Westfield train station’s kiosk revived for commuters

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Photo courtesy of Councilwoman Dawn Mackey

Westfield Train Station’s coffee kiosk

For over a century, the coffee hut located on the south side of the Westfield train station had been something that commuters looked forward to every day. It was a place to grab a hot cup of coffee and a newspaper before hopping on the train.

Since 2016, it has been closed, but when Councilwoman Dawn Mackey took office in 2018, she focused on the return of the historic train station coffee kiosk.

Mackey said, “As it was neglected and sat there and deteriorated, it wasn’t a good symbol of welcome. Commuters used to have the ability when the train is coming in to grab a hot cup of tea. It really aids the quality of life.”

The kiosk was fairly expensive to fix. “It was going to need not just exterior refresh, but it was going to need some infrastructure,” said Mackey. Running water and electricity needed to be restored before it would be fully functional and open to the public.

Despite the work that had to be done, residents were thrilled about a reopening. Westfield Mayor Shelley Brindle put surveys out to the town to see what people wanted to see in that space. Brindle didn’t put coffee as an option because she didn’t want to limit the scope. “But, lo and behold, when the results came out, overwhelmingly the number one thing people wanted to see was coffee and tea at the kiosk,” said Mackey.

The kiosk was almost ready to go in the beginning of 2020, however, the arrival of the pandemic put the brakes on the project since commuting was limited.

As of Jan. 18, the kiosk is finally back, open from 5:45 a.m. to 9:45 a.m., with a new vision this time. Joe Colangelo, the CEO of Boxcar, has partnered with Westfield businesses and modernized the purchasing process for commuters. Through a mobile app with Boxcar, customers can grab a pick-me-up each morning, without the wait.

The kiosk’s full selection currently includes freshly brewed coffee, granola bars and tea, according to TAPinto Westfield. Colangelo has been stocking the kiosk with fresh Boxwood Coffee Roasters coffee, but he has plans to expand and hopefully collaborate with other local businesses in the future. The kiosk could potentially offer a grab-and-go dinner or even be a dry cleaning pickup location for busy commuters.

This coffee kiosk is not only a way to ease the life of commuters, but it’s also a symbol of Westfield history and dedication to quality of life. “We want to preserve what makes Westfield special. It’s just this tiny, little beginning. It is a bright spot at the train station and it will become a little beacon of sunshine,” said Mackey.

This Tuesday, the council is going to hear a pitch about making the kiosk an official historic landmark in Westfield. It is also believed to be the last one of its kind in New Jersey, making its preservation even more important.

Be sure to stop by the new kiosk to grab a cup of coffee and experience this “little beacon of sunshine.