My friends would categorically classify me as a morning person. One of my best girlfriends likes to joke that by the time she’s out of bed on a Saturday morning, I have gotten up, read a book, run a marathon, and baked a pie. While I am not that much of an overachiever, I do savor the calm and quiet of an early weekend morning, before the rest of the city is on their feet. My weekend morning ritual is working out, and then sitting in a quiet cafe corner and savoring a good book.
Here are a few of my favorite spots and favorite reads:
A Little Taste Cafe
This teeny-tiny coffee shop is located in the heart of the Flower District in Chelsea, so walking there is a treat in and of itself. Order a latte, sit at the counter, and dive into Between the World and Me, by Ta-Nehisi Coates. It’s a modern treatise on racism, and should be required reading for all. Read this if you enjoyed The Color of Water by James McBride.
Matcha Bar’s second outpost in Chelsea is the perfect spot if you’re looking to branch out from coffee (but not willing to sacrifice caffeine just yet). It’s a bit quieter than some of the city’s other matcha spots (Chalait is a zoo on the weekends). Grab a matcha macciato and dive into It’s Kind of a Funny Story, by Ned Vizzini. It’s an incredible look into the mind of a NYC teenager afflicted with mental illness, and is both poignant and laugh-out-loud funny. Read this if you enjoyed The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon.
I love the quintessential NYC coffee shop vibe of this Chelsea cafe. This location is surprisingly spacious, and has an outdoor garden that is perfect as the weather warms up. Grab a cappuccino and dive into Go Set a Watchman, by Harper Lee. It revisits the adult life of one of literature’s most beloved characters, Scout Finch (now a 26-year old woman). Read this if you enjoyed To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. (Honestly who didn’t?)
This NoLiTa gem has three little tables but a whole lot of style. It gets quite crowded on a pretty regular basis (my theory is that people swing by for coffee while waiting for acai bowls at the neighborhood spot Two Hands), which makes the early morning prime-time for grabbing a seat. Order a flat white and dive into Big Magic, by Elizabeth Gilbert (of Eat Pray Love fame). She tackles tapping into our own unique, creative energy in order to live a more fulfilled and inspired life. Read this if you enjoyed The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin.
Not only is Pushcart next to one of the best new ramen spots in Chelsea (in my humble opinion), but it has a sunny wraparound counter that is the perfect spot to stake out in the morning. Grab a chai tea latte and dive into It’s What I Do: A Photographer’s Life of Love and War, by Lynsey Addario. It’s an often-haunting memoir about Addario’s lifetime as a wartime photographer, which took her from Afghanistan to Somalia to Mexico City and back again. Read this if you enjoyed The Job by Steve Osborne.
Aren’t books and beans the best combination?
By Carolyn Stine: Carolyn is the Commerce Experience Manager at Club Monaco, but her heart (and stomach) lies firmly in the food and travel universe. Despite working on the digital side of the fashion industry by day, you can most frequently find her in search of the best new restaurant, knee-deep in planning a trip to a far-reaching locale, or at her local branch of the New York Public Library. Follow Carolyn’s adventures on Instagram at @carobaker1.