After a long summer hiatus from Manhattan I find it surprisingly easy to tuck away into my own company, in fact my first week in the city was entirely alone and it made no difference to me. It is hard at times still and I can only imagine what the day’s will be like as they grow to feel longer and the sun sets sooner and suddenly its dark when I am leaving for class not when I am arriving home from it.
I like to hide myself in coffee shops when I am lonesome. There are so many places which I feel as though that I can make them my own, and I mean that in the way that I can be alone and feel a sense of comfort in it a place which is excited for my arrival, even if I know no one at all. I will pay the extra money to buy a cup of tea if it means the sadness can be shutout for a moment, and that life can exist in a blissful ignorance of what waits outside the doors. The three cafe’s which I love are Grounded, Cafe Grumpy, and The Grey Dog (which is actually a restaurant, but I enjoy to sit and maroon myself there as well.)
Grounded is a quaint and busy cafe off Jane street in Greenwich village. It is decorated in the most homely of ways, with plants towering every open corner, two large book cases, and a greenhouse-like frosted sunroof that sits above a group of small square tables. I have never met a more calming space and to me I feel as though my mom is on her way to great me. I know that his place will be my own place, where even at my worst I can escape all worries. Even when I walk out the doors I find that the West Village creates something for me. I feel as though it is a place I have known my whole life, somewhere I was meant to be even on the coldest of cold and the darkest of dark days. I am meant to be there in the scorching heat, without an air conditioner. One of those places that is wonderful and comforting at the most uncomfortable of times.
Outside the village, but not far, is my favorite place to be sad because sometimes I know I must be sad to be alone or sad for the sake of recovery sad. I sit at cafe grumpy and read The Wind In the Willows because it has a chapter that somehow manages to take care of my worries, whatever they may be. It is decorated with few plants, but two wonderfully sized windows that allow a perfect view of 20th Street. I also love that the first cup of tea I got there was made in a glass cup, I don’t know why I enjoyed the transparency but it was a wonderful touch to a very heartbreaking sad day. Their cafe extends backwards and there is great deal of privacy even if you are stacked with people around you at every possible table. It reminds me of home, and it is uniquely a place of my own because it allowed me to cry in public. It didn’t feel awkward, or scary, it felt like I was sitting in my living room. The tea was perfect because it wasn’t very strong and I don’t really enjoy strong tea anyways. very plain and creamy, but in the best possible way. I felt as if it were my own place to be my sad self, to be real instead of pushing my thoughts further away. It is almost like the most intimate of journals tucked in-between two large buildings like a baby tooth between two molars.
The Grey Dog
There are two locations of this lovely restaurant which I hold so close to me. I have been to both and found them both equally pleasing. The exact way to describe it is…somewhat challenging, but I think the best way to put it is by explaining my first encounters with it. Last year was the year of loneliness, the kind of isolation that is deathly. Second semester was difficult to return to, and not in the way that you don’t want to leave after christmas break and do school again, in the way that once a month when I visited home, I always cried having to go back. Every month was “It is almost over don’t worry. You can do it.” I desperately wished that home was New York City because I wanted to be home with my family, but I didn’t want to give up school even if it made me miserable. On my weekend sleepovers at FIT we decided to brace the cold and head to SOHO for the day and see what it had in store. We looked in different stores and walked around, but eventually the cold brought defeat and we were starving so our friend suggested this small restaurant which she had been with her sister. In a quick Maps search and a brisk stroll through the wind tunneled streets we found ourselves in the safety of The Grey Dog. We took off our jackets and our hats and placed our orders. We went to our table marked with a pirate bandana and waited. The hard wood and cabin like feel made me, honestly, think I was in Baggers burrow from The Wind In the Willows. The wood was dark and the light was low and I wouldn’t even be surprised if a fire was roaring somewhere and I had not noticed. We ate lunch there and made plans for a cozy movie night and it felt like “wow this is it, this is what it will be like to be independent and to be in school here and to be older” In a way, though I can offer no predictions, it felt like I was truly experiencing what life would be like when I will be in my 20’s and even though at the time I was only 18, It was that moment that I realized that these were my people, the people who I look forward to seeing, the people who I can sing the song of my self. While throughout the year I was abnormally introverted, I was able to laugh and talk without fear once more. It was, truly a place where I was me where I remembered how to be me again. It was refreshing.
Lostcauses Fic: Cardamom - Half way across the world
Way back in June last year, @birbwin asked if I wanted to finish a ficlet she’d started writing about Erwin trying and failing to order coffee at a cafe with a grumpy barista somewhere in the Middle East. I said sure, I’ll give it a go, and 10 months and 40,000 words later I finally managed to get the damn thing finished. Sheesh. That ficlet turned into Cardamom and I had a real blast writing it because I got to write Levi as an archaeologist and I based some of Levi and Erwin’s experiences on fieldwork I did in Jordan way back in the dim and distant past. I loved the short time I spent in the Middle East and I’ve always wanted to got back. This was the next best thing.
So huge thanks to @birbwin for kicking this whole thing off, for being my patient beta and for giving voice to Arab Levi, @seitsensarvi for translating Francophone Levi, @prosotankutu for her beautiful art, and everyone who read and commented here, on twitter and over on AO3.
The heat hits Erwin like a wall as he steps off the plane and onto the tarmac. Beyond the lights of the runways he can see the dim outline of palms silhouetted against the darker velvet of the sky. He inhales a deep breath, the air is warm and heavy, and over the familiar taint of aviation fuel there’s something unfamiliar, something foreign. And that’s when it hits home. He’s here. He’s actually here. After all the hoping, all the waiting, he’s actually made it back to the Middle East, back to Jordan. And somewhere, out there, is Levi.
So you’re telling me Akira got expelled from school, sent to a new town to live with a grumpy old cafe owner and has a criminal record because he pushed some drunk guy over so he wouldn’t rape some woman. Real nice lesson there to say he should have kept his nose out of it. The fuck is this dude on. Akira should be proud he saved that woman.
DARE: get up on the counter, and do a strip tease for everyone. TRUTH: who's the one person you couldn't live without?
kayson looked up at the ceiling, rolling his eyes dramatically. “alright, fine–!” he stood up, and deftly leapt over the counter. he knew there was absolutely no way he was going to get out of doing something like this, so he may as well just get it over with now. he located the radio the employees used in the cafe, and he flipped it on, switching it to the nearest hip hop station. in the club by 50 centimmediately started filtering through cafe grumpy, to kayson’s luck…or unluckiness. he hopped back onto the counter, the same performance smirk he’d worn almost every night a few years back already in place. he lowered himself slowly until his weight rested in his ankles, looking out at everyone, his hands clasped together firmly, he chuckled lowly in his chest, disbelieving that he was really doing this; his knuckles brushed his lower lip.‘hey shawty, it’s your birthday,’ kayson stood back up, one of his hands now resting on his crotch– he flipped open the button on his jeans with just his thumb. his other hand smoothed down his chest, his face still the picture of ease when he lifted his shirt over his head, slowly, his six pack rippling just like he use to practice. he even flexed his pecs, and threw in a few body rolls for full entertainment value. he balled his shirt up slowly, tossing it at ADDIE ( @accieg ) just because he wanted to see her face. “and that’s all you guys are going to get, unless you’re paying.” kayson half-joked. you could take the stripper out of the club, but–! he jumped down after turning the radio off, his jeans buttoned again but he didn’t make a move to get his shirt back from his friend.
It’s a great day for coffee. It’s a simple phrase that keeps me waking up feeling motivated and waiting until I get that first sip of the day. If there is one place I can stay rest assured that this statement will remain true, it’s Cafe Grumpy. Let me begin by saying it has been quite some time since my last write up, but I can assure you that it is not because I have lost any sort of passion. There just comes a time and place where I feel the need to login and share my experience on here.
Cafe Grumpy is located in the quiet neighborhood of Greenpoint in Brooklyn, NY. They have 3 other locations in New York City, including stores in Chelsea, Lower East Side and Park Slope. Before even moving to NYC, Cafe Grumpy seemed more or less like a household name for coffee lovers, and I have learned after many experiences why they have built such a strong name for themselves. For locals looking to find this hot spot, it can be accessed by either the Nassau Ave or Greenpoint Ave stops on the G train. This location is specifically described as the “home” of Grumpy. They have dedicated the whole back of the store to a roasting facility in which they provide all the beans for the 4 locations across NYC. Using a restored Probat roaster, you can enjoy a cup of their freshly brewed coffee as you watch the masters of the craft working hard to make the flavors of your favorite drink come alive. Not to mention, they don’t hold a pretentious halo over their head with things like not allowing the customer to pre-grind the pounds of beans they are buying, or trying to control whether or not they are allowed to order a drink “to go” like some other Brooklyn enthusiasts. The atmosphere of Cafe Grumpy is one that brings in students and friends together at a place where you can get lost in a good book or conversation. The cafe also offers a book exchange for anyone looking to get rid of an old book and pick up a new read. The door here at this cafe seems to be revolving from open to close, and it’s not just because of the free wifi and plenty of seating to find your spot and get some work done.
The cappuccino from Cafe Grumpy was one of the best drinks I’ve had since living in Brooklyn. The consistency of their “Heartbreaker” espresso is one that doesn’t seem to fail with whatever style of drink you are ordering. The flavors of the espresso can be distinguished with traits of lavender, raspberry, citrus and mollasses. You can clearly pick up on these floral notes with a straight shot of espresso or macchiato, where the sweeter citrus and berry flavors seem to prevail themselves in this cappuccino today. This is a preferred and a great balance in my opinion. A nice smooth berry and fruit flavor shot can be nice when enjoying an espresso, but shops seem to concentrate so hard on obtaining these traits today. Cafe Grumpy has brought a great balance in their espresso to be used in a variety of drinks across their menu and have found a way to remain consistent. I’m looking forward to running into their other shops across the city, and I hope you can find a minute for yourself today to take a break and enjoy a drink.