I’ve lived in Woodstock, New York, for over 30 years. Well, I’ve also worked and maintained a residence in New York City for most of that time.
I’m introducing a new feature of Harleys, Cars, Girls & Guitars, a sort of tour of Woodstock’s business district. Over the next year or so, I plan to display a picture or two of every building in the commercial strip, along with a history of my experiences with the businesses and people that have occupied the premises.
Joshua’s Café has been a fixture in Woodstock since 1972. It dates back to the hippie/commune glory days. The menu of Joshua’s has always been Mediterranean, with a health food emphasis. The building features broad expanses of windows that allow in plenty of sunlight.
Myrna and I ate breakfast several times at Joshua’s, usually ordering the whole wheat pancakes with strawberries. Myrna almost always found herself in a confrontational scene in restaurants in Woodstock. White hippie girls don't much like serving anybody, much less a gorgeous Filipina. One day, she ordered the pancakes and discovered after a couple of bites that the middle was still uncooked and runny.
“These aren’t cooked,” she told the waitress.
“Then why did you eat them?” the waitress responded.
The row that followed pretty much ended our patronage of Joshua’s. I don’t know who to blame. Finding decent help in hippie Woodstock is not easy… nobody wants to work. But, Joshua’s manager was no help. She only cranked up the dispute.
Years later, Myrna and I attended a music event in the upstairs room, which is called the “Java Lounge.” We brought along the 19 year old black woman, Nila, who played lead guitar in our band. I don’t even remember the name or personnel of the band we heard that night. Nila had her first beer, which Myrna purchased for her.
I was the focus of considerable gossip in Woodstock for weeks after. Showing up at a social event with a pretty 19 year old black girl and a beautiful Filipina will do that.
Fred, the drummer in Saints & Sinners, played a gig with another band in the Java Lounge. He had been promised dinner, which turned out to be a plate of Middle Eastern appetizers, along with enough forks for the band. The Java Lounge is a tiny room capable of holding, perhaps, 30 people. A band cannot possibly generate enough business to produce a payday in this room.
On weekends, when the tourists and the biker boys fill up town, Joshua’s is always packed. Their food is certainly above average and healthy. The café remains a bedrock institution of hippie Woodstock.