New York City is teeming with freelancers, entrepreneurs, solopreneurs, and other independent workers of all kinds. From startup founders to contractors to small business owners, people all across the city gear up to mind their own businesses during the workday.
In fact, a joint survey conducted in 2019 by Upwork, the Freelancers Union and the New York City Mayor’s Office found that 34% of workers in New York City were freelancers - that is, more than a third of the people in NYC who work for money, are doing so independently. Add to that an incalculable number of burgeoning startups and small businesses in the city, and you have an independent workforce that easily numbers in the millions of people.
So where do all these people go to work? Offices? Coworking spaces? Coffee shops? I mean, this is New York City - they’re probably not working from home in the dark little closets that New Yorkers like to call apartments. Well, we’ve done some searching (and not just with Google), and we’ve gathered a list of our favorite spots to work remotely from in New York City - for founders and freelancers alike.
Coworking spaces are offices for the office-less. If you don’t have a corporate office but need the creature comforts of a dedicated workspace - like guaranteed access to an outlet, reliable and secure high speed internet, snacks, a desk…etc., a coworking space may be a good option for freelancers and entrepreneurs.
New York is home to a number of them, mostly concentrated in Manhattan but also with several scattered throughout the outer boroughs as well.
WeWork: One of the largest coworking companies in the US, WeWork has over 76 locations scattered across Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens. WeWork members get access to location amenities like free coffee, infused drinks, copying and printing services, 24/7 office access and more depending on membership level.
GreenDesk: GreenDesk is a local network of coworking spaces with 8 locations across Long Island City and Brooklyn. They prioritize green, environmentally friendly construction in their office spaces, and offer members access to an on-site cafeteria, outdoor patio space and an extremely fast internet connection. Members also have the option to rent private offices or hot desks, as well as standard 9 to 5 office access that can be upgraded to 24/7 keycard access.
The Farm: One of New York’s more unique coworking spots, The Farm’s SoHo and NoMad locations are furnished with fittings and fixtures from a barn in southern Missouri, featuring fun additions like hammocks and a tree house. Members can purchase day passes or monthly passes for private or shared desks and conference rooms.
Coffee shops are a popular freelancer/entrepreneur haunt. Most have free wifi and a place to sit, and for most remote workers, that's enough. However, some places go above and beyond, making doing your work, managing potential clients, or sifting through job postings for freelance gigs a more pleasant experience.
Devocion: Situated in a converted warehouse on Grand Street in Brooklyn, Devocion offers customers free wifi, comfortable leather couches and lots of workspace. Coupled with the expansive skylights and top-tier coffee, you’ll never want to leave.
Prince Coffee House: Our first entry from the Bronx, Prince Coffee House in the Bonx’s Little Italy on Arthur Avenue has floor-to-ceiling windows as well as a quieter lower level that is darker with fewer distractions.
Ground Central Coffee Company: Located just a few blocks from Grand Central Terminal, Ground Central is a laid-back, more dimly-lit affair than the other two coffee houses on this list. Comfortable leather seating and plentiful outlets make this a solid choice for digital nomads trapped in Midtown.
Other Cool Spots:
New York Public Library and Bryant Park: We can’t possibly build a list like this and not include the New York Public Library. Not only are each of the individual reading rooms equipped with wifi, outlets and desk space, but they’re all absolutely stunning. The main Rose Reading Room has over 600 seats and is bathed in natural light thanks to the multi-story windows that cover its walls. The only downside is that calls and libraries don’t mix, and you will not be permitted to speak loudly in the reading rooms (security will escort you out if you are disruptive).
Additionally, there is wifi in Bryant Park just next door, so if weather permits, you might want to consider heading outside and scooping up a free table and chair, and maybe a coffee from the nearby Bryant Park Cafe.
The Ace Hotel: Located in Midtown on 29th Street, the Ace Hotel’s lobby has communal tables and leather seating, plenty of USB ports and outlets as well as a bar for anything from snacks to coffee to something a little stronger. Settle in for the day and get to meet some of New York City’s creative types that typically frequent this place. If you like the vibe, maybe stick around and watch as the post-work crowd comes for the bar and brings the party with them.
180 Maiden Lane Atrium: Privately-owned public spaces (or POPS), are small nuggets of public-accessible space built into private developments in exchange for more zoning privileges. These POPS often take the form of small artificial parks that dot the city throughout Midtown and Downtown. Our favorite is the one at 180 Maiden Lane in the Financial District, called The Atrium. It features live tropical plants, artificial turf and plenty of cafe tables and bench seating, and a cafe on-site. The best part? It’s a park totally enclosed by glass, making it a great option in the winter months too.
Prince Coffee House: https://www.facebook.com/princecoffeehousenewyork/
Ground Central Coffee Company: https://www.thrillist.com/venues/ground-central-coffee-company-5075321