Park Avenue’s Hidden Treasure

         Whenever I do not have an obligation after school, I like to do my homework at a coffee shop near my apartment called Carnegie Cup Café. This coffee shop is unique because it is located right on Park Avenue. Its large windows and turtle-green exterior provide a stark contrast to the limestone-clad pre-war buildings along side it. Initially, I was lured in by the bright red chairs inside and the warm vanilla scent that permeates the corner block of the cafe, but I now consistently return because of one woman who works there. She is a vibrant young woman, about twenty six years old, who invariably wears a smile on her face and plays an incredible Maroon 5 playlist that she calls her rendition of coffee shop music. While I cannot recall her name for certain, I am pretty sure it is Simone. I was immediately intrigued by Simone because she always compliments customers when they are paying. On the Friday of my first week studying at the café, I asked Simone why she always complimented people, especially those who were rude. Her answer stayed with me: “There are three types of people who enter this shop. The first type are business men and women who are always in a rush and often drop things as they hurry out the door. The second type are gossipers, people who want a boujee Upper East Side location where they can chat about irrelevant things (these people are typically older). And the third type are people like you. People who pay enough attention to actually notice and appreciate my compliments.” As I continued to speak with Simone, I learned that she works at a different coffee shop in the mornings, but prefers working at Carnegie Cup Café because the customers are more entertaining than those from the other café in East Harlem where she lives. She hates the subway because of a fear that someone will push her onto the tracks, but she takes it anyway because she likes observing people’s facial expressions as they anxiously await their stop. After speaking with Simone, I realized that her inherent amiability derived from sheer curiosity. Her spirited attitude has fostered an environment that makes me feel welcome and comfortable, which is why I love doing my homework at Carnegie Cup Café.

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