I’d barely had time to dry my tears of grief (and type up a quick FIPS post about it) when news broke that perhaps the Tea Lounge, in some form or another, springs eternal, hopefully this time with better couches.
Self-proclaimed Tea Lounge regulars and entrepreneurs, Shaya Weisfeld and Steven Stromer, aspire to turn the cavernous space (arguably the best thing about it, ever since they stopped making cheese toasties on rolls, for chrissakes) into a not-by-accident neighborhood cross-functional gathering place, rather than the unofficial everyone’s-other-living-room that ultimately became financially unsustainable* for TL’s soon-to-be former owner Jonathan Spiel.
Ok, so it’s like what local, mortgage-dodging, conspiracy-spouting Eric Richmond has been trying for over a decade with the Brooklyn Lyceum? But, like, successfully? Uh, not so fast. What Weisfeld and Stromer are describing seems well-intentioned enough, but something about the image of a “co-working service where paying members could leave belongings in cubbies, use resources like color printers and share files on a computer network” smacks of: Specialized Branch of Staples, Based on Market Research of the Area, with a Whole Foods Concession and a Self-Serve “We Proudly Brew Starbucks Coffee” Corner.
Fuuuuuck. I didn’t think I’d miss those dimly lit, graffiti’ed bathrooms, those useless little tuffets, and the counter person who never failed to hand me my three orders of cheese toasties to stay, when I’d clearly said TO GO.
So be it. Because sometime in the future Union Street will boast a venue created “... for exchanging ideas and information,” where you can sit comfortably, enjoying "‘delicious’ food and drink” without a sofa spring digging into your ass. And, ideally, give away plastic spoons without the attitude, man!
*don’t look at me; along with the countless cheese toasties (even after they dropped the rolls), a mountain of iced sugar cookies, and lakes of caffeine in various forms my family bought over 12+ years, I can’t tell you how many free cuppas I never claimed off my punch cards, plus a Tea Lounge gift card that I couldn’t use because a barista who was “relatively new here? I don’t exactly know how to do that?” couldn’t check my balance. Those were like, donations.