“This space is sort of like a community space, so we get kids from the high schools around here. It doesn’t seem like there’s a lot that they can do around town, so they come here and feel comfortable.
“In particular, one of my favorite customers told me the other day that this is her safe place. I was like, ‘holy crap!’ She comes in here when everything feels bad to ease the pain of her day. I felt like the Grinch. My heart grew three times that day.”
Hence, the open mic. It’s on January 25th, 7-9 pm (sign up starts at 6:30). They’re looking for musicians, poets – anyone, really.
Figueroa, longtime Jersey City poetry royalty, talks to me about his drive. “I crave the opportunity to create spaces, situations really, that allow people who might never have been behind a mic, or hasn’t done it often, or is very nervous about it…I want those people to come into the space and do it. All it takes to become a part of the arts community is to do it.”
And to that end, they’re staying open late and keeping the coffee on.
“We’re really looking forward to opening our doors after hours, and inviting the community to join us for our first open mic,” finishes Ed Ramirez, owner of Harry Street Coffee and all-around neighborhood advocate.
See you there.
Harry Street Coffee is located at 695 Bergen Avenue.