Wow, it’s early.
This may be the earliest I’ve visited a Starbucks for this blog. But there’s something motivating about waking up at sunrise and starting the day with coffee and writing before work. No, I don’t do this often; the real reason I’m up this early is that I have Beyonce tickets tonight and there just isn’t enough hours in the day.
For the last Starbucks in July, I’m paying a visit to the East Village. On 9th and 2nd Avenue, there is a sizable Starbucks, just north of St Marks Place. This Starbucks has what most don’t — an outdoor seating area. No, it’s not fully secluded from passersby like the Starbucks in Yorkville ,but it does have a 3-foot high metal gate separating you from the sidewalk crowd. It even has a large awning that extends from the side of the building.
Inside, this Starbucks has exposed brick pillars and walls that really give it the NYC vibe. There is plenty of seating (especially at the crack of dawn), and it’s spaced enough for it not to get too crowded.
All in all, I’m a sucker for a Starbucks with an outdoor area, but I’d have to come back to see what the crowd is like midday.
I can’t say that the East Village is one of my favorite neighborhoods in Manhattan. It’s a little to purposefully grungy for my tastes. But it is growing on my – slightly. The area around St Marks street has a lot of unique restaurants and shops to dive in and out of including Japanese style hotdogs (???) and an ice cream shop named Big Gay Ice Cream (love it!).
Today I’m sitting at the Starbucks on 3rd street and 1st avenue. As I sit here homeless and/or displaced New Yorkers hang out on the benches in front of the cafe while hipsters walk, bike and skateboard by. Earlier a saw one girl training another how to dance with a flaming hula hoop (I just can’t make this stuff up).
The Starbucks itself is small for a corner location. The lounge is L-shaped and contains only a limited amount of seating. There’s a downstairs but that’s just for the Starbucks Partners. It does have a restroom — but unfortunately for the hundreds of people that came in just for that — it was out of order. I will say that the decor is pretty on-point and the Starbucks logo painted directly on the exterior bricks really tie this location to its neighborhood.
Leave it to the East Village to put an unconventional spin on something as conventional as Starbucks.
The East Village is known throughout Manhattan for it’s artistic and avant-garde edge. Individualists and creative types flock to the East Village to live the bohemian lifestyle. In fact, I can practically feel the neighborhood’s disapproval as I write these categorizations into existence. The East Villagers — and by proxy the village itself — defies categorization. So don’t even try. Kay?
However — in all seriousness — the eclectic culture of the East Village is one of my favorite things about Manhattan. Even those that don’t want to fit in, in fact, do have a place they fit in.
So how does Starbucks — the typical corporate coffee house — blend in such an individualistic neighborhood?
As I walked in to the location on 13th and 1st, one of the first things I noticed was the lack of chairs. Instead, lining the window of their long wall is this tall-bench/short table contraption that the patrons were sitting on, legs crossed beneath them. In fact, that’s exactly what I am doing right now. And besides my paranoia that I may drop my laptop or kick over my coffee it ain’t half bad. But for those of you that like to stick to the straight and narrow — not very East Village of you, BTW — there are a couple of chairs lining the barista-bar and the the tiny window in the front.
Best served as a quick pit stop for your morning coffee, but it’ll work as a place to sit — Indian-style that is — as long as okay with your feet falling asleep.