Here’s a small hint to the rating system I have been working with since this blog’s inception. If the only nice thing I can say about a NYC Starbucks is it’s in a good location, then — yea — it’s a 1-Cup Starbucks. Case in point: The Starbucks on 44th & Madison Avenue.
This Starbucks is directly across the best-kept secret Starbucks I visited last Friday. Unfortunately, last week’s Starbucks hides so well, that this one is forced to take the brunt of Midtown traffic — even though it’s much smaller and has one-fourth the seating. The coffee line wasn’t too long, but ironically there was even a line of people waiting for someone to leave the completely occupied seating area.
The only thing this Starbucks has going for it is the fact that there’s no restroom, so obviously, the patrons can’t linger forever.
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.
I wish I worked in an office building big enough to justify a Starbucks in the lobby. Instead of my caffeine addiction causing me to be late for work (occasionally), I could simply run by my the inter-office Starbucks just before. Assuredly they’d know me and probably have my drink rang up before I could even say something. At least that’s the dream. In the meantime, I’ll have to settle for my old creaky elevators and visiting other office Starbucks. Like the one at 335 Madison…
I labeled this location the Starbucks on 43rd & Madison, but from standing on that cross-street you would never know there was a Starbucks inside the towering office building at 335 Madison. You would see the one across the street and probably go there instead. I almost did just that. Then I called this Starbucks’ number (thank Starbucks app!) and found out this Starbucks is deep inside the building. Essentially, unless you work here or are actively seeking this location, you’d never find it.
At first I thought this was a disadvantage to this Starbucks. But after sitting here a while, I began to reconsider. There’s no tourists. No families. No crowds of teenagers or random homeless people. There’s just business men and a few other scattered people who come here for a calm environment. I even saw an interview take place at the table across from me.
Now I feel like I’ve been let in on a secret. This is New York City’s hidden Starbucks, and I just thought you should know.
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.
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.
Let me preface this post by saying that this Starbucks is actually between Madison and Park on 42nd Street; however, for clarity’s sake I named it after the cross-street I felt it was closer to.
This Midtown Starbucks’ absence of a bathroom finally inspired me to research New York City’s codes and laws concerning public restrooms and food service establishments. And — of course — the New York Times was there to provide me with my answer. Check out this 2012 article about NYC’s shifting policy on restroom rules in restaurants. Or if you’re lazy (it’s okay, I understand) just read below:
Restaurants with under 20 seats: NO RESTROOM REQUIRED
Restaurants with seating between 20 and 30: ONE UNISEX RESTROOM REQUIRED
Restaurants with 30 or more seats: TWO GENDER SPECIFIC RESTROOMS REQUIRED
And there you have it. It all makes sense now. Since most Starbucks probably are capable of seating between 20-30 patrons, the one-unisex restroom makes perfect sense. Whereas a Starbucks of the same size in Florida would most definitely have two gender specific restrooms — and that’s because of the differing city codes. Space is of great value here in NYC, so why waste space on one or two bathrooms when you don’t need to.
This Starbucks has only 7 seats, so despite the fact that they are in a highly trafficked and see many patrons, they are well below the city code for a restroom requirement. Keep that in mind the next time you walk into a Starbucks, small deli, or cafe. Do a quick seat count before complaining that they need to have a restroom. Maybe they do — maybe they don’t.
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.
Yes, two in one day — And if you’re judging me, so be it, because I know I’m not the only New Yorker out there who measures their days by the cups of coffee they drink. Also, I’m on a deadline!
In actuality, I simply found myself in the Starbucks located on 42nd & 6th and couldn’t resist writing and reviewing it tonight. This location is unique to me for several reasons. It is the smallest Starbucks I’ve ever entered. It has no seating. It has no restroom. And — for some reason — I can’t hold any of those things against it, because it is one of the fastest locations when it comes to service.
In all honesty, this Starbucks reminds me of my first NYC apartment in the Upper West Side. All there was to it was a small triangular living-room/kitchen combo that we were able to squeeze a futon and a table into. This Starbucks contains a barista bar and a station to fix your drinks at, and that is all. You exit where you entered, so the crowd shuffles in an acute circular motion before being thrust back into the streets.
The closest Starbucks in proximity to Bryant Park (and the B/D/F/M trains), this location receives quite the crowd. Very close-by are other landmarks such as Times Square, Rockefeller Center, and the New York Public Library. Also, here’s a piece of trivia for you: the icon of this blog is the Starbucks logo from this location, and the building in the background is the NYC headquarters to Bank of America.
I like this location because it gives no misconceptions. If this Starbucks could talk, it’d say the following: “No, you’re not sitting. No, you can’t use the restroom. Get your coffee, and go sit in the park or ice-skate or something. Oh, and have a nice day!”