Places to Write in New York City

So, yes, I’m a member of a writing space where I do most of my writing on weekends. My apartment is a dark, cramped cave and the only time I was ever able to write inside it was when I first picked up the keys and sat on the floor of the empty living room with a notebook. It’s at my writing spot, about a 15-minute walk away from my apartment, where I get the most done. (In fact, I am here now.)

But I do often get antsy. And it’s not always possible to make it over here, seeing as it’s in the opposite direction of my job. So I experiment with different places to go. Starbucks can be great—they never care how long you use your table. But Starbucks can also be beyond awful, with the shrieking of milk being foamed and the grinding of coffee beans. Plus it all depends on the customers. Sometimes they lean over and want to talk. Sometimes they stare or complain loudly about their babysitters. It can be unbearable.

There’s a small park I could try—it would have to be with a notebook; there are no free-floating outlets in the park where I could plug in my laptop.

I have tried going in to work early and writing at my desk behind a locked door, but invariably someone is also there early and gets a hint that I’m in there and starts knocking, wanting me to see something urgent. (Everything is urgent at my work.) No—just being in that office makes me panic. And I can’t write while panicking.

I’d like to set up a desk on our rooftop, that would be nice. I’d need a beach umbrella.

I could try writing on the subway, take the train all the way up to Inwood, sit in the very first car…

I could try the public library. That’s worked for me before, except I get distracted by all the many books and want to read them.

Yesterday I went to a small Italian cafe that doesn’t have very good food. But the thing about that cafe is how nice they are. They’ll let you sit for as long as you want. Yesterday, the owner even approached me and asked if I’d like them to pull up another table for me so I could spread out. She’d seen me scribbling in my notebook (I’ve been there feverishly scribbling before) and she wanted to give me two tables to work at instead of one. Nice. It makes me forgive them for their mediocre marinara.


  1. It can be hard to find a place that welcomes and inspires good writing. But I like what you have posted here because by trying to find good writing places you have done some good writing about trying to find good writing places. If that makes sense. Anyway, I’ll have to keep checking in…

  2. what was the italian cafe? i found your site just typing in places to write in ny on google. totally agree with you on the starbucks front, very hit or miss, if you can even score a table.

  3. It is the plague of being in a bustling city, the comfort and the plague. I look forward to finding my spot. I’ve moved to Brooklyn and find myself starting all over looking for a spot. I just can’t be in the house writing…I need people to pass by.

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