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NYC Starbucks: 49th & 7th

8 Nov

49th and 7th Starbucks

Fall simply does not last long enough here in NYC. It’s only early November and already we’re in the 30s with the threat of snow next week. Obviously that’s the latent Floridian in me talking, but still… Brrr!

I’m currently concealed from the cold drinking my tall hot coffee at the Starbucks on 49th and 7th. Although, it’s technically north of Time Square, it’s still surrounded by the bright lights and hype of the area. The crowd is just as touristy here as it is on 42nd street, and the lines are no shorter. In fact, at the moment I can’t really make out the difference between those waiting to use the single restroom and those waiting for their drinks. They all stew in a still silence.

Also notable on this trip… there seems to be a group of pirates gathering in one corner of this Starbucks. It started with one. Then two. Now I’m sitting across from three fully dressed pirates. Perhaps they make money taking pictures under the bright lights, or maybe this is just a group of guys attending a very late Halloween party.

While I still hold the belief that no Starbucks in NYC is typical, I will admit that this one cannot help resemble every other Times Square Starbucks. It’s bursting with crowds. The baristas move slow simply because they’re consistently overwhelmed. The restroom line is a mess. And 50 percent of the people using the seating — if there is any — have made no purchase.

Still, if you like high energy environments, this very well could be the Starbucks for you!

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NYC Starbucks: 45th & Broadway NWC (Marriott Marquis)

6 Nov

45th and Broadway Starbucks Marriott Marquis

I know what you’re thinking. It’s already the sixth of November, and I’ve only visited two Starbucks so far. I’ve less than 60 days left in the year — time is running out — and here I am slacking. Well, maybe I’m the only one thinking that, but I promise my commitment to the cause is stronger than ever. I just happened to have some friends from Florida visiting for the Halloween weekend, and obviously they wanted to see more of NYC than the insides of various Starbucks.

To kick things back into gear, I decided a trip to a Time Square Starbucks would do the trick. And I’ve had my eye on the Starbucks within The Marriott Marquis lobby for quite some time. Before I describe the Starbucks, let me say how grand this hotel is. No — it’s not grand as in pretentiously opulent — it’s just impressive. The location. The glass elevators. The views from the hotel rooms. The accommodations. The crowds. Everything. It’s very high energy and things don’t really calm down in the lobby until after 4am — don’t ask me how I know that. I will also add that a friend once got their luggage stolen from the lobby when they were checking in. So be careful.

As for the Starbucks… It is located on the southeast side of the building. It has a street entrance on 45th street as well as a glass door leading into the Marriott’s lobby. There’s no seating inside nor is there a restroom dedicated to Starbucks. Fortunately, there is a standing bar that wraps around the glass paneled exterior. This way, visitors can stand in the warmth of the Starbucks while they gaze out the window at The Minskoff Theatre (home to The Lion King) and Junior’s (a giant NYC diner that attracts thousands of pre/post theatergoers). I recommend trying Junior’s grilled cheese!

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NYC Starbucks: 37th & Broadway

29 Oct

37th and Broadway Starbucks

Once again I find myself back in NYC after a short reprieve. I totally understand why most New Yorkers travel so much; it really pays to spend some time outside of this concrete jungle — even for just a long weekend. This time I found myself meeting my boyfriend’s family in New Orleans. You can see my previous post for the details of my Starbucks experiences in The South, but just know that the two cities operate very differently.

While in The Big Easy I was introduced to something called the café au lait. Basically it’s the French version of Starbucks’ caffè misto — which is obviously Italian. The main difference is that in New Orleans, they add chicory to the brew, which gives it a spicy and woody taste that I loved instantly.

So now I’m back in the city sipping on my misto and wishing Starbucks would experiment with chicory in their coffees. I’m also wishing for more sun and warmer weather — but then again — that’s typical of the first few days after I return from a trip elsewhere.

I decided to visit the Starbucks on 37th & Broadway as a way of diving headfirst back into the city’s momentum. Being down south too long made me leisurely, and I can’t always afford to act like that. This Starbucks was not as crowded as I expected it to be, but that may be due to the fact that it simply isn’t big enough. Or possibly because its only restroom was out-of-order.

The patrons that were inside were mostly tourists. The limited window seating that this location offers up were all occupied. And there were no visible power outlets that I could see. Fortunately it’s in a conveniently located area, and if you’re desperate to take a load off, there are plenty of metal chairs outside on this strip of Broadway. I just wouldn’t recommend it on a cold and sunless day like today.

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NYC Starbucks: Fulton & Nassau

16 Oct

Fulton and Nassau Starbucks

 

Thanks to the sheer density of Starbucks in Lower Manhattan, I’m beginning to know my way around the Financial District despite its irregular street names. In fact, the other day I was downtown giving directions to my boyfriend — who’s lived in NYC for 6 years, mind you.

One thing I’ve noticed about these FiDi Starbucks, is that they range greatly in quality. Basically, they are either great or just horrible. Location doesn’t even seem to be a factor in this — especially since they’re all so close together. And my experience today only further solidifies this theory.

I’m at the Starbucks on Fulton & Nassau. This Starbucks is only 2 blocks north of the very classy, unique Starbucks at Liberty & Nassau. However, it is lacking all of the decor styling and 80 percent of the seating. The best thing I can say about this Starbucks is that it’s in a good spot and has two doors.

Also, the barista that took my order was friendlier than your typical NYC Starbucks barista, and that is something I will always appreciate.

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NYC Starbucks: Maiden & Pearl

15 Oct

Maiden and Pearl Starbucks

Today I intended to pay a visit to the Starbucks located within the New York Stock Exchange. Unfortunately, when I arrived on Wall Street, something dawned on me that I should have probably suspected long ago… they don’t just let anyone in the NYSE. Sure enough, I discovered that the entire building is fenced off and can be accessed only through security gates. So obviously, I’m going to have to think this one through and plan how I will be able to infiltrate the NYSE.

In the meantime, I took a short walk over to the Starbucks on the corner of Maiden Lane and Pearl Street. I must admit I love the combination of these street names. Together they almost sound like the title of a fairytale: The Maiden and the Pearl. I’d read it!

Sadly, this Starbucks is far from a fairytale and is more messy than magical. It’s small, crowded, and a helpless victim to the hundreds of business men and women currently suffering from that 2:30 feeling. In-fact, this Starbucks only saving grace is the unique decor — specifically the hanging wall photo pictured above. 

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NYC Starbucks: 56th & 6 1/2

9 Oct

56th and 6 1:2 Starbucks

Today I had a Starbucks first in the location on 56th street between 6th and 7th avenue: a barista and customer got in a screaming match that almost escalated into a confrontation.

I don’t want to pick a side here, but honestly, I could tell this particular set of baristas were off from the get-go. They hardly talked to me as I ordered my drink and passed it on to me without saying “Here ya go” or “Have a good day.” 

Then when a woman claimed to have handed them a 20 and received change for a 10 (figures it’d be over money), the entire store had to witness the altercation. The line was backed up. The other baristas were clearly distracted. And it was a mess all around. In the end the woman received her appropriate change, but her husband insisted on an apology, which caused the scene to escalator even further. The couple left shouting and angry. The barista was left wanting to go home…

All in all, I think it comes down to people being employed at a job they don’t like. I saw it dozens of times in the eyes of the cashiers I supervised when I worked at the Target in Brooklyn. I even had one girl walk around her cash register and put her face up to a guest in an attempt to fight her. What I saw in these baristas was the same thing: disinterest and disregard.

I can still hear them arguing in the back of the store right now…

So much for the #payitforward program Starbucks tried to initiate today. Which — btw — I tried to do but of course no body was in line with my when I walked in. Better luck tomorrow!

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NYC Starbucks: 45th & 5th

5 Oct

45th and 5th Starbucks

While waiting in line at the Midtown Starbucks on 45th and 5th Avenue, I couldn’t help recalling a conversion I had just had with a classmate this morning.

We were discussing the noticeable increase in Starbucks lines and speculating what’s causing it. She suggested that the PSL (Pumpkin Spice Latte) is to blame — the increased demand for espresso based drinks has caused people to wait longer in lines. I suggested my weird and elaborate theory of the coffee shop migration patterns of New Yorkers — clearly, still working out the details. Clearly the PSL theory is more plausible.

But standing in the stagnant line a new theory came to me: The Tourist Effect. Simply put, tourists take longer to order; therefore, neighborhoods with more NYC landmarks (Midtown, SoHo, FiDi) are apt to have longer and slower moving lines. I mean no prejudice or xenophobia, but generally tourists are less familiar with the Starbucks menu and more likely to run into a language barrier with their barista. The result: confused baristas, longer lines and frustrated New Yorkers.

The Tourist Effect was in full swing today at this Starbucks. I helplessly watched as the young woman in front of me struggled to place her order and the barista put his best ear forward. You want an iced tea with mocha sauce? That was his best guess and all I needed to know that I’d be here a while longer. But, alas, after a few more trails and errors she was able to order her drink and me mine.

Now I sit here and overhear similar situations play out every 5-10 minutes. And the line just keeps on coming. Luckily, half those who enter are deterred once they realize this Starbucks has no bathroom. And probably this fact alone protects the long teal sofa and high chairs from being overrun with squatters.

Fortunately, this Starbucks has plenty of shopping right outside its doors. You know, just in case you need some retail therapy to help you cope from the stressors of long coffee lines.

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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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NYC Starbucks: 36th & 6th

5 Sep

36th and 6th Starbucks

Today is Rosh Hashanah. It’s the Jewish New Year. It amazes me how ignorant I was to Jewish culture before moving to New York. It’s not that there weren’t Jews in Orlando, Florida, but there wasn’t such a cultural presence as there is here in NYC. I was reminded of my ignorance once again this week as Rosh Hashanah drew near and I had to ask why some people wouldn’t be into work.  Obviously, I’m still adjusting to life here in the city.

Besides being Rosh Hashanah and the week of Labor Day, it is also the first week of the fall semester at NYU. And to top it all off, I’ve come down with a cold. Luckily, Starbucks is an essential part of my “get well soon” treatment. Well… Tazo Green Tea is, at least.

So here I stand in the Garment District Starbucks on 36th and 6th Ave getting my blog on before my evening class in NYU’s Bryant Park classroom building. Why am I standing you ask? Obviously — it’s because there are no seats at this Starbucks. It’s one of those mini Starbucks that fit in so well in Midtown, Manhattan. It’s small. It’s compact. And it’s designed in a way to keep the crowd moving.

The only thing this Starbucks is missing is a revolving door.

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NYC Starbucks: 42nd & Park SEC

3 Sep

42nd and Park SEC Starbucks

It’s back — for the 10th year in a row: Starbucks’ infamous Pumpkin Spice Latte. So it’s official. Fall is here… at least according to Starbucks, it is. Honestly, in past years, I’ve never been the biggest fan of this drink, but it’s been growing on me year after year. Starbucks’ strategy of offering the PSL only during a limited time of year is pretty genius, if you ask me. Twitter is abuzz with #PSL, and half the drinks I’ve heard ordered today are that exactly.

The Starbucks that I’m sitting at — enjoying my PSL — is on the southeast corner of 42nd and Park Ave. It’s just south of Grand Central Terminal, and in one of the busiest sections of Midtown — apart from Time Square and Herald Square, that is.

Currently, I’m sitting in the window, watching as a line of 8+ people wait for a Citi Bike to become available to them so they can get home. Since that’s my ticket home as well, I figured I’ll linger here until that line disappears or I really, really need to use the restroom.

So yeah — obviously this Starbucks has no restroom available for its patrons. It’s small, with limited seating and a decent view of the hurried passersby on their way to the terminal. If you can get one of the few seats this Starbucks offers, then it’s not too terrible a place to hang out. At least it’s good for people watching, if that’s your thing.

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