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Nov 5, 1999 07:16 PM

Jackson Heights -- coffee hits the streets

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Climbing out of the subway at 74th Street, you might get worried that there's been some kind of industrial accident. People on the street are dressed in white from head to toe, with white construction helmets and space-agy metal tanks on their backs... What are they doing? Did the Crazy Chicken have a fuel spill? Was there an empanada meltdown at Mario's Bean Palace?

But wait that vital 30 seconds that it takes to adjust from the subway to street-level, and you'll see that those wierd metal tanks are coffee urns -- still a little disturbing in a surrealistic way but not immediately alarming. After a week or two of wondering what it was all about, Ellen and I got a cup from one of the coffee squads tonight, on 37th Ave. and 76th. Not bad coffee, though not particularly better than at, say, La Uruguaya. After a bit of language-barrier wrangling we got them to understand we wanted a business card, and they gave us one. Apparently they work for Coffe [sic] Export Inc., on Woodside Ave. and 71st. Why they are carrying coffee around on their backs and selling it on the street -- that will have to remain a mystery for now.

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  1. Sounds like it would make a great picture. Where and when are these guys selling the coffee exactly?

    2 Replies
    1. re: Dan H.

      When: Every time I've seen them it has been in the late afternoon or early evening; however that may not mean much, as that is the main time I'm on the streets in JH.

      Where: I've seen them on Roosevelt near the 74th street station, and on 37th Ave. anywhere from 90th Street to 75th. They are usually in groups of 2 or 3, but only one has the urn on his back; the others walk along next to him or ahead of or behind, asking people if they want coffee. Latest sighting: tonight on 37th and 86th.

      1. re: Dan H.

        Looking for a cheap story, eh.