In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, business centers and co-working spaces in Manhattan, Queens and Brooklyn have been opening their doors. In Manhattan, the worst problems appear to be below 39th Street where so much of the flooding and damage has occurred. That area is also where many of the startups in Manhattan are located. Since many high tech workers live in Brooklyn, co-working spaces there have chipped in to help find space. Co-working space providers such as Bitmap Creative Labs and Headhunter Labs quickly made space available.
The effort has been well coordinated, thanks to some quick thinking and social media. As soon as Sandy’s devastation was known, many centers began responding to a Twitter hashtag set up by Charlie O’Donnell, founder of Brooklyn Bridge Ventures.
At New York’s iconic Time Life Building, Laura Kozelouzek, CEO of Quest Workspaces, and crew went round the clock to accommodate companies such as Foursquare, in temporary set ups. “We’ve been spending the nights here, working in our pajamas, to accommodate the increasing demand for companies needing a place to set up shop for their employees after Hurricane Sandy,” said Laura Kozelouzek, CEO of Quest.
Most of the centers have offered either free space or reduced fees and other amenities to help those displaced individuals needing offices. Many in need are small start ups, fledgling companies who can’t afford down time and need to keep their continuity going.
In the end, it’s about people helping people. New Yorkers, despite their somewhat crusty image, are a close knit group of people who are no strangers to disaster. “The New York community has always joined together and felt a sense of togetherness,” says Charlie O’Donnell. “Because we don’t have the resources of Silicon Valley, New Yorkers have realized we can only succeed by working together so it’s not surprising that people have jumped on board.”