Today I traveled up from East Midtown to 'Morningside Heights' which is basically West Harlem and met with a friend whom I have not seen in about two years. We sat down and had a marathon of a chat at Nussbaum & Wu a small bustling cafe of sorts that serves Stumptown Coffee Roasters coffee. Actually, I'm still confused as to what I should refer to it as because it serves panini, pizza, coffee and tea, and contains a bakery section for which it is apaprantly well known for. The website suggests that I did myself a disservice by neglecting to order one of their black and white cookies to which they've devoted an entire page to on their website. Now I've never been a big fan of the Black and White cookie but it's ability to conjure images of tuxedos and jazz clubs are beginning to entice me all too much. I'm a sucker for anything that reminds me of the Jazz Era regardless of if black and white cookies existed back then. Let's take a look at the origins of the infamous New York Black and White cookie... and as always I enjoy using Wikipedia as a catalyst in which to spider-web off of. ... Folks I've just read something rather disturbing... look where it says "On 19 October 2008, Barack Obama dubbed them Unity Cookies at a deli in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida."1 Really? Unity Cookies? Oh please. I really don't think that's going to catch on here in NYC.
Anyway back to the eating establishment... It's a cute little place where the likes of students of the prestigious Columbia University to the elderly of Morningside Heights congregate to get their caffeine fix and apparently appease their insatiable desire for Black and White cookies. As far as the food goes I ordered a Russian Paninu as well as a cappuccino and enjoyed both of them. Neither was anything special and quite frankly the sandwich was dressed up too much. The presented it literally on a bed of lettuce within a plastic box, a nice sentiment but honestly when there is a line of fifteen people (and there was) presentation shouldn't be of the utmost concern. Regardless the food was good, as was the coffee and although I had a fair share to say about the interior design and stylings of the place to my friend I won't list them all here. They didn't detract from the experience to the extent that I feel would require that I talk about them.
One thing I learned today was that midtown Manhattan subway stations are relatively boring in contrast to their more Northern cousins. I took the N train up to forty-second street/Time's Square and transferred onto the One till I hit one hundred sixteenth street/ Columbia University which literally drops you off at the gates of Columbia's campus. I found a new appreciation for the NYC subway system while in the west side forty-second street/ Times Square. Walking around there, underground, you get to see a much more open and structurally visible layout. It's just a little something that a cell phone picture can't express so I didn't even attempt to take a picture. These are some of the scenes that passed my way and drove me to take a picture. Please forgive the resolution, it's a cell phone in a relatively low light situation.
Anyway, if you find yourself up in West Harlem or, excuse me, Morningside Heights I suggest you stop by Nussbaum & Wu's for a good cup of coffee. It's the kind of place that you can meet a friend in and have a good conversation but at the same time it'd also be a good place to go alone and just listen to the conversations of others... call it rude and eavesdropping but here in New York where everyone makes their business everyone else's it's near impossible to NOT listen in unless you plug in and reject society.
1Clark, Lesley (21 October 2008). "Barack Obama and the black and white cookie". The Miami Herald. http://miamiherald.typepad.com/nakedpolitics/2008/10/barack-obama-an.html.