and gained some valuable insight to the recent ups and downs of coworking. Of course, there are great benefits that come from opening a coworking space in a growing neighborhood like Greenpoint, such as giving back to the community while simultaneously supporting your own business. “There are a couple of different approaches to coworking, says Bacon. “There is the 'I am developer, with a huge space, and I will rent it out to small businesses' and then there is the more 'I am creating this because I personally want a sense of community and I also want to be able to offer my community a sense of community' approach”.

Coworking, in a similar fashion to the way that neighborhoods like Greenpoint are gaining popularity, has received a lot of hype over the last year. Bacon herself has noticed the excitement surrounding the coworking movement, making note that she has seen an increase in the amount of spaces opening, but on the other hand, she has recently seen a lot close. “I think that people are realizing that there was a lot of excitement about it (coworking), but people didn’t really take into account that in order to really do it as a way of making a living or making money you have to do it in a strategic way”. 

Coworking in Williamsburg

In the neighboring Williamsburg, just bordering Greenpoint on the southwestern end, you will find Bitmap Creative Labs. Located in East Williamsburg resembles your favorite café. The warm wood floors and brick walls seem to bring back a certain nostalgia. Like all coworking spaces, Bitmap offers desks and space for rent, but also “actively encourages” their members to work together. “Bitmap sets out to foster an environment of respectful collaboration over unnecessary competition”, they say on their website, underneath an image of a cozy cabin-in-the-woods like space.

Founded by Nick Robalik, a CCO at HERO a New York creative agency, Bitmap is a focused on providing the same high-quality facilities “under the belief that all creative professionals should have access to the same level of resources available at larger firms”. Aside from the usual kitchen (which is awesome, I am never down on a kitchen with snacks at work) Bitmap also has large-format printing, a conference room with an HD projector, workshops, ZipCar discounts and a 32CPU Render farm for 3D and motion graphics. 

There is no doubt that you will find plenty of atmospheric and cozy coffee shops in both Greenpoint and Williamsburg along the way, but The Yard coaxes you to leave the coffee shop behind and get your own office. The Yard gives you the option to rent a private office as a “solopreneur”, starting at $395 dollars a month. If you are looking to expand, you can rent out a bigger one with a partner or multiple members for starting at $1,195 dollars a month. Like Bitmap Creative Labs, The Yard also offers high-quality facilities, but if you aren’t in need of all the bells and whistles, you also have the option of renting out a “virtual office”. This is a great option for people who are looking for just an address for mail, and conference room space.

Bacon makes a strong point in relating the possible success achieved through coworking, especially in a big city like New York. In regards to her own personal experience with Greenpoint Coworking, Bacon tells me, “we feel cross pollination is the best idea”. “With the way that things are in New York, it’s hard to justify having an office space, since most of the time the people you work with are not even in the same city as you….and for me I’ve always been about entrepreneurialism, work life balance and of the belief that the environment that you work in greatly affects the quality of work that you do” 

This article is part of a new series on coworking spaces in New York:

1. Coworking in Dumbo (Brooklyn)

2. Coworking in Williamsburg & Greenpoint (Brooklyn)

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