NYC co-working spaces and startups step up for Sandy refugees

New York’s technology community has taken a hit from Sandy with flooded offices, lost power, downed data centers and a subway network that is struggling to come to life. But local co-working spaces and companies are stepping up to find room for Sandy’s refugees, providing internet and office space for workers in need.

Charlie O’Donnell, founder of Brooklyn Bridge Ventures, kicked off the effort Tuesday, calling on local work spaces and startups to share info about open desks under the #sandycoworking hashtag.

Since then, a number of offices have announced availability, some with discounts and assistance for workers and companies. Headhunter Labs opened up its office to needy workers while Bitmap Creative Labs reduced its daily rate from $35 to $20. Bat Haus, Dumbo Startup Labs and Secret Clubhouse, all Brooklyn co-working spaces, have also taken on tech refugees. Jar Group, a marketing agency announced a lot of open desks and startup TurboVote also pitched in with a dozen desks. You can take a look at a map of open spaces here.

O’Donnell said a majority of the startups in Manhattan are below 39th Street, where most of the impacts from Sandy have been felt. Additionally, many of the tech workers live in Brooklyn, which makes co-working spaces there very convenient. But he said he’s hearing from spaces, startups and property owners all over the city, who are interested in pitching in.

“The New York community has always joined together and felt a sense of togetherness,” O’Donnell told me. “Because we don’t have the resources of Silicon Valley, New Yorkers have realized we can only succeed by working together so it’s not surprising that people have jumped on board.”

Now, some of these co-working places already had excess capacity, so opening their doors can mean good karma and marketing. But some traditional companies are also opening their doors, which could mean making space for a worker from a competing company.

It’s a sign of how the New York tech community comes together in a crisis. But it also demonstrates the growth of the local ecosystem, which encompasses a lot more co-working spaces and startups than it did several years ago.