I have a feeling that I would be a bad American college student. I mean, COLLEGE! Doesn’t that involve sharing rooms, wearing sweat pants and drinking flavored Starbucks lattes? Three things, in no particular order, that I hate.
Yet, if a place like Wayside coffee was included in the college experience then I might be okay. Wayside Coffee is practically an extension of the New School halls on east 12th street. It’s not a surprising place to get coffee — Everyman Espresso and Joe are minutes away — but it has a unique atmosphere. One that isn’t collegiate, but rather light and bright. Perfect for escaping a dark and depressing standard-issue room.
When I went to Wayside coffee, I wasn’t escaping anything dark and depressing, but I was searching for a refuge in which to edit an essay, which you could say is dark and depressing in its own way. It was a sunny day, chilly. The kind of day that braces you for life and makes you want to be outdoors.
I went in, expecting crowds but finding the cafe nearly empty. There were two people working on laptops, shoved into cramped bar seats. A couple of people sat at the tall tables; there are three lined up against the right side of the space. The three men working behind the counter buzzed about, making the cafe feel full.
I ordered a cortado and got a punch card, because the large windows won me over, as did the large pastry case. While waiting, I sat down at the tall table closest to the door. My cortado was ready soon after. I made like a good
college university student and took out a draft of a paper I was working on to edit.
The cortado was good, though not spectacular, noteworthy or memorable. It didn’t fall into the tongue coating trap like some do, yet you didn’t feel as if you’d taken a small sip, only to look down and see half of your cup gone. I’d enjoy it and I’d go back, though I might not make it through the entire punchcard.
There were a few more people who drifted in and out as I sat there working through my essay and cortado. Some seemed to be students, some seemed to be office workers and others were just random city-dwellers. Although the Wayside has chosen a place with the stiff competition of Joe and Everyman, I have a feeling that their windows, food and clean space will win all those college students over soon. Though let’s just hope they aren’t wearing sweatpants.