New York City's West Village is a neighborhood in crisis: Long heralded as a feeding ground for art and artists, the area has slowly morphed into an upscale outdoor shopping mall. Sure, the NYU students do their part to keep it grungy — and no one is complaining about the abundance of amazing restaurants. But there’s a powerful subset of the population getting a raw end of the gentrification deal: Laptop users. Finding good coffee shops in New York City to visit with your laptop is no longer an easy task.
When you live in a 400-square-foot studio — as so many Village People do — your neighborhood often serves as a second living room. Local coffee shops and cafes become an extension of your own home: A place to do work, have a snack, and watch Rihanna music videos on Tidal. There has been a growing trend, however, of these local businesses fighting to ban computers. It’s starting to feel like a borderline George Orwell novel down there.
From restaurants with strict no laptop policies at tables to coffee shops that offer neither Wi-Fi nor a public restroom (which is like the coffee shop version of getting pushed out the door), finding a laptop-friendly place to work has become harder than ever.
Some may claim that skyrocketing rents and high-end shopping have chased artists from the Village, but when Starbucks is the only place where you can enjoy a latte or snack while catching up on work, what else can you expect?
Here is my curated list of West Village haunts where a MacBook Air isn’t seen as a Scarlet A.
1. Upright Brew House, Hudson Street
A clustered bar in the evenings, this place spends the day serving up the best lattes west of Sixth Avenue. There's ample space to do work, including the much loved booths up front. Upright also has free Wi-Fi, outdoor seating, and the option to switch to beer when the studying gets too tough.
2. Cafe Cluny, West Twelfth Street
This upscale cafe can be impossible with wait-times on weekends, but it is a lovely spot to treat your laptop to a weekday breakfast or lunch. Both Time Warner and the restaurant’s private Wi-Fi can be used, and they will happily allow you to spend the day typing away. Don’t miss the wonderful oatmeal!
3. Toby’s Estate, Charles Street
You know the West Village cafe situation is dire when Brooklyn starts shipping over their coffee. Toby's is a great spot to do some work, and although it doesn't have Wi-Fi, Time Warner’s can be accessed. Plus, the coffee is some of the best in the city.
4. Le Pain Quotidien, Hudson Street
This Belgian transplant has delicious — although expensive — food, and mediocre coffee. The bright side? They’re very understanding when it comes to computers, and won't kick you out no matter how long you stay.