Archive | July, 2013

NYC Starbucks: 48th & 3rd

17 Jul

48th and 3rd Starbucks

New York City has been undergoing a heat wave this week. Basically, this city has been transformed into a concrete oven that heats to 97 degrees and seems to stay that way ALL day. So these Starbucks Treat Receipts couldn’t come at a better time.

The Starbucks on 48th and 3rd avenue is a tiny rectangle with a small barista bar, a row of chairs against the front window. and one long cushioned bench with tables. The neighborhood of Turtle Bay is kind of off the beaten path (unless your heading to a train), so this Starbucks seems to only attract passersby, making the tiny seating area more than enough to hold the crowd.

Despite the fact that it’s small, closes earlier than most and doesn’t appear to have any power outlets, this Starbucks is still a welcoming reprieve from this NYC heat.

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NYC Starbucks: 28th & 7th

16 Jul

28th and 7th  Starbucks

I like my coffee with cream, splenda and hold the discrimination.

Currently there is a group of 12 deaf individuals that are suing Starbucks based on the actions of some baristas here in NYC. I’ve read several articles on the topic (like this one from Huffington Post), and I wish I could say I don’t believe the allegations to be true, but honestly I do.

As someone who’s visited over 100 Starbucks in Manhattan this year alone, I’ve witnessed lots of things. Mostly it’s inappropriate patrons, but at times the baristas can be a little less than pleasant. I can’t say I’ve ever witnessed any form of discrimination, though — mostly just burnt out employees that are probably in need of a 15 minute break. But what this group of patrons is accusing those baristas of is something else. It’ll be interesting to see where this case goes.

Ok. That’s enough of that. Let’s talk about the Starbucks on 28th & 7th. This Starbucks is in Chelsea directly across from the Fashion Institute of Technology. So far I’ve witnessed no one discriminating against anyone, despite the fact that this Starbucks is crowded with patrons. But I am keeping an eye out.

This Starbucks is a split level, with an elevated seating area connected by a staircase in the front of the store. There are two seating areas (one up, one down), plenty of scattered power outlets, and one restroom. The lighting is dim and the construction outside doesn’t allow much sun to seep through the windows. Luckily this Starbucks affords enough space for the giant crowd it attracts to spread out once they get their order. One helluva line though.

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NYC Starbucks: 28th & 3rd

15 Jul

28th and 3rd Starbucks

There is something special about the Starbucks on 28th and Lexington.

I couldn’t quite put my finger on it at first, but I’ve chocked it all up to the ‘newness’ of this location. This is another of the recently added NYC Starbucks locations that are popping up in 2013. And this one is definitely the best one that I’ve seen so far.

It’s not the biggest, not the least crowded and not in the best neighborhood. But it is indeed one of the best. All in all, its design and style are what give it so much character. The interior is shaped like  perfect square with a minimally invasive barista bar and a cooler built into one of the walls. The rest is all seating — seating as varied as the colors of the rainbow. There are padded sofas, raised communal tables, tables-for-two, coffee tables (duh!) and even tables with wheelchair access. There are even two trendy looking benches built into the exterior walls of the Starbucks.

In other news, the Treat Receipt has officially returned to Starbucks as of today, and they will be offering them until August 18th. Hurray! So, I definitely don’t need another reason to follow up my morning cup of coffee with an afternoon iced beverage, but it sure does save some cash.

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NYC Starbucks: 42nd & Park (Grand Central)

12 Jul

42nd and Park Starbucks

For my 100th Starbucks visit for this blog, I wanted to go somewhere special; a significant place in this city. In the end, I decided on Grand Central Terminal.

Not only is this one of the most beautiful and well-traveled locations in Manhattan, but it’s also celebrating its 100th anniversary this year. So I decided what better spot to make my 100th Starbucks than this 100 year old masterpiece.

There are actually two Starbucks located in Grand Central. The one I’m sitting in now  is in the Biltmore Passage in the northwest corner of the station. The other is off to the east in the Lexington Passage. The reason I chose the Biltmore Starbucks for my 100th visit is because it’s completely embedded within Grand Central whereas the other has a street exit and pretty much resembles a normal Midtown Starbucks.

Of course, Grand Central contains much more than trains and Starbucks. Did you know there is actually an Apple Store in the Main Concourse? There’s also hundreds of other retail shops, coffee houses, restaurants, bakeries and novelty shops. This place is huge (grand, if you will) and although I’ve never had to catch a train out of here, I’d probably need to arrive extra early.

This Starbucks is both impressive and basic at the same time. I guess you can say it’s a product of its environment. No need for tons of seating or coffee decor in a Starbucks in a train terminal. Instead, this Starbucks has a barista bar twice the size of any other, with two areas to pay and pick up your drinks. The line never appears too long because this Starbucks is much more focused on efficiency than comfort. And it works.

With 100 Starbucks down in the midst of summer, I have hope that I can make it to all the Manhattan Starbucks before the year is up.

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NYC Starbucks: 41st & 8th (Port Authority)

10 Jul

41st and 8th Starbucks

By now I’ve visited Starbucks within banks, Starbucks in business lobbys, Starbucks in airports, and Starbucks in retail stores. And today I add one more type of Starbucks to my hitlist: a Starbucks in a bus station. Not just any station though, this Starbucks is the latest addition to the giant Port Authority Bus Terminal in Midtown between 4oth and 41st street on 8th avenue.

This Starbucks is one of the newest additions to the 200 plus locations on the island of Manhattan and wasn’t here when I started this blog over six months ago. Unfortunately, that means it wasn’t hear a few years ago when I first visited Manhattan and ran through this labyrinth of a bus terminal in search of a friend who had taken a bus into the city. If it had been here, then the terminal may have been a little more welcoming.

As it is, this Starbucks is on the main concourse level of the bus terminal and is only a couple of yards from the exit onto 8th avenue and cab service. According to a New York Times article (whose headquarters is conveniently located across the street) around 250,000 people pass through this terminal each day, and I’ll bet half stop at this Starbucks. So of course, there is no need for a doorway or wall to limit traffic; the Starbucks simply opens up into the terminal, and the distinction between cafe and bus station rests in floor tiles, music (jazz, currently) and aroma. The Starbucks does gather quite the crowd, but my hat goes off to the baristas who try to stay on top of who’s sitting here enjoying a coffee and who’s just looking to loaf.

Would I recommend this Starbucks as a “Go-To Starbucks” to catch up with a friend over coffee? No… But it certainly is convenient for tired travelers in and out of NYC.

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NYC Starbucks: Stone & Whitehall

9 Jul

Stone and Whitehall Starbucks

Today I did something I’ve been wanting to do all summer. I got on a Citi Bike and rode around the city with no particular destination in mind. No work, no gym, no particular Starbucks — just riding to see what I see. I started in the Upper East Side (or as close to the UES as Citi Bike gets, which is 59th & 2nd), then biked through Midtown-East, the East Village, cut through SoHo, Little Italy, City Hall and into the Financial District.

I ended my joy ride at Bowling Green Park and the end of Broadway. Bowling Green is actually the oldest park in NYC and was constructed in 1733. Surrounding it now is the National Museum of the American Indian, some tall office buildings, a Chipotle, and — of course — a Starbucks.

The Starbucks is on the corner of Stone Street and Whitehall Street, just south of the park that divides Broadway in two. It’s right on top of an R-train stop and not far from the 4/5 station. When I first attempted to enter, the line was literally 2-3 people out the door. As I sit in the back right now, I can see the line has once again breached the door. I see this a lot in the mornings, but this is 3pm on a Tuesday. Clearly, the park and the museum drive lots of tourist traffic.

There is a small seating area in the back of the Starbucks where I currently sit with a handful of other patrons. Some are business men, some tourists and some (like me) are just typing away on laptops. No restroom though — so sitting at this Starbucks has a time limit — or should I say bladder limit?

Overall, I’d say this a good Starbucks to get a quick pick-me-up at and then take it to the Bowling Green Park.

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NYC Starbucks: 40th & Lexington

8 Jul

40th and Lexington Starbucks

A friend-of-a-friend once described the Starbucks on 40th and Lexington as one of the worst in NYC. Ever since, I must admit, I’ve been intrigued. However, today when I stepped foot into the only Starbucks on that cross street, I couldn’t help but feel a mistake was made.

This Starbucks is definitely not one of the worst. If you want to hear about the worst, by all means, click here.

One thing I like about this Starbucks is that, not only is it large, but the barista bar is pushed to the back of the store, leaving room for a great seating area. It even has a foursome of padded, comfy chairs in a little seating nook near the entrance. It has not one, but two, large communal tables, and plenty of smaller sets that can fit three comfortably. And although it is in Midtown, it’s pushed far enough east to avoid the brunt of Midtown traffic.

All in all, it’s not one of the best Starbucks in Manhattan, but it certainly isn’t one of the worst either.

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NYC Starbucks: 57th & Lexington SWC

7 Jul

57th and Lexington SWC Starbucks

Recently, I’ve been interested in comparing Starbucks in Manhattan that are in extremely close proximity to other Starbucks (like on the same exact street corner).

Late last month, I visited a Starbucks on the northwest corner of 56th & Lexington, and now I’m sitting in a Starbucks just south of it on the same street corner.

The Starbucks on the north side of the street was tiny, triangular and could only fit a handful of patrons at once. This Starbucks doesn’t look like much from the outside, but I was surprised that it is actually fairly large. Well — not large — but deep. It’s very narrow, like a railroad apartment, and has just a tiny store front.

Also, this Starbucks gets bonus points for sharing an entranceway with a Psychic parlor. So you can get your caffeine fix and your palm read all in the same place. Or maybe go to the parlor first and they can predict what drink you’ll order.

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NYC Starbucks: 53rd & 6th NEC

6 Jul

53rd and 6th Starbucks NEC

Earlier this week I was visiting the Starbucks on the southwest corner of 53rd and 6th avenue when I discovered another Starbucks directly across the street and promised to return to do a comparative analysis.

Looks like today is that day.

The Starbucks on the northeast corner of the intersection differs greatly from its sister store. Where that one is bright, this one is dim. Where that one is small, this one is large. Where that one is cramped, this one is — slightly less cramped.

All in all, I’d say this one is “1-Cup” above the other — mostly due to a larger seating area and more fluid crowd. You still have to wait longer than normal to receive your drink then you would a regular Starbucks, but here you have more room to spread out. Both have 1 restroom, a touristy vibe, and statuary directly outside of them (thanks MoMA!).

Now if only I could find an intersection in NYC where there are 3 or 4 Starbucks on the same corner.

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NYC Starbucks: 53rd & 6th SWC

4 Jul

53rd and 6th SWC Starbucks

I’m sitting at Starbucks and starring out the window at another Starbucks across the street. Only in New York. Happy 4th of July everyone!

This Starbucks is on the south-west corner of 53rd and 6th avenue. And if I look just beyond the Venus de Milo statue (beautiful, btw) I see the other Starbucks on the north-east corner of the same cross street. It looks to be attached to the Museum of Modern Art, and I look forward to venturing over there someday soon to see how it compares to this one.

This Starbucks is not one I’d recommend for someone looking for a sit down experience at a cafe. Not only is it small (although well lit), but it’s very, very crowded. A lot of tourists are taking breaks from their NYC adventures here so the lines are long and most seats are taken. Contributing to the length of the lines are entire families, language barriers, and a barista staff that seems to move in slow-motion. I can’t really blame them, though. It’s the 4th of July, and I know how it feels to work on a day were everyone else is having a BBQ.

God bless America, and God bless Starbucks.

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