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NYC Starbucks: Front & Wall

12 Oct

Front and Wall Starbucks

It’s finally here. I’m officially typing this blog using Google Wifi at the new Starbucks on Front & Wall Street. At first I thought this Starbucks was having WiFi issues, then I kept searching for available networks until ‘Google Starbucks’ showed up. I connected with ease and began testing the bandwidth to see how it compared to the old AT&T WiFi. So far, I’m impressed.

According to one of the baristas, this Starbucks has only been open for about a month. It still has that new store glow. And I have a feeling this Starbucks is just reopening after suffereing damage from Hurricane Sandy. I can literally see the water of the East River from outside this Starbucks door, and I can easily imagine the flood waters putting this location out of service for quite some time.

But maybe some downtime did this Starbucks well. Now it’s back, and I’m assuming it’s never looked better. The lighting and decor is crisp. There’s silver and grey accents all around, and when combined with the metal tables and wooden floorboards it creates an interesting and modern aesthetic. It has plenty of seating and still provides enough room to keep the place from feeling cramped.

This new Starbucks certainly isn’t helping me finish this blog by the year’s end, but it is a beautiful addition to the NYC Starbucks family.

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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: 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: Liberty & Broadway

18 Sep

Liberty and Broadway Starbucks

Here’s a tip from a guy who’s visited his fair share of Starbucks: If it closes at 6pm and isn’t open on weekends, it may not be ideal for all your coffee house needs. In other words, it’s there just for the money, honey.

The Starbucks on Liberty and Broadway in the Financial District exemplifies my point exactly. Essentially it’s a one-store food-court that services the lobby of One Liberty Plaza. I’m sure the business people in the building appreciate it, but it lacks the cafe ambience that most seek.

Don’t get me wrong… there are tables and chairs. But they are those you would expect to find in a hospital cafeteria: cold, hard and metallic. But — in all honesty — this Starbucks really wasn’t meant for lounging. Nor are most buildings within the Financial District. It’s simply designed to give hardworking New Yorkers the fuel to get them through the day.

In other news, I thought I’d comment on some Starbucks related news I saw circulating both social and traditional media today: Starbucks vs. Guns.

If you’re too lazy to read the New York Times article I linked to above, the basics are as following: 44 States have an “open gun policy” that allows registered gun owners to bear arms in public places (like coffee houses). Starbucks, obviously, tries to abide by state laws, so gun-enthusiasts (is that even a thing?) have been staging “Starbucks Appreciation Days” and openly bringing guns to Starbucks locations across the nation to celebrate. Clearly, this is distracting at least emotional scarring at worst. Today Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz released a statement asking customers to leave firearms behind when they come for their lattes. And now gun-owners everywhere are angry and caffeine deprived because they can’t imagine standing in line for their coffee without feeling the weight of their beloved firearm at their side.

My opinion: Seriously?! You’re mad because you can’t wave your gun around at a Starbucks and scare people?

Why would someone need to openly reveal a gun at a coffee house? Thank God New York is one of the six states that doesn’t allow this because I can guarantee you — after what I’ve seen — there’d be some people shot in a NYC Starbucks. I’m all for human rights. But they need to make sense. If you want to go to Starbucks with a licensed gun, keep it concealed, and no body will be the wiser.

I’d love to hear some other opinions from Starbucks and/or gun enthusiasts.

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NYC Starbucks: Dey & Church

11 Sep

Dey and Church Starbucks

Today is one of those days that you feel stupid the moment you ask “What’s the date?” aloud.

Twelve years ago today, America was forever changed by the tragic and horrific terrorist attack known now as 9/11. Everybody — over the age of 15 — has their own story to tell about what they experienced that day. Living in Florida at the ripe age of 12, my story is more muted than most. I remember being in 7th grade homeroom class, when an announcement came on the overhead for all teachers to turn on the news. I remember seeing the second plane crash into the South Tower. And I remember hearing the word terrorism for the first time.

Now, living here in NYC under the shadow of the Freedom Tower, I often wonder what it was like for New Yorkers on that day. I remember being stunned at how close the Freedom Tower appeared to my former apartment in the West Village. This is a small island — full of connections — and I can’t imagine the unadulterated panic that went through every New Yorker on that day.

Ironically, what brought me down to the Financial District today was not a strong urge to commemorate the day or Starbucks blog, but a class. In all truth — and I hate to admit this — but I feel slightly uncomfortable being so close to the exact site of the attack twelve years later. However, once I got into the area and saw all those paying respect, I couldn’t help but take the time to write my thoughts. And what better place to do that than a Starbucks…

This Starbucks on the corner of Dey and Church Street is actually addressed 195 Broadway. The 29-story sky scraper that encompasses the Starbucks is pretty historic. It once served as the headquarters for the American Telephone and Telegraph and is the site of the first transatlantic phone call.

The Starbucks contains quite the crowd — which I’m sure is comprised of half businessmen, half sightseers. But the construction of the Starbucks — both interior and exterior — is very appealing, and the line moves quickly. Not to mention, it’s extremely close to most trains. And, from the spot directly outside of the Starbucks’ entrance, one can see a picturesque view of the Freedom Tower.

All in all, this Starbucks may be just average, but its location is one I will never forget.

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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: Stone & Whitehall

9 Jul

Stone and Whitehall Starbucks

Today I did something I’ve been wanting to do all summer. I got on a Citi Bike and rode around the city with no particular destination in mind. No work, no gym, no particular Starbucks — just riding to see what I see. I started in the Upper East Side (or as close to the UES as Citi Bike gets, which is 59th & 2nd), then biked through Midtown-East, the East Village, cut through SoHo, Little Italy, City Hall and into the Financial District.

I ended my joy ride at Bowling Green Park and the end of Broadway. Bowling Green is actually the oldest park in NYC and was constructed in 1733. Surrounding it now is the National Museum of the American Indian, some tall office buildings, a Chipotle, and — of course — a Starbucks.

The Starbucks is on the corner of Stone Street and Whitehall Street, just south of the park that divides Broadway in two. It’s right on top of an R-train stop and not far from the 4/5 station. When I first attempted to enter, the line was literally 2-3 people out the door. As I sit in the back right now, I can see the line has once again breached the door. I see this a lot in the mornings, but this is 3pm on a Tuesday. Clearly, the park and the museum drive lots of tourist traffic.

There is a small seating area in the back of the Starbucks where I currently sit with a handful of other patrons. Some are business men, some tourists and some (like me) are just typing away on laptops. No restroom though — so sitting at this Starbucks has a time limit — or should I say bladder limit?

Overall, I’d say this a good Starbucks to get a quick pick-me-up at and then take it to the Bowling Green Park.

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NYC Starbucks: John & Water

11 Jan

johnandwater

What can I say, the street name just called out to me.

I decided my next Starbucks would be in the Financial District — home of the 9-to-5. Although this wasn’t my first trip to the Financial District – or FiDi as some have taken to calling it — it was my first opportunity to walk around and really take it in. The biggest distinction is the narrow streets and sidewalks, which are much smaller than anywhere else in the city. Not to mention the office buildings are some of the tallest in the city, making the slender streets seem even more confining. And although I wasn’t there during the early morning rush, I could just imagine the scanty streets cramped with suits & ties trying to get to and fro.

This Starbucks is not in the heart of FiDi, but actually closer to the South Street Seaport, where some travel in and out of the city by means of ferry. When I first walked in I was under the impression that this must be one of Starbucks’s smaller locations – equipped only to get you your coffee then get you on your way. However, I was pleasantly surprised to find a stairwell leading to an entirely new level equipped with plenty of seating.

There was just one problem… I couldn’t connect to the internet. When I asked one of the baristas, he explained that they don’t have the AT&T WiFi and that this is common for most locations in the area. He also told me that this location just recently reopened after being flooded with 4-ft of water from Hurricane Sandy. I’ve yet to visit any other locations in the area to test for this lack-of-WiFi, but either way the good folks at Starbucks should probably update their App and remove “Wireless Hotspot” from the list of amenities.

Overall, the decor was nice — especially the high wall with a dozen or so different clocks on it — so come with friends, office buddies, or a good book because a laptop won’t serve you much good.

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