Tag Archives: latte

NYC Starbucks: 36th & Madison

24 Jul

36th and Madison Starbucks

Today you get to hear about one of my Starbucks pet-peeves that I’ve yet to discuss. It’s something so little that I really have no idea why it even bothers me at all. So before you label this with the infamous FirstWorldProblems hashtag, just know I’m aware of of the triviality of this pet-peeve. But I just can’t help it…

I hate it when they run out of regular lids and give me a frappuccino lid when I have an iced drink that doesn’t require one (pictured above). I think it’s because the drink seems less protected, and for a clumsy person like myself, the lid leads to a greater chance of spillage on my part. Or possibly I just don’t get how a cafe can run out of lids in the first place.

Okay — there you have it. I’ve said what I had to say about that.

The Starbucks on 36th and Madison has a lot going for it despite the fact that it gave me a frappuccino lid on an iced latte. Its seating area is larger than most, and better yet, it is lightly occupied with patrons. It is designed with arches instead of corners, so the seating area almost looks like a semi-circle or a curving road. Maple wood is used for throughout instead of the typical espresso tint, and there is a large lightly colored mural on the long wall opposite the door.

Ironically, when I first spotted this Starbucks on Monday it was free of exterior construction, but now the entire outside on both sides is covered by the hideous metal bars. It’s funny, because I only ever see these things pop up, but rarely notice one taken down. Perhaps the entire city will soon be covered in them.

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NYC Starbucks: 42nd & Park (Grand Central)

12 Jul

42nd and Park Starbucks

For my 100th Starbucks visit for this blog, I wanted to go somewhere special; a significant place in this city. In the end, I decided on Grand Central Terminal.

Not only is this one of the most beautiful and well-traveled locations in Manhattan, but it’s also celebrating its 100th anniversary this year. So I decided what better spot to make my 100th Starbucks than this 100 year old masterpiece.

There are actually two Starbucks located in Grand Central. The one I’m sitting in now  is in the Biltmore Passage in the northwest corner of the station. The other is off to the east in the Lexington Passage. The reason I chose the Biltmore Starbucks for my 100th visit is because it’s completely embedded within Grand Central whereas the other has a street exit and pretty much resembles a normal Midtown Starbucks.

Of course, Grand Central contains much more than trains and Starbucks. Did you know there is actually an Apple Store in the Main Concourse? There’s also hundreds of other retail shops, coffee houses, restaurants, bakeries and novelty shops. This place is huge (grand, if you will) and although I’ve never had to catch a train out of here, I’d probably need to arrive extra early.

This Starbucks is both impressive and basic at the same time. I guess you can say it’s a product of its environment. No need for tons of seating or coffee decor in a Starbucks in a train terminal. Instead, this Starbucks has a barista bar twice the size of any other, with two areas to pay and pick up your drinks. The line never appears too long because this Starbucks is much more focused on efficiency than comfort. And it works.

With 100 Starbucks down in the midst of summer, I have hope that I can make it to all the Manhattan Starbucks before the year is up.

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NYC Starbucks: 26th & Broadway

20 Jun

26th and Broadway Starbucks

Hurray for discovering a new neighborhood while simultaneously enhancing my NYC vocabulary! Welcome to NoMad — the neighborhood NOrth of MADison square park.

Madison Square park divides NoMad and the Flatiron district and consists of a tiny patch of grass, a bunch of trees, some great picture ops and a Shake Shack. From what I can gather from strolling around NoMad, it’s a less congested (less Asian) version of Koreatown. I passed by a lot of perfume shops, jewelers, delis and sports apparel shops on my way to the Starbucks on the corner of 26th street and Broadway. All in all, I wasn’t expecting much from this Starbucks.

However, when I entered I was forced to eat my words — well, my thoughts anyway. I don’t think I verbalized them.

Not only is this a large Starbucks, but it is a large Starbucks with a balcony of additional seating. It probably has the most variety of seating I’ve seen in a while, ranging from high top stools to small tables and random elevated padded seating blocks. It’s very eclectic but effective. Unfortunately the upstairs was just closing up when I arrived, but that fact that it’s open for most of the day is only an added perk. Most seating has available outlets nearby so those burdened with dying laptop batteries need not fear.

Also worth mentioning is the stylish decor throughout. Random coffee-related trinkets are shelved above the barista bar and espresso wood is everywhere you look. They’ve even got one of those coffee sack wall decorations hanging. All in all, I’m digging it.

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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.

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NYC Starbucks: 58th & 6th

26 May

58th and 6th

The Starbucks on 58th & 6th Avenue is directly south of Central Park. This beauty comes with a burden: the smell of horse sh*t.

It’s simply everywhere in the area. Those adorable horse-drawn carriages are cute and are no-doubt a treat for tourists and romantics alike, but they really have made that whole area smell to no end.

Luckily, we have places like Starbucks to dive into to avoid the stench. Unfortunately, the touristy crowd from the nearby hotels seems to haunt this location. So, I did what any other self-respecting New Yorker would do. I got my coffee to go and took to the park. Of course,  I lingered just enough to take in the scene.

This Starbucks would be a disaster if it were any smaller. It really is hit with a ton of people — both looking to stay and looking to just use the restroom. Luckily it’s long enough to contain the crowd and even seat most of them. There is even additional stools pulled up to the back portion of the barista bar. The lines were long, but I have a feeling this Starbucks sees its biggest crowds on sunny weekend days like today.

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NYC Starbucks: 58th & Lexington

28 Apr


Before moving to New York City, I knew that Michael Bloomberg was the current mayor. What  I didn’t know is that before politics, Bloomberg was a hugely successful business man. Now, I’m sitting in the Starbucks on 58th and Lexington, which is directly underneath the Bloomberg Tower.

This large tower is one of the most unique in the city (see above for pictures). I had the privilege of touring the Bloomberg HQ last year and was taken aback. The company was founded when Bloomberg (the man) developed a computer system for monitoring financial data in real time. Now the business has expanded to a mass media hub. Besides being architecturally impressive, it seems like one of the most enriching places to work in the media industry.

And to top it all off, there’s a Starbucks on site. What more could you ask for?

Although this technically a Midtown location, it’s only two short blocks from the Upper East Side. Which means it’s not nearly as crowded, and you see much more people walking their dogs as they pass on the sidewalk. Although it’s an average sized location, it doesn’t seem to attract the typical weekend crowd, and the few seats that are here have a high turnover of occupants. The walls are mostly glass, so natural bright light is flooding through on this sunny Sunday afternoon.

Speaking of — what am I still doing indoors on a nice day like this?

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NYC Starbucks: 42nd & Madison

6 Apr


Let me preface this post by saying that this Starbucks is actually between Madison and Park on 42nd Street; however, for clarity’s sake I named it after the cross-street I felt it was closer to.

This Midtown Starbucks’ absence of a bathroom finally inspired me to research New York City’s codes and laws concerning public restrooms and food service establishments. And — of course — the New York Times was there to provide me with my answer. Check out this 2012 article about NYC’s shifting policy on restroom rules in restaurants. Or if you’re lazy (it’s okay, I understand) just read below:

Restaurants with under 20 seats: NO RESTROOM REQUIRED

Restaurants with seating between 20 and 30: ONE UNISEX RESTROOM REQUIRED

Restaurants with 30 or more seats: TWO GENDER SPECIFIC RESTROOMS REQUIRED

And there you have it. It all makes sense now. Since most Starbucks probably are capable of seating between 20-30 patrons, the one-unisex restroom makes perfect sense. Whereas a Starbucks of the same size in Florida would most definitely have two gender specific restrooms — and that’s because of the differing city codes. Space is of great value here in NYC, so why waste space on one or two bathrooms when you don’t need to.

This Starbucks has only 7 seats, so despite the fact that they are in a highly trafficked and see many patrons, they are well below the city code for a restroom requirement. Keep that in mind the next time you walk into a Starbucks, small deli, or cafe. Do a quick seat count before complaining that they need to have a restroom. Maybe they do — maybe they don’t.

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NYC Starbucks: 10th & Hudson

1 Mar


Welcome to the West Village — where avenues and streets are of no relevance and the stride of the average New Yorker slows down approximately 2 miles per hour.

When I first moved to NYC all of the different “Villages” confused me. West Village — East Village — Greenwich Village — what the hell is the difference?! Now I think I’ve finally straightened it out. Greenwich Village and East Village are two separate neighborhoods — splitting off in the center of Manhattan. The West Village is a smaller neighborhood that encompasses all of Greenwich village west of 7th avenue. And I hope you’re paying attention — there will be a quiz at the end of the year.

I have a sweet spot for this particular West Village Starbucks. One reason for this is because it is the closest location to the Christopher Street Piers — which I frequented over the summer. But mainly because on my first week in NYC I sat down at this location, starred out into the streets of my new home, and wrote postcards to some of my dear friends and family back home. I know: how stereotypical!

The point is that this Starbucks was the perfect location for doing that. Tucked away in the Village, this Starbucks gets much less of a crowd than most. Which is good because it is a small location, and it really couldn’t handle much more. But it has all the necessities and added West Village charm. My favorite feature is the small counter bar that acts as both a seating area and a divider between the barista line and lounge.

A great Starbucks to visit on a Sunday afternoon. And bring a postcard or journal while you’re at it.

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NYC Starbucks: 23rd & 7th

30 Jan


I walked in and was struck with deja vu — I’ve been here before! — I suddenly realized.

Back in my NYC infancy I found myself at this Chelsea Starbucks while apartment hunting throughout the city.  I remember sitting in the lounge area while a homeless person came in and slowly and discreetly made his way through the patrons asking for money. It took about 2-3 minutes before the baristas realized and had to ask him to leave.

Now, nearly 6 months later, I find myself sitting in the same exact spot — and at the same time, in a very different position. Then I had no idea that I was sitting in Chelsea — or what Chelsea really was — for that matter. Neighborhoods? Boroughs? 1,2,3? A,C,E? Moving to New York can feel like learning a new language, and in fact I’m still learning to this day. And although I dropped out of German III in high school, the language of the city is one I plan to follow through to its completion.

The more I sit here, the more this Starbucks begins to remind me of the stereotypical grandma’s house — without the plastic-wrap on the furniture, that is. The dim lighting, dark accenting walls, and floral patterned sofa just scream old lady to me. Don’t let that deter you though; just like grandma’s house, this Starbucks has plenty of room for you to come and take a load off.

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