Oh The LION'S HEAD
The old Lion's Head Bar, Greenwich Village. There was not another bar like it. It was thee Writer's Bar of New York. Filled nightly, and daily with Newspapermen, Writers, novelists, and journalists, the likes of Jimmy Breslin, Pete Hammill and brother Denis, Norman Mailer, Frank MacCourt, and throngs of others. The Lion's Head was thee extension of the great daily newspapers News Rooms; The New York Times, and especially the Daily News, New York Post, and Village Voice too. They brought their Preists, friends, and visiting family. The great actress Jessica Lange was a waitress here.
You could, High, Low, or Middle Brow to go. All you needed was some sort of style and grace. Unlike some of the Juke Boxes these days, the one at the Lion's head had style and grace as well. Filled with the likes of Sinatra, Dean Martin, Bob Dylan, Chet Baker, The Stones.
I'll never forget the first time I brought my girlfriend Dante there. Listening to Sinatra, drinking a beer, and smoking a Marlboro, she said, "I looked Sexy with the Cigarette."
I'll take that from a beautiful young Columbia Coed. Oh, "The Good Old Days." Are they gone. Sadly the Lion's Head is.
by Daniel Bellino Zwicke
Monday, January 31, 2011
Sunday, January 16, 2011
Coffee and Cafes. Two things very near and dear to me. Million so others as well. In New York, we have the Best, “For getta bout it Seattle” !!! I remember 25 years ago and more when there were no Starbucks and just very few cafes in the hole city. More or less the only cafes were in Greenwich Village, Little Italy, and the East Village. There were hole neighborhoods, completely cafeless and if you wanted to go to one you had to go to the Village or Little Italy, nothing on the hole Upper East Side.
Anyway, Coffee and Cafes are a huge thing these days and part of many a life.
Coffee and cafes, let me tell you about some of the best and my impressions. Hey, I’m a guy who has been frequenting cafes for years, each and every day, just about. I haven’t Jumped on the Band Wagon in the past 5 or ten years. I’ve been riding it for 30.
Number “One,” in New York, a good Cup of Joe is King, “Regular” not
Grande Caramel Latte and overpriced crap like that. Not the esoteric overpriced espresso, Cortado, Machiato, Blue Bottle, and Site Specific Coffee, and blends that try to break down and make too make of a good simple thing. You know what I mean. A “Cup of Joe,” is King. Used to be Five Cents at coffee shops all over the city. Well that’s going way back. Hey don’t get me wrong, I love Espresso, Espresso Machiatto, and the great Cortado they serve at Abraco. It’s just that I gotta tell you, a “Regular” is King and let’s hope it always will be.
Abraco is utterly awesome. Maybe the Best Single tasting coffee in town, is their Cortado. Man it’s tasty. Just out of this world. But I have some problems with Abraco, as I’m not someone to pay a Premium for what I call “Hit and Run Coffee”
What is “Hit and Run Coffee” you ask? Well, let me tell you. Hit and Run Coffee is a coffee that you get at places like Caffeteria, Abraco, Third Rail Coffee, and tiny little Coffee Bars that have little or no chairs and tables and maybe just a small counter space for standing. Listen, I’m not in the habit of paying $3.50, $4.50 or “More” for a cup of coffee, having to stand at a counter, drinking it in short time and leaving. Ending up $5.00 or more less in my pockets. Well you may think, “What’s $5.00?” Right? What’s Five Dollars? Imagine if you have 5 $5.00 coffees a week for one year. Do you know how much money that adds up to? Relax, I’ll do the Math for you. That’s $1,300 my friends. No small sum? Multiply that by 5 years and you’re talking $6,500, or by Ten Years and we’re talking $13,000. That’s a lot of Friggin Cash my friends. Hey I’m not saying you should not go out and have coffee. I do all the time. Heck, on my days off, I sometimes end up in cafes three times in one day. I spend about $1,508 a year on coffee, $7,500 in five years or about $15,000 in ten. That’s a lot. But I get a lot. Heck, I used to spend about $2,200 a year on coffee, $10, 000 or more in 5, or about $20,000 in ten years. But I have cut back. I’ve seen the light. I hardly ever spend $5.00 on a coffee any more. All I need is the $2.00 variety. A good honest “Cup of Joe,” a “Regular.” And I need to get my money’s worth. If I just wanted a good cup can easily make a great one in my house for just “15 Cents a Cup,” but I go and have one at a Café for 15 times that amount. Why? The extra $2.35 I pay for the coffee plus tip, is to be able to “Sit” down and relax in a nice pleasant atmosphere. I’m not gonna pay 27 times ($3.75 Average price coffee at Upscale Coffee Bar) to stand at a counter and not being able to sit down and relax. At home I can make a tasty cup of Coffee from the Highest Quality Coffee money can buy with the coffee I buy at “Porto Rico Coffee” on Bleecker Street in Greenwich Village, just a half block from my house. No, I pay all that extra money to sit in the pleasant environment of a nice coffee. Also to see other people, maybe a friend or the possibility of meeting someone new and interesting. I read, I write, I hang with friends, I relax. I can not do that at a overpriced “Coffee Bar” that doesn’t have any place to sit.
And speaking of Porto Rico Coffee, it mystifies me that people are so foolish as to pay $11.95 or more for a mass-produced commercial pound of Coffee from Starbucks instead of going to the “Best Coolest Place in Town” to be some of the World’s Finest Coffee at Porto Rico Coffee, people who have been doing this for more than 100 years, not 20. It just doesn’t make sense. By the way, the coffee I buy at Porto Rico is just $5.99 and $6.99 a pound, half the price of a pound of Starbucks Coffee.
Anyway. It’s all up to you. I’ll stick with my Regular “Cup of Joe” with a Espresso and Cappucino thrown in here and there, and as a special treat a Cortado from Abraco every now and then. And I’ll get to sit down and relax with my coffee each day, putting an extra $1,000 a year in my pocket, or Airfare and a few nice meals when I go on vaction. How bout you, “Hit and Run”and pay more, or Sit Down and Relax, Pay Less, Save, and put a Thousand Bucks a Year in your pockets, or $10,000 in ten ?
by Daniel Bellino Zwicke
by Daniel Bellino Zwicke