Back in April I spent a week in New York City to hang out with scores of people in town from all over the world for an event called Keith and the Girl Week, aka KATG Week. People flew in from as far away as Australia and China to watch a week of comedy shows and enjoy after parties.
From around six at night, every night, I was in Dumbo Queens for the festivities and normally until around three in the morning. But by day I was busy getting my normal day-to-day work done. How I was able to get on with only a few hours of sleep a night for a week I don’t know. How I was able to get any work done, however, is well known to me. WeWork.
I work out of WeWork Labs in San Francisco and love the community, features and just about everything else about the office. So when I know I was going to be in New York City for a while, the city that birthed WeWork, I knew I’d have to see what’s up. I asked Anna, a community advisor at my WeWork, if this would be possible. After exchanging email with a few WeWorkers in New York I was put into contact with Adam & Ben. Adam encouraged me to check out their WeWork SoHo West location.
The next day I arrived to the address and followed the directions to the door. Even though the address is 175 Varick St, New York City, NY, the actual location of the front door is around the block on Charlton St.
That was a little confusing via email but once I made it down the block a bit it all made sense. I expected to see a big sign sticking from the side of the building. No sign, just small print on an otherwise nondescript black door.
Walking into the building was like walking into the Men In Black headquarters. Not going to lie, this felt weird. A good weird though, like when you’re being brought to that underground club that you access through the backend of the kitchen of a Chinese restaurant. A doorman stands near the elevators while two guys play pingpong. It felt like a cover, one wrong move and the pingpong playing dudes would turn into commandos. But I digress.
I was greeted at the elevator by Adam and Ben, who enthusiastically walked me through their seven stories of office space. I thought my WeWork was fancy and impressive but this WeWork is something else. Each floor is uniquely designed and for the most part divides the floors by industry.
One level might be for photographers and video producers. Then there’s another floor for public relations and marketing and yet another for fashion and design. Or something along those lines. This could be immensely beneficial to those in need of networking.
Are you a video producer who needs help with a fashion shoot for client? Hang out on level eight where you’ll find WeCross, “a dynamic shared-office space bringing together selected innovators and creative talents in disciplines including design, architecture, graphic and new digital technology, communication and more.” WeCross is also known as Heaven for its bright white appearance, and serve beers at the kegerator. You’ll have all the advice and connections you need within a lunch break. These floors also feature resources specific to those who work on them. The Fashion and Design floor has a curated Materials Library, for instance.
As different as WeWork SoHo was compared to my home base, many things stayed the same. Everyone there was kind and diligently pumping out work. It was immaculately clean and organized. The design-sense between WeWork locations is immediately noticeable and appreciated.
Beautiful hardwood floors, black steel and glass offices, eclectic couches and decked out conference rooms. Each floor has its own kitchen with endless coffee and fruit-infused water. Some floors even have legitimately fancy espresso machines for those who have experience pulling shots and steaming milk.
Each level has its own art collection. From the fifth floor’s massive 3D model of the Springfield from The Simpsons to vintage works of art playfully graffiti’d with hand-drawn monsters. At the core of every floor is a hub featuring printing services and conference rooms as well as open seating areas for when you need a break from your desk. And should you need even more of a break, the fourth floor hosts a game lounge. Hungry for both food and conversation? Bring your lunch to the eating area on the sixth floor.
I worked out of what’s called the “Library” or “Writers Room” on the fourth floor while I was at WeWork SoHo West. From there I managed to get all the work I needed to get done in an eight-hour workday squeezed into around four. The quiet comfort, reliable high-speed Internet and steady flow of absolutely necessary caffeine made this possible.
On my last day at the WeWork SoHo West office I took an hour to wander the halls and photograph the building. The photos in this post are the result. I want to thank Ben and Adam for facilitating my needs while in New York City so I could somehow manage to work and still play through the night and for taking the time to share the WeWork story with me while giving me one hell of a tour. Also thanks to Ariel who hooked me up with one of their RFID keycards allowing me to journey from floor to floor unencumbered.
I made a collage of eleven images chosen to condense the WeWork SoHo West experience as best as possible (at top) and posted it on Twitter and Facebook as a teaser to this delayed blog post. In the next few days I had Twitter direct messages and Facebook messages from several people asking if I would recommend WeWork for them and whether or not there was going to be a WeWork location in works for their area of the country. In every case I recommended WeWork. On whether or not they’re moving into your area, that I don’t know. But if you ask I’ll be sure to find out for you!