Archive | April, 2013

NYC Starbucks: 47th & 6th

30 Apr


Since moving to New York, I’ve seen Starbucks attached to a lot of random places. Starbucks in hotels, Starbucks attached to a bank, and Starbucks attached to large office buildings. But this location is truly unique because it is attached to the official NHL store here in NYC.

Get excited hockey fans! You can now grab yourself a shot while you browse your favorite team’s novelty merchandise. When I first passed by the NHL store with the Starbucks logo in the window, I assumed it was some sort of trick – like a coffee maker behind the service counter where they’d hand out cups to those that ask. But no. Attached to this hockey retailer is a legitimate (and supposedly corporate owned) Starbucks.

This location is working with a theme of bright blues and reds and consists of metal chairs for seating. It has a long bar for window seating and a small bench with individual tables tucked into it. There’s a long hockey mural on the wall (pictured above) and a giant NHL poster on an adjacent wall. Even though I have no interest in professional hockey what-so-ever, I appreciate the uniqueness of this location. Unfortunately, the blasting AC makes these metal chairs as cold as an ice hockey arena.

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NYC Starbucks: 58th & Lexington

28 Apr


Before moving to New York City, I knew that Michael Bloomberg was the current mayor. What  I didn’t know is that before politics, Bloomberg was a hugely successful business man. Now, I’m sitting in the Starbucks on 58th and Lexington, which is directly underneath the Bloomberg Tower.

This large tower is one of the most unique in the city (see above for pictures). I had the privilege of touring the Bloomberg HQ last year and was taken aback. The company was founded when Bloomberg (the man) developed a computer system for monitoring financial data in real time. Now the business has expanded to a mass media hub. Besides being architecturally impressive, it seems like one of the most enriching places to work in the media industry.

And to top it all off, there’s a Starbucks on site. What more could you ask for?

Although this technically a Midtown location, it’s only two short blocks from the Upper East Side. Which means it’s not nearly as crowded, and you see much more people walking their dogs as they pass on the sidewalk. Although it’s an average sized location, it doesn’t seem to attract the typical weekend crowd, and the few seats that are here have a high turnover of occupants. The walls are mostly glass, so natural bright light is flooding through on this sunny Sunday afternoon.

Speaking of — what am I still doing indoors on a nice day like this?

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NYC Starbucks: 14th & 6th

25 Apr


The Starbucks on 14th & 6th straddles the West Village to the south and Chelsea to the northeast. Although these are two of my favorite neighborhoods in the city, neither this block nor this location takes on any of their admirable characteristics.

This isn’t a “bad” location by any means — it’s just crowded and condensed. Besides the fact that 14th street brings a lot of pedestrian traffic, it’s also right off of the F/M trains. Fortunately, this location is just a 10 minute walk from several great attractions, including: the Chelsea Market, Union Square, Washington Square Park, and the Meatpacking District.

One notable characteristic is that the restroom is slightly hidden. There’s no signage for it, and it’s behind a door with a keypad-handle. It opens right up to reveal a small hallway with the typical gender-neutral restroom at the other end. Unless you’re curious-by-nature or inquisitive, you may miss it entirely.

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NYC Starbucks: 47th & 5th

23 Apr


I spent the weekend in Washington DC. I think I visited three different Starbucks over the course of my trip, and I must admit I was still shocked at how large and spacious non-NYC Starbucks tend to be. They have space that goes on for days, and seating a-plenty. Not to mention two-gender specific bathrooms. But still — no city in the world can boast as many locations as good ol’ New York, New York.

Everybody that lives or has lived in NYC is aware that space is gold. Space cannot go wasted. And wasted space will only be discovered and then eaten up by something-or-other. But there are some indoor ‘spaces’ in the city that are actually meant to cater to a crowd that means to linger — and no I’m actually not talking about Starbucks.

Scattered throughout the city, exist a few “Public Seating” areas for the general public. Usually filling the bottom floors of large office buildings, these public seating areas are filled with tables and chairs and function as indoor parks, no nature or swing sets required.

This Starbucks on the corner of 47th & 5th is actually directly attached to one of these public seating areas. It has a street entrance as well as an entrance into the seating area. Therefore, one can get there coffee (or whatever) and take it just a few steps to this climate-controlled area. Large groups can meet here with ease without worrying about the limited seating of the over-crowded lounge areas that exist in most Starbucks.

The seating area alone makes this a unique and accommodating Midtown treat.

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NYC Starbucks: 43rd & Broadway

17 Apr


Today my Starbucks adventure took me back to one of the many Time Square locations.

Unfortunately, this one does not have much to brag about — in fact, it doesn’t have much at all. Literally, this Starbucks is nothing but a small room with a barista bar, milk station, and a swiveling line. No tables, no chairs, no restroom. Just coffee, tea, and baked goods. There were literally people sitting on the window sills. 

I’ll say one thing about Starbucks like this — they’re kind of a necessity. They’re not glamorous. They’re not meant for lingering. But without them, the nicer & larger Starbucks that are close by would be frequented by even more people. They’re both a blessing and a curse. 

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NYC Starbucks: Delancey & Allen

14 Apr


This weekend has been a weekend of firsts for me. Yesterday I had my first Dim Sum brunch in Chinatown, and today is my first day exploring the Lower East Side.

This neighborhood is known for its roots in immigrant families and tenement housing. In fact, there’s a Tenement Museum here that replicates the close quarters and living style of the families that traveled over through Ellis Island. The LES’s reputation for being a poor, working class neighborhood of diverse cultures is now fading away due to gentrification. In fact, the neighborhood itself is shrinking. The East Village, Alphabet City, Chinatown, and Little Italy used to all be lumped together in this neighborhood before breaking out with identities of their very own.

Here’s another trivial fact for you — the LES has only one Starbucks.

The single Starbucks on the busy corner of Delancey and Allen street — to me — shows that gentrification (dreaded by all Manhattan traditionalists!) has yet to immerse this neighborhood completely. My biggest guess for the lack of Starbucks here is the lack of transportation in the southern parts of the LES.

Fortunately this one Starbucks is much more impressive than most in Midtown. It’s large, full of seating, and lacks the cramped feeling of most here in the city. It’s also the only Starbucks in the city I’ve encountered with an extended sidewalk awning — another first!

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NYC Starbucks: Greenwich & 8th

12 Apr


Today I decided to try out Starbucks’ Clover machine on an iced coffee. In case you haven’t heard of the Clover, it’s this coffee pressing contraption that is only available at select Starbucks locations. Like a traditional coffee press, it uses heat and pressure to extract the rich flavor from roasted coffee grounds. You can request to get most coffee based drinks with the Clover, and it really enhances the taste of the bean.

My iced coffee was made with the Starbucks Kenya roast, and I have to say it beats the hell out of a regular iced coffee from Starbucks. I usually drink my grande iced coffee with 2 Splenda,but only needed one for this guy. If you haven’t tried the Clover, I highly recommend it. You can use your Starbucks app to figure out which stores offer it and which don’t.

The Starbucks on Greenwich & 8th Avenue is just as impressive as the Clover. As far as design is concerned, it’s one of the best in the city. The exterior is nothing but glass panels that round out the street corner instead of creating a sharp angle. The interior has a dark wood theme throughout and large concrete columns with wooden shelves and seating arrangements built into them. Although it’s not the biggest location, and outlet availability could be better, this Starbucks makes up for it with style alone.

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NYC Starbucks: 81st & Broadway

11 Apr


Before going into details on the Starbucks on 81st & Broadway, it’s worth mentioning that my last post, 47th & 8th, was my 50th Starbucks visited for the blog. Meaning, I’m nearly a quarter of the way done! And yes, in case you were wondering, I now think in shades of forest green and sweat coffee when I perspire.

Speaking of sweating — I ventured up to the Upper West Side this afternoon to attend a 90-minute hot yoga class. So if I don’t post for the rest of the week, it’s because  I melted. But before I get in touch with my inner yogi, I figured a trip to Starbucks would but me in the right zen-mentality.

Unfortunately this Starbucks is both crowded and dirty. I literally just watched as the girl studying next to me had to unstick her binder from the debris covered table. Gross! Now, I’m aware this is New York, and often times it’s the repugnant smells that let us know we’re still breathing, but I still like my Starbucks to be somewhat well kept.

Other than the cleanliness issue, the Starbucks shapes up fine. It’s in a good area that features a lot of shopping and dining options, and the baristas were really friendly. It can also seat a good amount of people with small tables, a long group table, and window seating as well.

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NYC Starbucks: 47th & 8th

9 Apr


I woke up this morning to a forecast of 80 degree temperature sweeping into Manhattan. It’s now 81 degrees outside, so I’ll keep this entry short and sweet.

The Starbucks on 47th & 8th is one I usually avoid because it’s always brimming with patrons and generates quite the line during rush hours. I know this because it’s only a block away from my apartment. I swear I didn’t chose my apartment based on this, but I can step out of my building and walk only 1 block in three different directions and find a Starbucks — it’s just the nature of this neighborhood.

Today this location is the emptiest I’ve seen it. And I’m guessing it’s because of this unusually beautiful weather we’re having. I came in and grabbed a seat right away. The lines are still long but people are taking their drinks into the streets, the parks, and any other place they can enjoy this heat spell before tomorrow’s forecast of rain.

And that’s exactly what I’m about to do.

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NYC Starbucks: Grand & Broadway

7 Apr


I’m back in SoHo. I came for a new pair of sunglasses and ended up with a new shirt and an iced coffee.

By my count there are at least three Starbucks in this small neighborhood. Which makes sense, since this is a shop-til-you-drop kinda neighborhood and caffeine is essential to bargain shopping. I have a love hate relationship with SoHo. I love the boutiques and the flagship stores, but tend to hate the prices and slow paced tourists that clog the street. In Orlando I used to find myself frustrated by the Sunday drivers. Well, in New York we have Sunday strollers — just as aggravating and sometimes more difficult to get around.

This Starbucks on Grand & Broadway is in the thick of SoHo traffic, and it definitely shows the moment you walk in. Just like you must wait in long lines at the fitting room or the check out counter at the Top Shop across the street, you are forced to do the same here.  When I entered both the barista and bathroom line wear 10-15 people deep. Soon after I jumped in line for my iced coffee, the barista bar backed up to the entrance.

Luckily, this Starbucks isn’t a total loss. There’s some cute photography and artwork on the walls, as well as a good amount of seating lining the wall opposite the bathroom. Although it was crowded as can be, most people were waiting in one of the two enormous lines so some empty chairs were scattered about the place.

As with SoHo itself, I’d only advise coming to this Starbucks on a weekday morning or afternoon.

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