The freelancer's guide to NYC public spaces

Change the environment to break up the monotony of working from home. Here's your guide to public spaces in NYC.

As a freelancer myself, I get nervous about working too much in my home. I've read various studies that combining your resting space with your working space can lead to restlessness and because I live in a studio, I try and get out to work as much as I can. For me, the ideal space is somewhere quiet but not too quiet. I like to have a little bit of background noise and if I am meeting a client, it has to be a place where we can carry a conversation. In my freelancing experience, I've mapped out my favorite spots across New York City to meet, write at, and get work done at. Check them out below!

Washington Heights

I live in Washington Heights and it's important to have a place nearby that I can go to break up the monotony of working from home. My favorite spot nearby is Filtered NYC on 184th and Broadway. Filtered is fairly new and I've been a regular since they opened. It's super spacious with varying seating for every possible need. They have large tables, perfect for working and bar style seating overlooking the sidewalk if you want more of a view. They even have a few intimate two person seating areas where you can have a meeting. The vibe of the space is great with friendly baristas and a great selection of coffee by Counter Culture, pastries, gluten free options, and my personal favorite, avocado toast.

Harlem

As rent increases in NYC I feel like the majority of us entrepreneurs, artists, and freelancers live further uptown. We've recently seen Harlem become a vital meeting place for people who live in various areas uptown. My favorite place used to be The Chipped Cup, but lately The Hamilton Bakery has taken the cake located just off the 1 train on 146th and Broadway. Literally, their cake is really good. Boasting amazing coffee and pastries (especially their cinnamon buns), this multi-level, spacious spot is perfect for meetings and a great spot to get some work done on your laptop before heading home.

Midtown

Because I'm an actress as well, I often find myself in midtown waiting on auditions. I'll typically schedule meeting with potential artist-clients during audition lunch break which is 1-2pm. I'm usually around Penn Station, so my favorite spot to meet is at By Suzette. By Suzette is a nice spot because they offer both savory and sweet crepes, so if you're hungry for lunch you can indulge without succumbing to a muffin instead of a meal. Is that just me? By Suzette has some seating downstairs, but the real value to the spot is their upstairs oasis. Big tables, a charging station, and free Wifi make it the perfect space to recharge and get some work done midday.

Flatiron

Lululemon's flagship location has a beautiful public space in their basement that is free to use! It's a nice quiet spot to meet, take a mental break, or work on your computer. Located just a few blocks away from the Union Square Station it's perfect for East Siders and Brooklynites needing to meet in the city. Bonus: You can get your shopping in upstairs before or after you work.

SoHo

If I'm meeting with someone for the first time and want to make a good first impression, I'll invite them to my #1 favorite spot in the city Bluestone Lane. It's an easy commute for East Siders and West Siders both as it's off the A, D, B, and C trains. Though their pricing is a little inflated in my opinion, they no doubt make the best latte in the city. Their small but specific menu boasts yummy and healthy dishes perfect for a business nosh. The aesthetic of Bluestone is their biggest plus. The calming blue-green and gold decor makes it a relaxing spot to meet someone new and the pretty presentation of their food and drinks is sure to impress.

Dumbo

One Girl Cookies is a great place to relax and get work done in Dumbo. Just around the corner from Brooklyn Bridge Park, it's super close to many major train lines. There are tons of cool spots like this in Dumbo but what sets One Girl apart is its spaciousness and of course it's delicious cookies. It can sometimes get loud especially on the weekends when kids are out of school so this isn't the best spot for a meeting but if you don't mind background noise it's a great spot for writing, reading, and answering emails.

Williamsburg

When in Williamsburg Toby's Estate is a great meeting place! Located just off of cultural hub Bedford Ave and near the Bedford train station, it's a very convenient meeting spot to those in Manhattan and Brooklyn alike. The high ceilings and spacious cafe allow for gatherings large and small. The clean, industrial aesthetic is perfect to get some work done not to mention their coffee is amazing, one of my favorite brews in the city. If you're there between 7am and 3pm you can enjoy some of their in house breakfast classics and they have a variety of prepared treats available all day like macaroons from Danny's Macaroons, Doughnut Plant donuts, and more.

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If you've googled one thing during this pandemic, it is definitely: "Thai food near me."

Thai food has remained one of the most delicious and sought after takeout gems; and in New York City, specifically, there are so many delicious options that it can be overwhelming. Often unlike Chinese food, Thai food offers fresher ingredients and versatile cuisine options. Whether you want some Pad Thai or Pad See Ew, or some coconut milk-infused curry or even just some soup, Thai food is good for any occasion. But with so many options, how do you know you're getting the freshest ingredients at the best price? Here are the best spots to order take-out from, and we even broke it up by borough for you.


Manhattan: Fish Cheeks

Fish Cheeks

Reviewed by The Times as "fresh, vivid and intense," Fish Cheeks offers solid takes on traditional Thai Cuisine. Their speciality remains seafood, so their Crab Friend Rice and Coconut Crab Curry are delicious highlights. Their Tum Yum is also to die for, made with fresh galanagal, lime leaves and lemongrass.

The version [of tum yum] here hums with fresh galangal, lime leaves and lemongrass. Shrimp and knobby mushrooms simmer in a broth that gets extra body from milk, a twist I've never seen before but one I approve of. It could be spicier, but the use of bird's-eye chiles is far from shy.

Manhattan: Lan Larb

thia food

Arguably some of the best Pad Thai in the city, Lan Larb is focused mainly on the food of Thailand's northeast region. As a result, there is often a combo of meat and seafood involved in most dishes, such as the Lao Chicken Soup, which combines fresh chicken with pickled fish and a steamy brown broth. The menu will make your tastebuds whirl if you're one for experimentation, if not, their Pad Thai is iconic and filling enough on its own.

Brooklyn: Ugly Baby

Brooklyn has always been teeming with amazing Thai food joints, but Ugly Baby is the borough's most established success story. The Carrol Gardens sensation was preceded by two long gone Red Hook restaurants known for their authentic Northern Thai cuisine. With Ugly Baby, a name which comes from an ancient belief in Thailand that ugly children bring good fortune, chef Sirichai Sreparplarn had mastered his craft. The restaurant quickly gained glowing praise throughout Brooklyn and New York, and their take on Khao Soi Nuer and Kao Tod Nam Klook remain the stuff of legends.

Queens: Ayada

ayada thai

Ayada's cuisine is so good that it made a New York Times journalist cry at his table. Not out of emotion though, but out of spice. For those looking for a truly bold eating experience, this Queens Thai restaurant holds nothing back when crafting their drunken noodles or Pad Thai, but that spice is what makes it one of the best spots in the city.

Bronx: Ceetay

​While the Bronx isn't necessarily a buzzing Thai food borough, Ceetay's asian fusion cuisine is of the highest quality and will appeal to anyone desperately needing to nom on some noodles. Their sushi is amazing but their Pad Thai is packed with amazing flavor. Seasoned with onions, peppers, cabbage, carrots, mushrooms, peanuts, scallions and cilantro, this Pad Thai is packed with flavors and will slam your taste buds in the best possible way.

Travel

5 Countries to Visit This Fall

As the weather starts to chill out, we're just getting warmed up to travel

It's not winter yet!

So that means, we're all about that fall travel. It's a beautiful time of year to be outside in many countries, soaking up the colorful landscapes and fresh air. Here are our picks for the top places to visit this fall.

1. Germany

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Burg Eltz Castle is a magical step back into the Middle Ages that's been here for more than 850 years.

2. Switzerland

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The red leaves in Bern are absolutely striking.

3. Italy

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Nothing like the sheer beauty of the formidable Italian alps.

4. Peru

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Machu Picchu beckons visitors from near and far this fall.

5. Mexico

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It's not too cold to skip the beach!

Everyone has heard of the murder-hotel where dark shadows creep at the edge of your vision, or the abandoned house where the furniture moves each time you leave the room.

But sometimes the places set up to capture the fun and fright of the Halloween season for paying customers can be far more horrifying than any ghost stories. These "fake" haunted houses will leave you genuinely haunted.



Pennhurst Haunted Asylum

So spoooky!

Thomas James Caldwell

Pennhurst Asylum was in operation from 1908-1987 in the small town of Spring City, Pennsylvania. While we don't have all the records of the residents' experiences there, it doesn't take much imagination to realize that this building was home to true horrors. In many ways, 1908 wasn't that long ago, but in terms of mental health treatment—especially in small-town Pennsylvania—it was absolutely the dark ages. This was the time of lobotomies, straight jackets, and shock therapy. Whatever the jump scares and fake blood contribute to the fear you will feel walking through Pennhurst Asylum's aging, echoing halls, they can't come close to the deep, sinking feeling caused by the deep history of torment that has left its imprint on the very fabric of the place. Four spooky skulls out of five.

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Haunted Trap House

Like this, but less 90s

In Centreville, Maryand, in the year 1989, a group of visionaries were struck by a bolt of inspiration. What if—instead of zombies and werewolves and demons, and all the stuff out of children's nightmares—what if they filled their haunted house with the real-world nightmares that were actually infesting their city, killing their residents, and generally afflicting every corner of the entire nation. Thus, the Haunted Crack House was born. Since renamed the Haunted Trap House, it's ostensibly an educational experience on the dangers of drug use, it features simulations of overdoses, arrests, and shootings, as well as actual former convicts who are paid to draw on their real experiences to make your visit as terrifying as possible. This kind of fetishizing of human misery to capitalize on the Halloween season is as despicable as it is spooky. Four-and-a-half skulls out of five.

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McKamey Manor

He technically consented to this

A $20,000 reward? A 40-page waiver? These figures have garnered a lot of attention in recent headlines. Supposedly this is the "scariest" haunted house experience in the country. Who could resist the temptation of that once-in-a-lifetime experience, combined with the chance to win a big cash prize? Unfortunately, that is exactly what Russ McKay wants. There's a reason he's put so much work into the legal side of his operation. Rather than gassing up neutered chainsaws and chasing you around in a hockey mask, McKay has opted for producing actual, real, straight-up torture. You may not find the decorations and costumes that scary, but you will absolutely fear for your life when you consent to be water-boarded with fake blood. For being operated by a man who is clearly an unhinged psychopath, McKamey Manor ties the Haunted Traphouse, with four-and-a-half spooky skulls.

💀💀💀💀.5/5

Donald Vann's House of Horrors

Donald Vann murdered eleven people. Happens to the best of us, but it does present a problem. How do you dispose of all those bodies? Donald's solution was to open a haunted house and put his victims' decaying remains on display as props. Props to him. For eight months he prepared his fetid, malodorous horrors, before debuting on October 1st. Unfortunately, you won't be able to visit his house of horrors, because he has since landed in some legal trouble—board of health, maybe?—but I'm sure for the lucky few who were able to visit during its brief tenure, and witness Vann's "psychotic smirk," I'm sure the nightmares they're left with keep on spooking.

💀💀💀💀💀/5

Every Hell House in America

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In the same vein as the Haunted Traphouse, Hell Houses are church presentations intended as educational experiences that warn kids and teens away from the path of sin. Their methods for achieving this obviously vary, but according to The Washington Post, you can generally expect the following: "A devil ushers a gay man dying of AIDS into the fiery pit. A teenager who is raped at a drug-filled rave commits suicide and also goes to hell. A young girl hemorrhaging from an abortion repents at the last minute." Awful. Truly sickening. What kind of trauma are they inflicting on these children to prop up their outdated ideologies? Six spooky skulls. Where'd that extra skull come from?? Nobody knows…

💀💀💀💀💀💀/5