Saturday, April 23

Why is it so hard?

Its always so difficult for me to keep any kind of journal or log, especially with this endeavor. Its been a few months now, spring is in full bloom, and business at the shop is bustling. I feel that this past week was the first opportunity I had to take a breath. Maybe I am just getting used to the stress and the long hours, or maybe the dust from opening has settled a little more... Either way, I said to myself that I'd log this endeavor as much as i could, so here I am...
Things have been interesting here. Business gets better by the week, we have a group of steady customers who are all pretty great, and seem genuinely happy that we are here. If you know me, I've probably voiced my concern about acceptance in a neighborhood that seems to be on the cusp of gentrification. There has been alot of hubub lately about Red Hook and where its going... Most recently, the new port of call for Carnival ("Welcome to sunny Red hook!") and that Barbara Corcoran buying up a house near Pioneer street (check out the pix in the times-- shes doing jazz hands in front of the building. and I have to say, she looks a tad like Sandy Duncan) But thats neither here nor there. Ive also met Mr. & Mrs. Fairway, very nice couple, and they said that it looks like February '06 is the magic month for them, and April '06 for Carnival. The fact that Red Hook is "hot" right now excites me as a business owner, and I'm not worried that it will become another Williamsburg, I think those worries are unfounded. Williamsburg blew up because it is: one stop out of the east village & there was enough housing stock to supply the demand. Poseurs and Hipsters of the lowest denominator wouldnt come out to Red Hook because they wouldnt sacrifice an extended commute to go anywhere. Thats the truth. Thats why I believe the artists and craftsmen here are the real deal, they arent the type of people who are worried about what to wear to get a quart of milk at the bodega, or even to get a coffee here at the bakery. Thats why RH rocks. Thats why it won't gentrify with the atomic speed that billyburg did. If anything happens here, it will be because of the Carnival pier. Inevitably, there will soon be all sorts of stores and restaurants catering to the passengers. Will RH become a true port of call? a seaside town that becomes a destination for all NYers? And as a coffeeshop owner, my biggest concern is this: with potentially 250,000 people trolling the streets in the next year or two, can Starbucks be far behind?

And oh yes, I almost forgot, try our sandwiches.


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I learned the truth at seventeen
that love was meant for beauty queens
And high school girls with clear-skinned smiles
who married young and then retired.
The valentines I never knew,
the Friday night charades of youth
Were spent on one more beautiful.
At seventeen I learned the truth.
And those of us with ravaged faces,
lacking in the social graces,
Desperately remained at home,
inventing lovers on the phone
Who called to say, "Come dance with me,"
and murmured vague obscenities.
It isn't all it seems at seventeen.

A brown-eyed girl in hand-me-downs
whose name I never could pronounce
Said, "Pity, please, the ones who serve;
they only get what they deserve.
And the rich relationed hometown queen
marries into what she needs.
With a guarantee of company
and haven for the elderly."

Remember those who win the game
lose the love they sought to gain.
In debentures of quality and dubious integrity.
Their small-town eyes will gape at you in dull surprise
When payment due exceeds
accounts received at seventeen.

To those of us who knew the pain
of valentines that never came,
And those whose names were never called
when choosing sides for basketball.
It was long ago and far away;
the world was younger than today
And dreams were all they gave away for free
to ugly duckling girls like me.

We all play the game and when we dare
to cheat ourselves at solitaire.
Inventing lovers on the phone,
repenting other lives unknown
That call and say, "Come dance with me,"
and murmur vague obscenities
At ugly girls like me at seventeen.

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