RIP Alt.Coffee: The end of an era

Last week I was back in NY and walking down Avenue A. I ran into Judy Bodor, wife of Nick, the owner of Alt.Coffee. She mentioned to me that Alt would be closing this week after nearly 12 years! The NY Times marks the passing in an article today.

I walked into Alt.Coffee in September or October of 1995 shortly after starting my studies at NYU. The place was awesome! it was the "Third Space" (not work, not home) that Howard Shultz of Starbucks talks about. Except alt was really like a living room, couches, comfy chairs, good music, computers, the safron colored walls and friendly baristas and regulars that became like family. I went from regular to working for trade (free coffee and baked goods in exchange for looking after the computers) and then graduated to barista. I pulled shots behind the bar on and off for probably five years.

Nick Bodor is passionate about many things, and his coffee is one of them, he taught be how to tamp down the coffee for a perfect crema in, and how to judge the proper temperature of the milk with your hand on the bottom of the pitcher.

I've been back to Alt only a few times in the last few years. It is not the Alt.Coffee that I grew up with. The "couch club" as the regulars sometimes called themselves have all moved on. The baristas have come and gone, but it was nice to know that Alt was there. I look forward to visiting Hopscotch when it opens later this year (another cafe to be opened in the same space by the Bodors).