An event and a place today conspire to remind me of my love of New York City:
Event first; this morning my daily my ride on the Q train was enlivened by a casual encounter. Some time after the train left Atlantic Avenue I looked up and noticed a woman seated across from me. She was about my age with cropped spiky hair beneath a straw fedora. the rest of the outfit: tan suede merrills with thin chocolate ankle socks, A loosely tailored mens jacket in periwinkle, carmel slacks. The impression of some sort of neck tie. The over all effect was old school bohemian with dash of butch chic. She chewed a twig. As I watched she stared intently at other passengers, sketching them in a small blank book even as the train bucked beneath us. My eyes returned to my book but a while later I felt the intensity of her scrutiny and looked up to lock eyes with her as she continued to draw. As her putative subject I contemplated whipping out my own black book from my bag and returning the compliment, but opted for returning to what was now my pose: head angled down, book agape. As we pulled into 14th street she seemed to be collecting herself for departure and I tried to catch sight of the page she had been working on and was rewarded with a fleeting glimpse of pairs of eyes. Mine? I was left with the memory of an urban intimacy and the satisfaction of having provided something for a fellow artist.
Place: I love businesses that succeed because they do something right, not simply because they are huge. Thus I love Porto Rico Coffee Importers. They operate two overcrowded and shockingly fragrant stores in manhattan and have coffee of a quality and price that other places can only pine for. The thing that clinches it for me though is a service they offer: they will keep your custom blend of beans on file, so that you can can come in and request it by name. This is the sort of thing that barely costs them anything but has made me a life long customer. Here’s a picture of a diffident employee holding up the card for “Nayland’s Blend”