Best places to do freelance work in Manhattan
August 20, 2013 6:37 AM   Subscribe

I'm in Manhattan for a few weeks and am looking for good spots with free (or cheap) wi-fi.

Starbucks is fine, but the wi-fi's not that fast and the seating is often not that comfortable. The NYPL is beautiful, but the seating isn't too comfortable, and it's a bit of a hassle leaving the room because security has to check your bags.

It doesn't have to be free. For example, I've worked at the lounge of the W and bought a tonic water as the price of admission. That sort of thing is fine.

(1) fast internet
(2) comfortable seating
(3) relatively close to the upper-east side (or accessible from the 4,5,6)
(4) quiet
posted by jtothes to Travel & Transportation around New York, NY (6 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Pretty much any coffee shop, independent or not. Look on yelp and filter for wifi.
posted by greta simone at 6:51 AM on August 20, 2013

You already mentioned the W, but that's what I was going to suggest. The one on 49th & Lex meets all your criteria except quiet, but if you sit in the lobby area behind the wall near the restaurant space it's quieter than the main lobby area. They let us sit there for hours and all I bought was an iced tea.
posted by bedhead at 6:55 AM on August 20, 2013

Fast, good wifi at a coffee shop can be iffy these days. Manhattan coffee shops tend to be small, and many of them now discourage lingering and choose not to have outlets, wifi, or seating.

Quiet can easily be accomplished via ear plugs or headphones, at least. The hardest thing is going to be finding a place with available and comfortable seating.

The lobby of the Ace Hotel is very comfortable but popular because the wifi is free and reliable. You can get drinks from Stumptown and snacks from the Breslin at your table, too.

In Soho, try Ground Support, there are lots of people working/using laptops there most of the time. The seating is fine (picnic tables) but not especially comfortable.

Ost Cafe in the East Village is good but often full up. There's a new location of Third Rail nearby you can try as well.

Kaffe 1668 in Tribeca, but that will be a bit of a trek for you.

Avoid Think (poor quality wifi, or none at all at the newer branches) and Aroma (horrible, horrible music).

Some public parks now have wifi, but not the most comfortable seating.

I'd also look into other hotel lobbies, bars, & tea shops (David's Tea, Argo, Grounded) as places that are less popular and easier to grab a seat.

Also any Kimpton hotel will have free wifi as long as you sign up for their also free loyalty program. You "log in" by entering your email address.

See also:
NYC: Best Manhattan Wifi Cafes/Coffee Shops by Project Latte
posted by kathryn at 7:13 AM on August 20, 2013 [2 favorites]

I've found that working in a branch of Argo Tea is fairly pleasant. I used to like the one in (near? I don't remember) the Flatiron Building.
posted by Dr. Wu at 8:18 AM on August 20, 2013

McDonalds. No, really.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 9:35 AM on August 20, 2013

the NYPL Mid-Manhattan branch at 40th street and Fifth Avenue has a beautiful room with comfortable seating. You go in to the main area and the room I'm talking about is on the left side, not visible from the main room. It's not that easy to find (which is good for obvious reasons). And the security there is no big deal at all.
posted by DMelanogaster at 7:06 PM on August 20, 2013

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