I’m always on the lookout for spaces that are friendly to remote workers that aren’t just another coffee shop.
In New York especially, it seems like every time I’m back another coffee shop has disabled their wifi to discourage squatters. It can be tough to find a good spot to work where you’re welcome to loiter long enough to get work done!
NYPL 53rd Street Library
I decide to take a few hours off to go check out the latest show at MoMA. I see how crowded it is and end up working at the library across the street instead. Every. Single. Time. They just renovated it, so it’s a really great space to work.
Usually I’ll pop into whatever library is closest, but if I was going to choose one intentionally, I’d pick the Library for the Performing Arts. And if that’s crowded, Alice Tully Hall is nearby.
The Marlton Hotel
They’ve got a wood burning fireplace, tables, and plush seating. Yes, you can get coffee or cocktails, but it’s not required. This spot is lovely and isn’t nearly as crowded as most other hotel lobbies.
You can also check out the Ace, the Ludlow, or the Algonquin instead. If it’s nice, the Hudson has a fantastic patio and CitizenM has a great rooftop.
If you work best with dance music, the Standard has a DJ in their lobby after 3pm.
Sure, I hardly ever stay in hotels, but hotel lobbies are often the best places to work.
David Rubenstein Atrium
New York City has tons of Privately Owned Public Spaces (POPS) and many of them offer wifi. This is one of the best. It’s a beautiful, sunny space with lots of greenery. There are tables, outlets, and clean bathrooms. You can get coffee and snacks at the cafe, but you are also free to bring your own. Just make sure there’s not a performance scheduled.
Quiet City Maps has a list of NYC POPS with details on amenities and noise levels, of course.
The Library at the NoMad Hotel
Want a gorgeous space to work in? And maybe some excellent cocktails? The Library at NoMad is lovely and they have coffee, too, if you’re not up for booze at 10am.
Be sure to get there before 4pm. After that it’s only open to hotel guests.
A private library
The General Society of Mechanics & Tradesmen of the City of New York may be a private library, but the three story high reading room is open to the public. At $50, the annual membership fee is quite a bit less than any coworking space.
The New York Society Library only allows members to use their spaces. An annual membership costs the same amount as 5 days at WeWork. That includes the ability to reserve private study rooms for an entire day at no additional cost. If you’re not sold, you can access the reference room as a non-member.
In 2019, the Center for Fiction will re-open their private library in a new home.
Not a local? Here’s a list of the private libraries in the US.
Are you a member at Equinox? Their fitness centers have wifi throughout and many offer some pretty sweet office spaces. They also have smoothies and coffee and healthy snacks.
If you’re a member of that other type of club, the social club, their buildings often serve as excellent places to work.
The Cooper Hewitt
The Cooper Hewitt isn’t free, sure, but their garden is. They also have a lovely atrium (with plugs) overlooking the garden that doesn’t require admission to access.
Plenty of other museums have good spots to work hidden inside. MoMA has several areas that are great spots for work with plentiful outlets and wifi, as does the Poster House. Make sure you’re not blowing your budget paying museum admission fees.
Your home exchange or house sit
You’re sick of working at home, sure, but what about someone else’s home? Set up a home exchange or house sit and set up shop in a different home office.
Miss the coffee shop background noise? We’ve got you covered.
New York has wifi pretty much everywhere these days, including most NYC parks. Power and access to bathrooms can be scarce, so they’re a great spot to work for a short stretch.
Bryant Park has wifi, shade, tables, and clean bathrooms…and a gorgeous NYPL branch to retreat to when you’re running low on power.
Your local coffee shop might be sick of you taking up a table, but your local bar probably isn’t. Lots of bars have wifi and outlets and plenty of space during the day.
Most food halls have wifi, plenty of seating, and don’t mind if you linger. Midtown has Pennsy and Gotham West Market, there’s Dekalb Market Hall in downtown Brooklyn, and Berg’n in Crown Heights.
Working late? Hit your favorite diner, just make sure it’s off-peak and tip well!
Sure, you can get free trials of coworking spaces, but it seems a little disingenuous if you aren’t actually thinking of joining. Plus, New York has plenty of places you can work for free.
Just love coffee shops? There’s a list for that, too.