Coalition / MicroOffice Holiday Party

Last week, we hosted our annual holiday party to help all of our awesome member companies to network and get to know each other. The party was co-sponsored by member company Next Step Staffing, and was a venue to ring in the holidays and the New Year. Members came to enjoy the festivities from MicroOffice and its Coalition coworking spaces from across Midtown, including our Flatiron, Chelsea, Midtown West, and Times Square locations. The party was organized by members of our Community Manager team, who made sure that there were plenty of holiday-themed drinks, snacks, and cocktails to keep the party moving all evening.

Event co-sponsor, Next Step Staffing is a member at Coalition’s Flatiron location. Next Step Staffing is a boutique staffing agency specializing in the tech industry, matching IT professionals with corporations, financial institutions, and tech start-ups. The Community Manager of their location, Emma Larson, commented that the Next Step team has been proactive community builders, and hopes to have many more events with them. “They were instrumental in making the event a success!”

Events like this remind us that starting your own business is almost as much about the people you’re working near as it is about the space you’re working in. We’re excited to end 2014 with even more energy than we started with!

microoffice coalition holiday party

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Member Spotlight: Ari Tolwin

This month, we sat down with founder Ari Tolwin of Happy Tree. Happy Tree produces maple water, a delicious and all-natural drink sourced from the maple trees of the Catskill Mountains.

Q: What is maple water? Is it similar to maple syrup?
A: Maple water is what the tree actually produces – boil it to get syrup, which is a concentrate of the water – or enjoy it pure and unprocessed, as we do.

Q: When did you decide to start producing maple water?
A: We first tried maple water while making maple syrup upstate. It was love at first sight for us – and then we quickly heard about a South Korean tradition where they do a pure maple water cleanse, which suggested that something that we are passionate about could appeal to a broader audience.  All in all, we decided to go for it a day or two after we tried it for the first time.

Q: What does the process from tree to bottle look like?
A: We gather the water in the spring, and then freeze it as quickly as possible so we can keep it fresh and raw all year round.  Each week, we thaw a portion of our stash and bottle so it’s always fresh in stores – and in our office fridge.

Q: Why choose maple water over coconut water, or the many other healthy drink options that are out there?
A: Maple water is great for someone who wants the nutritional value of coconut water or juice without the sugar and calories.  It’s also unique in the role that it plays in nature – when the ground is frozen and the water doesn’t flow, nature doesn’t bloom, and when the ground thaws and the water flows, the trees come back to life.There is no other beverage that has a comparable role in nature to pure, raw maple water

Q: Where can people find Happy Tree maple water?
A: All over NYC!  Whole Foods, Fairway, Oren’s Daily Roast, Gourmet Garage, Foragers, and many others.  Check out our website at for the most up-to-date list.

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Team Day at Central Park

For all of those mourning the end of summer: you are not alone. Last Friday, our MicroOffice staff took the day off to enjoy what’s left of the warm weather. We trekked up to Central Park, where we held training for new team members, played games, and gobbled up pizza and ice cream. Here we are below:

Our awesome faciilities team: Joanna, Jose, Tony, and Mike

Pilar, Taina, Wellie, Kate, Vu, and Sharleen

The Whole Gang.

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MCC’s Networking & “Toot Your Own Horn” Breakfast

Yesterday one of our longtime members, the Manhattan Chamber of Commerce, hosted an awesome networking breakfast with TD Bank. Several attendees were given the opportunity to “pitch” their businesses. Fun fact: the MCC was founded in 1920! Since then, this non-profit member organization has served as a valuable resource to Manhattan’s business community through events of this nature. For more information on upcoming events, read on.

MCC Networking at TD Bank

Celestine, Yasin, and Paula of the Manhattan Chamber of Commerce

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Member Highlight: Charles Marcano

This month Charles Marcano sat down with us to discuss his work in marketing and design at Prestige Development Services, Inc.

Q: Charles, tell me what Prestige is all about.
A: Prestige is an environmental engineering company. We remove lead, mold, PCB’s, and other hazardous substances from buildings. We also remove ammunition from firing ranges!
Q: Wow. Do you ever remove them yourself?
A: No, not at all. I’m in charge of all aspects of marketing and design. I establish relationships with contractors and promote our company to government agencies, such as the United States Department of Defense.

Q: But you’re a designer at heart. How long have you been at it?
A: I’ve been a designer for 27 years. Before that I was in the army for 8 years.

Q: What would you say is a top misconception that people have about designers?
A: That we’re all good-looking (laughing). Well, I think one typical misconception is that graphic design, marketing, and sales can all be accomplished  by one individual. They are very different aspects. Some designers are totally creative and not so great at compartmentalizing. My own training is in marketing, advertising, painting, illustration, and computer graphics.

Q: You’re relatively new at MicroOffice. How do you like the space so far?
A: Oh, I love it. I’ve been here since the spring. People here are friendly and nice. And nobody steals my food from the refrigerator!

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Harlem Technology Forum

HarlemGarage was honored to host Community Board 10’s Harlem Tech Forum on Saturday, June 21st.  The event’s participants included: Congressman Charlie Rangel, Borough President Gail Brewer,  Microsoft’s Director of Technology and Civic Innovation John Farmer and many more within the Harlem tech space.

The key topics of the morning’s discussion centered on just what establishing the country’s largest free outdoor WiFi zone could mean for the Harlem community.  Job creation and the equal access to technology were consistent talking points throughout as many in attendance have visions of Harlem becoming a tech hub of the not so distant future.  Many of the attendees have worked with HG in some aspect and it was great to welcome everyone into our space again for such a great cause.

Congressman Charles B. Rangel

Representatives from local tech companies, schools, & economic development organizations

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New York Tech Meetup

Last Tuesday we had a chance to check out the June 2014 New York Tech Meetup at NYU. Since its launch in 2004, NYTM has grown to attract some of the best and brightest in New York’s tech scene to showcase emerging technology and network like no other. A handful of start-ups grabbed our attention:

  • Goodnikels, a skills-exchange platform that promotes social entrepreneurship by using a time-based currency. By connecting professionals across private companies and non-profit organizations, Goodnikels seeks to change the way skills and resources are shared.
  • Simplist appeals to new companies who are looking to hire top talent. This start-up digs into your social and professional network to help you bring the right people onboard.
  • Social Bicycles has a noble mission of creating an affordable and scalable bikeshare network. For all of you active bikers, this app is an incredibly easy way to find and reserve a bike online. It hasn’t yet hit the Five Boroughs – but keep an eye out as they are expanding all over the U.S.
  • Rukkus pinpoints the cheapest concert, sports, or theater tickets for you by location. This user-friendly app also will give you an actual view of the seats that you purchase.

We also ran into one of our 3rd floor members, Jitendra Muchhal of Bio Info Inc. who is a regular NYTM attendee. If you follow the latest trends in technology and want to build up your network, considering signing up for next month’s NYTM here!

-Kate Lee

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Spotlight! Mujus

Chic and earth friendly jewelry company Mujus just moved into Coalition:Chelsea.  Using high quality, organic, and sustainable materials, Mujus is driven to ensure the preservation of our environment.

“The Mujus blend of environmentally conscious materials and intricately sophisticated designs bring a refreshing new take to the modern woman.  Our accessories allow our customer to look and feel good, knowing their purchase is supporting many great causes.” –
Additionally, they are passionate to giving back to the Peruvian and American communities by ensuring that their jewelry artisans in Peru are paid fair wages and are giving health insurance. In America, they’ve teamed up with the ALS Association and designed a signature collection to raise money for the fight against Lou Gehrig’s disease.

We are more than proud to have Mujus join the Coalition!

Check out their gorgeous pieces at Who says you can’t be fierce while saving the world?

By: Sharleen Benjamin

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Tech Day 2014


This week, many attended NY Tech Day 2014 at Pier 92, to network with New York’s most innovative startups. The room was full of creative energy and seeing the many ideas and apps being created blew my mind.  I played Tetris on a computer screen by texting from my cell phone, I received a complimentary manicure from a company that goes to different places and offers manicures for the staff, and I met a team taking air BnB to a luxurious level.  If you were unable to attend this year’s tech day I would strongly recommend attending the next one. Maybe you can network and make a business connection, or maybe just being around so much creativity will get your brain running and you can come up with the next big idea.

Also, check out Sharleen on’s style blog. Nothing makes her feel more famous than getting her picture taken by someone fabulous like CEO, Shradha Mehta of Her startup combines, pintrest, and into one incredible website where you can shop the looks of everyday stylish women. What better reason to come to NY Tech Day next year than to meet people with similar interests, like Shradha Mehta making their dreams come true? We hope to see you there next year.

-Pilar Johnson and Sharleen Benjamin

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Congratulation Liz Ostler!

Liz Ostler from the 3rd floor at 1375 Broadway, was just featured in The New York Times this last week!  Liz designed and built the large puppets for the Prospect Theater Company’s production of JASPER IN THE DEADLINE.

The show runs from March 16th- April 13th at the West End Theatre in the Church of St. Paul and St. Andrew (263 West 86th St., NYC).   Congratulations Liz!

For more info, visit:




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