Tag Archives: Art

NYC Starbucks: 118th & Frederick Douglas Blvd

3 Jun

118th and 8th

Fresh back from a weekend visit to Florida, I was wanting to visit a less frequented NYC neighborhood. Ironically, on the 4am (an ungodly hour!) shuttle to the airport, I found an iPhone that had been left by a previous passenger. Anyone who has lost a smartphone (iPhone or otherwise) knows the helpless feeling it can bring. Low and behold, the owner of the cell happened to be taking an earlier flight to NYC and staying in Harlem. Why not — I figured — kill two birds with one stone and return this girl’s phone while knocking out another Harlem Starbucks. The girl was so relieved that a fellow New Yorker happened to stumble across her phone, and we arranged to meet at the Starbucks on 118th and 8th Ave — or Frederick Douglass Blvd, as it is known up here.

So here I sit. The iPhone is safely back in its owner’s possession, and I’m enjoying my iced latte.

This Starbucks is close to both the B and C trains and is also just a few blocks from the northwest corner of Central Park. It’s average in size but accommodating in seating. There is a large padded bench (equipped with power outlets) with four tables lining one wall. Its most distinctive trait is the artwork hanging on the wall that are excellent depictions of the great sounds to come out of Harlem. I love a Starbucks that really makes an effort to be a representation of its neighborhood. Even the music playing in the background was mainly jazz, blues, and soul.

Continue reading


Reflection: Starbucks at the Met?

20 Feb

Starbucks Is a Work of Art.

This weekend I set out to to explore a piece of New York City apart from Starbucks: the Metropolitan Museum of Art. However, while I was at the museum I just happened to stumble upon a little piece of Starbucks:



What’s a Siren, and Why Is It on my Coffee Cup?

This particular statue, titled “Siren”, was made in the 16th century in Rome. While there a many statues depicting these creatures, this one appears to be the most similar to the original Starbucks Coffee logo, with twin tails and a hand holding each. Of course the logo has gone through several changes since its inception, but if you look up the original — or you’ve been drinking coffee long enough to remember — you’ll find the resemblance to be uncanny.

Now why would Starbucks choose this hideously beautiful creature to be their mascot to the world? Well let’s think about this. A siren is a mythological creature that was said to entice sailors with a melodic song only to leave them ship wrecked on jagged rocks and thrust into the sea. How many of us hear the call of coffee in the morning? Despite the consequences of caffeine or the health risks of added sugars and the pastries that so often accompany it, we cannot seem to turn ourselves away.

So here I am in New York City, walking to work — or wherever — when I happen to spot that oh’so familiar logo on the side of a building.   Just like hearing the siren’s call, I cannot help but head that direction. And clearly, I’m seeing Starbucks wherever I go in this city.

If you’d like more information on the relationship between Starbucks and the siren, you can check out this detailed video I found. It discusses the history of the logo and the mythology behind the siren.

NYC Starbucks: Bond & Broadway

15 Feb


One thing I’m learning about New Yorkers is that they absolutely love abbreviations. Which — after all — makes sense, since every second and syllable is of value here. Why waste your time saying South of Houston Street when you can slam it all together into SoHo. And then of course if you have a SoHo you need a NoHo. And joining these two sister neighborhoods are other riddles of abbreviation such as FiDi, TriBeCa, NoLIta, and SpaHa – which we’ll visit at a later time.

Until then, I sit in NoHo. And — Yes, you guessed it! — NoHo is simply North of Houston Street. Although NoHo is a much smaller neighborhood than its southern sister, it has very similar characteristics: expensive lofts and pricey shops — and a Starbucks!

This Starbucks separates itself from the others I’ve visited in one very cool way — the paintings on the walls are both real and for sale. This reminds me of a cafe my friends and I used to frequent throughout high school — believe it or not I once refused the idea of monopolizing chain coffee. The Sun Shoppe was our cafe of choice. The drinks tasted different each visit, and they were always closed on Sundays, but somehow that place holds a special place in my heart. Before new management took over, they used to sell the decor right off their walls.

Another factor working in favor of this location is the larger than normal seating area near the entrance. People are chatting, studying, texting, or gazing into computer screens. It’s an eclectic group, and this Starbucks can hold plenty of them. Also, this Starbucks seems to be on top of it with their choice in music. So far, I’ve heard Amy Winehouse, Adele, and Ellie Goulding. Keep it up!

Continue reading

%d bloggers like this: