I'm not a coffee drinker. I think I tried an iced coffee or something chilled back in high school, when, as juniors, we'd pile into the car or cars of the one or two of us old enough to drive and hang out at the coffee house. This was back when Red Bank had only three coffee houses. Now, you've got three on one corner, with a Starbucks across from No Ordinary Joe and half a dozen others within about a mile.
Anyway, can't stand the stuff, so I usually find myself holding my breath when I pass the giant exhaust fan on 15th Street that tends to blow hot air out of the Starbucks on the corner. (In summer, it's a strategic move as well as an olfactory one -- hot air blowing on you on a 95-degree day? Not nice.) But this evening, as I walked up 9th Avenue from 14th Street, taking a different approach after stopping for a sandwich before work, I paused in front of the Starbucks to wait for the light to change. And the smell was pleasant. Lovely, even. The sweet, sweet smell of apples -- of cider -- overwhelmed me and it felt nothing like New York. For a split second, I was on the corner of a quiet Main Street in some New England town. It might as well have been Grover's Corners.
I turned to my right to look inside, to see if there was some kind of cider special. Nothing. I looked over my left shoulder and found it: a man emptying a couple of large, brown catering drink jugs, the kind with spiggots and the kind that, I believe, can keep cold drinks cold and hot drinks hot. He was emptying them before putting them into a minivan, leaving a cider stream flowing six feet into a gutter, no doubt giving the rats a welcome change from the usual sludge that they get.
Lou Gehrig in Asbury Park
3 years ago