Here I squat, with my Cafe Mocha, in the East Village (2nd Ave.7th St).
I’m the know-not, un-hippest trend-rejected girl here in the Lower East Side. Would someone PLEASE teach me how to bite into coffee culture in the biggest, hippest apple?
First off, I’m not really in New York City. But more like hipster central on the lower edges of Manhattan. Smooshed between funky necklace boutiques, angry-artsy tattoo parlours, Venezuelan tapas hubs, over-crowded organic-gourmet milkshake gallery-shops, and ancient dusty wine cellars, is me.
I want to be the local, I want to blend in…but the first thing I’ve learned is you can’t figure out how to breathe here, you’ve just gotta be born knowing. You either have It. Or It has to find you. I’ve decided I will probably spend my life staring at the finger of the person who is pointing out where It is, and I’m proudly saying i see It, but really staring, blurrily, five feet below where It is. The Have-Its are laughing.
Well here’s my best shot (espresso shot that is):
NYC Coffee Shops. Now I feel like I have been doing this wrong forever. new check-list:
1. Dingy? Whole-in-wall? With an essence of grungy Plaid? Bingo!
2. Strange unique name? Weird abbreviations? Foreign words? Named after a misunderstood artist? Or French lady? Ironic/witty? (aka NINE83, AbraCo, Cafe Collette, Grumpy).
3. Social suicide: Union square/anywhere within walking distance of a Starbucks, and well-lit places full of tourists, happy people, academics, mainstream, newly made clothes, Ugg boots, obese people. ugh, for shame…
4. There should be at least six obscure, freshly roasted blends on tap, the darker and blacker the better. Add extra points for more ironic names, aka Mundane Blend.
5. The more people wearing unnecessary hats, vintage scarves and lace-up boots the better. Oh, and plaid, duh.
6. Absolutely no children inside. No golden retrievers or labs waiting outside. If so, keeping skulking on by.
7. Obscure indie artist mix or mild punk music must be playing. Or side patio for cigarette rolling. Top 40 is a definite turn off, and will be turned off immediately.
8. Fresh baked vegan or white-chocolate-blueberry—pinot-soaked-pumpkin-oatmeal cookie type options. Or starvation.
9. Evil eyes to corporate coffee chains.
10. The Baristas behind the counter must be wearing awkward ties and blazers, skinny jeans and vintages tees, and yes, plaid. They should all be lattes-artists and very stoic and unfriendly. All words exchanged must be 90% sarcastic. Or silence.
11. Coffee is a necessary part of existing; you don’t look for a good coffee shop, you know where to go. Thank the hipster gods who made you this way.
12. Be picky. Be pretentious. Be an expert. Cuz you just are. Meh.
OTHER NEW YORK TRENDS:
▪ Milk Bars: enjoy “homemade style” cookies dipped in different types of milk. From strawberry soy to cereal-soaked, dunk cereal bars in your jam-jar cup at the long wooden table.
▪ Design-your-own-FRO-YO! Frozen yogurt will never be the same because now it’s all about personal customization with gummy worms, lychee balls, on top low-fat peanut butter and sugar-free lemon drop flavours. Please don’t conform my cone!
▪ Obscure foods from ALL over the world: the harder to pronounce the better, and the more remote the country gives you bonus points.
▪ Gourmet hot dogs: This has actually been an Icelandic tradition forever but now it’s here, and waaaay more expensive.
▪ Street food trucks: move over hot dogs and soft-serve, NYC has an excellent variety of street food all available in convenient roadside trucks. As delicious as they are sketchy, enjoy a gyro, Jamaican rice and beans and greasy chicken feast for a low low price. (Perfect for Occupying Wall Street!)
▪ Pies. Too bad I don’t like crust.