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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: 35th & 11th (Javits Center)

20 Nov

35th and 11th Javits Center Starbucks

Today I pretended to be a professional working in the field of internet security just so I could sneak a peek at one of NYC’s most isolated Starbucks. I’m referring to the small Starbucks stand inside the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center off of 11th Avenue in Midtown. What you see pictured above is an enormous glass plated convention building right near the Lincoln Tunnel to Jersey.

I’ve been staring at that one isolated dot on the Starbucks App for quite some time — wondering exactly what was all-the-way out there on 11th avenue besides gas stations and drive-thru McDonalds. And as I approached the massive convention center on my Citi Bike, it seemed weird that I’d never spotted this building before. Albeit it is in Hellsea — the neighborhood of traffic jams and construction — but it’s also right up against the West Side Highway in an area I’ve biked up and down countless times. How’d I miss the giant glass building?

Once I parked my Citi Bike at the corner of 34th and 11th — very convenient, btw — I followed someone with a conference badge that looked like he knew where he was going. Once inside I was surrounded by hundreds of ISC East convention-goers. I had done some research of the conference and found out that it was all about internet security and cutting-edge programs to keep businesses and programs safe. So, not exactly my cup of tea, and clearly I did not take the steps to register to attend. So I walked around and tried to look like I belonged. First I stumbled upon a small food stand that was serving coffee out of white Starbucks cups as well as some sandwiches and pastries. An amateur may have been fooled by this, but I knew this was no corporate or licensed Starbucks, just as I knew I there was one in the building somewhere, and I was going to find it.

So I continued to wonder until a security guard asked me for my conference badge. I played dumb and asked her where the Starbucks was, but she didn’t know. Finally I found two gentleman with authentic Starbucks drinks in their hands and they informed me the Starbucks was on the other side of the building. So I cut around the registration line, bypassed more security guards, breezed by several construction teams — the convention center is apparently under renovations — until I finally spotted the Starbucks branded coffee stand in a mostly deserted area of the building. There was no line — even though stanchions were set up — and the baristas were eager to take my order. I then found a small cafeteria/seating area one floor down from the Starbucks and sat for a moment to enjoy my iced coffee before vacating the Javits Center entirely.

Obviously, this is not the kind of Starbucks that any normal tourist or NYC resident will be interested in visiting. It’s far too isolated from the rest of Manhattan and not easily accessible to anyone not going to a convention of some sort. Still, it is a licensed Starbucks and I had to see it for myself.

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NYC Starbucks: 52nd & 6th

19 Nov

52nd and 6th Starbucks

 

The Starbucks on 52nd and 6th Avenue has alluded me for quite some time. This Starbucks’ technical address is 1290 Avenue of the Americas (aka 6th Ave), which is a large office building. The Starbucks App shows this store to be on the west side of 6th Avenue, but the address belongs on the east side. Previously, I’ve walked up and down the avenue from 49th-53rd street and come up short. Once I even asked one of the security guards at Radio City Music Hall for direction, and she guided me into the Rockefeller subway concourse, where I discovered an entirely different Starbucks altogether. And when calling the phone number listed on the app, I never got an answer.

Honestly, I was beginning to think either this Starbucks didn’t exist or it was hidden in the depths of the office building and off-limits to the general public. Then, I decided to explore a little further and found it off of 52nd street on the backside of the 1290 building. It has its own independent entrance and everything, but since it is still technically connected to the office building, it is given a 6th Avenue address. Only in NYC!

Thankfully, the Starbucks App allows you to “Improve Store Info.” Once inside, I submitted a request to change the pin location for this Starbucks. Across the street and down the road is just no good. However, I soon found that there are plenty of New Yorkers and tourists alike that have absolutely no problem finding this Starbucks. I arrived in the mid-afternoon and this location was popping — to say the least.

Still, I was able to find a seat on the long cushioned sofa near the door. This Starbucks also has a few high tops in the back corner, but that’s really where its accommodations end. I’d say its most prominent feature is the the espresso themed photography hanging on the walls.

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NYC Starbucks: 43rd & 3rd

16 Nov

43rd and 3rd Starbucks

Yesterday I visited a small and cramped Starbucks in a neighborhood full of spacious apartments, and today I’m at a considerably sized Starbucks in a neighborhood of unbelievably small apartments. What a conundrum! I guess that just goes to show you can’t depend on the neighborhood stereotypes for everything.

The Starbucks on 43rd and 3rd really did surprise me with its grand size and moderate crowd. From what I’ve discovered, the handful of big Midtown Starbucks are strategically placed to impress travels and tourists — Times Square, Herald Square, etc… But this Starbucks is just hidden enough for the patrons to be residential and still be located near Grand Central Terminal.

If I lived in the neighborhood this would definitely be my “Go-To Starbucks.” In fact, anyone living in Midtown will probably have more office space here than in their own apartments.

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NYC Starbucks: 42nd & 3rd

11 Nov

42nd and 3rd Starbucks

One of the inevitable pangs of living in New York is being stuck in a Starbucks restroom line with a homeless person inside. You can literally be waiting 15-20 minutes while someone bathes, changes clothes, shoots up drugs, talks to themselves… you name it. I feel I’ve been pretty fortunate in my journeys at having avoided this situation; however, today I was not so lucky. I knew I’d be waiting a while in line at the Starbucks on 42nd and 3rd when I heard the toilette flush every 20 or 30 seconds for two-minutes straight. Five minutes later, I was still waiting. Clearly, I wasn’t surprised when the homeless man staggered out. I simply held my nose and dived in after him.

Other than my restroom wait — which can happen at an Starbucks in the city — I found the 42nd & 3rd Starbucks to be welcoming enough. It has plenty of space. It’s well lit. And I caught the line in a lull and barely had to wait. Most of the seating was taken, but it’s not because the crowd was abnormally large. It just seems that there is not enough seating to fill this spacious Starbucks. 10-20 more seats could easily be strategically placed throughout. But then maybe they’d have to put in a second restroom.

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NYC Starbucks: 53rd & Madison

10 Nov

53rd and Madison Starbucks

I was not expecting to be impressed at all by the Starbucks on the corner of 53rd and Madison Avenue. It’s the Midtown reputation that’s to blame. But as I neared this store I spotted its two windows and felt a glimpse of hope.

This Starbucks has window displays similar to those you would find at Bloomingdales and Macy’s (pictured above). No, they’re not as elaborate, but they’re still pretty cool to look at. Hell, you can even sit in them if all the other seating is taken. Also pictured above is the wall art that runs the length of the longest wall in the store. Randomly placed green coffee mugs and saucers are attached to the wood paneling. Underneath them are several padded benches made up of an off-white faux leather.

In all honesty, this Starbucks would have received a 5-Cup rating if it weren’t so small. The crowd was not too large, but confined in the narrow space it seemed way too cramped at times. Other than that, this Starbucks really is excellent. Cozy even.

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NYC Starbucks: 49th & 7th

8 Nov

49th and 7th Starbucks

Fall simply does not last long enough here in NYC. It’s only early November and already we’re in the 30s with the threat of snow next week. Obviously that’s the latent Floridian in me talking, but still… Brrr!

I’m currently concealed from the cold drinking my tall hot coffee at the Starbucks on 49th and 7th. Although, it’s technically north of Time Square, it’s still surrounded by the bright lights and hype of the area. The crowd is just as touristy here as it is on 42nd street, and the lines are no shorter. In fact, at the moment I can’t really make out the difference between those waiting to use the single restroom and those waiting for their drinks. They all stew in a still silence.

Also notable on this trip… there seems to be a group of pirates gathering in one corner of this Starbucks. It started with one. Then two. Now I’m sitting across from three fully dressed pirates. Perhaps they make money taking pictures under the bright lights, or maybe this is just a group of guys attending a very late Halloween party.

While I still hold the belief that no Starbucks in NYC is typical, I will admit that this one cannot help resemble every other Times Square Starbucks. It’s bursting with crowds. The baristas move slow simply because they’re consistently overwhelmed. The restroom line is a mess. And 50 percent of the people using the seating — if there is any — have made no purchase.

Still, if you like high energy environments, this very well could be the Starbucks for you!

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NYC Starbucks: 45th & Broadway NWC (Marriott Marquis)

6 Nov

45th and Broadway Starbucks Marriott Marquis

I know what you’re thinking. It’s already the sixth of November, and I’ve only visited two Starbucks so far. I’ve less than 60 days left in the year — time is running out — and here I am slacking. Well, maybe I’m the only one thinking that, but I promise my commitment to the cause is stronger than ever. I just happened to have some friends from Florida visiting for the Halloween weekend, and obviously they wanted to see more of NYC than the insides of various Starbucks.

To kick things back into gear, I decided a trip to a Time Square Starbucks would do the trick. And I’ve had my eye on the Starbucks within The Marriott Marquis lobby for quite some time. Before I describe the Starbucks, let me say how grand this hotel is. No — it’s not grand as in pretentiously opulent — it’s just impressive. The location. The glass elevators. The views from the hotel rooms. The accommodations. The crowds. Everything. It’s very high energy and things don’t really calm down in the lobby until after 4am — don’t ask me how I know that. I will also add that a friend once got their luggage stolen from the lobby when they were checking in. So be careful.

As for the Starbucks… It is located on the southeast side of the building. It has a street entrance on 45th street as well as a glass door leading into the Marriott’s lobby. There’s no seating inside nor is there a restroom dedicated to Starbucks. Fortunately, there is a standing bar that wraps around the glass paneled exterior. This way, visitors can stand in the warmth of the Starbucks while they gaze out the window at The Minskoff Theatre (home to The Lion King) and Junior’s (a giant NYC diner that attracts thousands of pre/post theatergoers). I recommend trying Junior’s grilled cheese!

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NYC Starbucks: 37th & Broadway

29 Oct

37th and Broadway Starbucks

Once again I find myself back in NYC after a short reprieve. I totally understand why most New Yorkers travel so much; it really pays to spend some time outside of this concrete jungle — even for just a long weekend. This time I found myself meeting my boyfriend’s family in New Orleans. You can see my previous post for the details of my Starbucks experiences in The South, but just know that the two cities operate very differently.

While in The Big Easy I was introduced to something called the café au lait. Basically it’s the French version of Starbucks’ caffè misto — which is obviously Italian. The main difference is that in New Orleans, they add chicory to the brew, which gives it a spicy and woody taste that I loved instantly.

So now I’m back in the city sipping on my misto and wishing Starbucks would experiment with chicory in their coffees. I’m also wishing for more sun and warmer weather — but then again — that’s typical of the first few days after I return from a trip elsewhere.

I decided to visit the Starbucks on 37th & Broadway as a way of diving headfirst back into the city’s momentum. Being down south too long made me leisurely, and I can’t always afford to act like that. This Starbucks was not as crowded as I expected it to be, but that may be due to the fact that it simply isn’t big enough. Or possibly because its only restroom was out-of-order.

The patrons that were inside were mostly tourists. The limited window seating that this location offers up were all occupied. And there were no visible power outlets that I could see. Fortunately it’s in a conveniently located area, and if you’re desperate to take a load off, there are plenty of metal chairs outside on this strip of Broadway. I just wouldn’t recommend it on a cold and sunless day like today.

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NYC Starbucks: 51st & Park

22 Oct

51st and Park Starbucks

Yesterday I ended my Starbucks streak for the month of October and took a break from blogging. I visited 22 Starbucks in the first 20 days of the month. So clearly, I am ahead of the curve of my 20 Starbucks a month goal. Now, the Starbucks on 51st and Park makes 23.

Specifically, this Starbucks is located between Park and Madison inside a small courtyard to an office building. Actually, that’s really all there is around here: office buildings and quick service restaurants. And a few hours after the busy men and women of New York grab their Chipotles, Just Salads and Pret A Mangers, they inevitably need a 3pm pick-me-up. Hence the Starbucks.

Although this Starbucks has a small interior and a heavy flow of nine-to-fivers, its courtyard and outdoor seating almost make up for it. There’s even a water fixture just outside its doors where pidgins — okay, just one right now — bathe.

The courtyard is very cute. But it is lacking one thing: patio umbrellas or an awning. And now it’s starting to rain. Until next time!

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