I went to a new tea place in the East Village, called Gramstand. I didn't take any pictures, sorry, basically it was minimalist and clean looking. By the storefront window there are two green armchairs that looked cozy, but they were occupied by two girls chattering. I heard far too many f-words to enjoy my proximity to them.
There were also some lounge-type couches in the back, but as I was alone it didn't feel comfortable. So I settled on a table towards the center.
The service was friendly, order at the counter, and the tea I had, GramStandard, was good - much like Mango Indica. It was the spacing that got on my nerves.
I can't really blame the store owners. The place is large enough, and airy. Sadly, some patrons don't quite grasp the meaning of personal space - on a Sunday afternoon! - and before long I was surrounded by three laptop users. Literally surrounded. I know I have an almost superhuman sense of smell, but I tell you it's not a good situation when you can smell the breath of someone on their laptop, because that's how close he was. Tea and gagging are not a good combination.
I guess my verdict is that it's a decent place for those living roundabouts 14th Street and Avenue A, and I wish my own neighborhood could come up with a similar concept. But for me, it was too far of a walk from my other destination, Trader Joe's, for it to be worth it. I know I live and work in a crowded city, and I'm a laptop person myself, but people need to respect other people's space, just a little bit. And maybe there is something the Gramstand owners can do - after all some of my favorite tea places (Teany, Tea and Sympathy, Sympathy for the Kettle) are not large at all, and yet I don't get the feeling that I'm about to be crushed by a hovering laptop.
I do give points for a decent bathroom.