Go Back

Office space in Manhattan vs. the boroughs: Tips for growing companies

What businesses benefit the most from each region?

New York City is often regarded as the cultural, financial and media capital of the world. With thousands of existing office spaces and more being built all the time, the Big Apple has become synonymous with big business.

Manhattan is known as the center of commerce and thriving, diverse companies. In fact, there are over 100,000 individual establishments within the private sector in this borough alone. Finance, healthcare, tech, media, and fashion/retail are the hero industries in Manhattan, though that is just the tip of the iceberg. 

In recent years, more and more businesses have taken flight over the bridges and through the tunnels to the other four NYC boroughs, even going as far as New Jersey. Queens and Brooklyn are constantly on the rise with more and more real estate development each year and, thus, more interest for residents and businesses alike.

Working in Manhattan: The main attraction

As the saying goes, there is power in numbers. With a plethora of companies ranging from media to fashion, Manhattan offers ample opportunities to gain employment with good salaries and competitive benefits.  In fact, according to research from career site Zippia, most of New York State’s top large corporations are based in Manhattan, with employees ranging from over 11,000 to over 38,000 in a variety of industries. 

Manhattan is home to companies like tech giant IBM, luxury fashion brand Dior, media powerhouse NBCUniversal, and pharmaceutical leader Pfizer. Because of the variety of businesses headquartered in the borough, there is an abundance of career options for those seeking upward mobility and opportunity. With so many professionals looking for their next job, it’s also a hotbed for talent across industries. 

Access to so many transportation hubs—including the world-renowned Penn Station, the majestic Grand Central Station, and the massive multi-line MTA subway—have attracted millions of commuters from all over the city and beyond. Manhattan is unparalleled with its scores of restaurants, bars, nightclubs, and cafes so there is no shortage of things to do and places to be. When working in this cosmopolitan oasis you will experience rush hour, happy hour, and everything in-between.

Manhattan is a great option for large businesses that want to open a new headquarters or satellite office where all the action is, and take advantage of talent pools across the entire New York metro area. 

Brooklyn and Queens are on the rise

While all the NYC boroughs have shown growth and potential in recent years, no bigger surge has happened than in Brooklyn. As the most populous borough in the city, it’s become an enclave to artists, tech startups, and a thriving place for entrepreneurs. Lower rents, as well as city tax incentives and credits, spurred some of the borough’s initial growth, and now it’s considered one of the leading locations to set up shop.

The Center for an Urban Future reports that Brooklyn has shown development and  growth in all three core areas of the innovation economy: tech start-ups, creative companies, and next-generation makers and manufacturers. Specific neighborhoods like Williamsburg, Dumbo, and the Navy Yards went from industrial and factory-driven to modern and innovative places to not only live but also work.

Queens is going down a similar path, with even retail giant Amazon almost acquiring an estimated 1 million square feet of office space in Long Island City before deciding to locate elsewhere. As the most ethnically diverse urban area in the world, it has attracted a multitude of different cultures and businesses. It’s also home to both international airports, La Guardia and John F. Kennedy, as well as landmarks like Citi Field Baseball Park, home to the New York Mets. Though it is still in the early stages as a business hub, Queens has nonetheless experienced significant entrepreneurial growth and an avant-garde artistic following. 

When WeWork coworking space first opened in Astoria in 2016, it started as a hub for the local entrepreneur in mind. “WeWork was built on the foundation of community and providing creators a platform to grow,” says Rui Barros, General Manager for WeWork New York. “We felt like Astoria was a great place for that now that we have scale and we’re growing all over the world.” This evolution caught the attention of large corporations like Jet Blue Airlines and smaller creative endeavors like the Museum of Modern Art P.S. 1, which is one of the largest art institutions in the United States.

Because there’s so much creative and tech talent living in Brooklyn and Queens, businesses that want an edge on recruiting are best suited to set up shop there to take advantage of proximity. Plus, even though both boroughs are expensive by normal standards, they offer a less expensive alternative to Manhattan commercial real estate. 

New Jersey: The sixth “borough”

While most companies set up shop in one of the five boroughs, some businesses have also taken the leap to New Jersey. Leading industries are similar to the ones in NYC but are largely focused on manufacturing. The biggest conglomerate is Amazon, which not only has multiple fulfillment centers in the area but also houses their Audible corporate headquarters in Newark. 

Additionally, Bayer, Blue Apron, and Forbes Media have offices in Jersey City and Whippany, all of which are part of the New York Metropolitan area. New Jersey gives these corporations greater bang for their buck as there is typically more space for fulfillment centers, office space, and large company buildings. With access to a multitude of buses and trains through New Jersey Transit, even employees who live in NYC can enjoy an easy commute. 

New Jersey is a viable alternative for companies that want access to networking opportunities and talent in the city but want lower prices and more space to set up operations.  

For companies looking to launch or expand in the New York Metropolitan area, flexible workspaces are becoming an increasingly attractive solution. WeWork’s shared workspaces in New York City offer custom build-outs, private offices, dedicated desks, and hot desks to meet the needs of businesses of any size at an affordable price.