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NYC Starbucks: 99th & Broadway

29 Dec

99th and Broadway Starbucks

The Starbucks on 99th and Broadway is the most recent addition to the Upper West Side and possibly Manhattan altogether. I only discovered this location last week and after paying it a quick visit I found it the Starbucks is only a few weeks young. And now I’m back to stay awhile and soak it in before the year is up and over.

Speaking of soaking… it’s presently pouring here in New York. Luckily, I was able to dive into this Starbucks just before it really started coming down. And I’m not the only one seeking shelter and a warm beverage until the rain lets up. Although I wouldn’t say this Starbucks is all too crowded, it is relatively small and fills up kind of fast. There’s just three barstools and one communal table to share with no public restroom — which is probably why the crowd doesn’t linger all too long. Thankfully, this location was beautifully designed with all of Starbucks latest and greatest decor such as in-wall refrigeration units and wood paneling throughout. So even if your visit is a short one, it can still be a pleasant one.

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NYC Starbucks: 125th & Lenox

25 Dec

125th and Lenox Starbucks

I thought long and hard on which New York City Starbucks I would visit on Christmas Day. In the end, I decided no Starbucks is more fitting than the one in Harlem on the corner of 125th & Lenox Ave — aka Malcolm X Blvd.

This Starbucks is unlike any others in Manhattan. This is one of the five Starbucks Community Stores that exist worldwide. This means a portion of this store’s profits gets sent directly to a non-profit organization within the community that focuses on improving it. This particular Starbucks partners with an organization called the Abyssinian Development Corporation. A plaque inside the Starbucks explains the relationship:

“Welcome to Your Starbucks

We can only succeed as a store when we succeed as a community. We are together in this — and so we are proud to share the profits of this Starbucks store directly with Abyssinian Development Corporation to support its work with the children and families of Harlem. To achieve its mission, Abyssinian Development Corporation provides economic revitalization, housing, social services, eduction and civic engagement in Harlem and beyond.

A new store model and a new way to support our community.”

Now, I’m not a corporate social responsibility expert, but I think that’s pretty darn amazing. Not only is it doing good, but it’s doing good at a local level. The more the neighborhood drinks Starbucks, the more it benefits. It’s kind of genius. And very much a representation of what the holiday season and Christmas is supposed to be all about.

Merry Christmas!

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NYC Starbucks: 27th & 8th (FIT)

5 Dec

27th and 8th FIT Starbucks

As of right now, I can officially say that I have observed the major universities in New York City through the lens of the Starbucks that  serve them. 

Way back in March I visited the Starbucks that serves New York University — where I’m currently attending grad school. Last month I made it all the up to Columbia University and down south to Pace University. And just today I paid a visit to the Starbucks inside of the Fashion Institute of Technology — aka FIT.

Like with NYU and Pace, this is a licensed store that is owned by a company other than Starbucks. In this case, it’s owned by Aramark — which seems to be the number one food supplier to college campuses. Even the Florida State University Starbucks was Aramark. But unlike NYU’s Aramark Starbucks, this one resembles Pace more in the fact that you really must be a student to gain access. In other words, both the FIT and Pace Starbucks are located inside the university cafeterias which are both within campus security. Obviously, this isn’t TSA or anything, but they may give you a hard time if you try to get into the campus simply to get a coffee.

Luckily I’m persuasive.

A big difference between this Starbucks and the one at Pace is that this store actually has its own distinctive walls and bar stools. It even offers several power outlets for students to plug in, work, and pretend they aren’t in a college cafeteria.

When all is said and done — of all the NYC university Starbucks — my favorite must be NYU’s. Am I biased? Maybe. But it also is the largest, the biggest, and is open to the public. 

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NYC Starbucks: 34th & 8th

3 Dec

34th and 8th Starbucks

 

Just a stone’s throw away from Macy’s Herald Square — in the thick of Penn Station traffic — is a the small Starbucks at the base of the towering skyscraper of 1 Penn Plaza. It’s semi-removed from the street and a few yards from the exterior plaza on the corner of 8th avenue. Technically, this Starbucks is neither on 7th or 8th ave, but I eye-balled it closer to 8th.

Although this Starbucks looks like it has the potential to be quite sizable from the outside — with its long window paneled exterior — it’s really just a trick of the eye. This Starbucks is another small shallow shotgun style store. There’s a few stools lining the glass walls and an entrance into the office space of 1 Penn Plaza, but that’s nearly it. No restroom, no distinct seating area, and no need to hang around for longer than you need to.

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NYC Starbucks: 34th & Broadway (Macy’s 5th Floor)

1 Dec

34th and Broadway Starbucks Macy's 5th Floor

After visiting Macy’s 6th floor Starbucks, I simply had to take one escalator down to the 5th floor woman’s department to find the next one. And I have to admit, these two Starbucks are strikingly similar. They are the same exact size. Neither offers seating. And they are both located up against a wall that separates one department from another. The only perceivable difference is that this 5th floor Starbucks is surrounded by woman’s clothing and not bedding.

I simply ordered my double shot of espresso, took in the scene and continued on my way. There are grander Starbucks inside this Macy’s to visit. I know that for a fact.

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NYC Starbucks: 34th & Broadway (Macy’s 6th Floor)

1 Dec

34th and Broadway Starbucks Macy's 6th Floor

Macy’s. A joy to some. A burden to others.

The Macy’s at Herald Square is a lot of things. It’s currently the world’s largest department store. It is the company’s flagship store. It is a New York landmark and central part of a national Thanksgiving tradition.

It’s also one of the first buildings I entered when I first visited New York. What can I say? I was simply drawn to it. I mean — come on — with 10 complete levels of shopping, it’s any gay man’s dream store. The massive department store was actually located directly across from the hotel that my friends and I were staying at, and it caused many directional conundrums. Everywhere I went in the area of Herald Square I saw Macy’s. I’d think I was close to my hotel, when really I was 2-blocks away.

But Macy’s can also be a total stressor — especially around the holidays. When you’re trying to find that special something for that certain someone, and thousands of others are in the same department store doing the same, it can be a complete nightmare. Take this morning for instance — I arrived at Macy’s around 9:40am and realized the store doesn’t open until 10am today. However, there was already a sizable crowd waiting at each and every entrance. And it just kept on growing. Once the doors opened, everyone plunged in and scattered for the good sales or to see Santa on the 8th floor. I — however — just laid back, took it all in and casually strolled to the first of four Starbucks I plan on visiting today.

Yes. There are four Starbucks in this Macy’s alone: one on the 1st floor balcony and one on the 3rd, 5th and 6th floor. In fact, there are more here than in Grand Central, Penn Station or any other New York building. And why not? WIth all that stressful shopping, people need a pick-me-up – or two, or four.

In order to efficiently visit all of the Macy’s Starbucks, I decided to start from the top down and made my way to the 6th floor location. Something worth noting is that after the 5th or so floor the escalators in Macy’s turn from metal to wood. You can see the wooden escalator pictured above. I’ve never seen anything like it. Anyway… on to the Starbucks.

The 6th floor Starbucks is located in the bedding department. There are no seats or separating walls for the Starbucks. It is simply tucked into one of the walls. When I arrived there was no line — but I can tell you from experience, that even though this Starbucks is the highest in Macy’s it can still generate quite the crowd. So I simply ordered my eggnog latte, paused a moment to fully take it in and then moved on. I’ve got more ground to cover!

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NYC Starbucks: 57th & 8th SEC

22 Nov

57th and 8th SEC Starbucks

One day last month I was walking down 8th Avenue from Columbus Circle — probably thinking about how cold it was getting outside or pondering what I was going to be for Halloween — when I passed by an blatantly brand new Starbucks on 57th & 8th. Not another one! was my first thought. My second being: OMG, look how small it is!

Obviously, I’m the last to complain about more Starbucks popping up in NYC, it’s just that at times it feels like I’ll never be able to visit them all if I can’t keep track of where and when they appear. Luckily, I stumbled by this one by chance. So I quickly made note of it and promised to come back one day. And today is that day.

The reason my second thought was on the size of this Starbucks is because it is perhaps the smallest in Manhattan. Literally I could see the Starbucks in its entirety just by casually passing by on the street. I’m torn whether the Starbucks on 42nd & 6th is a tiny bit smaller or not. Since I’m not about to break out a measuring tape, I’ll call it a tie. 

This Starbucks has no seats. No restroom. No available power outlets. But, ironically it does offer Google WiFi. When I arrived there was a young woman perched in the corner, half-sitting on a ledge, typing away on her laptop. She left. So can you guess where I’m at now? Yep — that very same ledge. Obviously, this Starbucks isn’t meant for loitering, but it just goes to show that its meager size won’t stop New Yorkers from lingering. 

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NYC Starbucks: 52nd & 6th

19 Nov

52nd and 6th Starbucks

 

The Starbucks on 52nd and 6th Avenue has alluded me for quite some time. This Starbucks’ technical address is 1290 Avenue of the Americas (aka 6th Ave), which is a large office building. The Starbucks App shows this store to be on the west side of 6th Avenue, but the address belongs on the east side. Previously, I’ve walked up and down the avenue from 49th-53rd street and come up short. Once I even asked one of the security guards at Radio City Music Hall for direction, and she guided me into the Rockefeller subway concourse, where I discovered an entirely different Starbucks altogether. And when calling the phone number listed on the app, I never got an answer.

Honestly, I was beginning to think either this Starbucks didn’t exist or it was hidden in the depths of the office building and off-limits to the general public. Then, I decided to explore a little further and found it off of 52nd street on the backside of the 1290 building. It has its own independent entrance and everything, but since it is still technically connected to the office building, it is given a 6th Avenue address. Only in NYC!

Thankfully, the Starbucks App allows you to “Improve Store Info.” Once inside, I submitted a request to change the pin location for this Starbucks. Across the street and down the road is just no good. However, I soon found that there are plenty of New Yorkers and tourists alike that have absolutely no problem finding this Starbucks. I arrived in the mid-afternoon and this location was popping — to say the least.

Still, I was able to find a seat on the long cushioned sofa near the door. This Starbucks also has a few high tops in the back corner, but that’s really where its accommodations end. I’d say its most prominent feature is the the espresso themed photography hanging on the walls.

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NYC Starbucks: Hanover & Pearl

17 Nov

Hanover and Pearl Starbucks

 

After spending a few hours in FiDi today, I began to realize what a ghost town this neighborhood becomes on a Sunday. Sure you see people walking the streets here and there, but most residents are probably tucked away in their apartments, and most businesses are closed until the business crowd comes back on Monday. The few street stragglers appeared to be walking to and from the few sports bars that are playing Sunday football. Of course I passed by each and headed to the Starbucks on Hanover and Pearl.

Today was actually the last day of Starbucks’ latest promotion: buy one, get one Holiday drinks. Although, I’m not the biggest fan of sweet espresso based drinks, I couldn’t pass this one up. Literally, I arrived 2-minutes before the promotion cut-off time, and ordered a gingerbread latte for myself and a peppermint mocha for my boyfriend.

The Starbucks itself is a small L-shaped location, with wraparound window seating and two comfy chairs against one wall. There’s no public restroom and no crowd beating down the door at 5pm on a Sunday. It’s very close to the water’s edge of Manhattan, and it’s ironically the only building on the block that is covered in construction scaffolding.

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NYC Starbucks: 168th & Broadway

15 Nov

168th and Broadway Starbucks

 

Before I even begin this post, I want it to be known that the Starbucks drink pictured above is not my typical iced coffee. Oh no! It’s something much better. My favorite seasonal drink… the Eggnog Latte.

I was pretty overweight growing up. I didn’t exercise regularly. Guzzled soda. And always asked for a second or third serving at dinner. Still… I blame my adoration of eggnog for a lot of my weight problems. In fact, I remember one distinct December evening where I had consumed nearly a half-gallon of eggnog on my own that something clicked in my mind. That night I decided my new years resolution would be to lose weight by curving my diet, and by my 17th birthday in February I had already dropped over 20 pounds. I like to say that was the year that changed my life. I ended the year nearly 60 pounds lighter, enrolled in a weightlifting class and ready to bulk up in a positive way.

So obviously, I have a love/hate relationship with eggnog. So I figure having it in my lattes every now and again is a safe enough. I also make my own damn-good christmas coffee with nutmeg, cinnamon and eggnog instead of creamer.

But enough about eggnog. Let’s talk about the Starbucks on 168th and Broadway. As of today this is the 2nd most-northern Starbucks in Manhattan. I say “as of today” because Starbucks is in the process of building a Starbucks in Inwood, which is the highest neighborhood on the island. I don’t think it’ll be open by the end of the year, but that still won’t stop me from making the journey up to see it.  This Starbucks is in the large neighborhood of Washington Heights and is conveniently located on top of the A/C and 1 train station.

Needless to say, the Broadway up here is very different than the Broadway in Midtown or even the Broadway in the Upper West Side. Everything up here is much more spread out. You actually have room to breathe — except inside the Starbucks itself. I guess I thought the Starbucks up here would be larger than those in Midtown or FiDi (since space is much cheaper) but they’re really not. This Starbucks is just as small, just as crowded and just as dirty as some of the Midtown Starbucks I’ve come across. The only difference is the patrons up here are locals and not tourists — which are much more tolerable to be around.

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