I’d like to introduce myself to the community – my name is Brian DiFeo, the Community Manager at the Hive at 55 and the newest member at the Alliance for Downtown New York. It has been a month since I started working here and I am still learning a lot about the Hive, the Alliance, and the neighborhood. Combine the fact that I love history and architecture with my lack of knowledge about Lower Manhattan, and you may mistake me for a tourist snapping pictures or gazing at the marvelous buildings.
I’ve never worked in this neighborhood, and honestly haven’t visited it in a long time. That’s New York for you: I’ve lived here for 9 years and I just discovered Stone Street! But I have been impressed with the juxtaposition of globally known landmarks close to mom and pop shops and small cafes. And I did most of my holiday shopping within walking distance of my new office.
As for the Hive, the first month has been a wonderful experience. I started on the night of the launch party and met dozens of fascinating people. While the holidays slowed our traffic, it let me focus on how the Hive operates and consider the ways we can get more people interested. Since the New Year, a lot more people have been working here and it’s always a pleasure to meet them.
I used to work from home and I can definitely relate to the folks who come through the Hive’s door – it’s a sense of relief to realize others have been trapped in their apartments, in front of a computer, with minimal human interaction. Enter the Hive, and you feel the warmth and energy immediately. Members have all types of professional backgrounds, and they learn about the Hive through press articles, forwarded emails, blog posts, and word of mouth. But each member has at least one thing in common: they found a collaborative work environment that is somewhere between a coffee shop, an office, and a home.
The “community” side of things is picking up, with people chatting around the coffee pot and sharing ideas related to work, lunch spots, and everything in between. The members are gaining a sense of “belonging” here, as the coffee mugs accumulate by the sink and some cereal gets left in the cupboard. There has been a lonely scarf on one table that no one seems to know what to do with; maybe we will create a lost-and-found box, another benchmark reached as the Hive develops its identity as a coworking community.