To get everyone through the dog days of summer, we've asked a handful of New York City writers to tell us about a favorite, somewhat oddball restaurant, bar, or place of note that perhaps exists mostly off the radar. Here now, Paula Froelich, former Page Six reporter and author of Mercury in Retrograde.
In the middle of Sullivan Street, between Prince and Houston—i.e., the ideal street for Catholics as it is book-ended by a church and a convent—is the tiniest, most magical coffee shop in New York. Many people miss it, because there’s a glitzier place across the street next to the dreaded knitting shop (I HATE knitters! So smug!), but if you look closely there’s a small light green awning with Local in a clean font with a small flower garden surrounding a tree with a bench next to it in front.
Local is like a second home. Every morning, the neighbors in the know all gather and shoot the shit about life, the drug house on the corner, the people who poop and dash with their dogs, their next screenplay, the ancient neighborhood hookers, you know, the normal stuff, while I walk my angry yet loyal little dog, Karl. It's like a non-alcoholic version of Cheers. Everybody knows your name or your face.
There are the artists (one of whom I am dating: bonus—you can get laid!), the filmmakers, the actors (usually friends with the owner Craig, who is always vaguely familiar to most everyone thanks to his many stints as a “thug,” “drug addict” or “Mobster” in every NY based show like “Law & Order,” “CSI: NY,” etc.), the businessmen – and one guy who likes to come down every so often and sip his coffee in a red satin bathrobe (nothing else) while having a cigarette which he presumably won't smoke in his apartment. No, it’s not Bill Clinton – although he did come in a few times too. Sans sexy robe. When I worked at Page Six, I laughed – every morning at Local was like a living item. But I didn’t want to write about Local’s regulars for fear of offending them and spoiling my home (screw Bill Clinton – he’s a misogynistic sociopath), but now...eh. I still won’t give names. But they are all “leisurely employed” – which of course makes me feel fabulous about being fun-employed (I never met such cool people behind cubicles! Except, of course, my Page Six cohorts. Well, some of them anyway).
It’s a little cramped inside, but nobody cares, and there’s always fresh-baked scones, cookies, croissants, etc. on display – or you can get a fresh-made sandwich/salad ? pretty much whatever you are in the mood for, the chef Eduardo will make you if he has the ingredients. He’s not beholden to a menu. And of course, coffee. My lifeblood. Craig is very proud of his free-trade, organic products—everything that Daddy in Ohio would call "Hippie shit"—but I don't care. It's just goooood. Even Karl likes it. So much so, he wont pee on the flowers. And that's saying something.
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