Van Leeuwen - Boerum Hill Brooklyn - New Mexico Mocha

Van Leeuwen - Boerum Hill Brooklyn - New Mexico Mocha

Postby NYC_Correspondent-tm » Wed Sep 26, 2012 4:37 pm

Van Leeuwen is best known throughout the city as the operation dispensing haute ice cream and (attempted) well-crafted espresso via bright yellow trucks. But they also maintain two brick-and-mortar stores in Brooklyn, one in the increasingly hip Polish enclave of Greenpoint and one on the edge of the brownstone neighborhood of Boerum Hill near Cobble Hill. The Boerum Hill store on Bergen off Smith is conveniently located next to the F/G stop. The store is naturally well-lit, but not overly bright - the front being almost entirely glass, including the door, with thin lead borders around the panes. The whole effect is that of being in a neighborhood in Amsterdam or East London. The cafe itself is rather small, with tables to the left upon entry and the espresso bar and ice cream area to the right. The baristas are young, what passes as edgy these days, and don't really belong in the neighborhood that has increasingly become home of the organic white affluent Brooklyn parent. Ordinarily, I drink espresso. But for some reason - maybe the shift in seasons - I opted for a drink called a New Mexican Mocha. Like other mochas, the drink was a hot chocolate with espresso. But this one had the addition of red chili powder. Having lived in New Mexico where red or green chili, or the "christmas" mixture of the two adorned every imaginable food, nostalgia and curiosity made this drink seem like a good one. It was excellent. Deeply chocolatey without being overly sweet and a strong chili punch that, like the best of the New Mexico chilis, burned with deep warmth in the throat and belly, rather than in the mouth. This was a drink for the autumn, for when the leaves change and line the bucolic streets of one of the most picturesque neighborhoods in New York.

As an aside, on the day I was last in the store, I spent a few hours in Cobble Hill Park - a pocket park a block or so off of Court Street and knee-deep in gentrified Brownstone Brooklyn. There, I witnessed the sweetest and most revolting scene. Four boys, aged maybe 6-9, were standing in a circle, holding hands and rhythmically raising and lowering them to a increasingly loud chant of "friend-ship, friend-ship, friend-ship, FOREVER!!!" I immediately felt both the contrasting feelings of wanting to vomit revoltingly and of almost crying in the midst of such innocence. Then I felt deep shame, confused by my feelings. Don't we want our kids to feel that way - especially boys - at that age, and within what could be a violent and fearful urban environment. Don't we want them to integrate those feelings to go forth and make the world a better place? Isn't that scene a celebration - loving innocence soaked with perfect urban parenting? Then why do I feel sorry for these kids? Why do I feel like they need to be exposed to harshness? When I was that age, we would call each other fuckwad, cocksucker, asshole as terms of endearment. We were trained to be tough. But how far has that gotten me and the post-urban kids of my generation in adding worth to humanity?
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