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NYC Starbucks: 42nd & 8th

29 Nov

42nd and 8th Starbucks

After nearly seven hours of Black Friday shopping in NYC, my body feels like it just went through a trauma. My feet are swollen like a pregnant woman’s and my back is sore from carrying the baggage I inevitably picked up. Still — it was kind of worth it. And I got to visit a Starbucks along the way.

While most retail stores — and practically everywhere near Times Square — were much more crowded today than usual, I can assuredly say that the Starbucks on 42d and 8th avenue sees this kind of crowd daily. This location is connected to the Regal Cinemas and stays open later than most Starbucks in the city to keep late-night movie goers and passers- by caffeinated.

Inside, this Starbucks is average sized — maybe a little big by Midtown standards — and has a heavy crowd flow. Obviously, it houses as lot of tourists, but it also has a decently sized seating area and a few random bar stool to maintain the crowd. But its most distinctive characteristic is its elaborate decor. Even the Starbucks logo outside is louder than most, but then again, in this neighborhood, your signing needs to be over-the-top to stand out from the hundreds of other flashy and eccentric marketing ploys.

My favorite piece inside the Starbucks is a large eclectic wall mural that takes up most of the wall near the street entrance. It contains random colors, various siren sketches and different quotes about coffee, nature, mermaids and other random stuff. Most of the mural and some of the quotes are pictured above, but my favorite is as follows:

“Come into the water,” the Siren said. “Without water there would be no life. It is water that brews our coffees. Many humans are convinced you know, that there is no life before coffee.”

And — yes — clearly, I am one of those humans. Especially on Black Friday, there would be no life in me without coffee.

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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: 45th & Broadway SEC

14 Sep

45th and Broadway Starbucks

Just yesterday I was pleasantly surprised by a Midtown Starbucks on 53rd & Lexington that was both welcoming and spacious. Today, I’m thrown deeper into bewilderment as I sit at a Time Square Starbucks that is neither crowded nor small.

The Starbucks on the corner of 45th and Broadway is just a few steps away from what is arguably the heaviest tourist crowd in the country, yet sitting inside you would never suspect it. Sure, the crowd ebbs and flows, but there always seems to be an available chair or two. There’s even a set of comfy chairs in the front seating area. My only theory is that this Starbucks is protected by the fact that it is on 45th and not Broadway itself. Most caffeine craving sightseers simply never hear the siren’s call.

I could spend more time theorizing over why this Starbucks is the way it is. But I’d rather just take some time to enjoy it while I sip my Chocolate Chai Tea Latte.

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NYC Starbucks: 36th & 6th

5 Sep

36th and 6th Starbucks

Today is Rosh Hashanah. It’s the Jewish New Year. It amazes me how ignorant I was to Jewish culture before moving to New York. It’s not that there weren’t Jews in Orlando, Florida, but there wasn’t such a cultural presence as there is here in NYC. I was reminded of my ignorance once again this week as Rosh Hashanah drew near and I had to ask why some people wouldn’t be into work.  Obviously, I’m still adjusting to life here in the city.

Besides being Rosh Hashanah and the week of Labor Day, it is also the first week of the fall semester at NYU. And to top it all off, I’ve come down with a cold. Luckily, Starbucks is an essential part of my “get well soon” treatment. Well… Tazo Green Tea is, at least.

So here I stand in the Garment District Starbucks on 36th and 6th Ave getting my blog on before my evening class in NYU’s Bryant Park classroom building. Why am I standing you ask? Obviously — it’s because there are no seats at this Starbucks. It’s one of those mini Starbucks that fit in so well in Midtown, Manhattan. It’s small. It’s compact. And it’s designed in a way to keep the crowd moving.

The only thing this Starbucks is missing is a revolving door.

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NYC Starbucks: 42nd & 9th

26 Jul

42nd and 9th Starbucks

I’ve passed by the Starbucks on 42nd and 9th avenue several times, and although never entering, I knew what I would most likely rate this Starbucks months ago. That’s because its exterior wall is nothing but paneled glass. Each time I passed, I could see exactly what was going on inside.

Essentially, this Starbucks is a small space with crowded tables, a consistent crowd and little room for much else. I could even tell there was no restroom just by a passing glance. Although it’s well enough removed from Time Square to not have a giant crowd shuffling by outside, it still attracts enough of a crowd. It’s close to the Port Authority Bus Terminal and just north of the traffic nightmare known as Hellsea.

I’m not saying grabbing a seat here would be impossible. Just prepare to wait a while — or arrive early. This bad boy opens up at 6am, Monday-Friday.

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NYC Starbucks: 41st & 8th (Port Authority)

10 Jul

41st and 8th Starbucks

By now I’ve visited Starbucks within banks, Starbucks in business lobbys, Starbucks in airports, and Starbucks in retail stores. And today I add one more type of Starbucks to my hitlist: a Starbucks in a bus station. Not just any station though, this Starbucks is the latest addition to the giant Port Authority Bus Terminal in Midtown between 4oth and 41st street on 8th avenue.

This Starbucks is one of the newest additions to the 200 plus locations on the island of Manhattan and wasn’t here when I started this blog over six months ago. Unfortunately, that means it wasn’t hear a few years ago when I first visited Manhattan and ran through this labyrinth of a bus terminal in search of a friend who had taken a bus into the city. If it had been here, then the terminal may have been a little more welcoming.

As it is, this Starbucks is on the main concourse level of the bus terminal and is only a couple of yards from the exit onto 8th avenue and cab service. According to a New York Times article (whose headquarters is conveniently located across the street) around 250,000 people pass through this terminal each day, and I’ll bet half stop at this Starbucks. So of course, there is no need for a doorway or wall to limit traffic; the Starbucks simply opens up into the terminal, and the distinction between cafe and bus station rests in floor tiles, music (jazz, currently) and aroma. The Starbucks does gather quite the crowd, but my hat goes off to the baristas who try to stay on top of who’s sitting here enjoying a coffee and who’s just looking to loaf.

Would I recommend this Starbucks as a “Go-To Starbucks” to catch up with a friend over coffee? No… But it certainly is convenient for tired travelers in and out of NYC.

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NYC Starbucks: 43rd & 8th

21 Jun

43rd and 8th Starbucks

The Starbucks on 43rd and 8th avenue is one I noticed for the first time last night on my jaunt through Time Square on my way back home. I passed the New York Times headquarters (very impressive!) and then spotted it.

So this morning on my way to work I figured why not see what this Starbucks has to offer… unfortunately, it’s not much.

The Starbucks was extremely crowded for 8am. Yes, I expect there to be a long line of New Yorkers seeking their morning fix. I expect people coming and going (and pushing) at rapid speeds. But this location — so close to Times Square and the Port Authority Bus Terminal — is filled with sight-seers and tourists filled with excitement and ready to start their day of NYC exploration. No available seats (not that this Starbucks had much to offer) and just one restroom, which I was actually surprised to see any at all. Oh, and did I mention the construction covering the exterior?

The one good thing about this Starbucks: location, location, location… at least if you’re looking for the bright lights of the big city.

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NYC Starbucks: 51st & Broadway

21 May

51st and Broadway

Finding a large Starbucks, equipped with plenty of seating and space to spread out, in Manhattan is rare. But finding one in Midtown, Manhattan can seem like playing the lottery and winning the jackpot. Anyone else go in for the 600 mill last week? This guy did! I bought my first lottery ticket ever, and no numbers matched in any of the positions. It was like I drew the inverse of the winning ticket, and it made it seem like I should owe money instead of win any.

I digress.

This Starbucks on 51st & Broadway is unique not only in its large size, but it also has a faded red awning that surrounds the building instead of the typical green or black ones. Inside, there are two seating areas, two bathrooms, and a barista bar equipped with the Clover — for those of you who like their coffee freshly pressed. While it is not in the heart of Times Square, it is only four blocks north and is still surrounded by theaters and congesting groups of tourists. Lots of hotels also exist in this area just north of the Square.

This location may not be the best in the city. But when it comes to the Theatre District, it’s certainly the best I’ve seen so far.

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