One of the best things about freelancing in New York City is not having to fight with the subway to get to my desk on time, something I did almost daily when I had an office job. One of the worst things, though, is feeling permanently stuck in my cramped apartment. Luckily, this city has lots of great, airy spaces that lend themselves well to remote work, whether you do it full time or are just looking to spend the day free of fluorescent lighting and Gary from HR. Ahead, discover 10 of our favorites.
1. 61 Local
61 Bergen Street between Smith Street and Boerum Place, Cobble Hill, Brooklyn
A Cobble Hill mainstay, 61 Local doubles as a night bar and day coworking space. As with Berg’n, 61 Local boasts free WiFi and long wooden tables for communal drinking, dining, and working. Coffee is available for purchase during the day, and you can munch on avocado toast, sandwiches, and other bites while you work. Come 5 p.m., 61 Local transforms into a great craft beer bar, so you can reward yourself with a brew when it’s time to clock out.
Photo courtesy of Berg’n
899 Bergen Street between Classon and Franklin Avenues, Crown Heights, Brooklyn
At night, Berg’n is a bustling beer hall replete with trivia nights and very loud voices. But on Tuesdays through Fridays (Berg’n’s closed on Mondays and very busy on weekends), Berg’n is one of the best coworking spaces in Brooklyn, offering up free WiFi, good coffee and pastries with $1 refills, and a relatively quiet room full of spacious tables. You can buy lunch from one of Berg’n’s several food stalls, which include offerings from Mighty Quinn’s and Landhaus, and when the weather’s good, there’s an inviting outdoor patio. The WiFi doesn’t extend to the outdoors, but it’s a nice place to take a break.
Photo by Stephen Johnson for Ace Hotel
3. Ace Hotel
20 West 29th Street between Broadway and 5th Avenue, Flatiron, Manhattan
Like Berg’n and 61 Local, the Lobby Bar at the Ace Hotel in Flatiron is a little too loud (and dark) at night to get much work done. But during the day, it’s a semi-secretly great spot to post up on deadline with a laptop. The Lobby Bar’s got free WiFi for the public as well as for guests, and comes well-stocked with plenty of couches, in addition to a long table with ample floor outlets for local remote workers. The bar serves Stumptown coffee and a variety of small bites, salads, and sandwiches, and come nighttime, you can relax with one of their specialty cocktails, or celebrate the end of the workday with a meal at the neighboring Breslin.
45 South 3rd Street, Williamsburg, Brooklyn
Freehold’s whole aesthetic is essentially that of a hotel lobby without the hotel, and that happens to make it just as good a remote workspace as some of the actual hotel lobbies and bars on this list. Though Freehold turns into a fairly rowdy bar at night, during the day, you can use their WiFi and sip Stumptown coffee; the environment’s much more spacious than most of the local coffee shops, and it’s a tad quieter, too. They’ve also got bakery treats from the likes of Balthazar and Ovenly, and you can order sandwiches, salads, and lunch martinis if you don’t mind getting sauced at the “office.”
Photo by Benoit Linero for the NoMad
5. The Library at the NoMad
10 West 28th Street between Broadway and 5th Avenue, Flatiron, Manhattan
For an even more low-key hotel bar workspace, the Library bar at the NoMad Hotel is open to non-hotel guests before 4 p.m. Early risers are rewarded with an inviting environment—modeled after a Parisian library, the bar boasts two stories of book-filled shelves, complete with quiet candle-topped tables and an elegant spiral staircase. The bar serves coffee, tea, and finger foods, and has complimentary WiFi during the day.
6. Brooklyn Library Central Branch
10 Grand Army Plaza, Prospect Heights, Brooklyn
Your local library is always a good workspace, but if you happen to live close to the Brooklyn Library’s Central Branch at Grand Army Plaza—or if you’re willing to make the trip—you’ll be rewarded with one of the best remote offices in the city. The Central Library boasts brightly-lit rooms, free WiFi, computers, and lots of chairs and tables for quiet work. You can also pay to use the library’s printers using your library card, and the library’s got a lovely outdoor patio overlooking the entrance to Prospect Park whenever you need some fresh air.
7. The Rose Main Reading Room at the New York Public Library
476 Fifth Avenue, Midtown West, Manhattan
Across the river, the massive main branch of the New York Public Library is home to the massive Rose Main Reading Room, a magnificent Beaux Arts-style workspace outfitted with stone walls, grand arched windows, chandeliers, and an elaborate plaster ceiling dotted with a three-part mural painted by James Wall Finn. There are 624 seats available to the public, and remote workers and researchers can take one at the room’s many long tables, decorated with ornate evenly-spaced lamps and numbered so library staff can deliver books and research materials upon request. Note that you can’t eat, drink, or take phone calls inside the Reading Room, and once you give up your seat, you could get stuck waiting on a long line to get back in, though if the weather’s decent, Bryant Park makes for a good alternative.
8. 51st Bakery & Cafe
5-33 51st Avenue, Long Island City, Queens
Long Island City residents swear by this expansive neighborhood coffee shop, which serves up incredible sandwiches and baked goods in a warm environment. There’s lots of seating here, and though the bakery gets crowded, it never feels cramped, which makes it a comfortable spot to post up for the day. The staff is friendly, and though you certainly should buy some coffee and treats from them (and tip handsomely), they won’t make you feel like you have to spend a lot of cash to stick around. They’ve also got a great weekend brunch, if you stop by outside of office hours.
9. Cooper Hewitt
2 East 91st Street between 5th and Madison Avenues, Upper East Side, Manhattan
This only applies in warm weather, but it turns out one of New York’s best-kept secrets is Cooper Hewitt’s garden and atrium, both of which are free to enter. The atrium’s got a few outlets, and you can connect to the museum’s free WiFi. For lunch, you can dine at the garden’s tasty Tarallucci e Vino Caffe, which opens as early as 8 a.m. on weekdays.
10. Your Local Coffee Shop
Here’s the thing about working remotely—not commuting in this city is bliss, which means that most of the time, the best office space is the one closest to you. Not only is your local coffee shop often the shortest distance from your couch and/or bed, but it’s also a community hub, and generally, one that really appreciates your business. Go often, chat with the baristas, tip generously, and don’t hog the outlets, and you’ll be rewarded with a new team of coworkers and maybe even a free pastry or two around closing time.
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