Working remotely from NYC
April 21, 2017 11:17 AM   Subscribe

I'd like to find a good place to work from remotely with my laptop in NYC (preferably Manhattan) for two days next week. In the Bay Area, we have coffeeshops where for a reasonable hourly fee you can essentially rent a table and wi-fi, and patronize the cafe as desired on top of that. Guarantees good internet and no side-eye from employees for taking up space for long periods. Is there anything like that in NY? Google is not turning it up on a quick search.
posted by eugenen to Travel & Transportation around New York, NY (16 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
I don't know of any cafe spaces, but coworking spaces abound (here are some lists: 1, 2, 3). There are also services like breather, that rent a private meeting-room-like space.
posted by R a c h e l at 11:20 AM on April 21, 2017

There are a bunch of privately owned public spaces in NY many of which are indoor plazas with tables that can make nice places to work - I'm not sure about wifi though. The public libraries are also good for this or if it's nice Bryant park.
posted by SpaceWarp13 at 11:24 AM on April 21, 2017

No cafe, but it's hard to do better than the Main Reading Room at NYPL.
posted by veery at 11:42 AM on April 21, 2017

All due respect to the beautiful renovated Rose Room, but I wouldn't leave a bag unattended there even to go to the bathroom, which makes it hard to work alone for hours.

Spend $95 and you get a month's access to most of Columbia's libraries. There's food on the first floor of Butler. But check the calendar--it won't be pleasant before finals and between terms hours can be limited.
posted by praemunire at 12:24 PM on April 21, 2017

There's WeWork but this is probably more formal than you want. Seems to be about $45/month for two days' worth of private (?) workspace with Internet.
posted by blnkfrnk at 12:40 PM on April 21, 2017

And there's this which comes across as scammy to me but might be legit.
posted by blnkfrnk at 12:42 PM on April 21, 2017

LiquidSpace is another coworking space-finder site with lots of options in NYC.
posted by mskyle at 12:46 PM on April 21, 2017

You can try Spacious (coworking in restaurants that are closed during the day) free for a week.
posted by pinochiette at 12:55 PM on April 21, 2017 [2 favorites]

When I need to do this, I'm usually at the SIBL branch of NYPL. Comfy chairs, cubbies for working, good internet. OK for everything but teleconferences (imo).
posted by jessamyn at 12:59 PM on April 21, 2017 [2 favorites]

If you want a coffee shop as opposed to a library or co-working space, is there a reason you can't just buy something every 45 minutes or an hour? Coffee, tea, sandwich, snack, etc? Just find somewhere a little off the beaten path (look furthest away from a subway stop) and pop a squat and just keep ordering stuff. I have a ton of Brooklyn recommendations if you want to venture out of Manhattan.
posted by greta simone at 1:08 PM on April 21, 2017 [4 favorites]

I've used a few of the co-working spaces in Manhattan. They all seemed to have some flexibility on billing. You probably don't need to buy a month's access for 2 days. Even if you don't see a pricing option for "just 2 days", it's worth calling them to see.

There are lots of coffee shops, they are often crowded and noisy. There are people who work from them, I know people who have run businesses from their local coffee shop. However, you should not leave a laptop or any valuables unattended in an NYC coffee shop. It makes work from the coffee shop alone very difficult.
posted by Cranialtorque at 2:00 PM on April 21, 2017 [2 favorites]

Sign up for a free week of Croissant and take your pick:
posted by jessca84 at 2:22 PM on April 21, 2017

My BIL swears by the NYPL, though I have never asked him which specific location.
posted by chazlarson at 3:52 PM on April 21, 2017

NYPL branches are good. These two in particular:

Andrew Heiskell Braille and Talking Book Library, on 20th St. b/w 5th and Madison. It is a small branch, and it is not usually all that busy. Has Wi-Fi.

Science, Industry and Business Library, on Madison just above 34th St. There is a rather large reading room. It does get crowded in there, but it's usually a lot better peoplewise than the other branches. The clean bathrooms are a bonus. Has Wi-Fi.

I have spent the better part of complete days in either branch, doing work and/or dicking around the interwebs on my laptop.

You can also get Wi-Fi in most of the city parks, I believe. I have done so at Union Square Park, and Madison Square or Bryant would be nice too. There's a coin toilet on the east side of Madison square, public toilet (clean) on the northeast edge of Union Square, and an absolutely lovely public toilet on 42nd St. just to the west of the park entrance in the middle-ish of the block.
posted by old_growler at 7:03 PM on April 21, 2017 [1 favorite]

I regularly work in coffeehouses for 3-4 hours at a time, and I've never gotten the mean stare - not to my knowledge anyway. If you're on the west side, I like the Coffee Foundry on West 4th Street for this. (I'm on my mobile; otherwise I would link.) It's a coffeehouse by day, karaoke bar by night. You can order coffee and sit at one of the long tables in the front for hours at no fee other than what you pay for coffee, or reserve a private karaoke room and work there, also at a big table. Good jazz music, no mean looks from the staff. There might be an "all you can drink" regular coffee price, but I usually order the cappuccino. When you're finished working, there is a decent ramen restaurant across the street.

The Lincoln Center Atrium on West 62nd is also free and a very nice space for working, especially if you need power outlets. It has a little cafe with food such as fancy grilled cheese sandwiches.

Ace Hotel on West 29th street is good for this too, although it can be a scene. Check out this url for more recommendations for coffeehouses (sorry again for not linking):
posted by quixotictic at 6:55 AM on April 22, 2017

When I travel, I look to the Coworking Visa wiki list of coworking spaces. Take a look at New York's listings and see what meets your needs. If you're not a member of a participating coworking space, you'll pay their day rate and maybe need to become a member or join their mailing list, but at least these places are friendly enough to day-long visitors.
posted by knile at 1:11 PM on April 23, 2017

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