Dec

20

The NYU Diaries: A Lousy Cup of Coffee

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NYU correspondent W.M. Akers signs off for the semester and reflects on a fall of frequenting coffee shops.

Loving Bwog,

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.

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13 Comments

  1. not nyu

    oh god. not this shit again.

  2. beh

    not the quality prose we've come to expect from ackers. would have been best to postpone this through the finals strain, I suspect.

    p.s. - reggio was founded in 1927. not quite a century old.

    • WMA

      It's funny you say that about my prose. You may be right--I can't decide if I like this piece or not--but I really did write it on an airplane and thought while I was doing so, 'Gee, any time I write on the plane it seems like the best thing I've ever put to paper, and then when I get home I realize it's both bland and overwritten.' Perhaps I should have heeded my own warning.

  3. not nyu

    you're not picking up the gif being referenced, you vague, worthless, anonymous n00b.

  4. Greene Dream

    This guy is worse than Christopher Morris-Lent. And it is very, very hard to be worse than CML.

  5. stupid Columbians  

    Akers is among Bwog's very few eloquent contributers. This may not be his finest piece, but the tiresome "not this guy again... fuck nyu" shit has got to stop. Save the hate for CML, whose writing actually warrants this level of abuse (and, in my opinion, so much more).

  6. !!!  

    I don't like the idea of an nyu kid writing for bwog, but he is a good writer. he's probably better than every writer on staff but lydia and armin, in my opinion.

  7. cu student  

    as someone who's worked at both think coffee and the hungarian, id say that its easier to work at think because there are fewer interesting people to watch and listen to. moreover, the scribbling in think's bathroom is thinks it thinking, its actually shit. but it is a place for focused work to get done...

  8. gco

    wma, i like your style. thanks for your contributions
    -gco

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