ALT Coffee


While I was tied up with work and vacation, my usual East Village neighborhood coffee haunt/internet cafe, shuttered, to re-open at some point as Hopscotch, a “family-friendly” establishment.

I was never quite comfortable hanging out at ALT. There was, for example, the urine smell emanating from the black bathroom, with its blindly staring stack of busted monitors, the too-loud music, and the decaying furniture. I’d cringe a little inside as I’d descend into a graying assprint on some piece of crumb-studded upholstery, downwind from a 9-11 conspiracy rant. But once, long, ago, when I was just a visiter to the East Village, I’d imagined myself older and cooler and sitting in this very spot. For such a huge nerd, I had a profound lack of goals as a teenager.

I never became cool, but I did hang out at ALT, and I miss it. It served as my refuge from roommates, my back-up plan when neighbors put the smackdown on my wireless internet pilfering, and a destination for pretty decent cappuccinos to take on my escapes into the park. I’m on the lookout for a new coffee spot, but I know it won’t be quite the same.