Koneko - New York, New York

Koneko = Kitten (in Japanese)

If any American city would have a cat cafe, it would be The Big Apple.  We get it New York - you're so cool, you're so hip.  You have EVERYTHING - including cat cafes.  

I visited NYC for the first time in January of 2018.  My Big Apple bucket list included visiting China Town, seeing a Broadway show, eating pizza, absorbing the oh-so-progressive super culture and, of course, visiting cat cafes.  Koneko was first on the list!

Koneko is located in the Lower East Side of Manhattan in a little neighborhood.  Yes, it's a cat cafe, but it's also a coffee shop and bakery.  I had the butteriest and most delicious croissant there - mwah!  It filled the entire cafe space with the smell of butter, a scent that would have likely made Julia Child drool.  After I indulged in the croissant and some coffee, I ventured into the cat room.

Because NYC is a dirty dirty city, you're not permitted to wear your shoes in the cat cafe; however, the cat cafe provides a nice pair of complimentary slippers for you to borrow.  Koneko is a 2-story cat cafe with an outdoor patio space, but since my visit was in January, the outdoor space was closed to visitors.  The top level of Koneko is a fairly small space with one long bench that lines the walls with cat beds containing sleeping kitties.  There are toys laying around that you can play with the cats with and a nice large window that looks out to the patio space.  There were a couple secret tunnels that led to the bottom space, so cats were coming and going.  There's not much to do in this space (pictured below) other than to sit around, listen to the calming serene music and try not to fall asleep with the cats yourself.  The cat area was very clean, square and minimal - maybe because it's a Japanese-themed cat cafe?  That fengshui though...

Once you pass through the door out of this upper level, there are a set of stairs that lead to the bottom level (i.e. basement).  The lower level is a much larger space with bean bag chairs, ottomans, cat shelves and a big screen TV showcasing the bird channel.  For real - the entire time I was in the basement area, birds were chirping and flying across the screen and the cats stared intently.  I suppose this is necessary since these poor cats live in the concrete jungle known as New York City, so the bird channel is the only real exposure to "living in the wild" for them.  I'm just kidding.  It was a cute touch.

So, the next time you're in NYC, try not to get sucked into all of the cliche tourist traps, take a few steps outside of Times Square and a subway ride to the Lower East Side.  There, you will find lovely buttery smells and fluffy city cats who just want some down home lovin'.

<3 B

Koneko is located at 26 Clinton Street, New York, New York 10002.  Reservations are recommended.  https://www.konekonyc.com/


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