Reported by Liku Zelleke
Finding a reasonably-priced workspace in New York City can prove to be quite a challenge. One of the most expensive cities in the country is seeing its real estate prices slowly, but steadily, increase even more.
For students who want to find a place to study, or freelancers that seek a comfortable and affordable workspace, New York can be uninviting.
But that needn’t be, says CNN Money’s Ilana Strauss. In a recent article, she shares her discovery: a place to work or study if you can’t afford a co-working space.
“A freestanding sign full of loopy, rainbow letters sits outside a nondescript building in Koreatown… It reads like some strange free-verse poem: Study Café, Baggage Storage, Video Game … Meeting Room … Yoga …,” she writes.
Upon closer inspection, she finds that the business advertized has a “study room” which is stocked with computers, group meeting rooms, board games, lockers, books, snacks, Wi-Fi and coffee. The price …? It’s just $3 an hour.
Study rooms are a common feature in South Korea …very common. “But they’re virtually nonexistent in the United States. YoungJin Lee’s NY Study Café is the only one in New York City,” Strauss writes.
Apparently, when YoungJin first came to the US she had to study for her visa and tried doing it in libraries. That didn’t work out well as she couldn’t get coffee inside, and since the security was lax, she had to drag all her stuff with her every time she went out for a cigarette break. Then there was the fact that the doors were closed at 11 pm.
She decided that she needed to open a study room. She rented space in Koreatown and stocked it with gadgets, gear, food and coffee. She imported special study chairs from Korea that allowed for studying long hours without straining the back. With the help of her friend Obi, they were open for business by October, 2013.
Ever since, there have been customers who are almost 70% of Korean origin. But YoungJin’s study room has managed to have clients that have passed the bar after studying there. Others include adults studying for CPAs and other licenses.
Strauss says, “Right now, it’s a diasporic paradise. But soon, it should be more.”
Read the full article here.