3 of New York City's worst coffee shops for bloggers
It's freezing. And it should be, it's dead winter in New York City. I'm in Chelsea and have three hours to kill before I am due at Wix Lounge for a website/portfolio consultation hosted by APA's New York City chapter. I am probably like a ton of other bloggers and photographers in the city with time to kill; I am looking for three things: warmth, coffee and free wifi. As a millennial, I assume (and expect) that finding a local, non-Starbucks, coffee shop with wifi in NYC should be a breeze! Right? Wrong! I began my quest for the trinity about an hour ago as I ascended from the 23rd street Path Station. My Google search for "best NYC coffee shops for writers" pinged back with an array of possibilities. New Jersey snowscapeBlack and white landscape of New Jersey winter. First up, Cafe Grumpy. It's Chelsea location is on 20th street between 7th and 8th Avenues. If you are looking for a posh, locally owned and operated coffee shop with a catch, this one's for you. Go Chelsea.
I was there in a hop, skip and a jump and upon first glance, was aesthetically impressed! Like most independent coffee shops that appeal to me, it was small, quaint and to my surprise, had a few empty tables. Success. I had found what I was looking for! Then it happened. The unthinkable. A warmth-coffee-wifi-seeking-blogger's worst nightmare. I approached the counter, ready to order my large drip coffee and there it was, staring me down as if it was the final stand-off. Taped, glued and in big, bold letters, my nemesis read: "NO LAPTOPS ALLOWED." New York City coffee shop, Cafe Grumpy, Chelsea. One of NYC's coffee shops with a no-laptop policy!
"What can I get for you?" gleamed my seemingly miserable, hipster barista.
"Uh, can you recommend a coffee shop that allows laptops?" I couldn't believe the words had just come out of my mouth.
"Yea, there's B Cup. It's like right around the corner."
That's friggin vague, I thought to myself, this is New. York. City.
"So back towards 7th Ave?"
"Yea, it's like right around the corner. By the bank."
Fitting name, Cafe Grumpy. I rounded 7th, spotted the bank across the street, and did a quick intake. Pub, check. Italian restaurant, check. Bodega, yup. B Cup? Not quite. Back to trusty Google. I found B Cup on the map. But it wasn't around the corner, not by a long shot. Walking directions: 1.7 miles. Just around the corner eh? I guess the west village is considered by some in Chelsea to be right around the corner. Don't get me wrong, I absolutely love walking the streets of New York with my camera and taking in the sights in sounds. I was short on time, was loaded down with camera and laptop, and the village was the opposite direction of where I needed to be in a few hours. And as a millennial, I can completely appreciate a "no laptop" policy. Human interaction is diminishing behind screens. Lots of screens. But today just wasn't one of those days. I was on a mission.
As I did another quick intake, I saw FIKA across the street. It looked too stuffy to be a locally owned coffee shop, but this nose can smell coffee a mile away. I went to investigate.
I cut right to the chase. "Hi, do y'all have wifi?"
"Yea, we do, but it's limited to 30 minutes."
I immediately cut my losses.
"Thanks, can you recommend a local coffee shop in the area that has unlimited wifi?"
"Well, our other location does. 16th and 6th Ave."
Still cold, I set off down 7th ave. As I crossed to 6th, I saw Think Coffee. It looked perfect! As I walked in, I did a laptop check. And there they were, people huddled over mac books and iPads! Finally, I thought. But just to be sure...
I approached hipster barista, subject number 3.
"Hey, do y'a'll have wifi?"
With a half cocked "I'm way more cool than you" smirk, he said "No honey, we do not."
Is today groundhog's day? Am I missing something blatantly obvious?
"Ok, can you recommend a coffee shop nearby that allows laptops and has wifi? I felt like a complete moron. An obvious not-from-around-here-laptop-junkie.
"I mean, I think Burbon Coffee, around the corner, has it. "
Around the corner. Here we go again. At least it has a cool name.
A few minutes later, there it was. As if beckoning me from another realm, a sign. "Free wi-fi." I must admit, I am quite embarrassed with my triumphant victory. I guess you just had to be there to fully appreciate it.
To my surprise, I entered into a super cool, large coffee shop and eatery with heat, wifi and laptops. Not to mention a slew of power extension cords. An hour later, I had arrived.
It's me, wifi.
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