I decided to begin my first IBM competition meeting with a think tank group I personally assembled recently. I thought:
"Hey, why not try a new cafe location."
And BAM. Birch Coffee café came up as one of a good NYC study joint in a website review; I forget the name but I took on it.
With the meeting confirmed and four days passing, I finally began to take a long trek from Kew Gardens on the E all the way to 23rd St. on the 6.
It felt very professional. I mean the environment, of course. Business men and women scurrying from all four ends of the sidewalk.
I actually had a hard time looking for this location. Mostly because I read the street wrong while walking; mistaking the address: 28th street with 27th street. And there was no sign on the side walk or storetop like Starbucks or any mainstream cafe would have.
Once I found this place, I was a bit astonished. As soon as I took a seat and ordered, these were a couple of things I picked up:
$2.75 for Small
$3.75 for Large
Pretty pricey, but.
Watery at first, but the taste and the effect kicks in as you sip through it.
I didn’t like the fact that it didn’t hit me immediately, but I got what I wanted; energy and the stim for my thinking processes.
Repetition/ Loyalty Perks:
Purchase 10 beverages, get one free. Hey, it’s than some café that don’t have anything at all!
It was crowed because the cafe, itself, was small. Not much of a cafe meant to daze or daydream in.
The WIFI was not available. Not until 5PM, which is their Happy Hour. They serve alcohol and i suppose it was a pseudo bar. It wasn’t bad mix, but two things came to mind:
- Good for social events and “first dates/getting-to-know-someone”
- Good for studying if your a nerdy alcoholic like me.
The fact there was no WIFI during non-Happy Hours does help productivity with assignments or task that does not require internet. It eliminates the urge to:
- check Facebook to see how your crush is doing.
- sift through SoundCloud and waste time looking for music to stimulate your focusing mojo.
The atmosphere was very loud when it got closer to 3PM. Everyone around us were having discussions, whether you sat down or stood up. This was great since my team and I were loud ourselves, brainstorming ideas for our IBM competition.
The plus was that there were no old people. I have been in many cafés (especially Starbucks) and many elders have an infamous reputation to rant about the typical:
- "There are no seats here. Why aren’t there any?"
- If they sit, they just sit there; half the time not even purchasing anything from the cafe their in. Just plain loitering.
- If they are sitting and the atmosphere is loud or someone is talking loud, they will most of the time, if not always, complain to someone next to them or themselves, or even directly tell the loud person to stop being loud.
Everyone was productive though:
- Analyzing a newspaper for finance/political agendas.
- Reading a thick ass novel.
- Computing mathematical problems.
- Talking about radical ideas or gossip.
At least they were not idle or just staring into space.
At the end of my visit and meeting, I give Birch Coffee the overall rate for the following:
Iced Coffee: 4.5/5
Student Friendly: 3.5/5
Technology Accessible: 0/5
- Not meant for students or people who need internet access to get work done.
- Great place to get reading material done.
I’d come back though for a social group studying event or something or the sort for sure.