Places to hang out in New York?
August 20, 2014 10:32 AM   Subscribe

Hey Internet. I'm lonely and bored. I graduated from college in May and haven't had any luck finding paid work or even volunteer work so far. Can you recommend some free/cheap places I can hang out in NYC with my laptop? Or free events/activities during the day? If there's any place that will let me walk in and volunteer, that would be great, too.

I've contacted a lot of organizations asking if I could volunteer, and they just never get back to me. At this point, I am not at all picky. I just want to do something worthwhile out of the house. Maybe meet some new people.

I've looked through the NYC IRL events, and they seem to mostly revolve around drinking (which I'm not really big on), so that's out.

posted by topoisomerase to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (12 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Sign up to volunteer through New York Cares. Once you've done orientation, there are all sorts of different options available to you!
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 10:35 AM on August 20, 2014 [3 favorites]

Or try the New York Tenement Museum. They definitely have volunteer opportunities, and got back to me quickly. Same day even, IIRC. (Scroll to the bottom of this page, and there's an email address you can hit up.)

Also, BARC Shelter in Brooklyn has a huge need for drop-in volunteer dog walkers/cat brushers. Just go over there in person, at the times listed on the site.

What about getting a part time job, waiting tables or something?
posted by functionequalsform at 10:41 AM on August 20, 2014 [2 favorites]

You could also volunteer at the city's largest soup kitchen.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 10:43 AM on August 20, 2014 [1 favorite]

Best answer: We have board game meetups if you are interested in that! (ocherdraco will probably post one soon.)

The main Brooklyn Public Library branch on Grand Army Plaza is a nice place to bring a laptop.

I second TPS's suggestion of New York Cares, where my mom has done some great volunteer stuff. I also like 826NYC, which may be looking for volunteers for the fall, not sure.
posted by ferret branca at 11:06 AM on August 20, 2014

Beware that the unspoken rule about places where people hang out with their laptops is that people don't look at or talk to other people with laptops. So that route may not get you far.

Bars, alas, are the time-honored way to strike up conversations with strangers (not the only way, but certainly the easiest and most prevalent way). Doesn't mean you need to drink, however. Diet Coke in a glass can pass.

Friendly bars include Molly's, Milano's, The Cannibal, Crocodile Lounge, Los Feliz. Happy Hour is a good time.
posted by Quisp Lover at 12:14 PM on August 20, 2014

Best answer: Another way to find volunteer opportunities is One Brick. You do have to RSVP for things in advance, but they cater to people who have unpredictable schedules and can't necessarily commit to "four times a month" or what-not. It's kind of like a temp service for volunteers - One Brick gets calls for "we need [x] volunteers for crowd control for one day for this event" and puts the word out. You sign up through One Brick and go and show up and there you are.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:18 PM on August 20, 2014 [1 favorite]

Speaking of board games, there's a place in the West Village called The Uncommons. It's one part cafe, one part board game store. Basically they sell board games, coffee, tea, and baked goods, and they have a ton of open card and board games (like, close to a hundred) and for $5 they'll let you sit in the store and play as many as you want for as long as you want. It's a lot of fun to go with people, but if you go on your own you can generally find a group to play with - it's a pretty friendly crowd.

I've actually been thinking about hosting a MeFi meetup there some time.
posted by Itaxpica at 1:12 PM on August 20, 2014 [1 favorite]

If you'd like doing some gardening, I used to work in the gardens at the Battery and they have regular volunteer hours from 9:30-noon on Tuesday. Apparently they would like you to fill out a bit of paperwork ahead of time, but it is pretty informal. Other gardens around the city also have volunteer programs, but this is the one I know most about.
posted by sciencegeek at 2:05 PM on August 20, 2014

Response by poster: Just to be clear, I am aware of basic human etiquette with regards to laptops. I'm looking for 1) places where I can take my laptop and hang out, quietly applying for jobs and 2) things I can do/places I can go (where I would do something fun/worthwhile and maybe meet people).

I'm not the sort of ultra-outgoing person who would do well in a bar or the board game equivalent of a bar. I'm an introvert who makes friends through sustained interaction (like weekly club meetings or volunteer commitments).

posted by topoisomerase at 2:14 PM on August 20, 2014

When I was between careers, I decided to make a nice big list of books from the NYPL that I wanted. And then, instead of getting them delivered to the library closest to where I lived, I went out and spent a day going to as many of the branch libraries as possible. Something I hadn't realized was that each library has its own personality. So if you're looking for a place to set up a laptop, why not try visiting libraries until you find one that you like.
posted by sciencegeek at 3:30 PM on August 20, 2014 [2 favorites]

Rudy's on 9th has free hotdogs, good beer on tap (Kona), and a relatively smokers garden out back. It's a dive ...with free wifi.

Avoid it during happy hour and weekends. Mornings there are glorious.
posted by digitalprimate at 3:53 AM on August 21, 2014

Response by poster: I went to a volunteer orientation at 826NYC and I just have to go through the whole "fill out paperwork and get fingerprinted thing" now. The New York Tenement Museum did not write me back. Looking into everything else.

Thanks all!
posted by topoisomerase at 9:07 PM on September 1, 2014

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