Pumpkin Spice Latte: The New Is Here!

New York, as does every great city, wakes up to life in September. How do I know that “this is the moment”? It’s certainly not the weather that helps, since it’s still warm and beautifully sunny. It’s also not the rise of the number of people, since it’s always crowded here. It’s also not the number of cultural events, since these come dime a dozen here throughout the year.

Still, I know that something is ending irrevocably when I enter Starbucks and I see the banner saying: Pumpkin Spice Latte. No Broadway premiere will ever top that harbinger of autumn. It is this ad that tells me I can forget the summer hours of laying on the beach and that something new is coming: the true New York season. It’s not that my life is necessarily changed: I do not work in fashion or entertainment, where the rhythm of one’s life is dictated by the seasons, but I can definitely tell there’s something different in the air. In the summer, New Yorkers usually go out to one of the neighboring islands, or to the Hamptons, or upstate New York, but as soon as September stars, it’s as someone has waved a magic wand: they are all back here and you can feel the creative energy. New Yorkers are still in great spirits (these will end rather soon), they still reminisce about their summer madness (“Remember how I puked at that hotel rooftop party?”) and are not as easily irritated as usual. I have no idea why, but a mere month later their faces will become tense and they will start to roll their eyes once they see someone walking too slow at the subway, blocking the way to all the folks in a rush (9 in 10 New Yorkers have no idea why they’re rushing so much).

The only thing that currently brightens the faces of the denizens of Big Apple is Halloween (that is, if they have an idea for a costume). That’s what’s keeping them alive now. They start to debate best possible costumes and start preparing them. There’s something to do, something to wait for! After Halloween, we will all get excited about the Christmas tree and the “holiday mood”, and after that it will be all downhill, brightened briefly by the craze of New Year’s Eve. You will have to cope throughout the thick jacket season somehow. What can you do? We are all awaiting something here, and the second we get it, we start to await something new altogether.

And what about the latte…? When it’s gray outside and I enter any given Starbucks, fragrant with freshly ground coffee, I somehow succumb every single year to the lure of Pumpkin Spice Latte and… my excitement with “the flavor of autumn” lasts for about 5 seconds. Before I take a third sip, I always say the same thing to myself: “Oh, God, never more!” and I throw the half-full cup into the garbage. So much for the excitement of the new. Nevertheless, I just know that, come next year, the fragrance of pumpkin and fresh coffee will once again awaken my dream of something different and better.