All dougKIM photography Essays Leica New York

West Village | Cafe Doma

Cafe Doma, West Village © Doug Kim, Leica MP 0.58, 35mm Summicron, Kodak Tri-X

Cafe Doma, West Village © Doug Kim, Leica MP 0.58, 35mm Summicron, Kodak Tri-X

I love this girl, reading “Ivan Ilyich” at the prime corner table in Doma, her plain, blond hair parted dead center, falling in clean sheaves to each side of her face onto her black turtleneck. Her eyebrows are so pale that they must disappear in certain light, sinking beneath her milk bred skin. She is alone and her posture is proud, the book held high to her face, bathed in Vermeer light. The cafe is packed and warmed by the breath of coffee, condensation on the windows behind her, fogging the view of Perry Street into a pleasant scrim, a soft diorama of pedestrian blurs and an occasional bolt of cab yellow.

My macchiato is really good, enough so that I order a second. I never drink macchiatos unless the establishment has that snobbish, curatorial attitude towards its coffee beans and service that make it worthwhile. This four dollar cup is exceptional with its perfect dollop of foam on top of the sharp earthy espresso. I can drink coffee that has been cooking on an office burner all day long or 36oz styrofoam cups from gas stations to slurp in a car with beef jerky, but I also enjoy the self-indulgence of a cup that costs as much as a meal. I stick my nose into my second cup, breath in and exhale to add to the warm, bitter, woolish flavor in the air.

I put my headphones in to drown out the “difference between LA and New York” conversation next to me. A speed metal riff explodes in my ears and I forward to something more languid as I sip my macchiato, scribble in my book and occasionally check on the Vermeer girl by the window. My boots are almost dry and I will have to leave soon.


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