Day 3 The best coffee I’ve ever had: Pregaming Greenwich to NYC and a Fire Station
Updated: Dec 5, 2021
That morning I found a place called CFCF. It stands for Coffee Cafe. When I got there it said on the window ‘No lap top zone’ or something like that and the cafe was tiny and, once again, very chic. I liked it though I didn’t want to take up space in a cafe that was so tiny where I wasn’t going to spend money just to warm up. I wanted to reserve the space for their customers. Though I was genuinely curious about the cafe. More flames beckoned me outside of its entrance. It’s ecstatic was poetic and charming. A lovely energy to be in. I went over to the counter to just see what they were offering. The pastries looked divine and the people that worked there were so charismatic and inviting. They asked me if I wanted coffee and I said No thank you. I was just checking it out. Eventually we ended up in a conversation. The lady was from Brazil and her husband was one of the roasters. Adonis. Gotta love THAT name. Her name was Kaline and the there gentleman was Martin. She asked me about the pack and I told her I was cycling across the country. She again asked me if. Wanted coffee and I said no thank you. I actually chose not to use money on this journey. Though I appreciate it. She didn’t take that as a no. She then offered me coffee and a croissant on the house. She was so sweet and I loved her enthusiasm. So I sat down next to man who was working on his laptop and just enjoyed it. It was one of the first times I didn’t use any sweetener in my coffee. It was incredible! The best coffee I had ever had. When I told her this she went in more depth about their process in roasting and making the coffee. It was also the only coffee I have ever gotten a buzz from. I now know what that means. And the croissant was incredible. She gave it to me with a small jar of strawberry jam and butter. They make that in house too. Fucking incredible! Afterwards I was full. It is amazing how little it seems to take to fill me up these days - even with as much cycling as I am doing.
Then, after I knocked the table into the window, I started to talk to the gentleman who was sitting next to me and he told me about his family and the kind of work he does, their aspirations for a home and the challenges of living in a such an expensive area. We had a lovely chat. He was really engaging and I could feel how much he cared about his family. Just before he left he offered to get a pastry. He bought me a Strawberry Corn Muffin. Also incredible. I saved most of it for lunch that I ate in New Rochelle just outside of NYC.
It was such a wonderful morning and had renewed my energy and faith in the ride. The ride into NYC was interesting. Once I got close the entire energy changed dramatically in the way people were driving and interacting. At least in my experience. I used to live in NYC and have always loved cycling through traffic. My system was not in that resonance and it actually made me really sad. I found myself not enjoying myself and wondering why everyone was in such a hurry cutting off others, honking, yelling . . . That kind of stuff. Though that’s part of it. So I tried to get in the river instead of fight it. It took a while, but I adapted.
I was heading to NYC to see a friend of mine from college though, even after nine WarmShower requests I didn’t have a space to stay. So I was thinking - how can I be more vulnerable? So I posed to Facebook first looking for a place to crash and then decided to edit it and instead asked for help and offered bodywork as a thank you. About an hour or so later I got a message from an old friend that I had not seen or spoken to in 13 years saying I could stay with her. When I looked at the last message it was from 2008 and she was inviting me to have Pumpkin pie with her. I could feel a sense of relieve fall over me. As many people as I know in NYC it was so strange to me that this was so challenging. My fears of sleeping on the street or in a halfway home went over me. Though I was also thinking what is wrong with having that experience. What are you so scared of? So many people live on the streets - even in the bitter cold. I felt a bit of shame. Just before I left New Haven we passed an older African American woman sitting on a stoop in the middle of town just staring out shaking. It wasn’t that cold yet so it felt like it was something else. Though that inner kid in me - Issai - just looked at her wondering if she was ok and why no one was asking her if she was ok. I also didn’t ask her. It just feels important. I hate that I didn’t. It just made me wonder why we are so disconnected that we would ever hesitate to simply ask someone if they are ok. And maybe she is. I just think it’s nice. I’ve had some really tough spots myself and realize how sometimes I just wish someone would ask me if I was ok instead of trying to fix me, assume anything or ignore me. I still wonder if she as ok and wish I would have said something. It inspired me to talk to Frank in Bridgeton. That felt good.
Dawn was in Flatbush, Brooklyn near my old stomping ground taking me past my last three apartments in the city. It was good to see them and remember. New York was a journey. I wonder if I will lever live there again. By the time I headed out of town I was back in my old vibe cycling. The streets are different. With all the e-technology everyone is about as fast as the fastest cyclist though they aren’t as used to riding in bike lanes so it’s interesting. I felt more comfortable just riding through traffic. it was more fun too. Initially I thought my fire was gone. Perhaps in some ways it is. Perhaps I’m just allowing a different fire. Something came back on the way out of town. It felt good and my body is definitely feeling it. The ride out of Brooklyn was stunning. I have never done the full greenway on the west side. Absolutely stunning and at that time of day there was virtually no one on the path. I loved it. It was a wonderful way to depart the city after having spent two extra days developing my website. It’s almost done. Perhaps a day or two more. Keeping up with the blogs is a big part. It just feels good to get this out and share it even if its only with myself. Dawn was an incredible host and I actually drank beer with her. One of my future yes diary posts. Welcoming me every morning with a wonderful cup of coffee and breakfast as well as a few other epic things over the course of those few days. She’s heading to Utah to do a marathon and was asking about adventure travel. I’ve designed trips out there and run them probably 10x. It was nice to get back in the saddle again and only took about 20 minutes to finish the design complete with lodging, spa day, hikes, hots springs and more. It’s fun to reconnect to that part of me and nice to see that I haven’t lost it. Perhaps I’ll see her out there. She asked me to teach her how to camp. The last time we went camping together she was on one of my trips and her tent mate got us and about 20 something other participants kicked out of the park. One of those most memorable moments at Outdoor Bound. So we have some room to play. I remember it affectionately. It definitely helped me develop my improvisations skills. the last time we spoke was thirteen years ago when she was inviting me over for some epic pie. So yesterday day that finally happened and I can honestly say it was worth the wait. Such an incredible and fun visit with such a beautiful and fun soul. Thank you Dawn! You’re amazing.