Archive | August, 2013

NYC Starbucks: 39th & Park

8 Aug

39th and Park Starbucks

The perfectly placed Starbucks would be one directly on the way from your home to work in the morning. In NYC, thousands of people commute in through Grand Central Terminal each day and walk to their place of business — usually somewhere in Midtown. Therefore, the Starbucks on 39th and Park Ave is probably the go-to Starbucks to hundreds of people each day.

This Starbucks is far enough from the terminal to likely avoid being swarmed but close enough to not be out of anyone’s way. And if it is… luckily this is Midtown, so there’s bound to be another Starbucks in any other direction. It’s also conveniently surrounded by three banks: Capital One, Bank of America and Wells Fargo.

Inside, the Starbucks is L-shaped with an elevated ceiling and various hanging light fixtures. Most seats are elevated barstools facing the windows, but there is also a cushioned sofa equipped with power outlets on one interior wall.

While most Midtown Starbucks are only bearable enough to get your drink and go, this one I could actually spend some time in.

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NYC Starbucks: Walker & Broadway

7 Aug

Walker and Broadway Starbucks

Time was I would go to Starbucks and do a variety of different activities: read, write, type, talk, etc…

During my undergrad, I took an entire online course in a Starbucks sitting area. After graduating, I took up astrology and bought and read several books on the subject in my favorite cafe. I studied for my GREs there and used it as a meeting place for several social engagements.

Now, it seems I go for the sole purpose of this blog. Sometimes I’m able to squeeze in some work — or heaven forbid, read a book — but mostly I’m scoping out the place/neighborhood. If this sounds like a complaint, it’s because it is. Luckily, I still have plenty of time to change my way and go back to why I fell in love with Starbucks in the first place.

The Starbucks I’m currently occupying is just south of Canal Street in a cross-section of Chinatown and TriBeCa; although characteristically, this neighborhood (and the Starbucks within) resembles SoHo much more than TriBeCa.

On the outside, the Starbucks on Walker and Broadway is covered in construction sheeting and swarming with crowds. On this inside, it is still pretty much swarming with crowds but much more visually appealing. Although dimly lit, this Starbucks has its perks, like exposed brick walls, tons of seating, and plenty of power outlets available for power hungry New Yorkers. Thankfully, this Starbucks is quite large because there are plenty of tourists beating down the door — even though most seem to come just to use the restroom.

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NYC Starbucks: 59th & 9th

6 Aug

59th and 9th Starbucks

So far the month of August has truly been a beautiful month here in New York City. The temperature has dropped just enough for midday walks through the city to be bearable , and I no longer break into a perfusive sweat after riding a Citi Bike. Luckily, I have been avoiding the subway as much as possible because I’m sure the underground tunnels are still as scorching as ever.

Today I actually walked directly across the island from 1st avenue, through Central Park, and into the Starbucks on 59th and 9th Avenue. This Starbucks is actually on the corner where 9th Ave becomes Columbus Ave and Hell’s Kitchen turns into the Upper West Side. But if I were to peg this location based on its environment, I’d say it feels much more like an UWS Starbucks. It is a few short blocks south of Lincoln Center and directly underneath Fordham University — a private, Jesuit college here in NYC.

It’s a fairly large and decently crowded Starbucks. It has plenty of seats for patrons (although no padded chairs) and lots of power outlets for those wanting to stay awhile. The walls are painted an olive green color and accented with natural wood pillars that help break up the inside and give it the impression of being even bigger than it actually is. A lot of people seem to come here to read or write, and I can see why; the large paneled windows, surrounding brownstone buildings and overlooking trees on Columbus Ave make this Starbucks’ environment a little more serene than most in the city.

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NYC Starbucks: 76th & 2nd

5 Aug

76th and 2nd Starbucks

By now, I’ve seen my fair share of Upper East Side Starbucks. And while most tend to be a little larger and cleaner than Starbucks in other neighborhoods, the location on 76th and 2nd avenue failed to live up to my expectations. No it’s not particularly dirty, but perhaps it’s the dim shadow-casting lighting that gives off that impression.

All in all, this Starbucks can be described in three words: small, dark and old.

If you pass by on 2nd avenue, you can take in the Starbucks in its entirety in one quick glance. The decor, walls and seating are all stained dark, and the ceiling lights seem to be only turned half on. And something about this location gives me a vintage vibe. Not that intentional vintage look, but I genuinely feel like this location is straight from the 80s. Perhaps it’s the half-paneled walls and plain wooden chairs.

The crowd in here is small at this time, but then again, I doubt most Upper East Side residents are feeding their caffeine cravings this late at night. Some come and go, but the crowd inside stays light. However, the Gristedes directly across the street seems to be a happening place. I would say this would be an excellent place to come study or read a book, but you’ll just need to bare with the slightly uncomfortable seating.

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Reflection: July

1 Aug

NYC Starbucks_July


July was a doozy of a month. And by ‘doozy’ I mean hot, sweaty, sultry and drippy kind of month. At times, Manhattan felt like a concrete oven, but it wasn’t the smell of cookies that was emanating from the streets.

I visited more Starbucks this month than any other before it, rating 23 individual locations. I also surpassed 100 different Starbucks this month, and bringing my total so far to 113. One could say that July was the month of odd, oblique and randomly placed Starbucks. One thing I learned this month: they’ll squeeze a Starbucks anywhere they can in this city. I visited Starbucks inside banks, office buildings, train stations, bus stations, shopping malls and retail stores. I’m sure I’ll continue to find randomly placed Starbucks locations as my journey continues, and I’m excited to see where else a Starbucks can fit.

The end of July also signifies a personal triumph for me. As of today, I’ve been living in NYC for one complete year. On the morning of August 1st of last year, I boarded a plane to JFK with only a suitcase, a carry-on and a laptop bag. I had sold my car, my bike, all my furniture and 80 percent of my personal items; I had said goodbye to all my friends and family; and I had absolutely no idea what would be in-store for me. One year later, and I’ve made New York my home. I can barely believe that a year has already come and gone. I once heard that 1 year spent in NYC is the equivalent of 3 years spent anywhere else. And maybe that’s why time has flown by so fast; I’ve been busy!

And Starbucks is only part of that. Check out the gallery of the 23 Starbucks locations I rated in July and stay tuned to see how many I can rack up in the month of August.

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