December 22, 2012


It's been a while since I've posted any new cup signage—actually it's been a while since I've posted anything at all, it's that time of year—final papers, final exams, grading... I haven't gotten around the City much, and not at all with camera in hand—excuses excuses. It's gray and cold and gloomy these days, and not a particularly jolly season—sorry. But the signs below were taken during the summer into the Fall, and remind me of lighter and brighter and sunnier days.

La Churerria (below) is a winter destination for sugary churros dipped in Mexican hot chocolate. Sustainable New York is a favorite spot for gifts, and veggie goodies—all things environmentally friendly. 

La Churreria, Nolita.

Sustainable New York, Avenue A @7th Street.

Summer Morning Specials, 14th St.

Starbucks, East Village.

November 22, 2012

LENOX COFFEE: Photography exhibition

Lenox Coffee. What a nice discovery. Recently stopped there one afternoon, after class (it's close to City College, where I teach) to see a fellow teacher's, Lynne St. Clare's, show of photographs taken while traveling in Cuba. The combination of a new café to discover, and photographs of Cuba, a favorite place where I had traveled as well, seemed the perfect destination. The café is a sweet, comfy spot, not unlike hanging out at a friend's place. Winter light filtered through the front windows and the photographs, computer and cell phone screens vibrated cool blue. Everyone was entirely absorbed in one way or the other—a big mug of hot coffee, maybe a pastry, as accompaniment. The manager tells me people visit from all over, even outside, the City—I can see why. 

Lenox Coffee, 129th Street, Harlem, November 2012.

Cool Blue, Lenox Coffee.

Lynne St. Clare. Young Man Outside Gallery, Havana, Cuba, digital print, ND.

You can see more of these images at:

Lynne St. Clare-Foster is an illustrator who has recently added photo-journalism to her oeuvre, documenting everyday lives of people in the places she has visited, including Malaysia, and New Orleans after Katrina. The photographs that were on view (they came down on the 17th) at Lenox Coffee were taken on a recent trip to Cuba.

October 25, 2012


The Public Theater threw itself a block party and invited the neighbors to celebrate its recent extensive renovation. I grabbed the dog and my camera and headed downtown to join the festivities. It was another beautiful Fall day and lots of NYorkers were out, but the crowd was manageable and everyone was in good spirits. I thought Ollie (the dog) might balk at all the people gathered but she seemed rather to enjoy it—found herself a space on the steps in front of the theater and lay down in the sun. We chatted with some fellow dog walkers, but the food trucks beckoned so I bought a Kobi beef hot dog (with sauerkraut) from one of the vendors and found another spot to sit, on a window ledge, and shared the hot dog with the dog (without the sauerkraut).

No dogs allowed on the tours of the interior renovation, and you really couldn't get near enough to the outdoor performance stage, but the weather was still lovely so after a while we took off and walked uptown through the Village. I made another stop at another of my favorite spots, Liquiteria, and had a hot spiced chai—pics below—sat on a bench out front taking in the last of the sun's rays, and home again.

Public Theater Block Party, October 2012

Food Trucks and performance stage @ the Block Party.

Liquiteria is known for their fruit 'power' smoothies and vegetable 'health' drinks‚ they also have good coffee and make my favorite Chai.

Coffee Break (hot chai) at Liquiteria, Second Ave. @ 11th St.

Blast of pink, 'Berry Powerful' smoothie.

September 27, 2012

EAST VILLAGE POETRY WALK and a coffee-break

St. Marks in the Bowery, LES, 09/12
A while ago I downloaded an audio file to my iPod called PASSING STRANGER: The East Village Poetry Walk. I had read about it in the NYTimes (see the Times link below) and it sounded like something I'd like to do, especially since I had been peripherally involved in 'the scene' in my hippie days in the 60s—yes, the 60s. I also, as you may or may not have noticed, still spend a lot of time, for my blog, wandering the East Village.

From The Times:
"Billed as an East Village poetry walk, the project, “Passing Stranger,” is a site-specific audio tour that guides listeners through the history of the neighborhood’s interconnected writers and shakers, with interviews, archival recordings and recitations of poems. Narrated by the filmmaker Jim Jarmusch, with music by John Zorn, it is a literary and geographic keepsake, a portrait of a bohemian community that still resounds."

If you aren't up for the walk, but are interested, the download is interactive—you can look and listen on your computer—all you need do is click the blue dots on the map to hear the recording and  enjoy vintage photographs, and real-time Google maps!

The walk starts at St. Marks in the Bowery Church, on 10th St. and Second Ave. (home to The Poetry Project, when many of 'the Beats,' and a long list of other poets, gave readings). I headed there with my camera and iPod on a most perfect Fall day.  

Reading (Poetry?), St. Marks Garden

Alan Ginsburg Lived Here, on the 4th Floor, 12th Street and Ave. A.
From St. Marks the walk takes you along 12th St. to Avenue A.

One of the many stops along the way is this building at 437 East 12th St. where Alan Ginsburg held court for many years—when you visited, Ginsburg would toss the key to the door from his 4th floor window, "embedded inside an unmatched used sock." Walt Whitman had lived across the street at 417 E. 12th.
Enough said.

The tour takes a break at the halfway mark, 7th Street and Avenue C, after about an hour of walking. I made my way back to 12th St. and Avenue A, and stopped in for a cup of coffee and pastry at Ost, a 'laid-back,' new-age version of earlier artist haunts.

I'm looking forward to posting the second and final half of the tour, soon.

New Age East Village, Cafe OST, corner of 12th St. and Ave. A.
Café OST, My Last Stop, the halfway point of the tour. 

September 2, 2012


Nothing much is 'happening' in my east side, midtown Manhattan neighborhood—and there's not a lot that's quaint or charming about it—no cobblestones, hidden alleyways, tree lined streets or brownstones... nothing in the way of outdoor cafes, pleasant little shops, or gourmet specialty stores. Mostly we've got nail salons galore, a bank on every corner, way too many Korean markets and 'salad bars,' and mediocre fast food joints. To be fair, a Pain Quotidien opened where you can sit outside (next to a bus stop) and have a cup of coffee, but that's really 'about it.' So I was happy to discover the newly opened Macaron Cafe a few blocks from my apartment. There aren't any outside tables but it's pleasant inside—warmly lit, low key and calm. You can carry on a conversation over coffee without shouting.

The coffee is good, the macaroons are fresh and pretty delicious—better than most I've sampled around town—baked by, I believe, the wife, of the young French couple that own the café (one of the three). I've tried, the lemon, passion fruit, crême brulée, espresso, chocolate, strawberry, pistachio, Nutella, and, still going... My favorite so far is the nicely tart lemon. If you'd like to try your hand at making these delicacies, they've put out a cookbook too.

Bursts of color, Macaron, Midtown East, August 2012.

Cappuccino, crème brûlée and my favorite, lemon, macaroons.

Service with a (big) smile.

August 1, 2012


Josef Albers in America: Painting on Paper, at the Morgan Library—a small but outstanding collection of color studies for his Homage to the Square paintings. On the way home, Cafe Zaiya—a bustling Japanese fast food place—for their green tea frappe—a thick, sweet icy concoction that's also, well, very very, green. A shot below of the frappe at Zaiya, another with a page (a study in green) from the Albers catalog, and one of the green tea protein shakes I make at home (with simple directions). 

Green Tea Frappe at Zaiya.

Josef Albers, Color Study for Homage to the Square, Green, from the show catalog.

Homemade Green Tea Protein Shake.

  • 1 tsp Matcha 
  • 1 scoop Protein Powder (I use Biochem vanilla whey)
  • 1 cup soy milk (or other liquid)
  • Opt. half banana (frozen)
  • Agave syrup to taste (or other sweetener) 

Crush 4 ice cubes in blender. Add ingredients—liquid last. Blend until foamy.

July 19, 2012

MONTAUK: Iced coffee

I read on someone's blog recently that she had forgotten to take her camera on a weekend trip and sulked the entire time—I can commiserate—to a blogger forgetting your camera is unthinkable, unfortunately, I do it all the time, despite 'CAMERA' being clearly printed on a yellow sticky at the front door. So it was a happy occasion that I had brought my camera along this weekend on a visit to Montauk—to my brother's and sister in law's sweet cottage.

Montauk is located at the tip of Long Island, originally home to the Montaukett tribe, and later to cattle ranchers and fishermen—Stanford White built summer homes there in the 1880s and many still stand on a bluff overlooking the Atlantic. Sadly, Montauk is the latest of the Hampton towns to be overrun with urban New Yorkers and tourists, but it is still exceptionally beautiful and rustic around the edges.

I managed to get some pics—when, I remembered to take the camera with me—'the' coffee shot for sure, but not the glorious sail on the proverbial shining sea, and not the bright pink iced watermelon drink at the outdoor Mexican road stop. Here's the iced cappuccino at Coffee Tauk—good grinds—a shot of the sweet cottage, and one of Ollie, my gal pal, hangin' in the hammock with me. Summer pleasures.

Iced Cappuccino, Coffee Tauk, Montauk, July 2012.

Coffee Tauk, Sunday Morning.

The Cottage.

Hanging out in the hammock with Ollie.

July 1, 2012


       —Lovin Spoonful

Hot town, summer in the city
Back of my neck getting burnt and gritty 
Been down, isn't it a pity 
Doesn't seem to be a shadow in the city 
All around, people looking half dead 
Walking on the sidewalk, hotter than a match head. ...
Summer in the City, 16th St at 9th Ave and 97º. 

A very hot Saturday morning in the city. I planned to make my way through the Chelsea Market, pick up something for lunch and an iced coffee, and head out the back entrance of this long snaking passage to the High Line, find a spot to eat and then take some pics. Once I got inside, enveloped by the dark and cool, invited by the little tables to sit and have a bite, the idea of going back out into the intense heat that was Summer in the City simply evaporated. I got a sandwich from Amy's Bread, a favorite reliable standby, an Iced coffee at Ninth Street Expresso—enjoyed lunch in the cool, and headed home. Not my best effort, not my best pics, but a blog is a blog is a blog and needs to be kept up—this is it for now. 

Oh yes—and a peanut butter chocolate-chip cookie from Jacques Torres Chocolate.

Ordering Iced Coffee, Ninth Street Espresso, Chelsea Market.

June 3, 2012

SUNDAY MORNING COFFEE: Bushwick Open Studios

Three Angels by the Park, Coffee House, Bushwick, June 2012

I'm not sure if I'd ever been to Bushwick, certainly not within recent memory, so this was a sort of adventure. My destination was Bushwick Open Studios (BOS2012) and The Coin Locker gallery, to see a show of some artists I'd met on FB. And I did, meet the artists, in particular Vincent Hawkins, a Brit., whose work I really admire, and Julie Torres, American, who organized the exhibition, All Together Now, of artists from here and abroad who came in to take part in the show—you can see the work exhibited at this link: Below is an acrylic on board, by Hawkins, and below that, a work on paper, by Yifat Gat, who I 'discovered' in the show. Good stuff. 

I also wandered, and of course, took the few coffee pics I came across. The Three Angels, above, is a very, make that 'very' unpretentious and friendly coffee house, but the space is an odd mix of near empty rooms—at least this day—and a jumble of mis-matched furnishings. But that's Bushwick, from what little I saw, a jumble of run-down Latino housing and shops, alongside equally run-down artist's studios, alongside trendy restaurants and markets—the inevitable beginnings of the next best destination for gentrification. 

Vincent Hawkins

Yifat Gat

And here's a piece I came across in a studio I wandered into, on the way back to the 'L,' that I quite liked.

Brent Owens, Routed Work, painted wood.

April 21, 2012

SIGNS: a (short) week in San Francisco

CUP, in the Neighborhood, Glen Park San Francisco, April 2012

I apologize to anyone who might follow this blog—too much simply got in the way and I haven't been able to keep it up. But, over Spring Break I made a quick trip to San Francisco to celebrate my friend Lil's birthday, and take a much needed vacation from teaching and the hassles of life in NYC. The weather wasn't great, but the air is always fresh and the surrounding views elating. Did a side-trip south to Pescadoro, artichoke country—tried artichoke soup, artichoke bread and grilled artichokes—and, had a massage in nearby Costanoa at a rustic spa/resort along the Pacific—I could live like that, if only.

This little cafe recently opened nearby my friend's home—as expected in San Francisco, their coffee is good and the blueberry muffin too. Unfortunately the weather kept me from my usual wandering, so this is the only blog pic I could manage.

I'm back in the City, and back to teaching, but today the sun is shining, the Union Sq. Market is bustling, and I am hopeful that I'll soon be out and about to shoot.

January 8, 2012

HOT COFFEE: winter respite

After running errands, or just wandering the City, if you are anything like me, your thoughts turn to finding some 'cozy' spot to tuck into, rest body and soul, and recuperate, with a hot cup of coffee. These few photos were taken after the frenzied hustle of Christmas and New Year's, while shopping the sales, if not much in the way of 'bargains,' along 7th and 9th Streets in the East Village, and some of my favorite stores. The tinsel was still up in many windows, and it was an unseasonably warm, snowless day, but still the signs promised escape from the cold—needs met.

$9.95, East Village, 2012

Open, East Village, 2012

Mudspot Café, 9th Street, East Village, 2012

MUD has good coffee and a faux rustic, 60s atmosphere that appeals to my former Hippie sensibility, but it's usually way too crowded. Van Leeuwen's, of Food Truck fame, has REALLY good hot chocolate, and it's quiet and relaxed.

Van Leeuwen's, 7th Street, East Village, 2012

January 5, 2012

SIGNS: here, there and everywhere

2012 already—the holidays have come and gone. We've had some beautiful sunny weather but, it's been cold too and I haven't walked around all that much. So, no 'special' signs this post, just a collection of the ones we see everywhere, the one's we pass a thousand times, especially the little neon ovals that alternately light up the word Coffee and then the image of a Cup. 'Coffee . . . Cup . . . Coffee . . . Cup. . .'

Take out, First Ave near 1st Street, 2011
ATM, 7th Street, 2012
Blimpies, Midtown East, N/D
Korean Deli, East Village, 2011

Luncheonette, E. 80s, 2012