Saturday Pick-Me-Up

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Downing Bray suggests another venue for wanton caffeine consumption. Get it before it’s too late!

ALT Coffee

Ave. A and 9th St.

A Lower East Side coffee shop legend is dead . . . almost. After a decade of service, ALT Coffee, boasting “consistently good coffee, occasionally cranky computers, and possibly the scariest bathroom currently on Avenue,” is closing next week. (ed. note: Like another LES staple.) I checked out the joint for a late night coffee chat and, after experiencing its quirky charm first hand, I think it’s clear that in New York, a city filled with so many Starbuckses and Barnes and Nobles, ALT is a far cry from a yuppie Village locale or fancy pants Upper East Side cafe. It’s a travesty it has to close. The combination of
yellow-painted walls and dim lighting emanating from odd chandeliers and colored lamps, along with a random smattering of tables, dingy chairs and grungy yet comfy multi-colored sofas that look like they were purchased at a yard sale– plus a handful of computers with free wireless– is enough to attract many a wandering soul to ALT. The clientele is a mix between computer nerds, emoish hipsters, and the dreadlocked and piercing-sporting set. It’s totally unassuming, laid back, and off-beat – a true find for any coffee shop fiend. So if you find yourself in Alphabet City in need of a taste of the (old?) neighborhood or just a good cup of coffee within the next week, give ALT a visit. Also, on Saturday April 7th, they’ll be having an “ALT-is-almost-dead memorial service, complete with Open Mic, Memorial Wall, and General Merriment. It starts at 3PM and goes on until . . . it ends.”




  1. to ed. the noter  

    Which other LES staple are you talking about? Tonic?

  2. Reni Laine  

    This was my favorite coffee shop when I was living in the East Village. I wrote so many cool lyrics there and had some crazy experiences. I had no idea it was closing! I will turn out for the party...


    • Joke?  

      "I wrote so many cool lyrics there?"

      Certainly you couldn't have meant that seriously.

      • Reni Laine  

        Why would I not be serious? I'm sure there are many people who have lived in the East Village who remember ALT as a relaxing, funky, and quiet place to grab a coffee and jot down their thoughts, whether it's just a journal or a fully-realized poem. I'm truly sad it's gone (or changed, it appears).

  3. noooooo  

    i can't believe it. i had no idea. this has made me so sad.

  4. t. Weysland  

    I'll be at the open mic, hoping to get banged, but mostly just whimpering.

  5. Mark Tabry  

    Based on my own inquiries, I'm almost 100% positive today is the last day, so if you want to check it out, do it today. Alt is a great place (I've been going for 5+ years) and I'm going to miss it.

  6. Anonymous

    >>>So if you find yourself in Alphabet City in need of a taste of the (old?) neighborhood

  7. Sprinkles  

    Awwwww. This sucks. I hate what's happening to the LES - I guess developers (and the city) just keep conveniently "forgetting" about the need for the affordable housing places like the Lower East Side have historically provided.

  8. CU alum

    I don't know... I went to ALT Cafe last year and was really disappointed. First of all, the drinks are super-expensive. And I don't think it's all yard-saley because they *happened* to acquire this shit but rather because they wanted to appeal to LES hipsters. When I went there there were so many poseur-hipster-wannabe artistes sketching crappy drawings in their urban outfitter wardrobes... they were basically one step away from belting out RENT lyrics. Yes, we'd all like to see the old-school-East-Village-Lower-East-Side charm, but if you really want that go to the knitting store on Avenue A or some old food stores near Essex Street, because most destinations are more suited for the hipsters (as prices will show you) than for the long time E. Villagers.

  9. in verse  

    New York, I Love You
    But you're bringing me down

    Like a rat in a cage
    Pulling minimum wage

    New York, I Love You
    But you're bringing me down

    New York, you're safer
    And you're wasting my time

    Our records all show
    You are filthy but fine

    But they shuttered your stores
    When you opened the doors
    To the cops who were bored
    Once they'd run out of crime

    New York, you're perfect
    Don't please don't change a thing

    Your mild billionaire mayor's
    Now convinced he's a king

    So the boring collect
    I mean all disrespect

    In the neighborhood bars
    I'd once dreamt I would drink

    New York, I Love You
    But you're freaking me out

    There's a ton of the twist
    But we're fresh out of shout

    Like a death in the hall
    That you hear through your wall

    New York, I Love You
    But you're freaking me out

    Like a death of the heart
    Jesus, where do I start?

    But you're still the one pool
    Where I'd happily drown

    And oh.. Take me off your mailing list
    For kids that think it still exists
    Yes, for those who think it still exists

    Maybe I'm wrong
    And maybe you're right
    Maybe I'm wrong
    And myabe you're right

    Maybe you're right
    Maybe I'm wrong
    And just maybe you're right

    And Oh..
    Maybe mother told you true
    And they're always be something there for you
    And you'll never be alone

    But maybe she's wrong
    And maybe I'm right
    And just maybe she's wrong

    Maybe she's wrong
    And maybe I'm right
    And if so, is there?

  10. according...  

    according to gothamist

    it isn't closing, its just being recreated. it'll have the same owner, he is just "simply rearranging it to fit the style of a changed neighborhood"


  11. poor poseurs  

    Please please please stay in Brooklyn if you can't stop complaining about Manhattan gentrification. It's gonna happen whether you like it or not.

    Oh and Brooklyn is gentrifying, too. Your best bet for grungy urbandom is Fort Apache, South Bronx.

  12. Anonymous

    I just saw this two months late! Sad! This was a major LES Jewels hangout and I wrote a bunch of Gutter Pirates there.

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