Last night I dreamed there was another newsstand on the second floor above Gem Spa on the corner of 2nd and St. Mark's. It was called The Holland. Possibly The Holland Spa. It was crummy looking in all the right ways.
To get to it, you climbed a flight of stairs on the outside of the building. A crusty young man slept outside the door with his pit bull. Inside, it was a hidden treasure--the walls covered in dusty VHS movies for sale, comic books, and photographic memorabilia from the long life of the newsstand. I started taking pictures for the blog, worried that, now that I'd found this wonderful place, it would vanish.
The owner was a older Greek man. His name might have been Stavros. He was lively and loud and friendly in a brusque way. He served coffee and breakfast sandwiches. A few guys hung around, but otherwise the place was empty. It was early Sunday morning. The Greek complained to me about the unseasonal warmth, "It's too hot for December! It's almost Christmas and I'm sweating!" I said, "I know, it's crazy. I might have to turn my air conditioner on tonight." He laughed, "It's ridiculous, this heat!" Then he told me to stick around for the party.
Very soon, crowds appeared at the door. People were lining up along the tops of the awnings along 2nd Avenue to get into the Holland for their coffee and breakfast sandwiches and newspapers. They all loved Stavros, and their mutual love created a bouncy, jovial atmosphere. I was amazed. How had I walked passed this place a million times and never gone inside?