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NYC Starbucks: 43rd & 6th

26 Mar

43rdand6th

If you had to choose between a Starbucks that offered WiFi or a Starbucks that offered a restroom, which would you choose?

What if you didn’t have a choice, and the Starbucks you were in had neither? That was my predicament at the Starbucks on 43rd and 6th. I wanted to stay — I really did — but there wasn’t anything to keep me there. I will say that in this Starbucks’ defense, it appeared the WiFi issues were only temporary, but neither my phone nor my laptop could gain access. Internet and technology fail all of us from time to time, but usually that’s when I pack up my things and head to Starbucks as Plan B.

I’m definitely noticing a pattern with the Midtown locations. They are the necessity Starbucks. They have your coffee, your tea, your breakfast sandwich or lunch pack, but when it comes to comfort or commodity — they come up lacking. Of course you can’t blame Starbucks. If only opened the nice comfortable locations, then they would be swarmed with patrons. Midtown is brimming with businesses, so the necessity Starbucks are just the supply to the neighborhood’s demand.

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NYC Starbucks: Canal & Centre

17 Feb

canalandcentre

Today  I thought I would have a pleasant visit to the Starbucks in Chinatown — I was only half right. I made it there fine, but found the Starbucks to be anything but pleasant. But before I get into the gory details, let us first examine this unique neighborhood.

Chinatown contains the largest ethnic Chinese population outside of Asia. Walking through this neighborhood, one can easily imagine they are walking through a busy street in China. The billboards and storefronts are written in Mandarin, and odd looking meats and fishes hang in store front windows. This particular location is on the corner of Canal and Centre — and if you’re thinking Canal Street sounds familiar, just think counterfeit Rolex and fake Gucci. That’s right! Canal Street –once an actual canal — is now infamous for its backroom shops brimming with knockoffs of electronics and handbags. So needless to say, this neighborhood attracts a crowd that rivals Times Square.

Speaking of crowds…

This Starbucks is like a mosh pit in purgatory. I walked in and all I could see was a mass of standing people with no discernible lines – just random shuffling. Now don’t get me wrong, I’ve had my fair share of mosh pits in my younger days but I’d prefer them a part from my Starbucks visits. By examining who already had drinks in their hands,  I was able to find the beginning of the line and there I stood — swaying lightly with the crowd.

While I stood waiting in the line I was able to take in a few key facts. There are so few chairs that people are literally huddled together in groups — either waiting for a seat to open up or having given up completely and resigned to standing. There was no restroom available —  I don’t think the small space could have held the extra bodies that a public restroom would have brought anyway. And the two entrances on opposing walls kept the temperature nice and chilly — so chilly that I’m actually regretting ordering my iced beverage.

After 10 minutes of standing in place — adamant about writing this blog entry on site — I was able to score a seat lining the window. And unfortunately this tight environment isn’t conducive to any kind of reading, writing, or thinking. My only recommendation for this location is to go very early in the morning or late-late night. Perhaps the crowd will be less intense.

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NYC Starbucks: 54th & Broadway

12 Feb

54thandbroadway

I have seen this particular Starbucks at glance every now and then since it is on the same cross-street as my gym, so today I figured I’d enter for the first time before going to a spinning class (yes, I spin — don’t judge).

One of my reasons for avoiding this location for so long is that fact that it has a sarcophagus of construction poles surrounding it — an unfortunate aspect of New York City that every business or apartment seems to be burdened with from time to time. But today I decided to submerge myself in the jungle-gym like construction of nuts and bolts to see the Starbucks that lie beyond — anticipating a buried treasure of some sort.

And unfortunately I was disappointed to find no treasure. As well as no bathroom. No room to move. And no seating. Well, I take that back, there was seating, it was just very limited. After waiting in line I snagged a bar seat just as its former occupant vacated. One thing I found interesting is that there were two mini-square tables in the middle of the floor with no chairs attached to them at all — which begs the question: what’s a table without a chair?

My overall assessment is that this is a Starbucks of necessity only. Come to get your coffee then get on your way. I’m noticing this to be a trend with some of the Midtown locations.

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NYC Starbucks: 52nd & 7th

21 Jan

52ndand7th

Back in Midtown, a friend and I ducked into the Starbucks on the corner of 52nd and 7th to avoid the bone chilling wind that we had inappropriately dressed for. This area of 7th Ave brings both the theatre crowd and the business crowd at once. This particular Starbucks is weaseled into the AXA Equitable Center, and like most office building cafes, this one had very little to brag about.

After ordering a set of hot coffees to warm our rattled bones, we sat in the small seating area only to be unpleasantly surprised by two things: there is no bathroom at this location, and each time the door is pushed open by someone depraved of caffeine a torrential gust of cool wind blows through the tiny seating area. And these effects only amplify one another, since tourists and New Yorkers alike are constantly running into this Starbucks (and all Starbucks) for the sole purpose of using the restroom only to be turned away a second later, causing another brief 30 degree drop in the temperature. At one point, my hat and gloves were literally blown away due to this horrible cross-breeze effect.

However, the breeze was not what bothered me most about this location. It was the fact that it was designed with an upstairs seating lounge connected by a spiral staircase — only for it to be blocked off and used for storage (I presume). So whatever redemptive qualities that may have been lurking up there were lost.

Moral of this story:

If you work in this office building, Congrats!, you can grab yourself a Starbucks coffee at ease, but this isn’t the type of location I would recommend seeking out.

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