Friday, April 18, 2014

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SoHo Workspace Keeps An Open Mind

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A community workspace in SoHo is looking to redefine what it means to head into the office. NY1's Asa Aarons filed the following Employment Report.

Somewhere between the executive suite and your corner coffee shop lies New Work City. It's an open room where open minds can open their laptops and work in an open environment.

Tony Bacigalupo calls himself the mayor of New Work City.

"We've really got a pretty wide variety of people. We've got people who are contracting, developing or designing or some of them I can't tell what they're doing," Bacigalupo said.

Members pay about $25 a day for the keys to the city. The price includes table space, Internet access and all the free coffee one can drink.

Members say they come because it's much more than just a place to plug in their laptop.

Tina Fine commutes from the northern suburbs to work on film projects and a new website.

"This is more like working and sharing and studying with people like you would do in school and graduate school," Fine said.

Publisher Don Crossland tried flying solo, but didn't like it.

"I had this vision of myself of being in my apartment office all day, every day and not knowing anybody in the city and just becoming this hermit, so I definitely wanted to be out," Crossland said.

Collaboration is frequently brought up at New Work City, but members say it's strictly a voluntary exercise. Even among creative types, two heads are occasionally better than one.

"There's a lot of resources here, just being a one man shop or a one woman shop rather, there's a lot of things that maybe you don't do and you're not good at, and there are a lot of people that specialize in different things," said software developer Sarah Chitts.

Publisher Mark Burstiner found even at the beginning of his career, the office grind was unacceptable. But he later discovered that working from home wasn't much better.

"It might be more comfortable but you're trapped there. And part of why I like coming here is because it's my choice," Burstiner said.

The maneuvering, manipulating, and positioning that seeps into so many office environments seems absent at New Work City. It's a place where everyone works together to achieve their own separate goals.

"No politics -- either office politics or national, world politics," said Ron Suarz of

Bacigalupo believes places like New Work City will soon be commonplace.

"The technology you have today is allowing us to work in ways we never thought we could have before," Bacigalupo said.

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Ask Asa

If you have an employment story, a job, a new interview technique, or something you want to share with those looking for work or those doing the hiring, contact Asa Aarons at ClientIP:, UserAgent: CCBot/2.0 ( Profile: TWCSAMLSP