Anywhere But Home: New Yorkers Get Creative About Work Spaces

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There are also empty therapist’s offices across the city, as telehealth has become the norm. Teresa Stern, a licensed clinical social worker, didn’t want to give up her $2,200-a-month office with river views in Brooklyn Heights, which she described as “one of the best she’s ever had.” So she subleased.

First she found Michael Randazzo, who worked there for five weeks this summer. Mr. Randazzo, now a freelance writer after losing his full-time job at Long Island University earlier this year, said he wanted a quiet space to finish a writing project. But with his wife, a private school administrator, and two teenage children at home all day in their two-bedroom apartment in Fort Greene, Brooklyn, Mr. Randazzo needed privacy.

Mr. Randazzo, who paid about $600 for five weeks, managed to spend as much as six hours a day writing, and the rest of the time conducting interviews, he said. “Renting Teresa’s space was a highlight” of an otherwise challenging time, he said. “The amount of work I got done, plus the view from her office, were priceless.”

Now a film director has agreed to rent Ms. Stern’s space. She is relieved, she said. “I know plenty of therapists who would love to sublet their space because many landlords are not cutting us a break.”

Meanwhile, Ms. Brown, the meditation teacher, finished her book and started writing another one. As her software-developer husband has taken over the living room of their one-bedroom apartment with “his multiple screens,” she said, she needs a change of pace. She is thinking about renting a space at the Queensboro, a restaurant in her Jackson Heights neighborhood that is offering work space (and includes lunch).

The pandemic, she said, has forced her to practice what she teaches: mindfulness and self-compassion.

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