If it's Sunday, it's Meet the Press, and while that's certainly true in my case, the day really means my weekly trip to Peekskill. There, I settle into the blue couch at the Peekskill Coffee House, where my writing acumen is engulfed in a sea of creative sights, sounds and smells.
On the corner, at 101 South Division Street, the 115 year old building blends into Peekskill's Americana style of architecture as easily as the swinging a dead cat reference is thrown around by all the local artists. "This place is a muse for artists," says Randy Sharpe, manager and barista.
Eachweek features a local artist for the Coffee House walls. “It’s a great foundation for launching the whole arts community,” says frequent customer Preston Ricardo.
Accompanying him for the first time from the world headquarters of independent coffee houses was Emily Hannon of Brooklyn. Her initial impression infers that the Coffee House definitely lays the groundwork to put Peekskill in the proper mindset to appreciate its art. “It’s comfortable, quaint and a little catchy,” she says.
Ricardo seconded the sentiment and encompassed the conversation back to the building’s call letters. “It’s hard to find great coffee and a funky atmosphere where you can spread out,” he said, and making the 30 minute drive from White Plains, is no bother.
Neither is the live, relaxed music that’s easing out on Saturday night and Sunday afternoon. “Even when the music is going you can still find a quiet corner,” he said from the back.
On the contrary, Megan Kearns of Cortlandt sat front and center as she did her work. Liking the laid back mix of musical offerings, a little non-intrusive “white noise” is much more conducive to her attention span in comparison to sitting alone in a room.
I sit in my comfortable couch and weekly writing platform from the same place, while getting the chance to hear quality independent artists is also a shared appreciation. This week it was the Tristen Napoli Trio, but my first impression several months ago soured at the sight ofthe large Cello case that came in with the three SUNY Purchase Students.
Not a fan of Jazz, as I told the trio later, I’ve now become one. That’s just the kind of opportunity that the Coffee House gives, according to Ben Carr. “In the relaxed atmosphere, says the Cello player, “people are listening and actually want to hear the music.
The fact that people tip well doesn’t hurt either, as the general calm affords musicians the chance to hone their skills for bigger venues. “It’s very low key,” he says.
Currently, the Coffee House has a relatively regular line up of performers but that doesn’t mean the opportunities to hook on our closed. “Our Friday night open nights are a good way to get noticed,” says Sharpe.
The introductory possibilities for a showcase and performance experience aside, the locale serves as a pushing of point for bigger things – artist or not. “It’s a nice meeting place to go over things and plan,” he says.
It’s even more basic than that for Carr. “I just feel like I’m really part of something larger when I’m here,” he says.
I couldn’t have said it any better myself.
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My video from Coffee House Perfomances : http://peekskillcoffeevideo.blogspot.com/
My article first appeared in the Westchester Guardian at :