The NYU Diaries: A Lousy Cup of Coffee
Written by Bwog Staff
NYU correspondent W.M. Akers signs off for the semester and reflects on a fall of frequenting coffee shops.
Your correspondent writes today from miles above the earth, a better vantage than usual, but there’s nothing to see worth recording. All I hear is the window seat droning of two passengers making friends behind me. They have declared that the antics of Lindsey Lohan are sickening and that teenagers shouldn’t get pregnant or be having sex at all.
I am going home, but my thoughts are with those of you still at work. (They’re not charitable thoughts, exactly, but you’re on my mind.) NYU is keeping some of my colleagues until Friday, and I suspect they are as I saw them last, hunched and thirsty in the clear light of Think Coffee. Think, which is the most popular coffee shop around but has nothing special to recommend it. Joe, a few blocks west, has superb cappucino, while Mud has the best drip coffee known in the city. The century old Caffe Reggio plays host to most undergraduate coffee dates, since its low-light and uncomfortable chairs make one eager to slip into someone else’s long-twin bed.
Think is popular because it’s popular. People play Scrabble there, and go to chat when it’s too cold for the Square. Because the lights are bright and the coffee isn’t worth the price of over-consuming, it’s also a popular place to work. I sat there for a half hour yesterday, eating a sandwich purchased elsewhere while I rebuilt my customary haze of self-satisfaction, which I’d had to repress until turning in my final final papers a few minutes before.
Think was bustling to the same Four Tet record I’d heard in Bloomingdale’s earlier, which means that either the coffee shop is lame or the department store is cool, I’m not sure. A frame of curtains around the back room gave a look of theater to the steady typing and dance of scooting tables, but Four Tet has a dangerous way of lending gravity to the trivial, so I resisted the metaphor. With its neat lines of white walls and dark wood it was more like an old train station, everyone methodically on their own course.
It was like a better-lit version of your Hungarian pastry shop as I’ve seen it during midterms. Students––mostly upperclassmen and grad students, since first-years stick to Starbucks––had packed the small tables with notes, papers and MacBooks, and most looked like they’d been there for some time. I ate from my lap, feeling lucky to get a chair, and watched a woman typing like a court reporter, dragging her hands across the keys with apparently useless speed, since she deleted it all at her first pause. An eldery eastern European man flirted with the girl next to me, whom he recognized as a barista from a different coffeeshop. She had to sit and listen or lose her spot, but I didn’t, and left. The stenographer, who had been staring at her words like her ship was sinking and they were life-boats sailing away, stepped out for a cigarette. I walked uptown, eager for a lazy month free of stimulants.
I’ll report back then, scholars. Enjoy your time off, whenever it comes.