Meet Dan, founder of UES coworking space The Commons

For those Uptowners who work beyond just 9 to 5 - it might be tough to find a solid place to focus. Fret no more! Today, we are super excited to announce our new partnership with The Commons coworking space in Upper East Side.

Croissant members now have extended night and weekend access to The Commons! Wooo!

To celebrate, we spoke with The Commons founder, Dan Friedland, to learn more about the space and the inspiration behind it.


What inspired you to open The Commons? And why the Upper East Side?

I’ve been working on my laptop for years and have spent way too much time in coffee shops. My first coworking space, as a member, was the Beahive in Beacon where my wife and I were exploring small town living for a year. We both got tick bites and wanted more time in the city, so we moved back down and I’ve been thinking about coworking ever since. I’ve lived and worked on the Upper East Side so I know it very well. The neighborhood seemed like the perfect place and a completely underserved area. We now live in Brooklyn, which is ironic, because I commute an hour to the coworking space I opened so that people could have a convenient place to work.


Where did you draw architecture and design inspiration from when creating the space?

We were lucky and started with a very unique space. We’re on the top floor of a building that used to be a theater in the early 20th century. I’m not sure if our space used to be a high mezzanine or a place for riggings above a stage, but we have 20 foot high vaulted ceilings and massive skylights. We worked with an incredible design team at JIDK (also working on our private office construction) that helped us focus on creating comfortable and welcoming workspaces. I think the overall look is clean, modern, and unfussy – we really let the uniqueness of the space lead the design and the sunlight and plants do much of the work. 


What is The Commons community like? How would you describe the vibe of the space?

The community is great and we have an excellent Community Manager. We’re in a mostly residential neighborhood, so we tend to get people who work in small teams or by themselves instead of in larger groups. Many of our members and Croissant users might otherwise be working alone at home or head down in a coffee shop trying to ignore the sound of milk being frothed, so I think they are happy to have easy and collaborative interactions in our space. It’s friendly at The Commons, though people are still respectful of the work needs of others. And we really have no industry bias, which can yield some interesting and unexpectedly fruitful interactions. We host people who work in tech of course, but also law, non-profit, genealogy, journalism, finance, photography, real estate, publishing, etc. Overall the mood is very comfortable and professional. I’d say it’s serene.


What are some of your favorite Upper East Side lunch & happy hour spots?

I miss Mimi’s – I think I first ate there 30 years ago. There are a ton of restaurants around us but I’m sad to report that I’m one of those people who will just keep eating the same thing over and over again. My current go-to is the new place, Dig Inn, which has its delicious claws in me and won’t let go. I’m still waiting to try Naruto Ramen. We’re also right across the street from Shake Shack, so every day is a battle not to order a double with fries. I have two young kids at home, so happy hour is just a distant memory. Maybe I could start drinking at 3PM.

There you have it - thanks Dan! Check out The Commons, right off the 86th St subway stop, when you get a chance. It's a beautiful space to escape the busy NYC streets and focus on your next big idea.