Category Archives: General

Carmelo_Anthony_Slam_Dunk_vs_Miami_Heat_2012

The Routines of Great Performers

I’m fascinated by the people who dominate our pop culture. Athletes, actors, and musicians, while arguably paid and idolized more than they should be, exemplify a kind of work ethic we can learn from. What do they share in common? How do they achieve such greatness? Among all of these groups, I’ve identified a basic pattern which I believe can be reproduced:

THREE PHASES OF A GREAT PERFORMANCE:

1. Training

Before they even begin preparing for their performance, they train. Whether it’s hours in the gym, practicing their instruments, or sculpting their bodies and minds for their parts, there’s an extended period of training. Sometimes it involves extreme weight loss, or gain, or muscle development, or hundreds of hours of playing the same few notes over and over.

It’s not sexy. The crowd never sees it, outside of an occasional behind-the-scenes documentary. But everyone who performs does it– even the crappy, talentless hacks– work their asses off behind the scenes.

They also have a specific, well-defined job to do. The scope is super tight. You play a specific position, or a particular instrument.

2. Preparation

In the months, weeks, days, and hours before a performance, great performers prepare. This is often a continuation of the training, but now with a focused regimen. Playing guitar now becomes practicing a set list. Training in a gym now becomes practicing specific plays and watching game tape of your opponents. Specific lines are memorized.

One thing doesn’t happen during preparation: screwing around. You might see photos of Carmelo Anthony at a fancy club, or diving fast sports cars or whatever, but you won’t see him doing any of those things the night before a big game.

What’s Melo doing the night before a big game? He’s asleep. He’s dreaming of game tape. He’s dreaming of muscle movements. He’s dreaming of killing it.

He can go kite surfing when the season’s over.

3. Performance

Great performers have a reverence for their craft. They survey their scene. They visualize all of the circumstances around them.

And when it’s time for them to perform, they focus every ounce of themselves on the task at hand.

Watch the post-game interviews when a team loses. Why did they lose? They didn’t have it in them, they weren’t focused, they weren’t feeling it. Why did the other team win? They wanted it more. They were hungrier. They came out on fire.

When it’s time for the curtain to come up, or the tip-off, or the cameras to roll, great performers are ready to rock the hell out of what they’re about to do.

Performances occupy specific, small periods of time– usually no more than a few hours. Sporting events are about two to three hours. Stage performances two to three hours. Musical performances generally no more than three. These time constraints exist for a reason: you can only perform at an extremely high level for a finite period of time.

APPLYING THIS TO OTHER CONTEXTS

I run a coworking space. I also help run an online masterclass in community building. I do a bunch of other stuff too, but those are the main things.

Aside from the occasional karaoke competition, when do I get to employ the above?

I want to be the Carmelo Anthony of what I do. I want to be the Daniel Day-Lewis of what I do.

I want to rock the hell out of what I do.

How do I do that when I don’t have the same sort of constructs?

The theory I’m working on is to manufacture similar constructs, and approach them with the same methodology.

1. Define your role

It starts by defining the scope of what you’re going to rock at. Carmelo Anthony is a Power Forward (when Amar’e Stoudemire isn’t busting up the lineup, but I digress). He isn’t going to practice being a Point Guard or a Center. He’s going to practice only what he has to be good at.

(Carmelo Anthony is a bad example because he is good at everything.)

What does that mean for me? I know I’m good when I’m leading, when I’m organizing, and when I’m generally getting people excited about things. When I step outside of those bounds, things get pretty hit-or-miss. But when I’m doing my leaderly organizerly thing, I know I can rock. So I’m going to focus on that role. I’m going to organize something. 

2. Conjure a performance

I don’t have a basketball game to play, nor a tour date to rehearse for. What does a performance look like for me?

When I run an event, or otherwise gather people for some reason, I’m employing a lot of my core skills and strengths. So I should focus on setting up and preparing for gatherings as if they are my performances.

This performance should occupy a specific period of time, so I’ve set a specific start time and end time. Monday morning, 10:00 to 11:30. 

3. Train, prepare, and perform like star

Now that I have a date and scope for my performance, I can treat it like a great performer treats their gigs.

Because I have a specific date and a particular performance in mind, I can rearrange my life accordingly.

My performance is Monday at 10:00am. That means I’m arriving at New Work City by 8:00. I’m doing my warmups. I’m preparing the scene.

The night before, I’m not staying up late. I’m not going out. Hell, I’m not even going to watch Homeland. And I love Homeland.

I’m heading back to the city early from my parents’ house in the suburbs, when normally I’d stay for dinner, just so I can spend some time setting the stage at NWC. I’m going to do a dress rehearsal, maybe.

I’m going to get a good night’s sleep, dream about my performance, get up early, and listen to my “Get Pumped Up” playlist on the subway ride in.

And I’m going to rock the hell out of tomorrow.

I have no idea what’s going to actually happen or if this is going to work, but I can tell you this: I feel a lot more excited about my Sunday night than I usually do. And I’d wager a guess that I’m going to feel a hell of a lot more like I know why I’m getting out of bed tomorrow morning when my alarm goes off than I might have otherwise.

Tipoff is at 10:00 tomorrow. Game on!

What LooseCubes’ shutdown means for coworking and the future of sharing space

A lot of people were sad to hear the news that LooseCubes will be shutting down at the end of this week, myself included.

Workspace-sharing platforms began to emerge in earnest a few years ago, with LooseCubes leading the way as the largest and most well-capitalized. Off the top of my head, there’s Deskwanted, DeskTime, LiquidSpace, eWorky, SharedDesks, and at least a half a dozen more.

TechCrunch has been quick to say that this casts a shadow over the workspace sharing marketplace model.

Perhaps. I don’t think LooseCubes shut down because this concept can’t make money; they had raised plenty of capital and seemed to be executing on a plan that would get them the revenue they needed. If anything, I believe that figuring out how to properly monetize workspace sharing is just a matter of time– perhaps still a little ahead of its time right now– but there’s little question that the workspace equivalents of AirBNB and Zipcar are going to arrive eventually.

Workspace is going the same direction as our homes and our cars. We don’t need them all the time, and there’s money to be made in facilitating the sharing of them. Collective Consumption and the Sharing Economy and all that good stuff. But that’s not as interesting to me as the other major implication of LooseCubes’ departure.

LooseCubes’ departure leaves a vacuum at the top of the world of workspace sharing. 

People loved LooseCubes. It was the top dog not just because it raised loads of cash. It represented something more.

Because for LooseCubes, it was never about the physical features of the facilities. All that stuff is irrelevant now. The name of the game in the workspace sharing world is the people you have a chance to meet. Nobody ever said they loved coworking because they got to sit in a fancy chair. LooseCubes got that better than most, and was putting that first and foremost in the direction they took.

As others scramble to fill the void left behind, some will inevitably figure out how to do the best job of offering up the best platform for sharing facilities. It will be dry, and it will make good money. And there will always be a struggle among competitors over securing the most market share.

But someone out there will figure out how to make a platform that truly embraces the fact that sharing space is about the people and not the facilities.

Whoever does that will not only have an opportunity to build a truly successful business; they’ll have an opportunity to play a major role in helping to build the infrastructure that will power the new workforce and the new economy. (See my related thoughts on that here.) GoodCoworking, a brand new site that is entirely powered by testimonials, represents a promising insight into what that could look like, but it’s all still very early. There’s much still to be explored.

This is currently the top comment on the TechCrunch article:

Somebody out there must fill that gap. Someone must step up to inspire Amanda and the countless others who saw LooseCubes as a beacon. It won’t be LooseCubes anymore, but it will be someone.

Seeing LooseCubes go away breaks my heart. The memories of the laughter and energy and deep conversations they brought to my community in their early formative days at New Work City will be with me forever. I wish the best to the team and everyone affected.

Join us at New Work City’s temporary home in Brooklyn and help with Sandy relief efforts!

As we enter the fourth day of Sandy’s aftermath, countless New Yorkers are still without access to power, communications, and basic needs. This is an enormous crisis unlike anything we’ve ever seen. Our neighbors are in need, and now is the time for us to do our part to help.

In the last 24 hours, I’ve corresponded with people connected to the Mayor’s office, City Council, FEMA, the Barclays Center, NY Tech Meetup, Recovers.org, Occupy, CrisisCamp, Entrepreneur Week, Twilio, the Information Technology Disaster Resource Center (who are en route right now from Texas!) and countless other inpiduals who are stepping up to help.

The response by the NY Tech Community since the hurricane passed has been absolutely incredible. To see people I’ve only ever known by sharing beers at Meetups over the years now coming together in joint action is one of the most inspiring things I’ve experienced in a long time.

We’ve collected over 200 names of people who have technical skills and expertise and are ready to help. Now, today, it is time for us to take action.

Help us help those in need. Now.

A massive outreach effort is underway to connect those of us who are in a position to help with those who are in need. We have already identified a few projects to work on, but will be brainstorming new projects today.

About that new space…

Join us at NWC’s temporary Brooklyn HQ today & tomorrow

The fine folks at Brooklyn Brainery (seriously, they’re some of the most wonderful people ever) have welcomed us to use their beautiful space in Carroll Gardens as a temporary home base while we wait for our space in Manhattan to get its power and internet back.

For anyone in South Brooklyn, I encourage you to come by. Coworking in circumstances like these is awesomer than usual.

Brooklyn Brainery / NWC:BK
515 Court Street at 9th Street (map)
F/G to 4 Av / R to 9 St / B61 bus

We open at 10:00am today. Free and open to all NWC and BKBrains members/teachers and people committed to helping with relief efforts. If you’re none of those things, email me and ask nicely :) tony at nwc.co

Seriously, this place is lovely, and it’s all ours for now. Check it out:

  • For those of us in North Brooklyn, a similar effort is forming to gather people at the Secret Clubhouse. Crisis organizers Jessica Lawrence and Noel Hidalgo are making that their HQ; join them there if you can!
  • For more information on the ongoing recovery efforts, see my earlier post!

Let’s help our fellow New Yorkers in need!

Cheers,
Tony Bacigalupo
New Work City / Community Builder Masterclass / Let’s fix the stupid job crisis

NY Tech community: now is your time to shine.

In earlier crises around the world, members of NYC’s tech community have stepped up to build solutions to help with relief efforts. Now, the crisis is literally in our own backyard. In the face of tremendous challenges in the days and weeks and months ahead, we have an opportunity to contribute our unique capabilities to help those who need assistance with their technology needs, and to build better ways to assist those who are coordinating relief efforts. New Yorkers have shown time and again what they are really made of when faced with adversity. Now is our time to shine.

There are already an impressive array of efforts underway. The speed with which these early efforts have come together speaks to just how capable we are of doing more. I want to talk to anyone who wants to hack on solutions in the Prospect Heights / Park Slope area over the next day or so. Fill out the NYTM form below or ping me directly! Here’s a breakdown of the major efforts I’ve discovered so far:

NY Tech Meetup Coordination

I’ve worked with Jessica Lawrence of the NY Tech Meetup to build a basic form where we can collect information from people who have something to offer.

Update: #sandycoworking

People are gathering at spots with wifi and power. Follow the conversation here: https://twitter.com/search?q=%23sandycoworking&src=hash

NY Tech Responds

Rob Underwood set up this site and tweeted about it to help coordinate efforts. More to come: http://nytechresponds.org

HurricaneHackers

Coordinating efforts around the city. From their site’s main page:

#HurricaneHackers key links:

  1. Index: http://bit.ly/hh-index
  2. Linklist: http://bit.ly/hh-linklist
  3. Projects: http://bit.ly/hh-projects-read
  4. Chat: IRC, Freenode, #hurricanehackers: http://irc.lc/freenode/hurricanehackers

Recovers.org

Local organizers have been putting together pages for the hardest-hit neighborhoods on Recovers.org:

Occupy Notepad

Putting politics aside, the folks behind OWS have been out in force coordinating relief efforts online. They’re heavily involved in some of the above projects, and have also assembled a wiki here:
I’ll add more here as I find it!
Cheers,
Tony Bacigalupo

Like Starfish, Good Ideas are Hard to Kill

I always thought the analogy of the Starfish and the Spider was great, but could never really be fully implemented. A decentralized community is great in theory, because it is more versatile, but eventually, some critical thing depends on one person to make it all hang together. Somebody has to purchase the dot com. Somebody has to sign the lease. I always thought that the idea was to build something that was as starfish-like as possible, minimizing the number of things that in fact did require a single leader.

At least until now. While working on the Community Builders Masterclass with Alex, I realized that I was wrong this whole time. I had believed in the Starfish analogy, but wasn’t taking it far enough.

A well-built Starfish community should be able to survive even a severe blow– like the loss of its space, or its leader. It might be hurting for a while. It should be able to repair itself and continue on. The supposedly required things, like leases or domains, weren’t absolutely necessary for the community to survive; they were just really close to the center.

The stuff at the center is really important to the stuff at the edges, but removing them doesn’t kill the whole thing. A starfish can be cut in half and live. A starfish can do without. So too can a healthy community.

Because at its root, a community draws its life from a shared belief in an important idea. And good ideas are really hard to kill.

They show up, unpredictably, in more than one place at a time. Countless people came up with the idea for coworking before they knew there was already a global movement for it, myself included. The idea could never be stopped, because it was popping into people’s heads all over the world all on its own.

Align yourself with an idea that’s hard to kill, and what you’re building becomes hard to kill too.

The analogy holds. Long live the Starfish!

Leona Lansing, Shareholders, Crowfunding, and Fixing the Economy

Who is the villain in HBO’s Sorkin series The Newsroom?

Is it the jerk President, who cares only about ratings? Or the viewers, who seem to prize entertainment over real news?

Surely it’s Leona Lansing, the devious owner of the network, who will go so far as to use her own tabloids to sully the reputations of employees who have fallen out of her favor.

I would posit that the real bad guy isn’t one we’ve seen, or are likely to see: the shareholders. Or, more specifically, the system that governs the manner in which a publicly traded company operates.

As a publicly traded (fictional) company, ACN has a fiduciary obligation to maximize financial return to shareholders. Shareholders can buy and sell at any moment, which compels companies to do things that are increasingly short-sighted.

If a news organization is doing something stupid, like reporting the Casey Anthony trial instead of the debt ceiling crisis, and getting rewarded for it in the immediate term with higher ratings, it compels competitors to respond in kind. The result? News organizations no longer reporting the news.

Leona Lansing is a villain, sure, but she would argue she’s just doing her job. She’s doing what she has to do to achieve the goals she’s been put in place to fulfill.

It’s why the heroes of The Newsroom will always struggle, and likely fail.

But we don’t want them to fail. We want them to win. We want the news to be better, dammit!

How might we go about changing that? We have to change the rules of the game.

Let’s say ACN was managed by a different set of investors. These investors would seek to get a return on their financial investment, but they also invest because they believe in journalism and its importance in society. They invest not just because they wanted to make more money, but because their interests are aligned with ACN’s stated mission.

Let’s say that, in this model, ACN reported quarterly not just on their finances, but on how effectively they reported the news. How often they got the facts right when the other guys didn’t. Scoops. The stuff that really validates their existence.

I don’t have much money, but I would put a few bucks into a news organization that held itself to that. And I’d watch their shows and tell my friends to do so as well.

Here’s the kicker: it doesn’t need to get the best ratings to be successful. It doesn’t even need to get fantastic ratings. It just has to get good enough ratings to pay for the people who run it to do their jobs well.

Instead of responding to an unending chant of “make my money make more money for me now!” they instead can focus on “do what you’re supposed to do and do it well!”

But it would be impossible to change the way we invest in businesses, right? We can’t really build an alternative model to the stock market that could have any real effect, could we?

I think we can do it. I think it’s already begun. Kickstarter and all of the other new crowdfunding platforms are proving that people can raise money– real money– from a population of people who care about something other than making more cash. People are giving their money, in droves, to projects that represent something they believe.

And next year, when the JOBS act kicks in, and Kickstarter and others become platforms not just for donations but for formal legal investments– people will increasingly have opportunities to architect companies that have a fundamentally different DNA.

Companies that have an obligation to do well. To strive to be better.

I can’t wait to invest in that.

 

If you enjoyed this post, you may want to consider voting for my SXSW panel proposal. I hate whoring for votes but would also love the opportunity to spread this message to more people.

You can’t pull the plant out of the seed.

I’ve been journaling on Buster Benson’s incredible site, 750 Words, for the past few weeks, and found it to be an immensely effective way to get things out of my head and into a form where I can understand it and organize it. It’s downright therapeutic. What follows is today’s entry, which is not a typical entry, but one which I feel comfortable sharing.

“You got your passion, you got your pride
But don’t you know that only fools are satisfied
Dream on, but don’t imagine they’ll all come true
When will you realize Vienna waits for you?”

You can’t pull the plant out of the seed. You can work hard to prepare the soil, provide water, sunlight, warmth, but in the end, the plant will come out when it is damn well ready.

I have been battling lately between two tendencies. One is my tendency to overthink and overplan something. The counter voice in my head shouts, “JFDI!” — knowing I all too often think and think and think and never eventually produce.

That collides, however, with another tendency– the tendency to rush. To feel like everything has to be done now. Time is of the essence. Pressure. Go go go.

Well, that doesn’t work so well either. It’s not healthy and doesn’t produce the best results.

So what’s the balance? What’s the right thing that satisfies both of these issues?

The farming analogy is apt. It’s an elegant thing to go back to.

You can’t force a plant out of a seed. You can’t force yourself to launch into something you’re not ready to launch into yet. But if you rest on your laurels, you won’t get anywhere either.

So prepare the soil. Provide ample water and warmth and sunlight. Focus on aligning the necessary conditions. This stuff isn’t simple or easy or obvious. It’s not a matter of just throwing a lot of work at something until it sticks. It’s not about working hard, it’s about working smart.

My first philosophy class in college frustrated the hell out of me. I wasn’t the type to talk to professors after class, especially when it was a 100-level stadium-seating 100+ student lecture. But I was so frustrated by the lack of answers the various philosophical approaches we studied were providing that I felt compelled to challenge my professor on the point of studying this stuff at all.

What’s the point of studying all of these things if none of them prove to be correct? Are there never any answers?

My professor, who had no idea who I was, who didn’t particularly care, who was on his way to something that was certainly more important to him, stopped for a moment and gave me his attention and said something to me that I’ll never forget.

“There are answers,” he said. “But it takes time.”

I don’t remember the rest, but what I took away from it was clear: the answers aren’t simply going to manifest in the form of words on paper. It’s not something you can approach using simple low-level activity like reading and writing and talking. Real, high-level answers require high-level thinking. It requires transcending the details and the distractions of the immediate circumstances and synthesizing concepts in a way that might be easily described but not so easily understood.

Answers to a philosophy of life aren’t going to come by you reading them in a book. They’re going to come when you stop thinking that the answers are in the words and start thinking that the answers are in what you do with those words.

Hacking away at success is too often the M.O. and it usually has to be that way– real life progress is inherently horribly inefficient. It can take years or decades or a lifetime to learn a simple lesson. But we shouldn’t accept that as the best way to approach doing things. It’s a tendency we have as people to fumble around trying stuff as we work our way towards actually figuring something out, but we should be focusing on minimizing that approach in favor of something more efficient and effective.

Silent Bob speaks only when he has something to say that he knows is worth saying. Otherwise he doesn’t bother. He accomplishes with a few words as much if not more than those who spout thousands of words in the same span of time, with far less effort expended.

That’s a stupid analogy, but this is a stream of consciousness, so we’re just going to have to roll with it.

688 words and about 60 more to go. There’s more on the to-do list than there are things which will get done. We know this. It’s okay. I don’t want to run out of things to do. If I do, I’ll just manufacture more. It need not all be done today. What’s more important is that I approach the work that I will do today with a mindset of strength and focus.

Preparing the soil. Providing the water, the warmth, the sunlight.

Time to get to farming.

Piloting Community-Based Partnerships at New Work City

Over the years, I’ve been approached by a ton of people with ideas for how we might partner with them to better serve our members in some way. It’s been exciting to talk to people about a lot of really cool ideas, but it’s also tested my ability to maintain a clear focus on our core mission.

What’s the line between defending the healthy organic development of the community and providing members with a service or resource that could be useful and helpful to them?

It’s honestly a rather stressful experience to manage, and it never seems to go away. Until, I hope, now.

The old way of handling partnerships

(Painful for me and not super effective)

Outside entity –> Me –> NWC community

  • Entity has to convince me to work with them
  • I have to spend time and energy deciding what to do
  • Community may or may not respond well
  • Relationship with community is indirect and transactional
  • Generally not sustainable or fun

In almost every instance where I have a dilemma or ongoing issue managing something at New Work City, the answer seems to be “go back to the community.” In this case, it looks like my job should be to remove myself as the middleman as much as possible and let things enforce themselves.

How can we do that? By simplifying things and routing everything through the community.

So here’s the experiment now: if you want to do something with or for the community, go for it. It starts with you becoming a part of the community. No more outsiders. If you have something to offer, join the community and earn the support of the membership. We’ve built out a pretty robust array of tools, including an internal wiki that gets blasted to all members once a week, a discussion group, a profile directory, a monthly show-and-tell, and, of course, the space itself where you can meet people face to face. For only $30 a month.

New way of handling partnerships

(Sustainable, elegant, more effective)

Outside entity –> Join as a member –> NWC community

  • Outsider becomes a part of the community themselves
  • “They” become part of “us,” and can engage community members directly
  • Relationship with community is direct and personal
  • Results in better feedback and participation from interested members
  • Less artificial barriers to participation

Members have really good bullshit detectors, so it’s only worth your effort if you’re truly trying to do something that helps them. Anyone trying to play games or spam people will be wasting their time, and I’ll throw the hammer down if I have to.

Instead, people can look at it as an opportunity to do some good healthy biz dev. When you earn the support of members yourself, you’ll have an opportunity to engage a really great group of people who can help you in some spectacular ways. That’s what we do for each other here every day already. Alex preaches “relationships before transactions,” and with good reason. Building legitimate, healthy relationships with people circumvents the schlocky salesy stuff that we’re inundated with everywhere else.

Will this work? I have no idea. But cutting myself out as the middleman and betting on the community to self-enforce tends to be a good direction, so I’m hopeful.

I think this could turn out to be an awesome way to make the community better and my life a little easier. What do you think?

Do you want to build an Instagram, or a Photojojo?

So you want to start a business, and you dig photography. Sweet! What are your options?

You might notice this one company that does photo things called Instagram that’s made a big splash lately. They sold for a billion dollars, and Justin Timberlake once said that a billion dollars was cool. So maybe you should build something like that?

The trouble is, Instagram wasn’t built by people who cared about photography. It was built by very savvy businesspeople who knew how to navigate the treacherous world of tech startups and venture capital. The founders absolutely love spending all day thinking about how to acquire users, get listed in the top of the app store, work the right relationships with the insiders, and do loads of legal paperwork. Building an Instagram isn’t about photography, it’s about business.

So if you’re passionate about working deals, pitching investors, hiring and managing talent, and the like, by all means aim to build something like Instagram.

But if that kind of stuff makes you shiver, that’s okay– that makes you like the vast majority of the rest of the world.

What if instead you could spend most of your time focusing on reading and writing about photography, testing new gadgets and doing fun photo projects out in the wild for a living?

If that sounds like a path you’d rather take, perhaps you’d do well to look at a company like Photojojo. It’s a small business that employs a few people, it’s dead simple, and it permits the people who work there to spend as much time as possible working on what they care about. The site absolutely radiates love and happiness, and with good reason. These are people who are making a living doing what they love.

Most people would rather build a Photojojo, or they would if they were made aware of that as a viable direction. My good friend Amy Hoy points out on her excellent blog, Unicorn Free, that you need not aim to attain millions of users to build a great and profitable business. In fact, if all you did was get just 500 people to pay you $30 every month, you’d be making $180,000 a year. She teaches a class about it. Unfortunately, our culture is one that celebrates the big sexy wins, belying the opportunities that await folks who might otherwise aim for something far more satisfying and attainable.

But that’s slowly changing. Right now, today, you can make a living selling handmade goods on Etsy, designing 3D objects and putting them up for sale on Shapeways, and financing your new idea for a great thing on Kickstarter. All of those companies are absolutely on fire (and, by the way, they’re all based here in New York City, yeah!), and there’s no sign of this trend slowing down.

And if you happen to be someone who has a passion and talent for making real things, but also a passion and talent for building big successful businesses, who knows– you might just end up being the next big time startup founder! If you do, try not to be evil :-)

 

SoCaNoCha – New York’s hottest new neighborhood

New York City is known for its legendary neighborhoods. Some of these neighborhoods have boring, self-descriptive names, like Midtown– which is, boringly, in the middle of town. Some have deceptive names, like the Upper West Side– which is above midtown, but below Harlem and far below Inwood.

Some neighborhoods have funny-sounding names that are convoluted abbreviations to describe their approximate location. SoHo, for instance, is short for “South of Houston.” Brooklyn’s DUMBO is short for Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass, which is itself shortened from its original name DUMBOWTMULNAT – Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass Where Trains Make Unbelievably Loud Noises All the Time.

More recently, real estate developers have been trying to coin their own neighborhoods like MiMa (Mid-Manhattan) or NoMad (North of Madison Square Park) in the hopes of attracting condo buyers and new businesses.

Here at New Work City, we sit at the intersection of three distinct, historic neighborhoods. To our north is the shopping and fashion mecca of SoHo. To our west is the fancy and cultured TriBeCa, short for Triangle Below Canal Street, home to Jay Z and the original Duane Reade. To our east is Chinatown, home of delicious dumplings, knockoff bags, fake IDs, illegal fireworks, and strange smells.

Our neighborhood doesn’t quite fit into any of these three areas, taking a few elements of each but not quite affiliating itself with any one. At NWC, we’re all about developing a culture and identity all our own. That’s why we are announcing today the formation of a new Business Improvement District, SoCaNoCha.

The following embedded presentation provides a handy explanation for the story of SoCaNoCha’s origins:

Welcome to SoCaNoCha – NYC’s hidden gem of a meta-neighborhood

If you haven’t visited NYC’s newest and most exciting new neighborhood, now is a great time to see all it has to offer.

Cortlandt Alley, famous alley seen in many movies and TV shows, including Boardwalk Empire, MIB 3, and the Smurfs.
Excellent Dumpling House does not lie. It has excellent dumplings.
Ready for an adventure? QR codes lead you to... who knows? Maybe something involving human trafficking, and you!
Economic growth: We now have a 7-Eleven! This has been shown time and again to be a clear indicator of a neighborhood that's ready to take off.
We even have something for hipsters!

Our volunteer spokesman

If you have any questions about the new neighborhood, this gentleman has volunteered to greet every single car and passerby to tell them all about the wonderful things SoCaNoCha has to offer. He will be on the corner of Lafayette and Walker just about every day, so look out for him!

No, really, look out for him. Especially if you’re in a moving vehicle. He’s going to get hit by a car very soon.

We hope you visit SoCaNoCha soon, and enjoy all of the wonderful things it has to offer!

 

SoCaNoCha - The Neighborhood In Between