For this episode, we will explore a format which we will return to from time to time. Instead of our usual practice of hosting a panel discussion on a particular issue, we will instead focus on one person’s story and perspective on Newark. We hope that these interviews and conversation provide a fuller view of the kind of people who inhabit and frequent Newark. It’s these people that make this city great.
Adam Bergo (who records music as Cevn) runs Black Swan Espresso on Halsey Street in Newark. In the summer of 2017, Laura Mashtaler, Adam’s mother, opened the coffeehouse and entrusted Adam with not only setting Black Swan’s high coffee standards but also with overseeing its day-to-day operations. Since that opening two years ago, Black Swan has garnered its place amongst downtown Newark’s most beloved institutions. Lines run up to the door on weekdays as Prudential workers run in to get their caffeine fix, and, on the weekends, a variety of residents of the city hold court while sipping on nitro brews and chewing on artisanal doughnuts.
Your host is one of those people who holds court on Saturdays and Sundays. You will usually find him in the corner seat along the bank directly abutting the espresso machine. The idea for this interview grew out of the many conversations between Manny and Adam at that machine. Over the two years, Manny was able to piece together these tidbits of info and create a picture of Adam, which he found fascinating.
Adam’s story represents a larger struggle faced by many young professionals in Newark: the tension between running a successful business and maintaining a unique and meaningful artistic vision. While Black Swan is a major part of Adam’s life, it is certainly not the only thing that drives him. In today’s episode, Adam will explain he reconciles both parts of this life, how he came into the coffee business, and his expectations for Halsey Street.
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“Bisogna adunque essere golpe a conoscere e’ lacci, e lione a sbigottire e’ lupi. Coloro che stanno semplicemente in sul lione, non se ne intendano.” (“Thus one should be a fox to recognize the traps, and a lion in order to scare away the wolves. Those who simply want to be the lion do not understand this.”) Nicolo Macchiavelli, Il Principe