Back when I was an NYC noob and aspiring blogger that didn't know a person in the green scene, I found out about a sustainable shopping event on some eco-friendly blog (probably EcoSalon). I went all by myself, and spent an evening meeting sustainable designers and shop owners in a lofted workspace in TriBeCa. That was my entree into the sustainable world.
The more things change, the more they stay the same. Now I'm the one helping facilitate sustainable shopping events with my friends in that very same space right below Canal on Broadway. But in the intervening four years, it's had a major upgrade.
Back then it was known as Green Spaces NYC and was owned by the uber-networker Marissa Feinberg. But one year ago, it merged with the international coworking network Impact Hub. Still led by Feinberg, this location is now part of a network of working spaces with more than 40 locations around the world, including Africa, South America, Asia, Australia, Europe, Philadelphia, Boston, Boulder, and San Francisco, among many others, giving you a landing pad among likeminded people for all your work travels. If you're a member of Hub NYC, you can go to the locations in San Francisco, Berkeley and Philadelphia for free.
This fall Feinberg took me on a tour to see all the new goodies and upgrades. In the past year, they've expanded to two more floors and remodeled the original floor. On your first visit, you'll buzz to the fifth floor, which is meant to be a middle meeting area for dynamic work. At the front by the elevator a reception desk greets you. Behind that are glass-walled conference rooms and privacy booths, before it opens into a wide space filled with desks that can accommodate one, two, or several people.
The chairs are Herman Miller Aeron charis, which are 94% recyclable. Some of the desks are standing desks, and all tilt, stack, and slide away so that at night it can serve as an event space. There's wooden monumental steps covered in throw pillows that double as lockable storage, and a large kitchen with recycling, compost, and a dishwasher. Seated, the room can fit 150. For cocktail parties, the room can fit 300.
That's just what you get access to as a visitor. Get a permanent desk, and you get a key card that gets you into two more, light-filled floors full of entrepreneurs. Some have offices, some just have desks. But everyone can explain why they're trying to change the world. On my walk around, I met the sustainable designer behind Öhlin/D, got samples from several organic food companies, and walked past the offices of a socially-conscious investment fund."We frequently reject people who don't fit the ethos, or who reek of green washing," Marissa Feinberg told me as she toured me around, introducing me to members. A fat bulldog with a cast waddled after us for a few steps, before his owner whistled him back. "After a while you start to feel like family," she said.
In a typical week, you can avail yourself of meditation, yoga, and an Ayurvedic lunch arranged by other members. At night, there are parties, meet-ups, networking events, panels, and beer. "The World Cup was our most popular event," Feinberg told me. "We live streamed it, and literally every single member who was present was watching."
I spent a couple weeks working there, and felt right at home. The main floor was quiet enough to get a lot of work done, yet facilitated interaction. I asked a business contact to meet up with me there. After she left, another woman walked over to say hi. She had overheard my conversation and wanted to learn more about blogging. Feinberg even hooked me up with members in different countries when I wanted to find international social entrepreneurs for a freelance story.
Along with the usual coffee and tea, there were cold Runa energy teas for a dollar in the kitchen (Runa has an office here). At 6 pm, desks would start to be rearranged, and I would more often than not stay for whatever sustainable event was going on, whether it was a panel on water and fashion, or just a casual happy hour over beer.
Prices start at $120 a month for 25 hours of coworking time, and go up to $550 for unlimited working time, and beyond for an office space. You can schedule a tour and sign up for the newsletter so you keep abreast of events (I recommend you do this) on Impact Hub NYC's website. The next event I'm excited about is a holiday shopping event on December 12th with Öhlin/D, Daniel Silverstein, Tiossan, and Silver Needle tea.
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