Where the Internet Is

7 08 2008

As a freelance writer who gets a little stir crazy at home, one of the biggest challenges is finding new and appealing places where I can settle in and log on to get work done.

My usual go-to joint is Gramstand, a fantastic little tea place just blocks from home, where the internet is free, the people are nice, and the great tea drinks abound. Not only that, but I can settle in and work for hours, or a whole day without being bothered. (I just discovered this week, too, that the Stand, as I like to call it, is connected with a “Coworking” group, Coobric, whose mission it is to link up freelancers like myself so they don’t feel as alone in the world (enter warm and fuzzies), which makes me feel even better about hanging out there all day every day.

But lately Granstand’s basement, where I typically camp out, has felt a little stuffy. It’s still great for settling in to a quiet workspace, complete with big tables that allow me to spread out and friendly seeming people, but in the balmy days of summer in New York, a basement with no AC gets to be a bit of a stuffy, sometimes stinky place. Not to mention that being without daylight can sometimes take its toll on a girl.

That’s not to say that I’m ruling out the G-stand, but today I just needed a break from “the regular.” In desperate need of daylight, Libby (my freelance buddy) and I decided to pick a good spot in between our respective Upper East and Lower East Side homes, and headed to Bryant Park, where the sunlight, and the wireless, are free. It turned out to be quite the adventure, but proved more conducive to people watching (the lunch crowd there can get quite feisty when fighting over seating, especially on summer Thursdays when Broadway comes to Bryant) than to working. The internet was patchy and there was a bit too much going on for concentration.

But where are there other options for internet in Midtown? We found a great site designating some, but most didn’t work out so well. Until we found SubtleTea, Midtown’s version of G-stand, and a little bit of heaven. Big windows let in lots of daylight, and a long wood table makes for great communal workspace. Plus a great selection of mags means built-in break times. Then there is the tea selection, which is so vast as to be almost overwhelming, though the friendly staff is always on hand to advise—and give samples. Then there are a wide array of yummy frappes, from peanut butter chai to some great green tea concoction, and more tea-inspired tasties than one can possibly imagine. My new favorite place? Possibly…

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