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NYC Starbucks: 168th & Broadway

15 Nov

168th and Broadway Starbucks

 

Before I even begin this post, I want it to be known that the Starbucks drink pictured above is not my typical iced coffee. Oh no! It’s something much better. My favorite seasonal drink… the Eggnog Latte.

I was pretty overweight growing up. I didn’t exercise regularly. Guzzled soda. And always asked for a second or third serving at dinner. Still… I blame my adoration of eggnog for a lot of my weight problems. In fact, I remember one distinct December evening where I had consumed nearly a half-gallon of eggnog on my own that something clicked in my mind. That night I decided my new years resolution would be to lose weight by curving my diet, and by my 17th birthday in February I had already dropped over 20 pounds. I like to say that was the year that changed my life. I ended the year nearly 60 pounds lighter, enrolled in a weightlifting class and ready to bulk up in a positive way.

So obviously, I have a love/hate relationship with eggnog. So I figure having it in my lattes every now and again is a safe enough. I also make my own damn-good christmas coffee with nutmeg, cinnamon and eggnog instead of creamer.

But enough about eggnog. Let’s talk about the Starbucks on 168th and Broadway. As of today this is the 2nd most-northern Starbucks in Manhattan. I say “as of today” because Starbucks is in the process of building a Starbucks in Inwood, which is the highest neighborhood on the island. I don’t think it’ll be open by the end of the year, but that still won’t stop me from making the journey up to see it. ┬áThis Starbucks is in the large neighborhood of Washington Heights and is conveniently located on top of the A/C and 1 train station.

Needless to say, the Broadway up here is very different than the Broadway in Midtown or even the Broadway in the Upper West Side. Everything up here is much more spread out. You actually have room to breathe — except inside the Starbucks itself. I guess I thought the Starbucks up here would be larger than those in Midtown or FiDi (since space is much cheaper) but they’re really not. This Starbucks is just as small, just as crowded and just as dirty as some of the Midtown Starbucks I’ve come across. The only difference is the patrons up here are locals and not tourists — which are much more tolerable to be around.

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NYC Starbucks: 181st & Fort Washington

20 Aug

181st and Fort Washington Starbucks

I finally made it — I’m sitting at the northern most Starbucks in Manhattan.┬áThe Starbucks on 181st and Fort Washington Avenue is in the Hudson Heights neighborhood of Washington Heights, just south of Inwood and north of Hamilton Heights — obviously there are a lot of ‘height’s up here.

Before moving to NYC, I wanted to get a feel for what an affordable apartment was going to cost me, so I scoped out ads on Craigslist. I put in what I thought was a reasonable amount to pay each month for rent, and only two neighborhoods returned matching results: Inwood and Washington Heights. Obviously I had two choices: Suck it up and live way up here or adjust my definition of ‘reasonable.’ I chose the latter.

Besides riding through this area on a bus, this is the most north I’ve been since moving to NYC. I honestly wasn’t sure what to expect when I got the chance to walk around and explore the area. Everyone I’ve spoken to has talked about northern Manhattan as “a whole different world.” I was expecting a suburbanesque landscape with lots of trees and shrubbery. But, I have to admit, it bears a strong resemblance to the some of the other southern neighborhoods. All in all, I think Manhattan is Manhattan is Manhattan. You can’t escape street venders, delis, coffee houses and towering apartment buildings.

I’m not going to lie — I had high hopes for the Starbucks on 181st and Fort Washington. I figured since it was the most northern location — with virtually no other Starbucks in the area — it would be larger and homey. But no. It’s a small corner location, with a few seats lining the windows opposite a small barista bar. The crowd is thick and steady, and the baristas seem to lack that Manhattan sense of urgency you get in most other NYC Starbucks.

Overall, it was definitely worth the trip — one bus ride, a train ride and a short walk — up here to explore the area. The coffee’s the same, but the air is just a little cleaner.

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