Saturday, April 14, 2012

A Clean Well-Lit Place on East Broadway: Pushcart Coffee

The tin ceiling of Pushcart Coffee

Anyone who knows me at all knows how much I love clean well-lighted public places where I can sit and eat stuff and drink stuff and write and/or grade. 

This strong inclination of mine I came to slowly.  By the last two years of college, I was taking the bus from Provo to Salt Lake in order to do my homework at the Salt Lake Roasting Company, for I could not bear to do it at home . . . or in the then snackless HBLL.  (Sorry, library!)  And there were was nothing remotely similar in Provo.  

Over the years, I have lingered (probably very pretentiously--who am I kidding?) in countless cafes in . . well, not as many cities as I would have liked, but Paris is one of them!

I only regret I have not kept track of them, so I'm going to do so now.  

Today I spent the afternoon in a newish lower east side cafe called Pushcart Coffee.  My notes are as follows:  

Pushcart Coffee.  East Broadway and Clinton.  New York, NY


Food: Locally sourced ingredients (a whole chalkboard devoted to this), raw kale salad on the food menu

Coffee:  Stumptown (roasted in Brooklyn)

Music:  Perfect for aging Gen Xers like me:  Stones, Ramones. TV on the Radio, Violent Femmes, Nirvana, The Breeders, The Strokes (from the ‘hood!), Johnny Cash’s “Cocaine Blues,” Fugazi’s “Waiting Room” (one of my favorite ditties—see below), and Ziggy-era Bowie on the hi fi 

Staff:  Super nice and earnest staff, who patiently overlook my Saturday afternoon spaceiness. I now even know their first names.

Unexpected amenity:  A healthy stack of contextually sensitive reading material for patron perusal:  The Great Bagel and Lox Book, New York:  Then and Now, The Lower East Side Remembered and Revisited, Unexpected New York, and Life on the Lower East Side:  photographs by Rebecca Lepkoff, 1937-1950

Ambience:  lots of natural light, wood floor, high tin ceilings. 

Wi Fi:  seems not so easy to get on the Internet (I didn’t ask)--which is good for writing (but bad for grading). Plenty of computer outlets!


Bathroom:  No visible public bathroom (although I didn’t ask).

Unexpected Amenity:  kids' activity area (although, even as little as four or five years ago, this would have been a big pro).  

Food:  Uninspired kale salad (a tad overpriced for what it was)

D├ęcor:  Too fussy?—the cafe has such good bones that the vases of dried flowers, dried wheat, and the empty coffee bean bag hung “Salt Lake Roasting Coffee style” on the wall were unnecessary.

View out the window:  Generic East Broadway traffic and the back of the worst of ‘60s-era urban renewal.
Lack of interesting legwear: No tights wearing except for me (granted it was a warmish day)

Overall:  Pros far outweigh cons.  Plus, the management seem very devoted to the best aspects of the neighborhood—its texture and history (it’s called Pushcart, after all), and it’s a good, low pressure place within walking distance to get some good old-fashioned writing done.

It's very generous of management to be so welcoming to children.

1 comment:

  1. i wish i lived in nyc and could benefit from your curatorial efforts on behalf of cafe lingerers. did any kids hang out in the kid area?