LOWER EAST SIDE, NEW YORK CITY - If there is a “big lesson” to be learned about society in the aftermath of Sandy it is that, when the Apocalypse comes, the last human walking our blasted planet with a cup of coffee will be asked by every other survivor they encounter: “Where’d you get the coffee?”
So it was when visual artist Danielle Baskin, proprietor of Belle Helmets, ventured out of her Lower East Side apartment on Tuesday and managed to find one of the few places in her blacked-out and soaked neighborhood that was still brewing hot coffee.
“I was walking around with my coffee and people kept stopping me and asking where I got it,” she said. That’s when Baskin, who has worked as a barista, got the idea to set up the sidewalk coffee stand. Baskin heats the coffee on a gas stove in her apartment and lugs it down to the corner in jars covered in tin foil. For now, the cart is right outside the closed Starbucks on 1st Ave. and East 3rd Street, and was the first place I came across serving coffee after biking over the Manhattan Bridge. Within the ten minutes we were talking, Basking ran out of coffee after having served about 60 people in an hour. The last woman she turned away looked like she might begin to weep.
An expansion could be in the works: A man who goes by the name Chaos, an LES fixture, was at that moment attempting to scavenge a full-sized shopping cart and a light so the cart could better operate in the evening. “We’re going to make this a real business,” Chaos had told Baskn .
The coffee was good but lukewarm.