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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: 59th & 9th

6 Aug

59th and 9th Starbucks

So far the month of August has truly been a beautiful month here in New York City. The temperature has dropped just enough for midday walks through the city to be bearable , and I no longer break into a perfusive sweat after riding a Citi Bike. Luckily, I have been avoiding the subway as much as possible because I’m sure the underground tunnels are still as scorching as ever.

Today I actually walked directly across the island from 1st avenue, through Central Park, and into the Starbucks on 59th and 9th Avenue. This Starbucks is actually on the corner where 9th Ave becomes Columbus Ave and Hell’s Kitchen turns into the Upper West Side. But if I were to peg this location based on its environment, I’d say it feels much more like an UWS Starbucks. It is a few short blocks south of Lincoln Center and directly underneath Fordham University — a private, Jesuit college here in NYC.

It’s a fairly large and decently crowded Starbucks. It has plenty of seats for patrons (although no padded chairs) and lots of power outlets for those wanting to stay awhile. The walls are painted an olive green color and accented with natural wood pillars that help break up the inside and give it the impression of being even bigger than it actually is. A lot of people seem to come here to read or write, and I can see why; the large paneled windows, surrounding brownstone buildings and overlooking trees on Columbus Ave make this Starbucks’ environment a little more serene than most in the city.

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NYC Starbucks: 58th & 8th

17 Jun

58th and 8th Starbucks

The Starbucks on 58th and 8th Avenue is full of unused potential. Well… maybe not potential, but certainly a lot of unused space. There is an entire back wall that is completely empty of tables and chairs. There’s even a lonely open outlet on the wall that probably never gets used — except for maybe the desperate person needing to charge their phone that wanders in once in a while. I can picture them leaning their on the wall, as I’ve seen at so many other Starbucks before.

I think the lack of accommodations at this Starbucks is nothing more than a defensive strategy against the tourists and workforce that are assuredly beating down the door every hour of operations. I remember visiting the Columbus Circle Starbucks just north of here and feeling like I was in a mosh-pit.

Luckily I arrived here during a lull in business and was able to grab on of the few barstools that line the barista bar. The good thing about sitting in an uninviting Starbucks such as this one is that the  crowd disappears fast. I see them come in the front order their drinks or see that the only restroom is currently out-of-order then head out.

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NYC Starbucks: 57th & 8th SWC

10 May

57thand8th

The Starbucks on 57th & 8th is the emptiest location I’ve seen since beginning this blog. Yes it’s 9pm on a Friday night, but still… there are plenty of Starbucks here in Manhattan that have long lines at this very moment.

This Starbucks’ eerie emptiness is probably due to its vague placement on the NYC grid. It’s right near Columbus Circle but just south of it. It’s a few blocks from the Theatre District but several other Starbucks are much more convenient for the Broadway-goers. And it’s pushed a little too far north to attract any of the crowds from Hell’s Kitchen.

This is all bad for business — but for patrons that need a place to sit and study/read/write/etc, this Starbucks is prime caffeinated real-estate. If only it had a few more power outlets…

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NYC Starbucks: 60th & Broadway

22 Jan

60thandbroadway

The Starbucks at Columbus Circle and I have a little bit of history. In fact, you could say it was the early inspiration for this blog.

After graduating from the University of Central Florida in early December of 2011, I decided to reward myself by spending a 5-day streak in NYC with two of my best friends. At some point we ended up at Columbus Circle shortly after midnight lost and searching for a bar that seemed to be evading us. So, we dived into the Starbucks on 60th and Broadway to escape the cold, refuel, and recalculate. Already a regular Starbucks devotee, I had developed a set expectation of what I would find in each location, and the NYC Starbucks locations were dispelling it left and right. At this particular location, after waiting an excruciating amount of time for two lattes, my friend and I started talking about how the NYC Starbucks compared to the locations in Florida.

Just over a year later, I sit here in the same city that I can now call my home — at the same Starbucks that set things in motion.

If you’re unfamiliar with the Columbus Circle area, just know this — it’s busy and beautiful. At the south-west corner of Central Park, the circle has become an iconic landmark — fully equipped with picturesque statuary and shops to keep you busy. It is also a large transportation hub for both buses and subway lines.

So how does all this reflect on the Starbucks on the corner of the circle? — Not well, unfortunately.

Unlike the Starbucks on 34th and 5th that was well equipped to handle the masses, this Starbucks seems to buckle under the pressure. As I walked in this evening, I was greeted by a sea of people waiting around — either waiting to order, waiting to sit, waiting on their drinks, or waiting for the bathroom. Everyone seemed to be placed in a public purgatory — neither coming nor going. The baristas did not seem to move with any sense of urgency brought on by the waiting crowds, and the drinks seemed to be simply tossed onto the bar for the masses to figure out — causing unnecessary confusion. The man directly behind me in line actually commented outloud: “This Starbucks is the worst one.”

Well — I can’t say it’s the worst. After all, I still have 189 to go! But it’s definitely not one you’ll get in-and-out of quickly nor is it suitable for an easy sit-down. Maybe it’s the Starbucks sent to teach New Yorkers patience?

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