Birch Coffee at Affiliation Manhattan Subway


DATE: 6th JAN,
TIME: 5.00pm

If something outstands in New York then it would be coffee. New Yorkers consider their coffee seriously. Street corners and lanes are dominated by cafes. Starbucks and city favorites include Stumptown Coffee, Birch coffee, East Village espresso In and Blue Bottle Coffee. But the enthusiasm is not just in the coffee but also the service providers and the atmosphere in which you have your cup. I take my time to check out Birch coffee because of the high recommendations from my friend. Most of my time is spent locating the place since it is rush hour and everyone seems too preoccupied to help me.

Located in the Gershwin Hotel, the cafe offers a quirky atmosphere. The counter is packed so I walk past a smiling usher who advises me to proceed to the lobby. She wears the smile professionally though it appears forced. As I proceed to the lobby I notice that it is not as packed as the counter. I quickly grab a chair behind two middle aged men who appear to be in the legal profession as depicted by the nature of their language.

We will file the Affidavit tomorrow don’t worry there is still time
I doubt if the Judge will allow it to stand
The first waitress passes by ignoring me to serve the two men
The second one
The third one
Till finally a beautiful and talkative lady strolls to me and takes my order. It takes me about thirty seconds to realize that she is a waitress since I am distracted by her beauty and sense of concern. Calling her by name- tagged on her yellow dress.
Jane, I will have a cup of coffee, please

Sitting down enjoying my coffee I begin to notice the unique design of the place- mismatched chairs and couches. Strategically placed nude sculptors. I place my 20 dollar bill on the table wondering why everybody insisted that I should try the place. Perhaps it is the level of hospitality or maybe it is the artistic design lay out of the place. These questions linger in my mind as I walk out of the place.

DATE: 7th JAN, 2015
TIME: 3.00pm

I find myself making my way to Birth for the second time. I notice modernity in the art complemented by extreme creativity. The sculptors appear more realistic today.
The waiters appear more concerned than yesterday. Each of them struggling to have my attention. They overuse hospitable words today. (How may I help you today sir, what will you be having sir). It is Jane who gets my attention by her soft voice as she asks for my order.
Several customers stroll in eyes glued to the statues.
Jane brings my coffee and engages me in a little chat. Her intention is to find out how I feel about the place. She quickly notices how the sculptors have my attention and nodes, asking if I need anything else. With sun`s rays still reaching the lobby, the natural interior lighting is superb.

DATE: 8th JAN, 2015
TIME: 7.00pm

Contrary to my belief that the place would be empty at night.
The place is packed. Corporate figures, casually dressed individuals. Seems that the sculptors give the place a unique sense being a museum. Everybody walking in seems to be staring at them, including me. Every day I seem to notice a new one like it was not there before.
On this particular day, I realize that Jane`s outstanding treatment is a key reason why I keep coming back. She displays the utmost professionalism in her waiting. Smiles, polite inquiries and in-time service delivery all sum up my definition of hospitable treatment.
The central chandelier sends out its beams which are reflected by the brown paintings on the wall. One particular painting, a replica of the famous Monalisa stands out. The Monalisa seems to be smiling widely while she stares at me as I walk out of the place.
DATE: 9th JAN, 2015
TIME: 5.00pm

I sit at my usual spot waiting for Jane. She comes and takes my order. On this particular day, I order a sandwich and a glass of milk. Adjacent to me are the same individuals who I met here on my first day. They seem particularly content with their day, it seems the judge agreed to whatever it is they wanted.
With a curious eye, I stare across the room looking for a new sculptor. Surprisingly there are no new ones. The postures of the sculptors seem to be adjusted.
I realize that the sculptors have not been adjusted but the lighting bulbs have been, thereby creating an illusion of movement.

DATE: 10th JAN, 2015
TIME: 4.00pm

The place seems different today. At first, it all seems the same. There are few people in the café. I notice Jane’s absence from the floor. Looking at my cell phone I realize that it is a Saturday. Most people are away for the weekend breaks. The new waiters seem more serious. The unique sculptors and art do not help cloud up their hospitality or lack thereof.
First, their service is delayed.
The tone in their voices is more authoritative
They seem impatient with customers and are loud
I walk out of the place wondering if Jane was all there was to this place. The Monalisa painting stares at me but by now I have lost all my interest in her.

The Poem
Birch`s Monalisa

Among the many stands Birch,
First amongst equals
Measurable to none

On recommendation,
I doubt the warmth promised by the referees
There is warmth indeed.

She owns the place,
Her service is superb,
Forget Monalisa,
Forget Leonardo DaVinci,
She is Monalisa.

She serves
The place.
The place should serve her
She is her highness.

I know why they
Keep coming
She owns the show,
Everyone wants their turn with her

She reflects hospitality
She is an ambassador of hospitality

Why do you doubt her appeal?
When it is availed to you,
Try the next palace
Then you will appreciate her appeal

Many palaces are known to me
But her palace still stands the tallest;
Magnificence in her voice,
As she leans to address your concerns
Oh blessed me.

As the palace lights up
Impatience sets in
You wait for your turn
To air your cravings

She compliments the chandelier.
She compliments Monalisa.
She compliments the Leonardo`s work
She is the Monalisa

She strolled to me.
And there was my answer,
All my cravings were gone,
By just her proximity.

Time flies.
When you close to her
She is an angel.
Who serves all humanity.

When her time came,
She departed the place.
You almost fill the emptiness
Of the void, she lives
She is Birch


Mayes, F. (2001). The discovery of poetry: A field guide to reading and writing poems. San Diego: Harcourt.

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