In a bid to get to know the people in her neighborhood, Laura Yan spends 24 hours in the Nostrand Avenue branch of Dunkin’ Donuts in New York City. As she reports at The Outline, what she discovered was that the lovely people she met and the new friends she made more than made up for sleep deprivation, stale croissants, and watery oatmeal.
Before I spent the day in Dunkin’ Donuts, I had the feeling that it would be a lonely place, a modern-day “Nitehawks” in Brooklyn. But my 24 hours there was full of delight. Instead of loneliness, I founded an unexpected community.
Weeks later, I walk past the Dunkin’ and look for familiar faces in the window. I can recognize the rotating staff, and situate them in the rhythm of shop: the morning rush, the indulgent afternoons, the evening lulls, and the late nights, when everything became a little more unusual. One afternoon, I ran into Mr. Hawkins, the accounting teacher. Another time time I saw Justin, the Guyanese vegetarian, who beamed when he saw me. “It’s good to see you!” he said, and it was wonderful to see him too.
It’s funny, how a seemingly soulless franchise started to feel like an old friend, once I spent enough time there.