New Work City hosts the simulcasts of the monthly New York Tech Meetup. Not to mention Startup Funerals. It’s definitely not your run-of-the-mill co-working space, but then, they consider themselves more a community than a co-working space, according to founder Tony Bacigalupo, a self-described adventure capitalist, Mayor of NWC, newly-minted New York Tech Meetup Board member and definitely an elder statesman of the co-working world.
The original NWC opened in a sublet on Varick Street in 2008. Two years and one kickstarter campaign later, the current 4,700 square foot space at 412 Broadway opened for business. Some of those original members are with them to this day.
“They come and go over time,” Bacigalupo noted. “They sign up, they leave, they sell or close their startups, they leave again, and then they come back. The beauty of it is how fluid it is. People who’ve never signed up signed up recently, and people who left long ago signed up and are members again.”
It’s the systole and diastole of the co-working world. Participation in NWC is $30-$300/month depending on how you use the space, but things are about to change over there.
“Technically, we don’t offer 24/7 access – we close when the last person with a key is leaving. But want to formally offer that and membership prices will change a bit, but it’ll be the same basic structure,” Bacigalupo offered. “We’ll be bringing back Nighthours, too.”
For the uninitiated, Nighthours used to be every Tuesday evening from 9 pm till the wee hours. You’d bring your computer and work alongside other night owls. It had been going on for 4 years, in one form or another, according to Bacigalupo.
NWC accommodates 150 members in total. They have a capacity for 50-60, but most people are part-time.
“It’s a malleable number in a flexible environment,” Bacigalupo explained. “We have people on couches, people at standing desks – those are in high demand. People want diversity. Some have their favorite situation, while others love being able to switch contexts throughout the day. It helps you think differently. Everything you see in the space is shared. Whatever you see, you can use it, wall to wall. Feel free to make use of everything we have here at your disposal. There is also a lot of true coworking going on, with people helping other people out. The community is the most important part for us. It’s not just about people who need a space to come and work. It’s about people who do not need office space, necessarily: they’re here because they want to be around great people. Nothing makes me happier then when I see two people who didn’t know each other previously, going out to lunch and working on a project. And it happens every single day.”
Most of the community consists of tech startups, but there are also accountants, journalists and assorted other freelancers/consultants there, working alongside art startup UGallery, the Y Combinator-backed SmartAsset, an easy-to-use tool that leverages market data and proprietary modeling technology to ensure you make the best possible financial decisions; guitar-teaching app Instinct. Not to mention the companies who are no longer there, because they went on to participate in the TechStars accelerator, including Dispatch (which was created at the TechCrunch Disrupt hackathon) and TimeHop (which aggregates Foursquare checkins, Facebook status updates, photos, Twitter updates, and Instagram photos from one year ago and sends them to you in a daily email).
Because they consider themselves a community, NWC does not require you to apply for formal membership: all are welcome. Oh, and the kitchen is finished now, too.
It may not be the fanciest co-working space, but it’s certainly one of the most flexible. Bacigalupo runs such a well-oiled-machine that he’s now consulting on how to put together co-working spaces. In fact, he’s about to leave for Australia to help them out Down Under, but not to worry: he’ll be back. Bacigalupo never strays for very long from the community he he helped to build.