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Williamsburg’s new office space for freelancers

The Brooklyn Paper
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Williamsburg’s freelancers have a new place to conduct business — and it’s not their living room

Neighborhood graphic designers, animators, and video producers are discovering Bitmap, an office space on Graham Avenue that opened last month for independent workers.

Bitmap’s Aaron Ray-Crichton, a computer animator; Audrey Molinare, an artist; and Nick Robalik, a graphic designer, launched the business after they noticed many of their colleagues in Williamsburg’s burgeoning technology and design industries were traveling to the city for work.

They also noticed that existing collaborative work spaces in Williamsburg, such as 3rd Ward and Brooklyn Fireproof, were geared more toward fine art and visual art.

Instead, they’re hoping to attract workers who are in computer-centric fields or working on motion graphics, commercials and video.

“We have great facilities and the best high-speed Internet connection in Brooklyn,” said Robalik.

The brick storefront, a former radiology lab, was empty for several years before the group rented it — there was even a broken-down MRI machine in the back room.

After city workers removed the machine and cleared the space of hazards, Ray-Crichton installed new wiring, servers and computers while Robalik and Molinare designed the conference room and outfitted the space with cubicles and furniture.

The pristine space features exposed brick walls, plenty of natural light, and the quiet, reassuring hum of half a dozen servers — known as the “render farm” — powerfully shoving information across cyberspace.

The servers and the speed of the Internet — the office is located right next to a neighborhood fiber-optic hub — are the main selling point.

“For people who do computer-intensive art stuff, you can send off a job for your computer to chew on, while the computers are taking care of heavy lifting,” said Ray-Crichton. “You don’t have to wait around for three hours. You can wait for 10 minutes.”

Customers can rent desk space with a basic membership at $385 per month or $50 per day — and the fee includes use of a free high-volume color laser printer, conference room, video and camera kits, Blue Bottle coffee and all the Internet you can drink in.

Right now, clients must bring their own computers, but there will be rentable stations in the future for motion-graphic and video editing.

Just don’t try to sleep over — though you might be tempted.

Bitmap [300 Graham Ave. at Ainslie Street in Williamsburg, (718) 963-0351]. For info, www.bitmapnyc.com.

Updated 5:23 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

Nick Robalik from East Williamsbug says:
Thanks for the write-up Aaron! We also do large-format, gallery-quality printing for artists & designers as well as architectural printing. The Architect we worked with to design the space, LEED-certified Damian Possidente of Starch NY, also deserves a special call-out for helping us figure out the best way to rehab the space (it was a mess when we moved in) to ensure our members were working in the most comfortable, spacious setting possible.
March 26, 2011, 11:42 am
poor freelancer from fort greene says:
$385 for basic membership. great way to rip off your fellow freelances. i can work at home for cheaper. have my own render farm. no biggie there.
March 27, 2011, 9:03 pm
Joey from Clinton Hills says:
This looks like an article (and photo) from The Onion.
March 28, 2011, 11:01 am
Nick Robalik from East Williamsburg says:
Poor Freelancer: As with everyone who walks in with one of our flyers, we'd like to extend to you a free day at our offices so you can decide first-hand if our costs - which are lower than many other coworking spaces who offer similar facilities in much harder-to-reach locations - are worth what we're charging. I think the fact that we're offering several amenities not offered by any other coworking space in NY, at prices cheaper than competing spaces, more than justifies the costs involved, but I am admittedly biased.

This, of course, does not take into consideration the absolutely free (as in our Blue Bottle Coffee) benefit of working in an environment with other creative people, something that is often lacking when working from your own home. It's up to you whether or not it's worthwhile to work in a shared workspace - any shared workspace - if a priceless commodity - such as the knowledgeable input of others working in the same or similar field - is something you're able to find value in.

Joey: We're real people, I promise. The article's author, admittedly, just isn't a very good photographer :).
March 28, 2011, 1:25 pm
Elvis from East Williamsburg says:
It's hard to get any work done when you're standing around with your hands in your pockets all the time.
March 29, 2011, 10:05 am

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