I’m sitting in a cafe that is blasting Radiohead. Definitely not my soundtrack of choice, but they have good tea and it’s close to home.
Sitting across from me is a model reading Sylvia Plath – The Bell Jar. She’s not an international supermodel, but I definitely recognise her from magazines and billboards. Next to her is a young woman reading a book called Incarnational Ministry, occasionally pausing to mark things on the page with her poised pen. In the corner an older lady and a young guy who have just met are discussing potential movie projects together, while the dude next to me is glued to his laptop, intermittently checking his iphone. To my left is an old guy holding court. He is one of those old school mafia guys, wearing wrap around tinted glasses and a leather jacket, a thicket of silver hair across his head, four HUGE gold rings – two on each hand, and a beautiful (and I suspect expensive) silk scarf draped around his neck. He is discussing the neighbourhood, his mother (god rest her soul), his friend’s love life, the lesbians next door. He has a deep and disarming chuckle. One of his companions has a high pitched Staten Island accent. Straight out of a movie.
Tourists come in and out, grabbing sandwiches, coffee, and soup. NYU students grab cheap meals to eat while studying, and entrepreneurs are plugged in to the cafe’s power supply to run their empires and conduct business meetings. The couple next to me are getting to know each other, asking questions, and completely engrossed in what the other is saying. The sun is streaming in through the windows, and even though it is only 6 degrees, it is starting to look and feel like spring.
NoHo. Bowery. Home.