From Where I Work

From Where I Work: Katie In New York

After stints in Scotland and China, Katie from Stories My Suitcase Could Tell has moved to the Big Apple to experience life as a freelance writer and blogger in New York. Armed with coffee and cookies, Katie introduces us to the cool cafes she likes to settle in and get down to work.

Katie says:

If I’m honest, I can do it almost anywhere: in bed, on the couch, at the kitchen table or the office desk. But as stereotypical as it sounds, the one place I can always write, where I really feel the words flow onto the page, is in a coffee shop.

Writing at Joe Coffee

Katie putting pen to paper at Joe Cafe

It’s not only my love of a good latte that draws me in (although a steady supply of caffeine is always welcome!), but the atmosphere on offer in the places that serve them. There’s something about the level of hustle and bustle in a coffee shop that’s just right for writing: not so quiet you get bored, but not so busy you get distracted.

I moved to the New York City area just before Christmas last year, and since then I’ve been on the hunt for the best coffee shop for blogging and working on Stories My Suitcase Could Tell. While I haven’t found the perfect one yet, I do have a few firm favourites, like Joe Coffee in the West Village, Happy Bones in Little Italy, and Blue Bottle in Brooklyn – all locations that just so happen to have tasty sweet treats on offer alongside their artisan brews (I have a terrible weakness for the cookies at Happy Bones).

The winter weather and sub-zero temperatures here have given me a great excuse to knuckle down with a latte and a notebook, and today I’m writing this by hand at Toby’s Estate Coffee on Fifth Avenue, a few steps away from the iconic Flatiron Building.

It’s positively tiny, so I’ve been lucky to snag a seat at the marble counter by the window, but I love the atmosphere here.   People are always coming and going for take-out coffee (the beans are roasted in Brooklyn), and it’s light and bright, which makes it feel more spacious than it really is. Plus, there’s even a small bookstore and florist through an open door at the back of the cafe – what more could you ask for in a work space?!

Writing at Happy Bones

Fuelled by coffee & cookies at Happy Bones

If you’re wondering why I’m scrawling with a pen and paper, the reason I’m going old school is that a lot of coffee shops in New York don’t have wi-fi. That’s something that really surprised me, and is obviously a problem when it comes to the technical side of running a blog. For the early creative stages of building a blog post, though, I think it’s perfect. Without the distraction of a computer screen, I find myself filling page after page of notes, which I can then type up and edit on my laptop when I get back to the apartment.

Living somewhere new provides plenty of source material for writing, so I’ve been filling up the homepage of Stories My Suitcase Could Tell with lots of American adventures recently, as well as an insight into what brought me here in the first place. When it’s not minus 29 degrees Celsius, I’ve been making the most of getting to know my adopted home, from eating my way through popular brunch spots in the West Village, to taking weekend breaks to places like Pennsylvania.

Given the size of New York City – not to mention the U.S. – it looks like I won’t be running out of things to do (or new coffee shops to work in) anytime soon!

Katie from Stories My Suitcase Could TellAbout Katie:

Katie MacLeod is a journalist and blogger with a passion for writing, politics, travel, and a good cup of coffee. When she’s not busy with her day job as a journalist, she’s out exploring everything the world has to offer, from climbing the Great Wall of China to road tripping along the coast of California, and writing about it on her award-winning travel blog, Stories My Suitcase Could Tell. After stints in Scotland and China, she’s now based in and around New York City.

To find out where she’s heading next, and what life really is like as a Brit in the Big Apple, follow Katie on twitter, facebook and instragram.

About Author

I'm a full time blogger with a passion for travel and interiors. A travel blogger for 12+ years, I took a course on interior styling during the pandemic when travel was not an option. I now run 2 Instagram accounts - @jayneytravels, which covers authentic, affordable luxury escapes and @ourtravelhome which is all about decorating our new build home with a modern rustic style.


  • Michelle | Lights Camera Travel
    March 5, 2015 at 1:42 am

    I love handwriting too! It seems so romantic to work in coffee shops, but I just cannot. I’ve tried on a few occasions but I actually get more down locking myself in a dark room on the couch or on my bed with my laptop on my lap. Your situation is MUCH more photogenic! Best of luck in the Big Apple 😉

    • Katie MacLeod
      March 6, 2015 at 3:54 pm

      Thanks, Michelle 🙂 I seem to get more writing done when I write by hand – fewer distractions!

  • Amanda @ Positively Amanda
    March 5, 2015 at 1:06 pm

    Oh I love joe’s coffee in the West village. It’s the cutest little cafe. Definitely a great place to work/ read a good book!

    • Katie MacLeod
      March 6, 2015 at 3:55 pm

      I agree, it’s so cute – I love it in there!

  • Rachel Kershaw
    March 5, 2015 at 4:56 pm

    I often scribble down ideas in my various little note pads and type them up later. I find the ideas flow much more freely. Newcastle has lots of lovely little coffee shops too and I’m the same when it comes to coffee, addicted!

    • Katie MacLeod
      March 6, 2015 at 3:56 pm

      Definitely, I think much better ‘on paper’! And I always find it easier to get work done if I’ve got coffee and chocolate nearby 🙂

  • […] From Where I Work (a guest post I wrote for the lovely Jayne over at Girl Tweets World) […]

  • Nikki
    June 25, 2015 at 11:45 pm

    Hi Katie,

    I’m a fellow travel blogger in NYC and have to say, good choice in coffee shop! It happens to be one of my favorites. I’m always looking to connect with other writers in the city and (if you’re interested) a friend of mine has recently launched a travel app and is hosting a party for travel bloggers next week. Please shoot me an email if you’d like to attend! Would love to meet!


    • Jayne Gorman
      June 29, 2015 at 6:40 am

      Hi Nikki, I’ve forwarded your comment to Katie so she can get in touch 🙂 Best, Jayne


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