You’re running late, or you’re running too early.
You’re balancing your workout gear and your work computer. You’re trying to find a place to squeeze in a bite between meetings or to log on for your Skype interview or to brush your hair or send off your latest article draft. Urban dwelling is tricky business; being constantly on-the-go isn’t easy, especially for busy boss ladies. City women seem to manage it all, but even superwoman needs a place to recharge every now and then.
Audrey Gelman is giving the women of New York City just that. Gelman, who you might remember as Lena Dunham’s amazing, PR-consultant bestie, and her brand-new-brainchild are taking the city by storm this Fall. Her new project, The Wing, just had its official launch as a self-defined “work space and women’s club.”
According to their website, the impetus to create The Wing came from Gelman’s own personal search for a relaxed place to make her own. The workplace, where women, as Gelman puts it, often “feel surrounded by bros,” doesn’t typically suffice, and modern ladies deserve a place to spend time together that doesn’t need to be as formal or stately as a country club or organized social group. In their own words, “The Wing is a home base for women on their way. It’s an offline destination for women to build essential relationships, hatch plans and you know… run the world, together.”
Modern, communal workspaces seem to be particularly popular of late (New York and other large metropolitan areas are chockfull of places like WeWork and Breather). These space-for-rent buildings offer trendy perks like cold-brew coffee on tap and weekly yoga, but The Wing fills a niche none of them can touch. By being an all-female space, and a place both for work and play, The Wing has the power to truly become the working woman’s home-away-from-home destination.
Women who are interested in joining The Wing are asked to fill out an application for membership, which costs either a monthly or annual rate. The application asks wannabe-members to discuss things like the “complicated woman” they respect the most and to identify their taste in music. Certain organized events, like debate-watching and poker games, are in store for members, as well. The Wing, it seems, is as much fun as it is feminist.
This amazing space, which will be home to practical conveniences like charging stations, blow-dry and make-up services, and work space, draws meaningfully on the work of the women who’ve come before. Looking back at what they refer to as “the women’s club movement,” which, according to the website, began in the 19th century as a means by which women could support each other in times of great national and international distress. These “clubwomen,” according to the National Women’s History Museum, met to discuss literature, debate politics, connect socially, and make plans to advocate for political and social change. In addition to these groups, the prominent Black women’s clubs movement launched; African-American women sought to come together to combat rampant racism and fight for increased rights and equality in their communities and at large.
Women’s historian and writer Alexis Coe penned a “Roots” section of The Wing’s website, where they pay homage to the generations of progressive, barrier-breaking heroines who built community and gathered as a means of working together as activists. “When communities needed libraries,” Coe writes, “they established them…when women demanded greater control over their bodies, they fought for it.” Gelman’s 21st century women’s club is poised to be a change-maker — not only for the women who seek membership, but also because of the issues they’re sure to mobilize support for.
Sure, we’ve come so far since the women’s club movement first found its footing in American culture, but, as we know all-too-well, we still have significant work to do. Thankfully, women like Audrey Gelman are creating spaces and curating opportunities for us to do just that. Community and change go hand-in-hand, and, as women find solace, relaxation, and safety at The Wing, they’ll be able, also, to form powerful networks of likeminded, passionate women ready to tackle today’s greatest needs.
Carving out a space for women to take care of themselves, and each other, and to make room in their busy lives to do so, is bound to breed something special. We can’t wait to see what happens when the women of The Wing start to come together.