‘Locals Only’ features notable New Yorkers, innovators and friends of CORE and their chosen neighborhoods. We hope to share the magic and uniqueness of New York City’s local areas through the eyes of those who know it best.
Jeremy Lyman, co-founder of Birch Coffee, a New York based coffee company, is an entrepreneur on a mission to simply be of service. With a flagship location open in October of 2009, followed by 5 others over the last 6 years, Jeremy hopes to create inviting environments one cup of coffee at a time.
Tell us about your business.
Birch is a neighborhood coffee shop that focuses on people first and coffee a very close second. We opened our first shop because we genuinely wanted to create an incredible customer experience. Coffee just happens to be the platform we use to connect with others. We felt there was something missing in the industry and it was making coffee harder to approach. We have a truly wonderful crew that will happily hold people’s hands through the process.
In this fast paced city where people are always in a rush to get somewhere or nowhere at all, we wanted to create a place where people could come in and turn off. There is nothing like putting away your laptop and striking up a conversation with a stranger sitting next to you. Well, at least we think so.
Why did you choose to base your business in NoMad?
In all honesty, I’d have to say that NoMad chose us. We had been looking on the Lower East Side for months. An opportunity came up to put a small shop inside the Gershwin Hotel. Everything was right about the space so we did a little recon in the neighborhood and figured…why not?
Tell us your 3 neighborhood haunts.
Now with 6 locations, I don’t get to go out as much as I’d like, but when I do, I’m a huge fan of the library over at The NoMad Hotel. Those folks really know what customer service is all about and it’s perfect for an afternoon coffee or late snack. Ilili is another favorite of mine. Even though it’s a pretty big space, if you don’t know it’s there, you can walk right past it. I’ve done that a couple times. Food’s great. I’d say my last one would have to be Madison Square Park. I don’t know if I can really think of a nicer park in the city. The rotating art exhibits and events that get put on throughout the year are truly remarkable. It’s also home to the original Shake Shack which started out as small hot dog stand just over a decade ago. Pretty amazing.
What’s your favorite street in this neighborhood?
I was really hoping to be able to say a street that we’re not located on, but I have to say 27th Street. There is just so much jammed onto one block which I think makes it one of the most interesting in the city. You have the Museum of Sex on the corner, a few feet down, the magnificent Prince George Ballroom, just a few feet away from that, La Trapeze, (you can Google that one) and then there we are just next door.
What do you value here that other neighborhoods don’t have?
Every spring and fall, Madison Square Eats sets up shop just west of the park. We get so many different and unique food vendors and it definitely makes the winter worth getting through! Oh, and there is a Home Depot. Even if I walk in looking for a single light bulb, I can’t seem to walk out without all the necessary tools to build a shelving system or something.
What’s one thing most people don’t know about your neighborhood?
Well, I think people can naturally assume this from the name, but the original Madison Square Garden used to be located just adjacent to the appropriately named Madison Square Park. I think that’s a pretty cool fact. And the original one didn’t have a roof! I guess architecture has come a long way since then.