Coffee the Train Man chronicles

Coffee: I can't go back to Cortelyou Road

The Brooklyn Paper
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There are a lot of cafes on Cortelyou Road, but you won’t find Coffee anywhere.

Subway sentinel Coffee the Train Man said he won’t be returning to the Cortelyou Road Q station where he alerted commuters about oncoming trains, fearing that he will run into the woman who filed a restraining order against him.

“I can’t go back until 2014,” said Coffee, who was released from the Brooklyn House of Detention last week after hammering out a plea deal in which he agreed to stay away from the woman, who takes the Q train.

The woman claimed Coffee struck her during a confrontation at the station last December.

“I’m going to try and find another spot to work, because I know everybody is looking for me,” he said.

Coffee was a neighborhood fixture on the sidewalk above the Cortelyou Road station, where his booming voice warned straphangers about arriving trains — giving them time to buy a coffee and paper and, sometimes, a cup of joe for Coffee.

But Coffee hasn’t been back to the station since March 22, after cops arrested him for violating his alleged victim’s order of protection.

Coffee claims he never struck the woman and accepted the plea bargain — in which he did not cop to the alleged assault — only to avoid more time in the slammer.

The subway sentinel made a meager living from the tips appreciative commuters gave him for being a human MTA countdown clock, but said he didn’t know which station he will bring his talents to now. The unique open-trench design of the Cortelyou Road station provided Coffee with the ability to spot oncoming trains in the distance — but there are few stations like it in Brooklyn.

The Beverly Road station has a similar design, but it’s out of the question because of its proximity to Cortelyou Road, Coffee said, noting that without a place to announce approaching trains, he’ll be looking ahead at some tough times.

“This is going to be hard,” said Coffee, explaining that his life as the Train Man allowed him to break from his past as a drug user. “I’ll have to go get back on food stamps.”

Reach reporter Eli Rosenberg at or by calling (718) 260-2531. And follow him at
Updated 5:32 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

Or from Yellow Hook says:
Surely he is irreplacable!

No one knows how the trains come down the track without him.

Another racist story about a "beloved 'character'", who the BP implys is no good for anything else.
May 3, 2012, 6:46 am
cafe from olay says:
Go to kings highway coffeeee
May 3, 2012, 8:34 am
Baby from Cakes says:
Or, you nailed it. It boggles the mind how this small-time writer has turned news about an abusive and raging crack addict into a cottage industry. Coffee is a defeated and 'neutralized' man...just the type folks like the writer ferret out to turn into cause celebre. Disgusting! He hooked on their 'tips' for drug money and they ALL know this.
May 3, 2012, 12:45 pm
Malembi from BK says:
—— this guy already
May 3, 2012, 3:29 pm
Bad baby from BKLYN says:
Why are you such a hater Baby cakes? This borough has plenty of small time writers--mostly self-important bloggers/wannabe novelists--why single out Rosenstein?
May 3, 2012, 8:50 pm
Bad baby from BKLYN says:
Why are you such a hater Baby cakes? This borough has plenty of small time writers--mostly self-important bloggers/wannabe novelists--why single out Rosenstein?
May 3, 2012, 8:50 pm
Baby from Cakes says:
Bad baby, here's a clue...refer to Or's opening comment then get back to me if you are 'still' confused. The writer is actually mocking this wounded and defeated man. Think about it.
May 4, 2012, 9:40 am
Janet says:
Well I guess we've all Got to watch his fat azz swinging as he niggle-wiggles off into the sunset.
May 4, 2012, 10:36 am
Wang Chung from Chinatown says:
Go back to Africa , Black-y!!!!
May 5, 2012, 8:47 am
Joe from Brooklyn Heights says:
What would you rather have someone writing about something good that someone is trying to do or having Coffee behave like Larry Hogue - The wild man of 96 street?
May 5, 2012, 5:39 pm
bad baby from BKLYN says:
I have read Or's first comment and have come to the conclusion that Or has projected his or her own biases on Rosenstein's article. I read this as an elevevation of an Average Joe, someone who by fate or fortune is de facto marginalized and ignored by people like Or. Perhaps the reaction of some folks is so extreme because they're prefer to keep folks like Coffee invisible.
May 5, 2012, 10:17 pm
Baby from Cakes says:
Maybe you're blind or something , but this man is a niggalicious mess!
May 6, 2012, 5:07 am
Or from Yellow Hook says:
au contraire bad b.

It is not projection that "coffee" has been made into a pet by the clueless, who believe he can do no better than beg. That is called the soft racism of low expectations. I believe that "coffee" can hold a job, and get some sense of self worth. I project that the man has more potential that hanging out on the corner, and begging in a cute way, that makes the clueless feel good about themselves.

But I did enjoy your attempt at psychoanalysis.
May 6, 2012, 8:19 am
Baby from Cakes says:
The comment from Sunday at 6:06am was not posted by the 'original' Baby from Cakes. Now that is a true unabashed racist who penned that one and so are the ones by Janet (removed) and Wang Chung.

The 'hated and admired' Lawrence LaDouceur is a fixture in his Williamsburg neighborhood and is 100 times worse than Coffee. Let's see how many 'chronicles' and documentaries are created especially for him. Apparentlyly the NY Daily News scooped the writer on this disgusting creep!
May 7, 2012, 8:52 am
Baby from Cakes says:
Again, Or...your comment on Sunday at 9:19 was spot on! If Coffee can spend untold hours (in all types of inclimate weather) pandering for the 'clueless to feel good about themselves' then he is definitely able bodied enough to complete some kind of training program, get a job and lead a productive life rather than harrassing and abusing certain women who won't play into his little 'game'!
May 7, 2012, 8:59 am
Lily from Ditmas Park says:
It doesn't sound like you guys, especially baby from cakes or wang chung or janet, use the Cortelyou Rd. station. Maybe if you saw him every day and made it to work on time because of him every now and then you wouldn't be so critical. This is a great, cute little story about a neighborhood character who helped a lot of people every single day, including me. You cannot know that he was using tip money for drugs and you cannot know whether or not he really assaulted that woman, so stop making assumptions and just take the time out to appreciate someone for just making life a little easier in the mornings.
May 10, 2012, 7:26 pm
Baby from Cakes says:
Lily, you have no idea of what you're talking about! However, a part of me is actually glad a known crackhead could actually snooker so many of you. This man is another Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde...except he knows his place and is extremely careful who he targets. He plead guilty for a reason. Chew on that!
May 11, 2012, 9:26 am

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