Forced to Starbucks

Monday, June 25, 2014

Forced to Starbucks! Yes, I’ve been forced to Starbucks against my will .. I didn’t want to, but I’ve been forced into it. Forced against my free will .. Well .  I’m here at Starbucks on Bleecker Street, corner of Morton in Greenwich Village .. My favorite cafe, the beloved Once Upon a Tart closed Saturday. They had a party for the staff and favorite customers yesterday, which I went to, but today? No more Tart. If you read any of my post the past two days, I’ve already said a bit about the Tart .. Just here today letting the world know, I’ve been forced to do Starbucks .. Well yes, there are other choices, and I did one this morning by going to an old favorite, Caffe Dante on Macdougald Street, but you see I have two coffees a day. That’s 2 trips to cafes practically everyday. A coffee (Cafe Latte) cost me a whopping $5 at Caffe Dante, so I can’t afford to go there twice a day as I did at Once Upon a Tart for years. I’d spend about $6 a day at The Tart. At Dante, those same 2 coffees would cost me $10 mutliplied by about 350 times, is $3,500, quite  a lot of money for coffee (that’s 1 year). Those same coffees cost me about $2,100 a year, for a savings of $1,400 a year. That adds up. I love Caffe Dante and have about 4 coffees (Cappuccino or Cafe Latte) times a week, but 14 times? No can do.
So, as I said, I went to Caffe Dante, did my writing and such, and that Cafe Latte cost me $3.75 plus $1.25 tip for a total of $5 .. It’s waitress service, so you have to leave at least a dollar tip. Anyway, I had my morning coffee as I always do (and write for 2 hours), then I go home for an hour, make a little lunch, and then go for my second cafe trip of the day, a coffee and an hour at the Tart before I head up to work at 4PM .. Kanai at The Tart used to call my 2nd appearance at The Tart in a day, “My 2nd Shift,” and so I do everyday. Now I already spent $5 for my first coffee of the day. Now I’m having my second. I’m not going back to Dante for another $5 coffee, and The Tart is closed (so Sadly), so here I am at Starbucks for a coffee and Wifi for just Two Bucks … Well, I guess there are worst things in life. I know millions of people really love Starbucks. Me, I’m not a big fan. I had The Tart and Caffe Dante, I love nice little independent cafes, not Giant Corporate Conglomerate owned ones, but to each hsi own. 
Anyway, that’s it for now, “Adios Amigos!”


Macdougald Street, Greenwich Village New York

photo by Daniel Bellino-Zwicke

The Last Days of The TART … Once Upon a Tart

ONCE UPON A TART Closing After 23 Years in Soho
SATURDAY August 23, 2014


It’s a very sad day in our neighborhood of South Greenwich Village / Soho today. Our beloved favorite little Mom & Pop Bakery / Cafe UNCE UPON A TART is Closing today. It’s the last day, my last Coffee and the last time to see our lovely friends; Cleo, Samina, Kanai, and Jerome .. 
Once Upon a Tart has been like family to us. Those of us living in the neighborhood like myself who go there the first thing in the morning after leaving my house, I go to Once Upon a Tart fo my morning Coffee. But it’s much more than that. It may sound Cliche, but in my case it really is, these people (the gcounter girls) are literally like family to me. I’m single and don’t have a family and going to The Tart is almost like going to a second home where these lovely ladies, Cleo, Anna, and Samina are so nice and sweet, seeing them each morning brightens my day and starts it off just right. It really means a lot to me. And let me not forget Jerome, the owner of the Tart who with his wonderful little bakery / cafe, has brought joy and a place to go for those of us in the neighborhood as well as a multidude of tourists who find a lovely little cafe were they can get a bite to eat, a coffee and a bit of relaxation in a wonderful independent non-Starbucks cafe. How refreshing.
I’ve bee going to the Tart for 23 years since the place first opened. My girlfriend Dante and I were strolling the neighborhood and discovered this lovely little place. I’ve been going there ever since, never missing a beat. I love this place and will “Miss it Greatly.” I will miss the nice ambiance, the coffee, tasty muffins and tarts, but most, I’ll miss those wonderful girls who give me my coffee with a sweet smile each and everyday. I’m almost about to cry. Thank You to The Tart, to Jerome, and all the lovely ladies who have worked there over the years. A not so sweet but sad goodbye. Farewell.

Semena, Myself, and Cleo

One of my cafe Friends CHRIS N …

Jerome (The Owner) & I


by Daniel Bellin-Zwicke

Good Pizza Shit Music Artichoke Basile Pizza “The Music Makes The Place”


Once Upon a Tart, Soho .. Where They Always Play Good Music.

Good Music Makes The Place? Well, not always, there are other factors involved, but good music helps. Now bad music, horrible junk that many retail stores play, and even restaurants Pizzerias, and bars. Very recently I experienced both ends of the spectrum. In the past day as a matter of fact. Last night I experienced the horrible end of the spectrum, in Bad Music totally destroying the ambiance of an otherwise very good place. But when you play some awful music like the Shitty Rap Crap they were playing at Artichoke Basile Pizza when I dropped in for a slice last night. Artichoke Basile Pizza on Macdougal Street in Greenwich Village, the ambiance is nothing spectacular, but not that bad. hey it’s a Pizzeria? The Pizza? The regular slice, Pizza Margherita (Tomato & Mozzarella) is dam good. I really like it. What I don’t like is the horrible music they play at the place. It’s awful. Shitty in fact and totally “Destroy” the experience of sitting down to a nice piece of Pizza. It’s a crime. There should be laws against this. I pay good, “hard earned money” for the Pizza and expect to enjoy it. But the management of the place insist on ruining my experience by playing the worst Shitty Rap Crap Music they can find. It’s just not right. That was the third and last time I go there. There are other good pizzerias around. Plenty. Every single time, they were playing the same shitty type of music, Rap, Hip Hop, music for ignorant morons who are devoid of taste. I’m trying to enjoy my slice of Pizza and this awful music is playing, with horrible swearing left and right. The music is for Idiots, why must I be subject to it? Well I guess people would say, you’ve got a choice, no one’s forcing you to go, “If you don’t like it don’t go.” And they’d be right, and that’s exactly what I’m going to do, I’m not going there any more. Basta! They lost me, if they care? Maybe they do, maybe they don’t. I liked the pizza and when I go for a slice or two, i want to sit around, relax and enjoy myself. I can’t do any of that with that awful music playing. It’s like Chinese Water Torture. Worse, having to listen to shitty Rap Crap wherever you go. For now on, I’ll continue to go to Pizza Box or Ben’s Pizza, both nearby, and both places devoid of Shitty Rap Crap.

Yes the music can help make the place. The next morning after having the good slice of Pizza at Artichoke Pizza, complete with Crappy Music, I had a coffee and muffin at Once Upon a Tart the next day. Now, here is a place that knows how to play good music. No, Great Music. At Once Upon a Tart you’ll hear beautiful Classical Music, R&B, Classic Rock, and American Standards. You can always count on good music at The Tart and never any Rap Hip Hop Crap. And let’s Thank God for That!  Good music does a lot to set a mood. If you have nice relaxing music that soothes or makes you feel happy or up-beat, the whole place will feel good, you will feel good, everyone will. When you’re playing horrible, negative music, with aggressive overtones like most of the Rap Crap, guess what, “you’re going to create feelings of aggressiveness with bad vibes” and Crap Atmosphere  just like the loud mouth morons that were practically screaming as I tried to enjoy my slice, those loud mouths bread by horrible shitty music felt the need to scream and be loud, thus along with the crappy music helped to bring down my experience, and keep me from going back to the Artichoke Basile Pizza, ever again.