Once upon a time I was on the Upper West Side, my friends and I had Levain cookies in hand and merely wanted a Starbucks to grab a coffee and a seat so we could catch up (and inhale the cookies). We stood on the corner and said, where the hell is the nearest Starbucks around here? (Scratching our heads, when do you ever not see one from where you’re standing on a corner?)
An older woman walked up to us, “I live in the neighborhood, I’ve been here for years, what are you looking for, I can help you.”
“Just a Starbucks” we shrugged and replied.
She looked perturbed, there was no possible way a place existed in her neighborhood that she didn’t know about. Clearly, her conclusion was, that it did not. She responded with the single most impressive words, not sorry, not “I’m not sure where one is” but, “Never heard of it.”
In New York? In the United States? In the WORLD? Who hasn’t heard of Starbucks? Well, I sometimes wish I hadn’t. I am always aimlessly wandering, trying to find independent coffee shops but always out of laziness and desperation end up at Starbucks. If you’re like me or Larry David and you don’t want to settle for some “vanilla bullshit” drink. Look no further, enter D’Espresso.
If you’re looking for a good cup of Joe but also an awesome place just to chill that isn’t your typical homeless person refuge and public restroom, like ‘Bucks. There are two locations, one on the Lower East Side and one only a block away from the New York Public Library. This one is my favorite. Owner, Eugene Kagansky designed it to be like a library, but better. Everything is literally on its side. Books everywhere, interesting architectural lines. It really beats those dingy Starbucks if you ask me. And if you’re in New York City, I think you deserve better than just a Starbucks. Don’t you?
D’Espresso, 317 Madison Avenue (@42nd Street), (212) 867-7141 or 100 Stanton Street on the Lower East Side.
Where is your favorite coffee shop? Let us know in the comments! Pretty please?