Networking Al Fresco: Your Guide to Unique Midtown Meeting Spots

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Eight blocks of Broadway near midtown Manhattan offer public outdoor seating. Perfect for impromptu business meetings!

Hurry up, business professionals! While the weather is still delightful, take advantage of NYC’s public meeting spaces. Ditch the predictable sandwich shop or coffee chain, which are probably jammed with huge crowds anyway. Instead, meet a colleague, a peer, a client, or a service provider in any of the charming and often scenic outdoor nooks scattered around midtown Manhattan. They’re no secret, and prove to be the relaxing version of the “walking coffee”.

Sitting outside and chatting is a great way to nurture your network without feeling compelled to ingest yet another six-dollar cup of joe with a leaky plastic lid. These semi-tapped locales await your business encounter, hassle-free. Here are some of my favorites, via their pet names.

Grace Space (SW corner of Avenue of the Americas and 43rd Street)

We can all picture the sleek, upward sloping façade of the Grace Building on 42nd Street. Wind yourself around to the west side of the Grace on 6th Avenue and you’ll discover a clean and useful outdoor space. Fret not; You don’t have to be a patron of the restaurant to use the outdoor tables & chairs.

Bryant West (1/2 a block west of Bryant Park, between 41st and 42nd Streets)

The closest thing to a secret on my list is this under-utilized extension of Bryant Park. The well-shaded, European-esque space features public seating, outdoor sculpture, and some fun shops.

The Euro feel of Bryant West.

The Euro feel of Bryant West.

Shady Garden (1166 Ave of the Americas at 45th Street, just a tad east of the building)

A great vibe permeates this shaded, seat-filled public space, personified by a contoured concrete garden scape fitted with abstract sculptures. Perfect for business meet-ups and some much-needed meditation.

Tranquility Garden in Paley Park (E 53rd Street between Madison Avenue and 5th Avenue)

In addition to offering seating, tables, tree shade and ivy-covered walls, this urban enclosure in midtown’s Paley Park features a sexy waterfall wall, adding ambiance to your afternoon.

Broadway’s Promenade (On the eastern side of Broadway between 34th and 42nd Streets)

We all know this 8-block stretch of outdoor seating along B-way exists, but do we ever consider using it as a meeting place? Never a shortage of seats.

A section of 6 1/2 Avenue, credited to

A Section of 6 1/2 Avenue, credited to

The Stroll Up 6½ Avenue (Between 51st and 57th streets, between 6th and 7th Avenues)

Consider escaping from the Manhattan traffic roar by meeting your client or colleague at a point along this thoroughfare, which runs at street-level underneath the buildings for 6 blocks. The “avenue between the avenues” is strictly for pedestrians, and offers various seating areas along the way. It’s visually luxurious, too.

Where are some of your NYC al fresco oases?

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