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Archive | September, 2013

NYC Starbucks: Beekman & Park Row

29 Sep

Beekman and Park Row Starbucks

I really, really wanted to give the Starbucks on Beekman and Park Row a rating of 5. I did. It’s large. It’s well decorated. It’s in a great area of New York. And it’s very accommodating. Unfortunately, for all the good there is just as much bad. Ultimately it can be summed up to the simple fact that there are too many people in this Starbucks. Too many in line, too many smooching on the WiFi and too many trying to use the single restroom. Thankfully there’s enough seating to support the crowd.

This Starbucks is located in the small Civic Center neighborhood of Downtown Manhattan. It’s right near Pace University and directly across from City Hall Park. So inside the crowd is a good mix of studying college students and tourists looking for a pick-me-up. After all, this is a beautiful neighborhood with plenty of transportation options.

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NYC Starbucks: 41st & 3rd

28 Sep

41st and 3rd Starbucks

In no other neighborhood in New York is space as valuable as it is in Midtown. The Starbucks I’m currently sitting at on 41st and 3rd literally looks like it was once a retail space that was cut in half. And why not? Two small stores in Midtown means double the rent and twice the chance of profits. It’s a win win. Or, at least it is for all who aren’t claustrophobic.

But then again. This area of Midtown-East that borders Murray Hill and Turtle Bay is mostly catering to the business crowd. So most patrons probably aren’t inside this Starbucks any longer than it takes to add milk to their coffee and then scram. This also means this Starbucks closes extra early. In fact, it’s closing time now.

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NYC Starbucks: 90th & 1st

27 Sep

90th and 1st Starbucks

Today is one of those typical New York days where the sun skips over the island of Manhattan. Between the tall buildings and hazy skies, the city gets just enough hours of light to justify the passing of a day and then succumbs to darkness once more. And now that summer is officially over, the days are growing even shorter.

Still, on a gloomy day like today, going for a walk in the city isn’t a horrible idea. It’s not to hot nor is it cold enough to justify a jacket. So today, I put on my walking shoes and took a stroll north to the Starbucks on 90th and 1st Avenue. I had this sneaking suspicion that this Starbucks would be the perfect spot for a day of studying, and with the fall semester fully commenced, that’s just what I need.

And I wasn’t wrong.

The worst thing  you can say about the Starbucks on 90th and 1st is that it’s boring. There’s no chatty line waiting for coffee; no tourists with luggage; and no crazy people trying to give away laptops (see yesterday’s post). There’s just three baristas serving coffee and maintaining a lobby full of studious and quiet patrons. Everyone in here is keeping to themselves, and they are all occupied with newspapers, tablets, laptops or smartphones.

Starbucks such as this are certainly a luxury of a small neighborhoods like the Upper East Side’s Yorkville. And if boring is the price you pay for a comfy seat and a place to concentrate, then maybe I’ll rethink my continued boycott of boredom in my life… at least every once in a while.

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NYC Starbucks: 23rd & 3rd

26 Sep

23rd and 3rd Starbucks

Having visited well over 100 Starbucks in Manhattan this year, I’ve had my fair share of interesting experiences. NYC is an ‘interesting’ city — after all — filled with ‘interesting’ people. But what I witnessed today at the Starbucks on the corner of 23rd and 3rd Avenue, has got to be the craziest. I mean, most ‘interesting.’

An older gentlemen came into the Starbucks with one of those reusable plastic grande cups — stained and battered. Although he didn’t quite look homeless, he certainly smelled homeless. How do I know? Well, of course he sat directly across from me at the same table. In the short time I was there, I witnessed him harass the baristas — apparently attempting to give them a laptop he claimed had a virus on it — unload his bag of colored markers and half smoked cigarettes onto our table, and walk around the tiny Starbucks talking to no one in particular.

It’s my theory that NYC makes people crazy. It has a degenerative effect on people’s social skills and literally changes how people act, how they communicate, and how they go about their days. Eccentric may be a more politically correct way to describe the behavior I witness. But I think these habits get worse the longer someone lives in the city. After all, there’s so many people living on this tiny island, that crazy tends to blend in. It makes me wonder how I’ll act 5 years from now?

All that being said, I’d like it to be known that I already concluded this Starbucks was only worth 1-Cup long before Mr. Eccentricity showed up. Reason being: It is way too small, way too crowded and offers very few seats. Perhaps if it were more conveniently located or actually offered a restroom it would have received a higher score. But then again, if so, it may attract more kookie characters.

That’s all for the moment. Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to wipe off the banana smoothie that my table-mate splashed onto my laptop.

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NYC Starbucks: Liberty & Nassau

25 Sep

Liberty and Nassau Starbucks

I was standing at the corner of Liberty and Nassau looking left and right, thinking to myself, Where is the hell is this Starbucks? One thing I’ve learned about the Starbucks App is just because it says there is a Starbucks on a certain street corner, does not mean it is actually there or easy to find. Convinced this Starbucks must be hidden inside one of the lobbies of the towering skyscrapers, I looked down in frustration… which is when I spotted the familiar Starbucks siren in a narrow window no higher than my waist.

This Starbucks is practically underground when looking at it from Liberty Street; however, as you walk around the corner onto Nassau, the sidewalk slops and you can enter the building at street level.

Already impressed by its unique street corner positioning, I walked in expecting greatness and was not disappointed. No, it’s not the largest or most accommodating. But it has class. The wall mural (depicted above) is distinctive to the Financial District. The communal table has that consists of real wood two-by-fours and has that hand-crafted look. It was clean, not crowded and had a good vibe that makes my think I’d be quite productive working out of this location.

All in all, this is my favorite Starbucks in FiDi. So far…

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NYC Starbucks: 41st & Madison

23 Sep

41st and Madison Starbucks

In an effort to combat my self-absorbed style of blogging (see blog entry below), I’ve decided to make a change. Each time I visit a Starbucks — before I put any effort into writing a post of my own — I will take the time to read some recent entries from other bloggers. I will also start actively looking for some great new blogs to read — and would love some suggestions!

There’s just so much out there. I tend to get wrapped up in my own thoughts and ambitions, when really what I’m doing is depriving myself from the thing that inspires me in the first place: reading.

Time was I would go to Starbucks solely to read. I’d read up on Astrology, read fiction, or even just a study guide for the GRE. Now, I go to write about this and write about that. But if one stops reading, eventually they will run out of topics to comment on themselves.

Also I pledge to tweet more than just pictures of Starbucks! But that’s another issue all in itself.

So what can I say about the Starbucks on the corner of 41st and Madison Ave?

It’s small. It’s very crowded. People would rather stay in here, drink their coffee, and stand then take it to go. It’s design confuses the amateur patron when looking for where the line begins — which I’m sure isn’t fun for the baristas. Also, this Starbucks is almost discrete. It has the Starbucks logo in the windows but no signing on the exterior walls of the building. Perhaps it would draw even more of a crowd, which probably wouldn’t be a good thing.

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Reflection: On Blogging

22 Sep

John on Blogging

I have to admit. I haven’t really considered myself a part of the blogging community — or blogosphere — until recently. Since I started this blog on January 1st, I have been mostly concerned with getting to all these Starbucks in 365 days. I’m here to write, not to read. That’s been my mindset since the onset.

And looking at the whole picture here, this self-removed tendency of mine can be found in most aspects of my life: school, work, when meeting new people and even within the gay community. It’s time to break the chain.

Recently, a fellow blogger — thanks Kayla Krantz! — nominated me for The Liebster Award. Basically, this award is given to an up & coming blogger, from an up & coming blogger who thought their writing was worth sharing. In true chain letter format, those nominated are asked to pass the torch to 11 other worthy bloggers. Some may see this as an honor, others a hassle. Me? I see it as my opportunity to participate more in the blogging world and break the chain of self-isolation.

Below are 11 facts about me, 11 questions that I was asked to answer, the 11 blogs I’d like to nominate and the 11 questions I’d like them to answer.

liebster-award

11 Facts About Me:

1.  I’m a gay man.

2. I live in NYC.

3. I drink a lot of Starbucks (but those 3 things kind of go without saying).

4. I’m in my second year of studies at NYU’s grad program in Public Relations and Corporate Communication.

5. I received my B.S. in English Language Arts Education at the University of Central Florida in Orlando.

6. If I wasn’t studying PR, I’d be studying Astrology. I’m an Aquarius with Leo rising.

7. Now — besides this blog — I mostly write emails and press releases.

8. I really, really want a dog, like a big dog — boxer or great dane — but it would be way to inhumane to keep one in my small NYC apartment.

9. Twitter is starting to take over my life. Follow me at @harlequinboy.

10. I’m equal parts extraverted and anti-social. So basically I talk to myself sometimes.

11. The first thing I ever wrote down was a Street Fighter fan fiction when I was 6 years old. I haven’t stopped since.

A Quick Q&A:

1. Milk or semi-sweet chocolate chips?

Definitely milk chocolate.

2. What is your dream job and why?

My dream job is a little obscure. I want to be an influencer in the LGBT community. Like the anti-Perez Hilton. I want to write books, give speeches and be a positive example of the modern day gay man. Of course — this is the dream. The realist sees in my future a career working in event coordinating or marketing for an LGBT non-profit.

3. What is your favorite drink? Any drink.

Oh, that’s easy. Dunkin Donuts Iced Coffee.

In all seriousness, if it weren’t for Starbucks coffee (in all its glorious forms) I wouldn’t make it through the day.

4. Would you rather live in the city or in a more rural country setting?

My life up to this point has been a continuous journey from small town to big city. I was born in a teeny tiny town in rural Pennsylvania. Grew up in the small city of Palm Bay, Florida. Spent two years in Tallahassee, Florida — a college town that also functions as the state capitol. I lived in Orlando for three years, where I got my first taste of urban living. And I moved to the Big Apple just last year. I’m now certain that city life is meant for me, and I can’t imagine turning back to anything less than honking horns, crowded streets and towering apartment complexes.

5. Is this your first blog?

Yes. Unless you count the LiveJournal that I kept in high school.

6. What is currently your favorite song?

That would be a three-way tie between Lady Gaga’s Applause, Avicii’s Wake Me Up and Same Love by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis.

7. Best dessert you’ve ever had?

Chocolate ice cream with peanut butter swirls.

8. What is your favorite thing about your blog?

The one aspect about this blog that gives me the most pleasure is that it is forcing me to explore the nooks and crannies of Manhattan in one year. Believe it our not, but I don’t have Starbucks tunnel vision. Each time I go to a new Starbucks — even if it is in a neighborhood I’ve walked through hundreds of time — I feel like I’m discovering some new corner of the city that I otherwise wouldn’t have seen.

9. If there was a natural disaster who would be the first person you’d look for?

My boyfriend, Jeremy. He lived in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina, and I suffered through enough storms growing up in Florida, so I think we’d make a pretty good team in any kind of natural disaster.

10. Who is going to see Catching Fire in the theater when it comes out?

This guy!

11. What is your favorite store to shop at?

Target. It’s your one-stop-shop for anything you could possibly need. I worked for the company for five years, and it’s been difficult living in Manhattan without a convenient Target in my neighborhood. Bring on the City Targets!

The 11 Blogs I nominate:

Borough of Lost Boys

Muffy Runs

Synonyms for Starbucks

Coffee and Cardigans

Life, Army Wife Style

S.Martins Photography

Confessions of a Pseudo-Gaysian Suburban Dad

20b430

Style Over Stress

Trading Oranges for Apples

Central Sweat

11 Questions to Answer:

1. Coffee or tea?

2. Why did you start your blog?

3. When you’re not blogging, what are you doing?

4. LA, SF or NYC?

5. What is your favorite book? And why?

6. What is your favorite website? And why?

7. Snow angels or sand castles?

8. When you go out to a bar, what’s your drink of choice?

9. What are you going to be for Halloween?

10. Where do you want to be in 10 years?

11. How are you going to get there?

NYC Starbucks: 70th & Broadway

20 Sep

70th and Broadway Starbucks

When I first moved to NYC I would stop off at the Starbucks on 70th and Broadway early in the morning on my way to work. Even at 6am this Starbucks would have a strong line and a few people sitting here and there. And clearly, just over a year later, things haven’t changed. Except now I cross the park to get to this Starbucks.

Luckily today the summer weather is holding out and it’s a beautiful sunny day. So instead of waiting for the M66 bus — and I’m still convinced most NYC busses are fictitious — I saved myself $2.50 and took a leisurely stroll through Central Park. And in all honesty, its a brief walk from the upper east to the west and vice versa.

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NYC Starbucks: Liberty & Broadway

18 Sep

Liberty and Broadway Starbucks

Here’s a tip from a guy who’s visited his fair share of Starbucks: If it closes at 6pm and isn’t open on weekends, it may not be ideal for all your coffee house needs. In other words, it’s there just for the money, honey.

The Starbucks on Liberty and Broadway in the Financial District exemplifies my point exactly. Essentially it’s a one-store food-court that services the lobby of One Liberty Plaza. I’m sure the business people in the building appreciate it, but it lacks the cafe ambience that most seek.

Don’t get me wrong… there are tables and chairs. But they are those you would expect to find in a hospital cafeteria: cold, hard and metallic. But — in all honesty — this Starbucks really wasn’t meant for lounging. Nor are most buildings within the Financial District. It’s simply designed to give hardworking New Yorkers the fuel to get them through the day.

In other news, I thought I’d comment on some Starbucks related news I saw circulating both social and traditional media today: Starbucks vs. Guns.

If you’re too lazy to read the New York Times article I linked to above, the basics are as following: 44 States have an “open gun policy” that allows registered gun owners to bear arms in public places (like coffee houses). Starbucks, obviously, tries to abide by state laws, so gun-enthusiasts (is that even a thing?) have been staging “Starbucks Appreciation Days” and openly bringing guns to Starbucks locations across the nation to celebrate. Clearly, this is distracting at least emotional scarring at worst. Today Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz released a statement asking customers to leave firearms behind when they come for their lattes. And now gun-owners everywhere are angry and caffeine deprived because they can’t imagine standing in line for their coffee without feeling the weight of their beloved firearm at their side.

My opinion: Seriously?! You’re mad because you can’t wave your gun around at a Starbucks and scare people?

Why would someone need to openly reveal a gun at a coffee house? Thank God New York is one of the six states that doesn’t allow this because I can guarantee you — after what I’ve seen — there’d be some people shot in a NYC Starbucks. I’m all for human rights. But they need to make sense. If you want to go to Starbucks with a licensed gun, keep it concealed, and no body will be the wiser.

I’d love to hear some other opinions from Starbucks and/or gun enthusiasts.

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NYC Starbucks: 43rd & Lexington (Grand Central)

17 Sep

43rd and Lexington Starbucks

Grand Central Terminal on any day of the week is simply bursting with business men and tourists — both in and out of rush hour. They scamper through the concourse, dive in and out of shops, huddle together when lost and confused, and sometimes just zoom by you in a blur to catch their  train. And, of course, there are two Starbucks inside to further fuel the flames.

I visited the Starbucks in the Biltmore Passage for my 100th blog. Now, I’m in the northeast corner of GST at the self-contained Starbucks off of Lexington Avenue. This location may have its own interior, but unfortunately it is so small that it almost works against the Starbucks. Although there are two entrances — one on Lex and one within the terminal — the lobby is so narrow that when entering from the street it proves difficult to even get to the back of the line. And yes… there’s always a line.

Today is also the first day that I have spotted La Boulange bakery products in a NYC Starbucks. The company purchased this San Francisco based bakery earlier this year and is in the process of bringing La Boulange baked goods to all its locations. I first spotted the pink coffee sleeves and different pastries in California last month, and once I researched La Boulange, I knew it was only a matter of time before they made their way to New York. 

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