In the heart of New York City’s Greenwich Village, just steps away from the city’s famous Washington Square, is a café that has been in the same location since the days of prohibition, at a time when when women in the U.S. had only had the right to vote for seven years and during the time when Calvin Coolidge was President.
Opened in 1927, Caffé Reggio is the perfect place to sit on a lazy winter morning and sip an espresso surrounded by an eclectic decades old collection of art and chachkis. As you marvel at the glossy brown walls covered with cracks and wall hangings, you can sip your espresso out of the custom made espresso cups produced by one of the most renowned makers of ceramics in Italy, Richard Ginori, established in 1735. So unique and custom made in fact, that buying one will cost you US$65.00.
Many films have used the interior of Caffé Reggio over the years, and the café’s website has a gallery of photos from the café’s past.
According to the café [if you believe the entire story], “at the heart of Caffé Reggio is [the] magnificent espresso machine, for many years the source of [Reggio’s] famous specialty. Cappuccino first became popular in Italy at the beginning of the last century, and soon after was introduced in America by the original owner of Caffé Reggio, Domenico Parisi. [The] splendid espresso machine, made in 1902, was the first of its kind. Its ornate chrome and bronze exterior houses an impressive marriage of engineering and design. Given pride of place in the caffe, the machine symbolizes [Reggio’s] rich history as pioneers of taste.
Looking around the caffe as you sip an “Original Cappuccino” you will notice a beautiful array of artwork, some of which dates back to the Italian Renaissance period. A dramatic 16th century painting from the school of Caravaggio and an antique bench which once belonged to the Medici family bearing the Florentine crest of the illustrious Medici family are among the works that impart a feeling of grace and warmth to Caffe Reggio.”
The cappuccino machine is still on display as is the artwork [which is genuine] and many other small statues and photos that compliment the original old tin ceiling.
Across the street can be found another Greenwich Village landmark, the Louis May Alcott house, built in 1852. In 1868 Louisa May Alcott sat at her desk before the second story window in her uncle’s house across the street from Caffé Reggio on MacDougal Street and penned the final paragraph of “Little Women.” She had sat there every afternoon either writing letters to her family and friends, or adding to the novel based on her life growing up with her sisters Abbie, Anna and Lizzie.
Fortunately for me, Caffé Reggio is just steps from the Flyingnorthblog international headquarters. So, on any given day, you will find me there in the window seat, the Alcott house in plain view on one side, the famous cappuccino machine on the other, writing and sipping a macchiato.
If you are in New York, stop by and say hello!