A new work spot

I was in the city today to see if the Apple Store people could tell me what’s wrong with my computer. (Turns out, nothing. It’s my network, yippee!). On the way back I stopped in at one of my favorite cafes – Communitea in Long Island City – to do a little work.

You can only spend so much time in your apartment combing through endless job listings without going a little crazy. Not that job boards aren’t supremely interesting but, well, they’re not. I’d rather memorize the side of a cereal box (mmm, 25% riboflavin). Some days it’s best to avoid the Netflix discs, the PS3 and all the other distractions at home. And some days it’s just nice to have a change of scenery.

All the tables at Communitea were full, which I’ve never seen before. It wasn’t even lunch time really. Everyone seemed to be settled in and working. Could it be like Mondays at the gym – full because people slacked off over the weekend? I carried on back to my neighborhood to try a new place.

My neighborhood (Jackson Heights) is paused in the early stages of gentrification. One of the first new arrivals was Espresso 77 about a year ago. It’s a great coffee shop, with stellar coffee and a cool vibe. And it seems to be holding its own against the Starbucks that opened a couple months later and a couple blocks away. The place isn’t much bigger than my living room, so I never bothered to bring my computer and avail myself of the wi-fi. I’d feel guilty preventing other paying customers from sitting down. As the signs say, I’d be kicked out after a half hour anyway.

But the place turned out to be slow during the day. People came in and worked on their computers or read the paper. One crazy-looking guy with blonde highlights had a video conference. The place was never full – my gauge for when to give up the table – and the people working were chill. I camped out for a few hours, nursed a cup of coffee so strong my head is still buzzing and got stuff done. Obviously I’d never do this on a Sunday morning. But random weekday afternoons seem to be fair game.

Let’s go ahead and add it to the list of work spots with free wi-fi (or ethernet jacks) that aren’t my apartment…

New York Public Library
(Social Sciences branch on Fifth Ave.)
Communitea
Bryant Park (if it’s temperate and you have a full battery)
Queens Library (81st St. branch, but only in a pinch)
Espresso 77

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