That and $2

There’s a crazy phenomenon going on in the city. And it will cost you $2. Nothing more. Nothing less.

They start out as legitimate cafes. Then suddenly there is a sign, usually on a blackboard, that says Everything $2! Sometimes there is a time limit.  Sometimes there isn’t. You can get a cup of coffee from a street vendor in NYC for $1.50, but I don’t know any place where you can get a cappuccino for less than $4.

$2 with LOVE no less!

I decided to pop into one of these places to find out what a $2 cappuccino tastes like. The place was packed. Why wouldn’t it be? As I was waiting for the cappuccino to be made, I took a look around to see what else was on offer for $2. It was a virtual cornucopia of baked goods—high quality baked goods—and fresh pressed juices that usually go for $5 or $6. When I picked up my cappuccino, I was greeted by a coffee teddy bear! It was also delicious.

Cappuccino with love!

In the spirit of full confession, one of these suddenly $2 places popped up in my neighborhood. I never went in. Sure, I trust a $2 place on a scrappy midtown block, but my neighborhood? Never. It’s gone now. I have a theory about how these places work.

The cornucopia for $2

A legitimate businessperson comes in. Rents the place. Sets it up quite nicely and opens to no business. (Oh that Starbucks!) Then a $2 inspiration hits. The café opens at full capacity. Until…the tax man comes. The café in my neighborhood was splattered with signs (put up with that glue that never comes off) saying the property had been seized and was under investigation.

The moral of the story: it’s good money while you can get it.

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