Today is one of those typical New York days where the sun skips over the island of Manhattan. Between the tall buildings and hazy skies, the city gets just enough hours of light to justify the passing of a day and then succumbs to darkness once more. And now that summer is officially over, the days are growing even shorter.
Still, on a gloomy day like today, going for a walk in the city isn’t a horrible idea. It’s not to hot nor is it cold enough to justify a jacket. So today, I put on my walking shoes and took a stroll north to the Starbucks on 90th and 1st Avenue. I had this sneaking suspicion that this Starbucks would be the perfect spot for a day of studying, and with the fall semester fully commenced, that’s just what I need.
And I wasn’t wrong.
The worst thing you can say about the Starbucks on 90th and 1st is that it’s boring. There’s no chatty line waiting for coffee; no tourists with luggage; and no crazy people trying to give away laptops (see yesterday’s post). There’s just three baristas serving coffee and maintaining a lobby full of studious and quiet patrons. Everyone in here is keeping to themselves, and they are all occupied with newspapers, tablets, laptops or smartphones.
Starbucks such as this are certainly a luxury of a small neighborhoods like the Upper East Side’s Yorkville. And if boring is the price you pay for a comfy seat and a place to concentrate, then maybe I’ll rethink my continued boycott of boredom in my life… at least every once in a while.
Today my visit to the Starbucks on 84th and 3rd Avenue can be summed up with the following picture:
So I doubt this self-made image will ever reach ‘meme status’ but I suspect it will resonate with some.
When I walked into this Upper East Side Starbucks, all the seats were taken, which is much more common in Midtown. The crowd was pretty stagnant, so I ordered my drink and was prepared to wait a while. Then — like it was meant to be — a man vacated his comfy green armchair just as I was topping off my iced coffee with breve. Essentially… NYC Starbucks jackpot!
Although this Starbucks is particularly crowded on a weekday afternoon, it is also larger than most Starbucks in the city — which helps disseminate the crowd a bit. It’s close to one of the few 4/5/6 stops on the east side, and on a strip of 3rd Ave that consists mostly of lunch-hour restaurants and other cafes.
With comfy chairs as rare as they are in modern-day Starbucks stores, this is a pretty descent location to sit for a while.
Just when I thought the Upper West Side had a leg up on the Upper East Side — where Starbucks are concerned, that is — I discover the Starbucks on 81st and 2nd.
This Starbucks is in the thick of Yorkville and has more character than any I can remember visiting. The building has obviously gone through some reconstructions throughout the years, and I’m very happy with the end result. The first two floors belong to Starbucks. They’ve expanded the ground floor with a glassed in patio, filled the second floor with seating and kept all the exposed bricks. The sealed in fireplace is still visible, and you can see where the staircase used to climb to the 3rd floor. I’m assuming there are still apartments above this Starbucks — and I’m hoping they’re for rent!
This is definitely a Starbucks that I could spend endless hours in. It would be my “go-to” if it weren’t so far away.
It’s hard to believe that summer is already coming to an end here in NYC. Labor Day is around the corner and the temp is already starting to drop back into the 60s at night. Looks like my weekends spent laying out in Central Park and walking around in a tank top and shorts will be coming to an end much sooner than I’m used to. However, until I’m absolutely forced to bundle up in snow boots and a bubble jacket, I’ll continue to leisurely explore the city on days like today.
Yesterday I spent some time exploring the Upper West Side and after taking a stroll through Central Park, I decided that today I would probe deeper into its counterpart neighborhood: the Upper East Side, specifically Yorkville. It still astonishes me how calm this neighborhood is. I walked a good mile on York Ave before arriving at the Starbucks on 80th street, and mostly I examined couples pushing kids in strollers, people walking dogs, or friends enjoying a bite to eat at some restaurant’s outdoor seating.
Even the Starbucks on 80th and York has outdoor seating!
This is obviously a thing for Yorkville Starbucks stores. The only other location I’ve visited in Yorkville was on the corner of 85th & 1st, and it surprised me with a private outdoor seating area elevated above the sidewalk. This Starbucks seating is level with the sidewalk, but detached enough to still feel roomy. So roomy, in fact, that most outdoor occupants have a tiny dog at their feet — but then again, that’s just the nature of this neighborhood. And if you can’t find a seat outside — or happen to suffer from cynophobia — there is plenty of room inside.
Honestly, this Starbucks has me smitten. I can easy imagine myself coming here to study once classes start up again in the fall. The large couch inside is actually comfy, comfy, not just padded. And with well-placed power outlets and a light crowd, I could see myself spending countless hours here. If it wasn’t so far away from public transportation, this could easily be a a 5-Cup Starbucks.
I first stumbled across the Starbucks on 85th and 1st Avenue last year in December. Once I saw it, I knew I would have to make a trip back up this way once the weather turned more agreeable. This is the only Starbucks in Manhattan (that I’ve seen so far) that has an outdoor seating area, equipped with dozens of tables and several patio umbrellas.
The seating courtyard is raised up from the sidewalk and is equipped with WiFi. Sitting here typing on my laptop outdoors is bringing me Florida flashbacks of all my time spent at the Starbucks down south. In Florida, it was rare to find a Starbucks without an outdoor area — here it’s the exact opposite. Although I understand why. For almost half the year this location is practically unusable. The patio will be far too cold and the indoor seating is very limited. Still… it’s great to know there’s at least one on the island of Manhattan.
This Starbucks is located in a small neighborhood within the Upper East Side called Yorkville. It’s pushed off to the far east of the island and is just below East Harlem. Apparently it’s known for being affluent and family friendly. Lots of people pass with dogs, and it lacks the typical pushiness of NYC. All in all, this area is very quiet and peaceful. The only convenient trains are the 4/5/6, but maybe that’s the price you pay for peace of mind?