Coffee the Train Man chronicles

Coffee the Train Man arrested

The Brooklyn Paper
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Coffee the Train Man, a sentinel for Ditmas Park straphangers taking the Cortelyou Road Q train, was ripped from his post last week after cops arrested him outside the station where he notifies hustling commuters when the next train is departing for spare change, cigarettes and steaming cups of joe.

Police nabbed the 62-year-old Coffee, whose given name is Charles Jones, at 7 am after a woman flagged down two transit cops and demanded he be taken away.

An NYPD spokesman said Jones was arrested for violating an order of protection the woman had filed against him, but would not elaborate further. It was unclear if Coffee had returned to his Cortelyou Road post by Monday morning.

Train commuters were stunned by Coffee’s arrest — and were dismayed over how his absence would affect their daily commute.

“That guy never bothered anybody!” said one Ditmas Park resident. “He was a very nice person and he was always precise with the train schedules.”

Coffee made his bread and butter as the human version of an MTA countdown clock, telling locals when the Q was arriving so they could run into the station to catch the train.

“Let’s go down there, let’s go!” Coffee would yell from the sidewalk above the outdoor station, when he saw the lights of an approaching train on the tracks below. “Manhattan Q train coming!”

Commuters would pick up their pace — some would even break into a full sprint — when they hear Coffee hollering.

Unless, of course, Coffee let them know they still had a couple of minutes to relax — just enough time to get him a cup of coffee.

The MTA prohibits panhandling inside stations and on trains, but Coffee, a recovering drug user who lived at the Park Slope YMCA, said he never begged and mainly stays on the sidewalk.

But he was well compensated for making sure everyone made the train: Coffee boasted that he drank 14 cups of the beverage he was named after each day.

Local merchants say they’re already felt his loss at the cash register.

“I don’t know what happened to him,” said Sergio, who works at the store where straphangers would buy coffee for their two-legged countdown clock. “But, we sold less coffee today.”

Reach reporter Eli Rosenberg at or by calling (718) 260-2531. And follow him at
Updated 5:31 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

Malembi from BK says:
It was only a matter of time. This man smells, too.
March 26, 2012, 1:27 pm
Odile from Ditmas Park says:
“That guy never bothered anybody!” said one Ditmas Park resident.

This is downright laughable!!!! You're not supposed to see what he does unless he wants you to. Con men are exceptional when it comes to surveillance before targetting their prey. Keeping eating out of Coffee's hand.
March 26, 2012, 3:16 pm
Or from Yellow Hook says:
". . . leaving commuters who rely on his countdown clock clueless."

They were clueless before they met him too.
March 26, 2012, 5:12 pm
Skellatosis from FG says:
Lmao @ or. When you take the train everyday you get a clue of how often they come and when. These people must be clueless lol sad if you need to rely on a bum who wants something in return.
March 28, 2012, 5:43 am
Or from Yellow Hook says:
The sad thing Skellatosis, is that the clueless people are going to jobs. Somebody has employed these clueless ones who haven't figured that trains run in one direction down a track, and one follows the other.
March 28, 2012, 8:13 am
Milton from ocean ave and Cortelyou rd says:
I m 35 my family has lived on cortelyou rd & ocean ave for 40 years, I spent about ten years in Oneonta NY then moved back 2 years ago. I m not some java junkie transplant. No offense guys but I was rocking ray bans & a batman tee in 89 with mean game of stoop ball. This guy Coffee is a Nuisance. Its fun for all of you. You treat these types like pets. You weren't here for the devastation & self slaughter of the drug and violence. Guns, gangs and muggings. Our rent goes up now. I watched day by day as this ex crack head junkie is screaming at me at 8am in the morning when i have to hold down my job. Hes a predator in sheep's clothing. I have heard him hit on women all morning. Had this not happened, I was going to deal with him myself. Because that's what a community does and should do. I can deal with my rent being raised and bunch of skinny 20 somethings walking around like they own the place. But do me a favor transplants. Stop feeding the animals.
May 13, 2012, 6:02 pm

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