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.
In no other neighborhood in New York is space as valuable as it is in Midtown. The Starbucks I’m currently sitting at on 41st and 3rd literally looks like it was once a retail space that was cut in half. And why not? Two small stores in Midtown means double the rent and twice the chance of profits. It’s a win win. Or, at least it is for all who aren’t claustrophobic.
But then again. This area of Midtown-East that borders Murray Hill and Turtle Bay is mostly catering to the business crowd. So most patrons probably aren’t inside this Starbucks any longer than it takes to add milk to their coffee and then scram. This also means this Starbucks closes extra early. In fact, it’s closing time now.
Today you get to hear about one of my Starbucks pet-peeves that I’ve yet to discuss. It’s something so little that I really have no idea why it even bothers me at all. So before you label this with the infamous FirstWorldProblems hashtag, just know I’m aware of of the triviality of this pet-peeve. But I just can’t help it…
I hate it when they run out of regular lids and give me a frappuccino lid when I have an iced drink that doesn’t require one (pictured above). I think it’s because the drink seems less protected, and for a clumsy person like myself, the lid leads to a greater chance of spillage on my part. Or possibly I just don’t get how a cafe can run out of lids in the first place.
Okay — there you have it. I’ve said what I had to say about that.
The Starbucks on 36th and Madison has a lot going for it despite the fact that it gave me a frappuccino lid on an iced latte. Its seating area is larger than most, and better yet, it is lightly occupied with patrons. It is designed with arches instead of corners, so the seating area almost looks like a semi-circle or a curving road. Maple wood is used for throughout instead of the typical espresso tint, and there is a large lightly colored mural on the long wall opposite the door.
Ironically, when I first spotted this Starbucks on Monday it was free of exterior construction, but now the entire outside on both sides is covered by the hideous metal bars. It’s funny, because I only ever see these things pop up, but rarely notice one taken down. Perhaps the entire city will soon be covered in them.
The Starbucks on 42nd and 2nd avenue is on the border of 3 distinct Manhattan neighborhoods: Turtle Bay, Murray Hill, and Tudor City. Each of these are residential (Tudor City is actually one giant apartment complex) and seem to mostly be separated by geography and not so much attributes.
I rode to this Starbucks on a Citi Bike once the rain died down. Taking the train to 2nd avenue is always a pain, and I still believe that NYC busses are simply mythological lies. But Citi Bike is definitely a way to explore the residential neighborhoods without relying on public transportation.
One interesting thing about this Starbucks is that it is attached to a Capitol One bank. Literally, they are one in the same. The barista bar is only a few yards away from the bank tellers. When the bank closes, they simply pull down a security gate to cut the giant room in half. The decor in here is decent, and the lighting is bright and florescent (that of a bank).
Today I tried one of Starbucks’ new iced beverages: the Orange Spice Iced Coffee. It’s quite an interesting drink. They take iced coffee and shake it with orange rind and cinnamon so it comes in your cup with a frothy layer over top. Although the cinnamon is the more powerful taste (reminding me of Christmas coffee), the hints of orange definitely compliment the cool beverage. It’s not something I’d get daily, but it’s certainly a new take on coffee.
The Starbucks on 34th & Park Avenue is massive and defintely has 5-cup potential, unfortunately there are just a few factors holding it back.
One of those factors is that when standing on the street corner, you can barely tell it is there. Not only is it well removed from the street (tucked into what I believe to be an office building) but it is also completely surrounded by construction webbing. I may have passed it up completely if it weren’t for my trusty Starbucks app reassuring me that it was there. Also, when entering the location, you immediately see a blocked off staircase to what would be a really cute balcony — I think it’s a break room now.
But all that negativity aside, this really is an impressive Starbucks. There’s enough seating to warrant 2 restrooms, and there are three divided seating areas to choose from. Outlets are also strategically placed near most seats, so those doing computer work (or with a dying cell phone) can rest assured.
Oh — and I tried the Starbucks cheesecake brownie (a moment of weakness!) during my visit. Delicious!