Tag Archives: Lower Manhattan

NYC Starbucks: Thames & Broadway

2 Oct

Cedar and Broadway Starbucks

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.

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NYC Starbucks: Beekman & Park Row

29 Sep

Beekman and Park Row Starbucks

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.

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NYC Starbucks: Liberty & Nassau

25 Sep

Liberty and Nassau Starbucks

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…

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NYC Starbucks: Liberty & Broadway

18 Sep

Liberty and Broadway Starbucks

Here’s a tip from a guy who’s visited his fair share of Starbucks: If it closes at 6pm and isn’t open on weekends, it may not be ideal for all your coffee house needs. In other words, it’s there just for the money, honey.

The Starbucks on Liberty and Broadway in the Financial District exemplifies my point exactly. Essentially it’s a one-store food-court that services the lobby of One Liberty Plaza. I’m sure the business people in the building appreciate it, but it lacks the cafe ambience that most seek.

Don’t get me wrong… there are tables and chairs. But they are those you would expect to find in a hospital cafeteria: cold, hard and metallic. But — in all honesty — this Starbucks really wasn’t meant for lounging. Nor are most buildings within the Financial District. It’s simply designed to give hardworking New Yorkers the fuel to get them through the day.

In other news, I thought I’d comment on some Starbucks related news I saw circulating both social and traditional media today: Starbucks vs. Guns.

If you’re too lazy to read the New York Times article I linked to above, the basics are as following: 44 States have an “open gun policy” that allows registered gun owners to bear arms in public places (like coffee houses). Starbucks, obviously, tries to abide by state laws, so gun-enthusiasts (is that even a thing?) have been staging “Starbucks Appreciation Days” and openly bringing guns to Starbucks locations across the nation to celebrate. Clearly, this is distracting at least emotional scarring at worst. Today Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz released a statement asking customers to leave firearms behind when they come for their lattes. And now gun-owners everywhere are angry and caffeine deprived because they can’t imagine standing in line for their coffee without feeling the weight of their beloved firearm at their side.

My opinion: Seriously?! You’re mad because you can’t wave your gun around at a Starbucks and scare people?

Why would someone need to openly reveal a gun at a coffee house? Thank God New York is one of the six states that doesn’t allow this because I can guarantee you — after what I’ve seen — there’d be some people shot in a NYC Starbucks. I’m all for human rights. But they need to make sense. If you want to go to Starbucks with a licensed gun, keep it concealed, and no body will be the wiser.

I’d love to hear some other opinions from Starbucks and/or gun enthusiasts.

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NYC Starbucks: Dey & Church

11 Sep

Dey and Church Starbucks

Today is one of those days that you feel stupid the moment you ask “What’s the date?” aloud.

Twelve years ago today, America was forever changed by the tragic and horrific terrorist attack known now as 9/11. Everybody — over the age of 15 — has their own story to tell about what they experienced that day. Living in Florida at the ripe age of 12, my story is more muted than most. I remember being in 7th grade homeroom class, when an announcement came on the overhead for all teachers to turn on the news. I remember seeing the second plane crash into the South Tower. And I remember hearing the word terrorism for the first time.

Now, living here in NYC under the shadow of the Freedom Tower, I often wonder what it was like for New Yorkers on that day. I remember being stunned at how close the Freedom Tower appeared to my former apartment in the West Village. This is a small island — full of connections — and I can’t imagine the unadulterated panic that went through every New Yorker on that day.

Ironically, what brought me down to the Financial District today was not a strong urge to commemorate the day or Starbucks blog, but a class. In all truth — and I hate to admit this — but I feel slightly uncomfortable being so close to the exact site of the attack twelve years later. However, once I got into the area and saw all those paying respect, I couldn’t help but take the time to write my thoughts. And what better place to do that than a Starbucks…

This Starbucks on the corner of Dey and Church Street is actually addressed 195 Broadway. The 29-story sky scraper that encompasses the Starbucks is pretty historic. It once served as the headquarters for the American Telephone and Telegraph and is the site of the first transatlantic phone call.

The Starbucks contains quite the crowd — which I’m sure is comprised of half businessmen, half sightseers. But the construction of the Starbucks — both interior and exterior — is very appealing, and the line moves quickly. Not to mention, it’s extremely close to most trains. And, from the spot directly outside of the Starbucks’ entrance, one can see a picturesque view of the Freedom Tower.

All in all, this Starbucks may be just average, but its location is one I will never forget.

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NYC Starbucks: Beaver & Broad

8 Sep

Beaver and Broad Starbucks

Downtown Manhattan is an entirely different beast during the week than it is on the weekends. Yes, there are plenty of people that live in the Financial District. And yes, there are dozens of touristy landmarks down here — like Bowling Green and the Statue of Liberty. But nothing brings the crowd like the 9-5 New York workweek.

Some Starbucks in FiDi — such as the one in the New York Stock Exchange — are actually closed on weekends entirely. Most limit their hours, at the very least. The Starbucks on the corner of Broad and Beaver is in the thick of FiDi, just south of the NYSE and east of Bowling Green. It’s also a short stroll from the seaports, where one can take a ferry to some of the various islands just south of Manhattan.

The entrance to this Starbucks utilizes a revolving door, which is typical of this neighborhood and helps avoid the bottlenecking of business men (and women). Inside, this Starbucks is much more expansive than I would have thought. Unlike in Midtown (an equally crowded neighborhood), the size of the Starbucks in FiDi have been impressive. The vast lobby has a extensive wrap-around stanchions to keep it under control, and there’s still plenty of room for seats off to the side. There’s a coffee-themed wall mural on on wall and even some of the exterior windows are decorated with Starbucks themed glass.

If I was one of the few to live in Downtown Manhattan, this very well could be my Go-To Starbucks.

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NYC Starbucks: Walker & Broadway

7 Aug

Walker and Broadway Starbucks

Time was I would go to Starbucks and do a variety of different activities: read, write, type, talk, etc…

During my undergrad, I took an entire online course in a Starbucks sitting area. After graduating, I took up astrology and bought and read several books on the subject in my favorite cafe. I studied for my GREs there and used it as a meeting place for several social engagements.

Now, it seems I go for the sole purpose of this blog. Sometimes I’m able to squeeze in some work — or heaven forbid, read a book — but mostly I’m scoping out the place/neighborhood. If this sounds like a complaint, it’s because it is. Luckily, I still have plenty of time to change my way and go back to why I fell in love with Starbucks in the first place.

The Starbucks I’m currently occupying is just south of Canal Street in a cross-section of Chinatown and TriBeCa; although characteristically, this neighborhood (and the Starbucks within) resembles SoHo much more than TriBeCa.

On the outside, the Starbucks on Walker and Broadway is covered in construction sheeting and swarming with crowds. On this inside, it is still pretty much swarming with crowds but much more visually appealing. Although dimly lit, this Starbucks has its perks, like exposed brick walls, tons of seating, and plenty of power outlets available for power hungry New Yorkers. Thankfully, this Starbucks is quite large because there are plenty of tourists beating down the door — even though most seem to come just to use the restroom.

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NYC Starbucks: 9th & 2nd

31 Jul

9th and 2nd Starbucks

Wow, it’s early.

This may be the earliest I’ve visited a Starbucks for this blog. But there’s something motivating about waking up at sunrise and starting the day with coffee and writing before work. No, I don’t do this often; the real reason I’m up this early is that I have Beyonce tickets tonight and there just isn’t enough hours in the day.

For the last Starbucks in July, I’m paying a visit to the East Village. On 9th and 2nd Avenue, there is a sizable Starbucks, just north of St Marks Place. This Starbucks has what most don’t — an outdoor seating area. No, it’s not fully secluded from passersby like the Starbucks in Yorkville ,but it does have a 3-foot high metal gate separating you from the sidewalk crowd. It even has a large awning that extends from the side of the building.

Inside, this Starbucks has exposed brick pillars and walls that really give it the NYC vibe. There is plenty of seating (especially at the crack of dawn), and it’s spaced enough for it not to get too crowded.

All in all, I’m a sucker for a Starbucks with an outdoor area, but I’d have to come back to see what the crowd is like midday.

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NYC Starbucks: Worth & Lafayette

23 Jul

Worth and Lafayette Starbucks

I’m starting to appreciate the neighborhoods in Lower Manhattan the more I visit them. Not only are they older than the upper part of the island and rich with history, but they also have a more pleasing aesthetic Perhaps it’s the fact that they don’t obey the repetitive Manhattan grid of numbered streets and avenues. Down here streets run diagonal or even in circles, and they actually have names that have nothing to do with their placement. Sure it’s not logical or organized, but this lack-of-symmetry  allows for a more substantial presence for each of these beautiful buildings.

Today, I walked south from 14th street, past Astor Place, through SoHo and Chinatown (passing countless Starbucks on my way) until my feet had had enough and I came across a Starbucks that I had yet to venture into. The Starbucks I found was on the corner of Worth and Lafayette in an area of Civic Center called Foley Square. The Department of Health and the New York Supreme Court are both nearby, and the though the windows of the Starbucks you get a lovely view of Thomas Pain Park.

Inside the Starbucks, there is a small seating nook that is well-enough removed from the barista bar and line to still be considered nice and relaxing. It gets plenty of natural light and has a just enough seating to satisfy the few of us that actually want to stay and sit a while. Most people, however, seems to want to get their drinks to go. The line was consistently backed up to the entrance, and although the baristas kept it moving, there was always just as much people entering as there was leaving.

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NYC Starbucks: Reade & Broadway

18 Jul

Reade and Broadway Starbucks

Anyone who’s ever visited New York City knows Duane Reade. The city practically runs on this hybrid pharmacy and convenience store. With over 150 locations in NYC, you see almost as many Duane Reades as you do Starbucks. And today I happen to be sitting at the Starbucks in Lower Manhattan between Duane street and Reade street. My first thought: Oh, now the name makes sense!

Duane Reade has been around since the  60s and is unique to New York — even though it was recently purchased by Walgreens. The original Duane Reade and its warehouse started right here on this street corner on the borders of Civic Center and TriBeCa. The rest is history.

So there’s your brief history of NYC’s most frequented convenience store — now its most frequented coffee house.

The Starbucks on Reade and Broadway isn’t the cleanest. It isn’t the biggest. And it’s AC doesn’t even seem to run as well as other locations. But there is something about this Starbucks that is uniquely New York. Actually, the fact that it’s small, dirty and old-looking is probably why it’s so charming. The high ceilings, tall windows with paint chipping off the panes, and narrow passageways make this Starbucks feel like home. Home for a New Yorker, that is. Continue reading

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