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Tag Archives: iced coffee

NYC Starbucks: 53rd & Madison

10 Nov

53rd and Madison Starbucks

I was not expecting to be impressed at all by the Starbucks on the corner of 53rd and Madison Avenue. It’s the Midtown reputation that’s to blame. But as I neared this store I spotted its two windows and felt a glimpse of hope.

This Starbucks has window displays similar to those you would find at Bloomingdales and Macy’s (pictured above). No, they’re not as elaborate, but they’re still pretty cool to look at. Hell, you can even sit in them if all the other seating is taken. Also pictured above is the wall art that runs the length of the longest wall in the store. Randomly placed green coffee mugs and saucers are attached to the wood paneling. Underneath them are several padded benches made up of an off-white faux leather.

In all honesty, this Starbucks would have received a 5-Cup rating if it weren’t so small. The crowd was not too large, but confined in the narrow space it seemed way too cramped at times. Other than that, this Starbucks really is excellent. Cozy even.

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NYC Starbucks: 51st & Park

22 Oct

51st and Park Starbucks

Yesterday I ended my Starbucks streak for the month of October and took a break from blogging. I visited 22 Starbucks in the first 20 days of the month. So clearly, I am ahead of the curve of my 20 Starbucks a month goal. Now, the Starbucks on 51st and Park makes 23.

Specifically, this Starbucks is located between Park and Madison inside a small courtyard to an office building. Actually, that’s really all there is around here: office buildings and quick service restaurants. And a few hours after the busy men and women of New York grab their Chipotles, Just Salads and Pret A Mangers, they inevitably need a 3pm pick-me-up. Hence the Starbucks.

Although this Starbucks has a small interior and a heavy flow of nine-to-fivers, its courtyard and outdoor seating almost make up for it. There’s even a water fixture just outside its doors where pidgins — okay, just one right now — bathe.

The courtyard is very cute. But it is lacking one thing: patio umbrellas or an awning. And now it’s starting to rain. Until next time!

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NYC Starbucks: 35th & 7th

19 Oct

35th and 7th Starbucks

There is one aspect of each Starbucks that you can’t easily predict by simply looking at it. The quality of its WiFi. Sure you can always log on — unless of course the Starbucks’ Internet is actually down, which happens — technology isn’t perfect. But some Starbucks tend to give me flashbacks to the days of AOL and webpages loading in increments over a minute and a half. Yea, nobody misses those days.

Of course there are some telling signs that the WiFi may be less than impressive: a small location with no seating, a large crowd with lots of laptops, or conversely a large crowd with no laptops at all. Still… you’ll never really know until you attempt to log on.

The Starbucks on 35th & 7th is one that I had a sneaking suspicion from the moment I walked in that the WiFi would be slower than most. Maybe it’s because this is a Midtown Starbucks or because it’s heavily crowded, but somehow I knew the WiFi would be touch and go. What does that mean? Basically — no Youtube videos and Google image search will make you want to punch a baby, which I don’t endorse.

Other than the WiFi, this Starbucks is a mixed bag of lots of good and plenty of bad. It’s in a popular location, much larger than most, has great decor and stays open later than most. Unfortunately, Newton proved long ago that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. Meaning this attractive Starbucks in a popular area of NYC can’t help but be bogged down by a huge crowd. Or maybe Kevin Costner said it best in Field of Dreams: “If you build it, they will come.”

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NYC Starbucks: 95th & Broadway

18 Oct

95th and Broadway Starbucks

I’ve witnessed a lot of bizarre scenarios in the past 10 months of Starbucks exploration. You’d be quite surprised what some people decide to do in a NY C coffee house. Just yesterday, I sat a few seats down from a woman who apparently came to Starbucks just to charge her iPhone and listen to her music without headphones. She sat there for at least 2 hours blasting the most random music so that half the Starbucks patrons around her were forced to move.

Today at the Upper West Side Starbucks on 95th and Broadway, I bore witness to a whole different type of noise. An argument.

Two middle aged women, who clearly have several years invested in their friendship, apparently chose Starbucks for the place to have their reunion after a short cold-spell where neither had talked to each other. What resulted was a 90 minute debate over who stopped talking to who, why they stopped talking, what an email said, when one should have called the other and whose more dependent on whom. To sum it up, obviously both were ignoring one another because they felt they were being ignored. Lucky me — I got to know these women very, very well.

Hearing these two women bicker about who should have called who and each of them equally justifying the importance of their decisions not to reach out to the other, reminded me very much of two of my best friends back in Florida. The three of us together were this unstoppable force of tomfoolery, intimacy, bonding and magic. We felt more like a coven than just friends.

Now, my two friends have stopped talking to each other over a series of miscommunications and hurt feelings. They are actively ignoring one another while at the same time expecting the other to reach out to them. Sound familiar? To me, it resembles the game of uncle. Both are in pain but neither will cry out because they want the other to give in first. And since I’m 2000+ miles away, my intervention capabilities are severely limited.

The moral of this story is that I’m somewhat relieved to hear these women rekindling  in Starbucks — after a few tears, they did end up making up — because it shows that there is hope for my two friends. Also, it proves that this behavior is not limited to gay men in their 20s — which is also a relief.

I know this does little to give you an idea for what the Starbucks on 95th & Broadway is really like, but I think you’ll find the description below to sum it up just fine.

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NYC Starbucks: Fulton & Nassau

16 Oct

Fulton and Nassau Starbucks

 

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.

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NYC Starbucks: Maiden & Pearl

15 Oct

Maiden and Pearl Starbucks

Today I intended to pay a visit to the Starbucks located within the New York Stock Exchange. Unfortunately, when I arrived on Wall Street, something dawned on me that I should have probably suspected long ago… they don’t just let anyone in the NYSE. Sure enough, I discovered that the entire building is fenced off and can be accessed only through security gates. So obviously, I’m going to have to think this one through and plan how I will be able to infiltrate the NYSE.

In the meantime, I took a short walk over to the Starbucks on the corner of Maiden Lane and Pearl Street. I must admit I love the combination of these street names. Together they almost sound like the title of a fairytale: The Maiden and the Pearl. I’d read it!

Sadly, this Starbucks is far from a fairytale and is more messy than magical. It’s small, crowded, and a helpless victim to the hundreds of business men and women currently suffering from that 2:30 feeling. In-fact, this Starbucks only saving grace is the unique decor — specifically the hanging wall photo pictured above. 

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NYC Starbucks: 35th & 5th

14 Oct

35th and 5th Starbucks

Today I’m drinking a tall iced coffee at the Midtown Starbucks on 35th & 5th Avenue. I can’t remember the last time I’ve ordered anything smaller than a grande. Then the other day I realized something; I hardly ever finish my drinks. If I get a venti I drink three-fourths of it. If I order a grande, I only drink most of it. So what difference does 4 ounces make? About 44 cents.

This Starbucks is one of those railroad stores — long and narrow. In fact, it’s so long it almost looks like a hallway. Even the tables and barista bar are pushed off to the side to make room for the through-traffic — which there is a lot of. Want to guess what’s at the end of the hall? That’s right, the single restroom.

At least it’s big enough to handle the massive crowd the comes through it, and being just one block north of all the 34th street retail shops, most guests come with 2-3 enormous shopping bags swinging at their sides. It’s enough to make most New Yorkers run the other way.

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NYC Starbucks: Front & Wall

12 Oct

Front and Wall Starbucks

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.

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NYC Starbucks: 49th & Madison

11 Oct

49th and Madison Starbucks

The Starbucks on 49th & Madison has a consistent crowd of people coming, going, using the restroom, and sitting a while. For a Starbucks in Midtown, Manhattan its size is pretty impressive. Unfortunately, the L-shaped barista bar takes up a lot of the space and the seating is only lining the walls.

It’s location on Madison Avenue brings in a mix of tourists and business people. There’s actually an interview of some sort being conducted at the table next to me. Side note: I think if a potential employer were to ask me to meet at a Starbucks for an interview I would be very excited, and I’d probably ace the interview since I’d be in my natural element as opposed to a stuffy office.

Also, noteworthy. So far in the month of October, I’ve been able to visit and blog about a new Starbucks each and every day. I’m 11 for 11 and hoping to keep this momentum up. With roughly 80 days left in 2013, I’ve got a ton more iced coffees to drink before my mission is complete.

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NYC Starbucks: 45th & Park

10 Oct

45th and Park Starbucks

I think when Howard Schultz and Starbucks Corporate came up with the idea of paying it forward (#payitforward) at its many stores across the nation they left some kinks in the chain. And they simply didn’t account for what a New York City Starbucks environment is really like. Today alone, I attempted and failed, not once, but twice at paying it forward — or backward, really –at two different Starbucks.

In case you have no idea what I’m talking about above, here’s a quick overview. This Monday, Starbucks’ CEO Howard Schultz released a letter that urged other successful business CEOs to put the pressure on their representatives and end this government shutdown. Did you know Schultz is a Democrat? How rare for such a successful CEO! Anyway… Then Wednesday, Starbucks released information on a three-day promotion in an email stating: “Pay it forward. Get a free coffee.” The concept is simple: Come into Starbucks between Oct 9-11, buy someone else their favorite drink (preferably a stranger), and you receive a complimentary tall coffee for your civility. Simple enough, right?

When I first heard of this promotion, I thought it was the coolest thing. I love the idea of Starbucks attempting to start a small movement of generosity while our government is currently shutdown due to hostility and greed. But when you put the concept into practice, it doesn’t seem to work as well as it was intended.

So my first attempt to pay it forward this morning was thwarted by the simple fact that there was a line in the Union Square Starbucks that was out the door and I was pinched for time. Therefore, no Starbucks for me or any stranger this morning.

My second attempt was at the Starbucks just outside of the MetLife Building on 45th & Park. I walked into this very small Starbucks and ordered my usual grande iced coffee and waited for someone else to come in. Then a gentleman came in by himself while I lingered at the register. When the barista turned his attention to his new customer, I intercepted and told him that I wanted to “pay it forward” and buy this gentleman’s drink. The barista looked confused, so I went on. Aren’t you guys running a promotion to buy someone else a drink? Still — he looked confused, and the gentleman whose drink I was attempting to buy looked even more confused. So the barista asked one of his partners who looked to be the manager on duty. Still — this man looked confused.

The presumed manager went on to tell me that some people have been coming in over the past few days expecting some sort of buy-one-get-one, and he knew nothing about this Pay it Forward promotion. So in the end, the gentlemen whose drink I attempted to buy ended up ordering and paying for 11 dollars worth of food and drinks on his own while I questioned the staff that had no answers for me.

Now, I’m wondering how Starbucks spread the word of this promotion internally? And has anyone had a successful #payitforward experience yet? In New York City? I guess I’ll attempt once more tomorrow.

See below for the details on the MetLife Starbucks on 45th & Park.

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