The first time I went to Burly in Brooklyn, I met my friend for a writing session. I had been in New York for a month and finally no longer needed to spend most of my day applying to jobs. At the time neither of us lived near Burly, but it was equidistant between us. I had come from a coffee date and the date wanted to tag along (this was only the second time I'd met this guy). So the three of us sat at Burly, sipping our drinks and writing away: a screenplay, a short story and stand up between us. My friend and I exchanged smirks across the table intermittently. After he left, we stopped typing and discussed him and our writing in detail. I never saw him again after we later broke up. I still see my friend almost every week.
I moved to Bed-Stuy (or deeper in Bed-Stuy) by the time winter arrived. Despite an underwhelmingly mild winter, New York was hit with one weekend of vicious snow. One of my roommates and I wandered around the apartment in our pajamas, thankful the snow and limited subway service gave us an excuse to avoid people. After getting a little stir crazy, we took out our boots and trudged through the snow up Throop to Burly and read our books over our warm drinks. I was deep into Wild Swans at the time. We fell into a discussion of our relatives' upbringing in different countries and the resilience of the women in our families. We ended the slow day by watching Mad Max in our basement, which seemed fitting.
A few months later as winter turned to spring, I met my closest friend at Burly. We had a thing for meeting at coffee shops when we had something pressing on our minds… which meant we met at coffee shops a lot. We recounted all our racing thoughts, shrugging when we couldn’t find the right words. She hadn’t slept well in a while so we walked back to my apartment where she passed out on my couch with the cat. She ended up leaving for grad school a few months later but certain places in New York still remind me of her.
I’ve been to Burly several other times; it's just a coffee shop in Bed-Stuy with good wifi, friendly baristas and delicious vegan chocolate chip cookies.
It has been a year since I moved to New York, and now I have a little corner of this city to call my own.