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A Broke-Ass Writer’s Guide to Greenpoint Coffee Shops

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As a starving, malcontent, narcissistic New York City writer, you have one of two options: writing in your apartment or writing in someplace that is decidedly not your apartment. The former is a simple premise. If you’re having trouble with it, you might consider giving up writing in favor of a less mentally taxing occupation like running for public office. The latter option hinges on a couple subtleties. For instance, how can you tell someplace that “is not your apartment” from someplace that “is your apartment?” It’s a tough call. However, there are some indications you might look for. If it is unbearably hot and uncomfortable, then there is a good chance you are in your apartment. If your only option for a cool drink is an open tallboy of High Life that’s been sitting in your fridge for a couple days, then you might be at your apartment. If there are other human beings around, then you are probably not in your apartment. If you aren’t looking around at the utter misery of your circumstances, then again, you’re probably not at your apartment.

Great, so now that you get the jist of being outside of your apartment, let’s look at a few places you might go to grind out those pithy observations on the comédie humaine.

Café Royal

It’s pronounced “royal” as in “royal pain in my behind.” There is no “e” at the end to suggest a French pronunciation. Café Royal is THE spot if you’re living in southeast Greenpoint. It’s big enough to host an army of unemployed wastrels but it rarely fills up so you’ll always have peace and quiet (well, besides the music) to sit and ponder that play about Kant and St. Augustine working at Starbucks. There is also a small collection of eclectic reading material in the event that you should feel the need to plagiarize a Nora Ephron novel to spice things up. Café Royal is also notable in that they serve kombucha on tap. Unfortunately, it is $5 dollars but when you consider that you’re getting slightly more than a bottle (which costs around $4), you might be able to rationalize it long enough to purchase a cup.

Café Royal
Mon-Fri 7am to 6pm
Sat-Sun 9am to 6pm
195 Nassau Ave (at Humboldt St.)



Troost is the sort of place a New York Times writer might describe as “hip,” “cozy,” or “hidden.” It’s a laid-back coffee/food stop run by laid-back people who like good music and serve excellent drinks. There’s also a rather pleasant garden but frankly unless you absolutely need to be outdoors, why would you bother? It’s 90°F outside. If you wanted to sweat, you could just stay home. Fortunately, the inside is nice and cool, and the drinks aren’t terribly expensive either. In terms of atmosphere Troost wins the competition handily. The Wi-Fi shuts down at 5pm. However, Troost is the not the kind of joint that gives laptop users a hard time. So while the Wi-Fi does turn off, you are welcome to keep working without hassle. Also, their cocktails are fantastic, so if you need to get loaded for your dry-as-sand Hemingway novel, Troost is the spot.

Mon-Tue 9am to 1am
Wed-Sat 8am to 2am
Sun 9am to 2am
1011 Manhattan Ave (between Huron St. and Green St.)


Milk & Roses

Winning the “Cutest Name” by a long shot, Milk & Roses is truly the charmer of the bunch. You’ll be immediately drawn to the place by its walls covered, from floor to ceiling, with bookshelves packed for your reading pleasure. Then you’ll notice the piano and think to yourself, “double jam!” They’ve got a garden too, which is a nice spot in September but until then you can content yourself with the excellent coffee and fetching design. You should note that there are reports that the establishment can be testy about laptop use, but on a weekday you should be fine, as long as you’re willing to buy something (we all gotta eat).

Milk & Roses
Mon-Thurs, Sun 7:30am to 11pm
Fri-Sat 7:30 to 12 am
1110 Manhattan Ave (at Clay St.)

Photo Credit: New York Shitty

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Jules Owen - Wandering Wastrel

Jules Owen - Wandering Wastrel

Going to a rich kid school when you aren't even given an allowance certainly trains you to live large on the cheap. Armed with such expertise, Jules travelled the globe, surviving off of 50 cent beers and 2 dollar meals everywhere from Buenos Aires to Mumbai. Three years ago he returned to the United States, living first in Baltimore while he settled a debt with the IRS, then in Brooklyn where he plays music and writes. He aspires to one day live in a van on N.15th and Kent.