For years, New York has been recognized as the city where aspiring writers, bloggers, poets, and novelists land to pursue a journalism degree or find a coveted editorial job post-college. It’s not surprising then, that there’s a running list of places where writers hang out in NYC.
Though much in this city has changed over the past few decades, writers continue to set their sights on living in New York – if even for a tiny slice of what the city has to offer. Meanwhile, scores of Manhattanites have crossed the river to reside in, you guessed it, Brooklyn. But not all New York writers have fled the island. Sure, you’ll find a good-sized literary crowd in neighborhoods like Park Slope, Cobble Hill, and Fort Greene, but I can assure you, Manhattan still holds its fair share of accomplished writers.
Where exactly do these wordsmiths go to pen their next essay or mix and mingle? Here’s a handful of places where writers hang out in NYC. Just know that you might spot your favorite – be it an up-and-coming New York blogger or the next Jennifer Egan.
The Writers Room, 10 Astor Place, 740 Broadway #12
Different from “The Writing Room” – the Upper East Side restaurant that replaced Elaine’s – this space offers NYC writers the opportunity to “stop procrastinating and start writing” at any hour of the day or night, seven days a week, 365 days a year. Even with more than 200 members, the Writers Room says that because of members’ different schedules, one of their 45 partitioned desks is always available. Other benefits include a napping area, kitchen and dining area with complimentary snacks, and lockers, not to mention peace and quiet and a supportive writing community. Sounds like a writer’s dream…. Apply for membership on their website. Prices start as low as $149 per month with a six-month commitment.
Old Town Bar, 45 E 18th St
There aren’t many bars like this one left in New York, or any city, for that matter. Featured in novels, movies, and television, and also the home of book parties and general imbibing sessions for literary New Yorkers, Old Town Bar oozes history and character, making it an apropos setting for any NYC writers’ gathering.
The Half King, 505 W 23rd St
Founded in 2000 by journalists Sebastian Junger and Scott Anderson, and filmmaker Nanette Burstein, the Half King has become a favorite hangout for NYC writers, authors, and photographers. Besides serving delicious fare, the gastro-pub offers weekly readings and bi-monthly slide shows from some of the most talented photojournalists in the field.
Lobby at the Ace Hotel, 20 W 29th St
Consider this space the most impressive (and classy) modern workplace in town. Comfy club chairs, sectional sofas, a communal table, and soaring ceilings make for an inviting if not lovely place to write. Free WiFi is always available, and anyone can pop by the hotel as they have an open-door policy. Bonus: The Ace serves Stumptown coffee.
Gotham Writer’s Workshop, multiple locations
New Yorkers who are serious about writing enroll in classes at Gotham. Learn everything from screenwriting to fiction to magazine pitching to how to start a blog, a class that I attended recently (if only I had gone about five years ago, I wouldn’t have had to do the “learn as you go” when I started this blog). Opt for one of Gotham’s Friday night write-ins or take a one-day intensive class to hone your grammar skills. Not only do aspiring writers attend classes, so it’s a terrific way to meet people with similar interests, but the faculty includes some of New York’s finest journalists. Can’t make it to any of the New York class locations? Take an online course instead. Find more info on the Gotham Writers’ Workshop website.
Do you know of any other spots where writers hang out in NYC? Let us know in the comments!
Ace Hotel lobby photo via the website.
Also, working for a magazine in NYC and what it’s really like, celebrating one of New York’s most beloved writers, Nora Ephron, and here are some helpful hints to inspire you to write a letter (by hand).