Coffee is an essential ingredient in the everyday lives of many New Yorkers, and Richard Agudelo, the owner of Terremoto, takes this fact very seriously. He only provides single origin, best trade coffee, which means that he knows exactly where his coffee is coming from.In sitting down to discuss his business with him, I learned that he owns fifty percent of a coffee farm in Colombia, which allows him to have a close relationship with the people who grow his coffee and to ensure that the end result is the highest possible quality. “We know our farmers, milk purveyors, water suppliers, everything. We make sure that it is locally-sourced as much as possible - everything down to our grill.”Richard, who is also a creative director, has always loved coffee. After several years of research, he finally decided to open Terremoto on 15th Street in 2016, recognizing that this particular neighborhood "needed a place for high-quality coffee.” Terremoto, which means earthquake in Spanish, is named in part after Richard. He spent his summers as a child staying with his uncles in Colombia, who often called out in Spanish, “Look, the earthquake arrives” upon his entrance. “I was a handful,” Richard admitted. Laughing, he added, "Our caffeinated drinks will wake you up, just like an earthquake."Terremoto first made headlines for its famous espresso machine, which is covered in twenty-four carat gold. While the machine is certainly flashy, Richard said that he decided to buy it to serve as an homage to the original espresso makers from the early twentieth century. They were similarly plated in metal, usually copper or brass. In order to add a little twist, Richard decided to buy one covered in gold.Terremoto serves a wide variety of classic espresso-based drinks and a number of specialty teas. Richard donates twenty percent of the revenue generated from three of these drinks to charity: the Purple Rain, a lavender and vanilla based drink, the Space Oddity, a rose and vanilla based drink, and the Terremoto, a dulce de leche beverage. He has worked with various artists throughout his career, hence the references to famous songs. He donates to Music Cares and to a variety of emergency relief funds. Richard shared with me that he was a first responder at 9/11. He lived three blocks from the site, and grabbed a respirator from the hardware store below his apartment before going to help shovel out the debris. He has remained committed to helping other emergency relief efforts, having donated money to the earthquake in Haiti and the tsunami in Indonesia.Terremoto’s 15th Street location was his first, but Richard has already expanded to Brooklyn with the hope of continuing to open more shops while providing high quality, single origin coffee.
Open twenty-four hours a day, the Donut Pub is a classic on 14th Street. This sweets bar harkens back to the style of the vintage soda fountain joint with black and white tiles, marble countertops, and stool seating. It is a true relic of an older time, and this is all thanks to Buzzy Geduld.Buzzy and his brother, Irwin, opened six donut shops around the city back in the 1960s “when there was a donut place on every block.” Toward the end of the decade, Buzzy was offered a job on Wall Street, and he closed all but one of the businesses: the Donut Pub that is still standing today. Even as Buzzy worked in finance until the 2000s, he visited the shop every Saturday to have a coffee, a treat, and to discuss ideas for introducing new donuts or improving on old recipes.However, the core elements have remained the same. Buzzy is proud to say that everything at the Pub is made by hand, “the old-fashioned way.” He continues to stop by on weekends to indulge in one of his favorites — a black and white Boston cream — and witness others enjoy the fruits of his labor.
Beneath the Spanish Benevolent Society lies La Nacional, one of Manhattan’s most authentic Spanish restaurants and the most easily accessible part of the society. Just by walking down the steps into the dimly lit basement lounge, we felt the bustle of 14th street quickly recede and we were transported across the ocean. La Nacional has the same relaxed, no frills atmosphere as most tapas bars in Spain. We gazed at the old photographs from the society’s earlier years on the walls and then had the option of sipping a drink at the bar, sampling some classic simple Spanish tapas such as tortilla de patatas, croquetas or chorizo, or dining on a full meal of paella. Perhaps the most authentic option, though, was to simply have a seat by the television to watch the fútbol game - it is always on. For visitors from Spain who want a taste of home, those of us pining for the Spanish travels of our past, or New Yorkers simply curious about a new culture, La Nacional is the place to go.
Babycastles, randomly named in honor of a Japanese pastry, is a gallery and community venue for video game designers. However, according to Todd Anderson, one of the members of the Babycastles collective, Babycastles is about more than just gaming. It is an “incubator” of fresh artistic thought, a place to go with unconventional ideas to be welcomed by individuals who can see those concepts into fruition without red tape and hefty price tags.Using his own story as a case study, Todd told me about how he moved to New York from Chicago in order to pursue digital poetry, a relatively new genre that plays with the interaction between technology and language (for example, using a keyboard to control the delivery of a poem in the same way a conductor guides an orchestra). Todd turned to Babycastles, inquired about hosting a monthly poetry event, and was met with great support. He found a home for his art, and has been invested in Babycastles ever since.Sharing a building with Hack Manhattan, Babycastles hosts a wide variety of events for all ages including concerts, lectures, game launches, and even yoga. The Babycastles team curates exhibitions that spotlight independent video game designers and define their work in the larger context of fine arts. Oftentimes, custom game cabinets are built to accommodate the works on display.Game creators and other artists are invited to apply for the Babycastles residency program, which allows them to take advantage of the bright, sunlit co-working space and receive inspiration from an artistic community where they can freely test their latest ideas. For an application to the program, check the website; new members are admitted regularly.