New York City occupies an almost mythic place in the American mind. Countless stories have been written about the young traveler to the city, looking for fame, for fortune, or simply, for a place to live. Many years ago they might have gotten off a boat at Ellis Island. Today, they might drive their Subaru Forrester to Williamsburg via the BQE. Then, and now, all roads lead to the Five Burroughs, and especially, to Manhattan.
Working as an implementation consultant for a software company, I was ecstatic to schedule a business trip to the Big Apple, my first time in the city. An aspiring foodie and a passionate surfer of coffee’s Third Wave, I asked around to see where I should get my food and drink.
Suggestions were plentiful, but to my chagrin, few of them could be synced with my team’s whirlwind 48 hour itinerary. Our client was in the Financial District, just a block off Wall Street, and between traffic and common sense, we wouldn’t be able to make a morning stop at a quality café, unless it was within reasonable walking distance from their office. Armed with Blue Crow Media’s “New York’s Best Coffee” app, I solved our problem. Bluestone Lane –Financial District would be our place.
Tucked into the bottom of a skyscraper at 30 Broad Street, this coffee shop had everything: Antique Foster’s cans, a Mazzer, a lone café table sitting in an old revolving door. No exaggeration – their café space was inside the frame of the building’s old entrance. And actually, I was expecting the Foster’s cans, cricket bats, and posters of football players (these football players), because the app had so subtly noted that the café was “Aussie-bred.” Indeed, Bluestone Lane was the product of Australian expats, bringing with them their Melbourne honed palates and menu.
This shop was the epitome of the New York grab-and-go café. The aforementioned seating was already occupied, but besides, we entered through the building’s main entrance and had to go through security. This led us down a hallway and to their café, but there was no entrance to their café space. A low slung wall partitioned us off, but clearly, they were used to serving customers in the sort of hallway in which we were standing. It was kind of like going to a kiosk with two queues, but one point of sale. All that to say, they served their coffee to go; so, I took my flat white in paper.
A Classic Cup
Bluestone Lane brews Sightglass Coffee, and the Owl’s Howl espresso blend was tasty in the smooth milk. Both the Owl’s Howl espresso and the “Blueboon Blend” I had on drip had a “classic cup” flavor profile – ultra soft notes of cocoa and nuts. They went really nicely with my croissant, which was flaky and perfect. Per the app, they’re baked by New York’s famous Balthazar, but for reasons detailed in the paragraph below, I wasn’t able to confirm that myself.
Most reviews on The Coffee Compass seem to be the fruit of conversation and contemplation over many rounds of caps and shots. However, we were in the Financial District at 8:00 am, and the steady stream of customers cut short my would be interview with the baristas. They were very friendly and hospitable, though, and I wish I could have stayed longer. I would certainly love to go back. Next time you find yourself off Wall Street (or near one of their other two Manhattan cafes), I would highly recommend you stop on by for some Aussie-style espresso.