Honestly, I would love to use this post to rant about the TWO hours I just spent (that’s right, TWO HOURS) circling my little Brooklyn neighborhood to find a parking spot for that car we were so excited to buy (whose brilliant idea was that? oh right, I think it was mine…). I’m grateful to have a car in the city, but keeping it safe (and keeping parking tickets to a minimum) can be a nightmare. Now that my schedule is more flexible, I’ve taken on the responsibility of moving the car based on the timing of street cleaning. So far, I’ve had two VERY bad experiences doing this, and I’m hoping to get the hang of it soon. After two hours of effort today, the best I could do was a metered spot a few blocks away, which means that I’ll still have to venture out in a little while to give it another shot. If any of my fellow city dwellers/car owners have tips about how to keep your sanity in check AND your car parked, I would totally welcome them.
BUT, I will resist the urge to spend more time on that because I wanted to write a little today about some of the experiences I had this week working in spaces outside my home office. I’ve talked about this a little bit in the past, but since I logged more time out in the world over the past few days, I thought I’d share it, especially as it relates to being in New York City.
This city tends to get a bad reputation. I think that people who haven’t spent a lot of time here assume that New York is filled with nasty, impatient people who don’t have the patience for nice conversations, and that as a result, the whole island feels cold and unwelcoming. Like anywhere else, we certainly have our share of difficult personalities, and perhaps the difficult New Yorker is a BIT more challenging to deal with than a difficult person in another place. At the opposite end of the spectrum, NYC is also home to some of the warmest people I have ever met. I think most of us have an implicit understanding that we’ve all opted to live in this completely overwhelming, sometimes challenging, and often wonderful place, which gives us the “we’re all in this together” mentality (cue the High School Musical— it is Friday, after all!). Even if they’re not the warmest right off the bat, New Yorkers do look out for each other, and when you find your community here, you totally forget about all of those mean stereotypes from movies and TV.
I had two marathon writing sessions this week outside of my usual work space, and they totally reflected the extremes of NYC personality.
- On Tuesday, I spent the afternoon writing at a Panera Bread in midtown. In high school, Panera was a cool place to hang out, and I’ve always liked their food, but I’m not a regular customer. I know plenty of people who LOVE bringing their work there, so I figured I would give it a try since I had a long list of pitches and posts to get through and I was in the area, anyway. I set myself up with a chai latte and a corner table and minded my own business. Later on, I looked up to see a store employee staring me down. With zero attempt at being nice, she explained that they like to enforce a 45-minute limit, and since she’d “noticed I’d been here for about four hours,” I needed to leave to make room for dinner customers. I looked around at the DOZENS of empty tables around me and said in my nicest Pennsylvania-girl voice, “Do I have to leave even if there are spots open?” She glared at me and nodded, and watched as I packed up my bag to leave the restaurant, as if daring me to stay. So, to the woman who kicked me out of Panera, I would just like to say: Maybe you thought you were just doing your job, but it wasn’t necessary, and your attitude is the reason the rest of us New Yorkers get a bad name.
- I may have mentioned this in a previous post, but my friend and former roommate and I have this fun new routine where we meet up to work together, since she can also work remotely in her job. Yesterday, we went back to 61 Local, which happens to be around the corner from my apartment. Matt and I have always been big fans of going there for dinner and drinks, but I may be an even bigger fan of using it as a workspace! The owners have set it up to encourage people to work there for hours at time. It has a really laidback and friendly vibe, and although it can sometimes be so busy that you can’t find an empty seat to work in, there are also no limits to how long you can stay (ahem, Panera lady, ahem). They also happen to serve delicious peach tea, which is a nice perk! Even though I’m mostly happy to be alone in my quiet home office, it’s good to get out every once in a while and be surrounded by the buzz of other people working, and I think 61 Local is going to become my go-to place. Plus, if you’re in the area, you should definitely stop in for a peach tea (or Bloody Mary if it’s brunch-time!).
As my assignments pile up, I’m definitely finding it helpful to switch up my surroundings and work in different places. Any thoughts you have on spots that inspire you or make you feel extra productive would be much appreciated!