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Tag Archives: Garment District

NYC Starbucks: 34th & 8th

3 Dec

34th and 8th Starbucks

 

Just a stone’s throw away from Macy’s Herald Square — in the thick of Penn Station traffic — is a the small Starbucks at the base of the towering skyscraper of 1 Penn Plaza. It’s semi-removed from the street and a few yards from the exterior plaza on the corner of 8th avenue. Technically, this Starbucks is neither on 7th or 8th ave, but I eye-balled it closer to 8th.

Although this Starbucks looks like it has the potential to be quite sizable from the outside — with its long window paneled exterior — it’s really just a trick of the eye. This Starbucks is another small shallow shotgun style store. There’s a few stools lining the glass walls and an entrance into the office space of 1 Penn Plaza, but that’s nearly it. No restroom, no distinct seating area, and no need to hang around for longer than you need to.

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NYC Starbucks: 34th & Broadway (Macy’s Balcony)

1 Dec

34th and Broadway Starbucks Macy's Balcony

The balcony Starbucks at Macy’s Herald Square is definitely impressive. It actually got renovated this year and was closed for several months. But obviously Macy’s and Starbucks made sure it was all shiny and new before the holiday season.

The balcony floor is also know as floor one and a half, and it overlooks most of the women’s perfume and jewelry department, which is by far the busiest section of Macy’s all year round. Luckily, the renovation seems to have added more seating and more style to this Starbucks. Now there are cushioned seats, mini tables, and dividing wall units that do a descent job at separating the Starbucks lounge from the crazy crowds.

And yes — the crowd is crazy. I’ve waited in line at this Starbucks for over 15-minutes in the past. But fortunately today I caught it at a good time and waited only 2-3.

I thought this location was the only one in New York to offer what Starbucks calls their “Evening Menu” that includes champagne; however, the barista informed me this is not the case. He said there was another Starbucks on the 2nd floor of Macy’s that is known as the Herald Square Cafe, and I could get champagne and wine up there.

Here, I thought there were only four Starbucks in the Macy’s Herald Square, but technically there are five. So clearly my exploration of Macy’s is not over just yet.

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NYC Starbucks: 34th & Broadway (Macy’s 5th Floor)

1 Dec

34th and Broadway Starbucks Macy's 5th Floor

After visiting Macy’s 6th floor Starbucks, I simply had to take one escalator down to the 5th floor woman’s department to find the next one. And I have to admit, these two Starbucks are strikingly similar. They are the same exact size. Neither offers seating. And they are both located up against a wall that separates one department from another. The only perceivable difference is that this 5th floor Starbucks is surrounded by woman’s clothing and not bedding.

I simply ordered my double shot of espresso, took in the scene and continued on my way. There are grander Starbucks inside this Macy’s to visit. I know that for a fact.

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NYC Starbucks: 34th & Broadway (Macy’s 6th Floor)

1 Dec

34th and Broadway Starbucks Macy's 6th Floor

Macy’s. A joy to some. A burden to others.

The Macy’s at Herald Square is a lot of things. It’s currently the world’s largest department store. It is the company’s flagship store. It is a New York landmark and central part of a national Thanksgiving tradition.

It’s also one of the first buildings I entered when I first visited New York. What can I say? I was simply drawn to it. I mean — come on — with 10 complete levels of shopping, it’s any gay man’s dream store. The massive department store was actually located directly across from the hotel that my friends and I were staying at, and it caused many directional conundrums. Everywhere I went in the area of Herald Square I saw Macy’s. I’d think I was close to my hotel, when really I was 2-blocks away.

But Macy’s can also be a total stressor — especially around the holidays. When you’re trying to find that special something for that certain someone, and thousands of others are in the same department store doing the same, it can be a complete nightmare. Take this morning for instance — I arrived at Macy’s around 9:40am and realized the store doesn’t open until 10am today. However, there was already a sizable crowd waiting at each and every entrance. And it just kept on growing. Once the doors opened, everyone plunged in and scattered for the good sales or to see Santa on the 8th floor. I — however — just laid back, took it all in and casually strolled to the first of four Starbucks I plan on visiting today.

Yes. There are four Starbucks in this Macy’s alone: one on the 1st floor balcony and one on the 3rd, 5th and 6th floor. In fact, there are more here than in Grand Central, Penn Station or any other New York building. And why not? WIth all that stressful shopping, people need a pick-me-up – or two, or four.

In order to efficiently visit all of the Macy’s Starbucks, I decided to start from the top down and made my way to the 6th floor location. Something worth noting is that after the 5th or so floor the escalators in Macy’s turn from metal to wood. You can see the wooden escalator pictured above. I’ve never seen anything like it. Anyway… on to the Starbucks.

The 6th floor Starbucks is located in the bedding department. There are no seats or separating walls for the Starbucks. It is simply tucked into one of the walls. When I arrived there was no line — but I can tell you from experience, that even though this Starbucks is the highest in Macy’s it can still generate quite the crowd. So I simply ordered my eggnog latte, paused a moment to fully take it in and then moved on. I’ve got more ground to cover!

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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: 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: 34th & 7th

15 Aug

34th and 7th Starbucks

I consider the corner of 34th and 7th Avenue to to be the epicenter of Midtown, Manhattan. It’s just west of Macy’s; just north of Penn Station; and a few blocks south of Times Square. Buses heading out of the city (if not going through the Port Authority Bus Terminal) often pick you up and drop you off on this street, and it’s surrounded by hotels in every direction.

But what does all this say about the Starbucks that exists on this corner?

Three words: busy, crowded and cramped.

This Starbucks is narrow in structure, but that kind of works for this location since it has both a street entrance and exit into an office building; so in theory, it serves its purpose for all those who work in that building. Unfortunately, for everyone else, this Starbucks’ structure is much more frustrating than convenient.

There are six tables lined up against one wall. Each of those are crowded with patrons and non-patrons. Actually, a lot of people are on laptops with no coffee in hand or simply sitting and staring blankly with luggage by their side. Each time one person leaves, another person that has been standing and waiting rushes to the empty seat.

So — yeah — this Starbucks may be in the epicenter of Midtown Manhattan, but that only means it takes the crowd of two Midtown Starbucks.

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NYC Starbucks: 35th & 8th

13 Jun

35th and 8th Starbucks

I’m only going to blog about the Starbucks on 35th & 8th for as long as I can stand it. No, quite literally, I’m standing as I type this. Welcome to Midtown! Right?

It’s actually not too inconvenient to stand, because this location provides a long high bar to do so as you people watch those jumping in and out of the subway entrance to Penn Station. If there were bar stools here I have a feeling this place would just be a little to cramped as the barista bar is directly behind me. There is some seating in the place (a row in the front) but it probably gets gobbled up once  seat is vacated. Like I said, welcome to Midtown.

This is NYC congestion at its best. And in the hour after 5pm on a weekday all the commuters are heading this way to escape Manhattan simultaneously. In Times Square the crowds are touristy so they’re mostly wandering like sheep looking up at the lights. But here… people have places to be. Lolly-gag in front of someone trying to get home from a long day at work and you’re going to get a mouth full.

Luckily I’ve tucked myself into a tiny corner of this Starbucks to simply observe for the moment. Taking a moment to escape that (even if I’m standing) is the closest I get to a zen moment before I’m back out there pushing and shoving with the best of them.

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NYC Starbucks: 38th & 7th

4 Mar

38thand7th

I would be curious to see the ratio of hot coffee vs. iced coffee based on geography and season. When I lived in Florida I only drank iced coffees. Well, that’s not entirely true. I also drank iced lattes, iced mochas, iced teas, and the occasional frapuccino. In-fact, I was never a “big coffee drinker” until I discovered it over ice. Now, I find myself cringing at the thought of adding any unnecessary ice to my life. I’ve become accustomed to my hot coffee to fight the morning chill. I would suppose the percent of iced beverages in a Canadian Starbucks is significantly less than a Southern California location.

Such are the things a true Starbucks addict is able to ponder.

I’m currently sipping my hot coffee at a Starbucks in Midtown. Technically, this Starbucks is in the Garment District, but since it is so close to the intersection of Broadway and 7th Ave it mostly resembles the Times Square and Theatre District locations. Space is tight. The lines are long. And the morning rush never seems to end. But this Starbucks does have one added perk. Directly beyond the barista bar is a staircase leading to a small seating area that looks over the ruckus of Midtown coffee-traffic.

Little perks such as these are an excellent reminder that Starbucks is just as much a cafe as it is a fast-food chain.

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NYC Starbucks: 39th & 8th

19 Feb

39thand8th

How do you know you’re in the Garment District? Just look for the array of textiles and beading in the shop windows. You’ll know.

New York City is the fashion epicenter of the United States. Young fashion-forward minds flock to New York for many reasons. NYC Fashion Week and the prestigious Fashion Institute of Technology are just a few of the siren-like calls that attract those seeking a life in fashion. And at the heart of it all is the small neighborhood known as the Garment District.

I must admit that I don’t have the strongest inclination toward the fashion industry. While I don’t dress haphazardly — at least I hope not — I lack the visionary eye for fashion as an art form. And if you put me in-front of a sewing machine you’ll end up with the fashion equivalent of a finger painting. But still, I have an appreciation for those who can list off designers like family members and take a simple sketch of a design and turn it into reality.

This Starbucks on 39th and 8th isn’t adorned with fabrics nor do I see particularly fashionable people here, but it is certainly surrounded by enough wholesale fabric shops. When I first walked in I was initially disappointed by the lack of space and seating. Then I spotted a small stairwell behind the barista bar. Up the staircase exists a split-level seating area equipped with dozens of tables and chairs for all to enjoy. Yes, there’s a crowd up here, but it’s certainly not overcrowded, and there’s enough space between each table to spare you from claustrophobia that’s so common with NYC dining.

But every Starbucks has its flaw. And this one’s is its lack of power outlets. There are literally none on the second floor. In fact, what were once outlet plugs are now simply metal slabs. It’s such a tease — you know there’s power beyond it, but you have no way of attaining it. I have two theories for this unusual find. Theory #1 is that people were attempting to make this Starbucks their home, and cutting off the outlets was the only way to keep the crowds down. Theory #2 is that this particular location is a part of grass roots anti-technology movement, and cutting off the outlets is an attempt to get people to bring a book in place of a laptop.

Despite the lack of outlets, this location still has an excellent environment. I would even recommend it as a great place to hold a study group (or any kind of informal meeting), and that’s not something I can say about most Starbucks in the city.

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