New Paltz is one of those havens from environs less kind to kind travellers, long hairs, freaks tattooed and/or wearing jata in their hair, sistas wearin' paisley and tie died, india print skirts--and some brothers wearin' the same, grungy crews rollin' through with sometimes spontaneous gypsy concerts hap'nin' on the corner, and you can get a breakfast special for $2 that'll fill your belly full.
The Main Street Bistro's breakfast special's been a staple for many a would-be starving student/artist/musician/mendicant wandering hippie or gutterpunk, young or old transient soul finding themselves lingering in this lovely hamlet gazes up at the heights of Shawgunk Ridge. Two eggs or tofu ($1 extra for the vegan/no ovo-veggie version), home fries fried just right: a tricolor of white, brown and just the proper proportion of blackened potato peels subtly seasoned a 'la diner-style perfection, and two slices of toast slathered with butter and jam, $1.95+ tax. Plenty of $2 NY style pizza-by-the-slice for dinner (didn't they used to be bigger, though? or was I smaller then?), but the real treasure for the impoverished soujourner or passers through is the Bistro Breakfast special.
Coffeehouses, generally more vital to the vitality of a community--leastwise of the sort I'm talkin', are more plentiful here than before, or seems to me at least. The Bakery was host to me many mornings and afternoons when last I was through this town. Cheap but tasty bagels as well as other baked pastry delights, and a pleasant courtyard with ample seating make for a good start to the day. What was the Coop (kinda a Green Party Coop) which served only drip coffee, became ___something else___ and is now "/root," a computer repair biz'/coffeehouse with pay-what-you-may styles. CafeTeria ("T" capitalized for disambiguation, and not as reads on the sign) coffeehouse is a big open space with high-ceilings and a loft, burnt sienna embossed metal ceilings reminding of the antiquity of this building, black trim and a rather dreary mauve prevail where bare brick's absent, and eclectic 70's vintage furnishings from couches to easy chairs and artwork that bespeaks of corroded metal, whether literally crafted in a metalic medium or paint on canvas or cardboard. The nigh gloom and nigh gothic ambiance of the place is quite comfy for burying one's face in a good book or crouched over an illuminated screen and keyboard in the corner, typing a term paper or existentially anxious novel.
The street here is lined with iconic shops and restaurants reminiscent of the still hippie ways prevail here years after the days when Janis or the Grateful Dead would play impromptu shows for the throngs of mostly education students hangin' out at SUNY New Paltz hoping to change the world through rock and roll, peace, and the right teachin', plus some share or other of the weed and wildness and sometimes psychedelic education techniques of sixties counter culture. The Groovy Blueberry and various more or less head shops, hippie boutiques, tattoo parlors and bars, restaurants of varied fare and stoops aplenty to accommodate New York stoop sitting culture complete the picture of life on Main in New Paltz. Not some retrospective, mind you, nor wistful reveries, the hopes and ideals became prominent in the days of the first big concert at Woodstock still animate activity, art, music, organisations and activisms here next to the far northern reaches of the Appalachians Mountains where meets the edge of the Hudson Valley region.
Despite my appreciation for my location here and now, am intent still upon sailboat dreams and shelter from the weather found on the seas, else a return to where I've most known as home this lifetime around, Rocky Mountains high and Wyoming bound. Good to know, though, and be reassured there's yet enclaves and bastions maintain the groovy chillin' vibes of hippie, punk and other alternate flows to the officially sanctified culture of capitalist consumerisms gone amuck, and said consciousness most often even holding official reigns, as the Green Party showings at the polls here display.