On this Christmas Eve, I decided to take a trip to the Starbucks closest to Battery Park in Lower Manhattan. This Starbucks is on the corner of Pearl and State streets and is located directly between Battery Park City and South Ferry.
When I emerged from the subway station, I was surprised by the desolate looking Battery Park that expanded far toward the water. Then I turned around and the familiar skyscrapers and construction scaffolding reassured me I was still in Manhattan. Although the park is not much to look at now in this winter blight, I’m sure it is a pretty sight to see in the spring.
The Starbucks that lies across the street from the park is large and crowded. The line inside is mostly tourists but I can also pick out a few locals that are most likely coming from or going to Staten Island. Although there is plenty of space, there is only seating in the back area furthest from the barista bar. There is also a bar lining the exterior walls in the front but no high tops to go with it — probably because they would just make the place even more crowded. After all, no one likes to sit down with a constantly shifting crowd pressing at their backs anyway.
Nearly a year into this blog and still I’m discovering new and unique New York City neighborhoods. Today, I’m sitting at a Starbucks in Battery Park City in Lower Manhattan.
Battery Park City is just west of the Financial District and the World Trade Center. In fact, it’s the only neighborhood I’ve been to that is actually west of the west of the West Side Highway. There’s no subways into this neighborhood, but there is an elevated skywalk that crosses the highway so residents and visitors can easily pass between here and FiDi. Although Battery Park City is both business and residential, it seems to cater mostly to the business crowd.
In fact, this Starbucks is inside the lobby of a gigantic building complex called the World Financial Center, which appears to be part office building, part mall. There’s at least four independent buildings making up WFC, and they’re all interconnected and stretch across the entire neighborhood. The Starbucks is in the main building of WFC and literally overlooks the West Side Highway — or West Street as it is called in this neighborhood.
So, yes — this Starbucks is in an office building, but don’t underestimate it. It has its very own entrance, design, and decor. It’s no simple coffee cart. It’s a decent size and offers plenty of seating. In fact, I thought the Starbucks was small at first, only to discover that beyond the barista bar is an entirely separate — and slightly hidden — seating area. The only thing it lacks is its very own restroom for guests.
According to the Starbucks App there are two Starbucks located here in Battery Park City. This one and one in Four World Financial Center. But this entire complex is going through some major renovations and actually changing names to be called Brookfield Place come 2014. I went hunting for this other elusive Starbucks but could not find it. I asked around and was told this is the only one in the area, so my guess is either this other Starbucks is not accessible to the public or closed during the renovations. Which begs another question… What do the residents of Battery Park City do with only one Starbucks in their neighborhood?
The Starbucks at Platt street and William street in FiDi is an anomaly. From the outside, it looks amazing. It’s exterior is all platted glass. There’s an interior Starbucks sign that curves along with the exterior structure. It’s located inside the beautifully decorated courtyard of the large office building at One William Street. And everything in close proximity seems to glow due to the luminous pillars and overhead lights of the courtyard.
Unfortunately, the magic fades once you enter the Starbucks itself. The structure of the lobby curves along with the arching exterior. And since there’s only one entrance, this causes a good deal of bottlenecking at the end of the line where patrons are waiting to pick up there drinks. I arrived at 5pm today and the crowd was not too bad, but I can’t imagine what this Starbucks looks like during the morning rush.
Don’t get me wrong. This Starbucks is beautifully decorated. But its size and design flaws seem somewhat impractical for a busy FiDi location.
After visiting the Starbucks just outside of Columbia University in Morningside Heights yesterday, I decided today was the day to infiltrate the Starbucks inside Pace University near the corner of William and Spruce.
You see, I’ve recently discovered that certain Starbucks are actually off-limits to the general public. Most are in office buildings, but some are actually inside college campuses. Earlier this week I went looking for the Starbucks inside of Pace University, only to be turned away by a campus security guard. So, I knew today I had to be a little more persuasive. Well, that’s not entirely true, I just dressed like an undergrad would on a Sunday and asked the front desk security where the Starbucks was. Regardless — it worked like a charm!
Unfortunately, the Starbucks itself is completely lacking of charm. Not only were the baristas rude (see description below) but the Starbucks itself is simply one of many restaurants inside a small campus food court. There’s no Starbucks WiFi and no comfy chairs. There’s just a cafeteria-esque environment of young Pace students grabbing lunch and a midday pick-me-up.
I know they say our college years are some of the best of our life, but I really beg to differ. The past two days of being around undergrads from both Columbia and Pace got me thinking. And I can honestly say that the best years are those that follow your graduation. That’s when the messy mold that formed in college begins to harden and you get to see just who you are and what you want to do in this life.
This is completely unrelated to the Pace University Starbucks, but some of you may recognize the image in the top-right corner of this blog entry’s photo. It’s Starbucks new holiday tumbler and it costs $75! Why you ask? Well, besides an artistic design — it also gives the owner a free handcrafted espresso beverage every day in January when you bring it into a participating Starbucks. So for those of you who really love their lattes, this may be the perfect tumbler for you. Or if you know someone who can’t get enough Starbucks, this would also make an excellent Christmas gift. It’s even going on sale for $65 on Black Friday. If you do the math, anyone who purchases it and uses it daily in January, will get their money’s worth well before the month ends. Unless of course your New Years resolution is to give up caffeine.
I found it! I’ve been waiting to come across this Starbucks since I started this blog. No… the Starbucks on Carlisle and Washington is nothing spectacular — quite the opposite actually — but it holds a special place in my memory as it is one of the Starbucks I came to when I first visited NYC. Actually — I don’t even think I purchased anything at this location, I just really needed to use the restroom after paying my respects to the 911 Memorial. And now that I’m thinking about it, that action was a clue that I was meant to be a New Yorker.
This Starbucks is actually attached a part of the Marriott Downtown which is right of the West Side Highway of Manhattan. You can either enter the Starbucks through the lobby or its separate entrance on the backside of the Marriott. I think we must have been lost when we stumbled upon this location, because the cross-street of Carlisle and Washington isn’t exactly out in the open.
Once inside you’ll notice a couple of things. It’s extremely small. It has only one small stretch of seating. And there is no public restroom. If you’re really observant, you’ll also notice that this is a licensed Starbucks (probably owned by Marriott). The give-away? They don’t have the Starbucks App scanners and the receipts look different. Also the Internet is not AT&T WiFi or Google WiFi; it’s provided by the Marriott and doesn’t seem to work properly.
Thanks to the sheer density of Starbucks in Lower Manhattan, I’m beginning to know my way around the Financial District despite its irregular street names. In fact, the other day I was downtown giving directions to my boyfriend — who’s lived in NYC for 6 years, mind you.
One thing I’ve noticed about these FiDi Starbucks, is that they range greatly in quality. Basically, they are either great or just horrible. Location doesn’t even seem to be a factor in this — especially since they’re all so close together. And my experience today only further solidifies this theory.
I’m at the Starbucks on Fulton & Nassau. This Starbucks is only 2 blocks north of the very classy, unique Starbucks at Liberty & Nassau. However, it is lacking all of the decor styling and 80 percent of the seating. The best thing I can say about this Starbucks is that it’s in a good spot and has two doors.
Also, the barista that took my order was friendlier than your typical NYC Starbucks barista, and that is something I will always appreciate.
It’s finally here. I’m officially typing this blog using Google Wifi at the new Starbucks on Front & Wall Street. At first I thought this Starbucks was having WiFi issues, then I kept searching for available networks until ‘Google Starbucks’ showed up. I connected with ease and began testing the bandwidth to see how it compared to the old AT&T WiFi. So far, I’m impressed.
According to one of the baristas, this Starbucks has only been open for about a month. It still has that new store glow. And I have a feeling this Starbucks is just reopening after suffereing damage from Hurricane Sandy. I can literally see the water of the East River from outside this Starbucks door, and I can easily imagine the flood waters putting this location out of service for quite some time.
But maybe some downtime did this Starbucks well. Now it’s back, and I’m assuming it’s never looked better. The lighting and decor is crisp. There’s silver and grey accents all around, and when combined with the metal tables and wooden floorboards it creates an interesting and modern aesthetic. It has plenty of seating and still provides enough room to keep the place from feeling cramped.
This new Starbucks certainly isn’t helping me finish this blog by the year’s end, but it is a beautiful addition to the NYC Starbucks family.
What I wouldn’t give to see New York City in its early days — I’m talking 18th or 19th Century. And today my adventure took me to a Starbucks location that has been a coffee house for over 200 years.
I had the pleasure of visiting the Starbucks on the corner of Thames and Broadway in downtown Manhattan. From the exterior architecture alone, I could tell I was going to like this Starbucks. It looked anything but typical, and when I walked inside I got an eyeful of New York themed artwork, dark wood paneling and crowded tables for two. I also spotted this large peculiar box that I soon realized was an elevator for the disabled to access the barista bar, which is a few steps elevated from the seating area — thanks American with Disabilities Act!
Once I ordered my drink, I came across a large painting on the far back wall of the Starbucks (above). Depicted is what looks like a cafe during colonial times, and it was labeled Burns Coffee House: 1763. Of course, I did my research and found out that this Starbucks is in the very spot that Burns once stood. It makes me wonder how a coffee house operated in the 1700s. I doubt they had iced coffee.
So despite the fact that this Starbucks is sort of small, kind of dark, and has no public restroom, I’m giving it a 4-Cup rating because of it’s history and uniqueness.
I really, really wanted to give the Starbucks on Beekman and Park Row a rating of 5. I did. It’s large. It’s well decorated. It’s in a great area of New York. And it’s very accommodating. Unfortunately, for all the good there is just as much bad. Ultimately it can be summed up to the simple fact that there are too many people in this Starbucks. Too many in line, too many smooching on the WiFi and too many trying to use the single restroom. Thankfully there’s enough seating to support the crowd.
This Starbucks is located in the small Civic Center neighborhood of Downtown Manhattan. It’s right near Pace University and directly across from City Hall Park. So inside the crowd is a good mix of studying college students and tourists looking for a pick-me-up. After all, this is a beautiful neighborhood with plenty of transportation options.
I was standing at the corner of Liberty and Nassau looking left and right, thinking to myself, Where is the hell is this Starbucks? One thing I’ve learned about the Starbucks App is just because it says there is a Starbucks on a certain street corner, does not mean it is actually there or easy to find. Convinced this Starbucks must be hidden inside one of the lobbies of the towering skyscrapers, I looked down in frustration… which is when I spotted the familiar Starbucks siren in a narrow window no higher than my waist.
This Starbucks is practically underground when looking at it from Liberty Street; however, as you walk around the corner onto Nassau, the sidewalk slops and you can enter the building at street level.
Already impressed by its unique street corner positioning, I walked in expecting greatness and was not disappointed. No, it’s not the largest or most accommodating. But it has class. The wall mural (depicted above) is distinctive to the Financial District. The communal table has that consists of real wood two-by-fours and has that hand-crafted look. It was clean, not crowded and had a good vibe that makes my think I’d be quite productive working out of this location.
All in all, this is my favorite Starbucks in FiDi. So far…