Last year, on a day much like today, the snow sifted to the ground like powdered sugar, the thin jacket, in hindsight, too thin, and the canned brisk air just unlatched and untucked from a night’s confinement, I stumbled, on my way to class, grumbling across the disrespected and disgruntled land bridge known as the “College Ghetto” when I noticed heat and noise emitting from the cellar of the defunct mid-town Telephone Company.
photo by andrew franciosa
With my shoes soaked, my socks spongy, and my class, not important anymore, I stepped cautiously up the iced-over stoop, through a glass door and back down some steps into what could be easily described as a dungeon. But it was warmer and softer, and full of characters like myself discouraged by winter’s struggles, nay, Albany’s winter struggle. As merely a face in the crowd, I couldn’t help but smile at the newly grounded microcosmic organization founder mere blocks from my doorstep: The Hudson River Coffee House.
Like a fine wine, The HRCH only gets better with age. And with time, only comes the incorporation of new ideas and events. Anton Pasquill, the proprietor continuously upgrades and updates their site and other social media outlets like Facebook, Twitter, and Yelp so that patrons near and far can stay abreast to upcoming happenings. The spacious seating and comfortable environment doubles as a perfect venue for small, intimate concerts and fun, participatory events, for example, every Thursday night is “Starving Artist Open Night” and in October, a event called “Skaturday” posed as the first Ska-music themed event in the area, at least at a coffee shop.
Pasquill, a SUNY alumni, when other business owners in the area shun the temporary college residents, he banks on them. Saying, “Every year I lose business to graduating seniors, and people that move out of Albany, but every year there are new markets, i.e Freshman and transfer students that fill this void.” He continues, “We are practically self-sustaining, the advertising I do is through social media channels and word of mouth.” Pasquill’s investment in the community can be exemplified by his campaign and clean-up efforts after last years “Kegs n’ Eggs” debacle.
Not much has changed since its inauguration a little over a year ago. Now there are four arcade games, the walls hold local artwork more cautiously, books and games are stacked precariously, yet naturally in windowsills, a couple new friendly faces work behind the counter, many keyboards and amplifiers hint at a musical element and of course, the “regulars” still cling to their morning routine and its “chill” setting.
Thinking back on my first impressions and experiences, the return to 90’s pop culture via the two arcade games, the locally donated artwork, the eclectically exposed brick, the friendly, tireless and dedicated staff, and the premium original blends (created by Pasquill himself), it is safe to say that The Hudson River Coffee House will continue to bring a sense of community to this often-times “community-less” area of temporary student housing and weekend warriors. I for one would like to congratulate Pasquill and the whole staff as the HRCH turns one year old. I look forward to future groggy mornings in which a fresh cup of Joseph and a few hours in a cushioned chair revitalize and recharge my deteriorating batteries.