Under Santa Fe Skies

by Susan Tungate

Downtown Subscription


The first place I lived in Santa Fe is about four blocks from Downtown Subscription, which is located on Garcia Street between Canyon Road and Acequia Madre. At that time, I was working for CNN, telecommuting between Santa Fe and Atlanta. On days I was feeling a bit stir crazy in Virtual Atlanta and needed a break, I walked to DTS around 10 AM, lunch time eastern standard time, for my double cappuccino and a seat in the sun positioned for people watching.

This photo taken on a cold and cloudy February morning fails to give you the true picture of the place. The front patio is normally crowed with people and dogs. It is one of those places that every morning a cadre of the same old men and a smattering of women of a certain age gather to read the NYT, listen to the men pontificate and drink coffee. It is the default place  to meet a friend for coffee.

DTS is one of the few places remaining in Santa Fe where you can purchase a magazine other than Oprah’s “O.”  You can also buy a burrito or pastry along with your coffee or tea.

And you might spot a famous person. Sam Sheppard with his spiked grey hair is a regular. If he sits alone, it is by his choice.

At one point in time Gene Hackman sat in the corner working with his co-writer on their novel. Ali McGraw is a regular. Randy Travis use to be, in better days. Renee Zellweger frequented DTS when she was in Santa Fe shooting a movie.  One Sunday she plopped down next to me on said patio and chatted away.

At any given time, though, half the patrons are writers who hope to be famous. People line the walls with serious expressions on their faces, sipping coffee and typing their novels or memoirs.

I still stop by on Sundays for the NYT. Every once in awhile I take a seat on the front patio with Georgia the Dog. One recent Sunday one of the older guys, who actually lived next door to me all those years ago, took a seat next to mine. He announced he was newly engaged to a woman twenty years his junior. But he had a question: “Do you think I could snag a woman who is forty years younger? I have been thinking I might like to have a second round of kids. I think I would be a better dad now.” I smiled and said, “Oh, that’s right! You own a company that builds windmill farms!”


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