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NYC Starbucks: 55th & Madison (Sony)

6 Oct

55th and Madison Starbucks

I’ve seen my fair share of unique New York City Starbucks since starting this blog. Adding to that list — and possibly being one of the most interesting Starbucks in the city — is the Starbucks inside the Sony building on the corner of 55th & Madison in Midtown.

This Starbucks is literally inside of the Sony electronics store, blended perfectly in with the speakers and televisions. Most Starbucks within other buildings (e.g. Target and The NHL Store) are clearly separated by either half walls, glass panels or simply different tiles. But here the barista station is directly across from electronics displays and entertainment centers. Signing for the latest Sony speaker is placed directly above Starbucks’ newest blend. One wouldn’t think that coffee and electronics go so well together, but something about this co-branding just works.

The Starbucks is clearly visible from the 55th street as well, so it’s not like you need to be in the market for a new TV to swing by and grab yourself a Pumpkin Spice Latte. Also, there is an expansive indoor public seating area that connects this Starbucks to the street. Here you’ll find a public restroom (enter if you dare), tons of seats and a few other small shops and studios that enter into this lobby. Not to mention natural sun light from the glass paneled ceiling.

So for all you techie-coffee enthusiasts out there, this one is must-see when you come to New York.

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NYC Starbucks: Thames & Broadway

2 Oct

Cedar and Broadway Starbucks

What I wouldn’t give to see New York City in its early days — I’m talking 18th or 19th Century. And today my adventure took me to a Starbucks location that has been a coffee house for over 200 years.

I had the pleasure of visiting the Starbucks on the corner of Thames and Broadway in downtown Manhattan. From the exterior architecture alone, I could tell I was going to like this Starbucks. It looked anything but typical, and when I walked inside I got an eyeful of New York themed artwork, dark wood paneling and crowded tables for two. I also spotted this large peculiar box that I soon realized was an elevator for the disabled to access the barista bar, which is a few steps elevated from the seating area — thanks American with Disabilities Act!

Once I ordered my drink, I came across a large painting on the far back wall of the Starbucks (above). Depicted is what looks like a cafe during colonial times, and it was labeled Burns Coffee House: 1763. Of course, I did my research and found out that this Starbucks is in the very spot that Burns once stood. It makes me wonder how a coffee house operated in the 1700s. I doubt they had iced coffee.

So despite the fact that this Starbucks is sort of small, kind of dark, and has no public restroom, I’m giving it a 4-Cup rating because of it’s history and uniqueness.

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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: 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: 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: 111th & Broadway

15 Sep

111th and Broadway Starbucks

Today is my first day exploring the neighborhood — and Starbucks — of Morningside Heights, Manhattan.

Apparently there is debate as to which larger neighborhood Morningside Heights belongs to — either the Upper West Side or Harlem. Characteristically, I see more UWS here than Harlem — lots of strollers and dogs on lead. This neighborhood is also nicknamed Academic Acropolis, due to the fact that several university campuses  call it home, including Columbia of the Ivy League.

Before examining the Starbucks on 111th and Broadway, I even took some time to walk the long and narrow Riverside Park, which is perfect for joggers and families alike. There’s also tons and tons of benches in case you want to take a book and a sandwich and have one of those typical park bench moments.

The Starbucks itself is large and in charge. Sure, it’s crowded and filled with studying students, but there’s plenty of seats to go ’round. Unfortunately, I can’t say the same about the WiFi bandwidth. Certainly no video streaming here. There’s also no oven (random?). So, no breakfast sandwiches or toasted bagels. Sorry guys!

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NYC Starbucks: 45th & Broadway SEC

14 Sep

45th and Broadway Starbucks

Just yesterday I was pleasantly surprised by a Midtown Starbucks on 53rd & Lexington that was both welcoming and spacious. Today, I’m thrown deeper into bewilderment as I sit at a Time Square Starbucks that is neither crowded nor small.

The Starbucks on the corner of 45th and Broadway is just a few steps away from what is arguably the heaviest tourist crowd in the country, yet sitting inside you would never suspect it. Sure, the crowd ebbs and flows, but there always seems to be an available chair or two. There’s even a set of comfy chairs in the front seating area. My only theory is that this Starbucks is protected by the fact that it is on 45th and not Broadway itself. Most caffeine craving sightseers simply never hear the siren’s call.

I could spend more time theorizing over why this Starbucks is the way it is. But I’d rather just take some time to enjoy it while I sip my Chocolate Chai Tea Latte.

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NYC Starbucks: 53rd & Lexington

13 Sep

53rd and Lexington Starbucks

Rarely do I find a Midtown Starbucks that I feel comfortable enough to want to sit and stay awhile. They are either too small, too crowded, lacking seats or riddled with tourists. So when I do find one — like the Starbucks on 53rd and Lexington — I tend to pay special attention and cherish the moment.

In this particular case, I’m certainly not the only one who finds this Starbucks to be a good office away from the office. Virtually everyone sitting here has a laptop out. Some are even on what I presume to be conference calls. And of the people sitting in either of this Starbucks’ two seating areas, I’d say half are actually paying customers and half are simply in it for the Internet and office space.

It’s this type of behavior that has lead to several of the NYC Starbucks covering up their power outlets. This location’s outlets are free and plentiful — hence the crowd. It almost justifies the outlet covers, but I still feel that simple management and crowd control is a better alternative.

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NYC Starbucks: Beaver & Broad

8 Sep

Beaver and Broad Starbucks

Downtown Manhattan is an entirely different beast during the week than it is on the weekends. Yes, there are plenty of people that live in the Financial District. And yes, there are dozens of touristy landmarks down here — like Bowling Green and the Statue of Liberty. But nothing brings the crowd like the 9-5 New York workweek.

Some Starbucks in FiDi — such as the one in the New York Stock Exchange — are actually closed on weekends entirely. Most limit their hours, at the very least. The Starbucks on the corner of Broad and Beaver is in the thick of FiDi, just south of the NYSE and east of Bowling Green. It’s also a short stroll from the seaports, where one can take a ferry to some of the various islands just south of Manhattan.

The entrance to this Starbucks utilizes a revolving door, which is typical of this neighborhood and helps avoid the bottlenecking of business men (and women). Inside, this Starbucks is much more expansive than I would have thought. Unlike in Midtown (an equally crowded neighborhood), the size of the Starbucks in FiDi have been impressive. The vast lobby has a extensive wrap-around stanchions to keep it under control, and there’s still plenty of room for seats off to the side. There’s a coffee-themed wall mural on on wall and even some of the exterior windows are decorated with Starbucks themed glass.

If I was one of the few to live in Downtown Manhattan, this very well could be my Go-To Starbucks.

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NYC Starbucks: 80th & York

17 Aug

80th and York Starbucks

It’s hard to believe that summer is already coming to an end here in NYC. Labor Day is around the corner and the temp is already starting to drop back into the 60s at night. Looks like my weekends spent laying out in Central Park and walking around in a tank top and shorts will be coming to an end much sooner than I’m used to. However, until I’m absolutely forced to bundle up in snow boots and a bubble jacket, I’ll continue to leisurely explore the city on days like today.

Yesterday I spent some time exploring the Upper West Side and after taking a stroll through Central Park, I decided that today I would probe deeper into its counterpart neighborhood: the Upper East Side, specifically Yorkville. It still astonishes me how calm this neighborhood is. I walked a good mile on York Ave before arriving at the Starbucks on 80th street, and mostly I examined couples pushing kids in strollers, people walking dogs, or friends enjoying a bite to eat at some restaurant’s outdoor seating.

Even the Starbucks on 80th and York has outdoor seating!

This is obviously a thing for Yorkville Starbucks stores. The only other location I’ve visited in Yorkville was on the corner of 85th & 1st, and it surprised me with a private outdoor seating area elevated above the sidewalk. This Starbucks seating is level with the sidewalk, but detached enough to still feel roomy. So roomy, in fact, that most outdoor occupants have a tiny dog at their feet — but then again, that’s just the nature of this neighborhood. And if you can’t find a seat outside — or happen to suffer from cynophobia — there is plenty of room inside.

Honestly, this Starbucks has me smitten. I can easy imagine myself coming here to study once classes start up again in the fall. The large couch inside is actually comfy, comfy, not just padded. And with well-placed power outlets and a light crowd, I could see myself spending countless hours here. If it wasn’t so far away from public transportation, this could easily be a a 5-Cup Starbucks.

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