East Side Vibes

Sundays at PRESS barely even feel like I’m at work. The weekend pace is easy going as coffee devotees, book connoisseurs, and vinyl fanatics conduct their weekly routine. Every corner of the shop starts to fill with life; sounds of shuffling through bins of vinyl, and the whistle of steam from the espresso machine, coupled with the smell of fresh ground coffee. I easily fall into the chill rhythm of the day, surrounded by everything I love about the East side of this city; strong coffee, arts and culture, and crowds that are drawn to these unpretentious hubs.

A few hours into my shift, a couple I had never seen before entered the shop. They headed eagerly towards our “Artisan’s Market” area and started browsing the *Beast York apparel collection. The gentleman quickly chose a black t-shirt with the Beast York logo in large white font across the chest. The lady he was with carefully examined her options before settling on my favourite design. It’s crafted in a similar blue and white style as the Jays uniform, and the regular “Beast York” logo is replaced with something every Torontonian can appreciate: RACOON CITY.

“Nice choice,” I smile.

“I’ve been seeing this logo all over the Danforth,” the woman remarks. “What is the story behind it?”

Then, as if on cue, a sharp breeze passes through the front door, and in enters the BEAST.

“IS SOMEONE ASKING ABOUT BEAST YORK?” He nearly shouts at us, bustling over in his high energy fashion.

The couple nods, and the anticipation thickens as he gives us a long pause — eyes super wide like he is staring into our souls.

“THE BEAST IS THE EAST.”

And with that, he exits, leaving the couple puzzled and curious. To be honest, I felt slightly bewildered as well. I knew there was way more to the story, and I was curious as to why he held so much back. It felt like the beginning of a mystery that was yet to be solved. For some reason, it felt connected to the O.H.’s that Victoria and I had been observing for the past few weeks, but maybe I was starting to read too much into things. I scratched “The Beast is the East” onto a notepad with a dull pencil. While, yes, it had a literal meaning, something told me it meant so much more.

*Beast York: The coolest clothing line the east has ever seen!