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Tag Archives: Madison Square Park

NYC Starbucks: 29th & 5th

21 Aug

29th and 5th Starbucks

It’s funny how I just keep stumbling upon unseen Starbucks day after day. Just when I think I’ve visited all the locations in a neighborhood, I find another. This one sits in the shadow of the Empire State Building on the corner of 29th and 5th Avenue. It straddles NoMad and Rose Hill on the avenue known for its expensive retailers and prestigious shops.

Inside the Starbucks, the crowd is pretty muted. The drink line was short; the seats were only half taken; and most of the patrons are plugged into laptops or iPads. Perhaps, the crowd is less dense than most because there is no public restroom to keep people here for extended periods of time. And I never get tired of watching people walk in then quickly walk out after they realize this public restroom is nothing but a mirage.

If this Starbucks was a little bigger (with a little more seating), it may make for the perfect cafe to spend some quality time in.

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NYC Starbucks: 33rd & 8th (Penn Station)

21 Jul

33rd and 8th Starbucks

I’ve decided to continue my July theme of Starbucks within renowned NYC landmarks. Today my journey takes me to one of the two Starbucks inside of Pennsylvania Station (aka Penn Station).

Although deep within Penn Station near the Long Island Railroad departure tracks, this Starbucks’ closest cross street is 33rd and 8th avenue. Penn Station takes up an entire city block from 31st to 33rd between 7th and 8th avenues; and although it is not as big as Grand Central Terminal — and not nearly as nice to look at — it still burdens quite the crowd (twice that of GCT). In fact — talks have long been in the works about how to redesign, restructure or simply relocate either Penn Station or Madison Square Garden to ease the nightmarish crowds. Although, as far as I know, nothing has been decided on.

Besides, this building is over 100 years old, so it’s got deep roots. Above you can see some black and white photography from the early 1900s that are hanging on the walls of this Starbucks.

Speaking of — after spending the weekend with family in small-town New Jersey (the reason I’m in Penn Station in the first place), it was great to climb up out from the train tracks and lay eyes on that familiar green shrouded siren right here in the station. This Starbucks may not be the easiest to get to for the average New Yorker, but I’ sure it has been a godsend to many a tired traveler.

This is a fully functional Starbucks — with distinct floor tiles, lighting, music and decor. All it’s lacking is a restroom. However, that’s not much of a flaw, since most patrons seem to take their coffee to go. Yet, the wooden benches used for seating certainly aren’t vacant –not when they have built in outlets for power-starved iPhone addicts and WiFi for those waiting on a train.

All in all, if you were to ignore the fast moving crowds with luggage outside the entrance, this would appear to be your average NYC Starbucks.

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NYC Starbucks: 23rd & Park

24 Jun

23rd and Park Starbucks

Today I decided to visit the Starbucks on 23rd and Park Avenue South, mostly because it’s directly opposite the Starbucks on 26th and Broadway that I visited last week. This Starbucks is on the southeast side of Madison Square Park; that Starbucks is on the northwest side.

I definitely, definitely prefer the northwest side. This Starbucks is small, narrow, cramped, cold and lacking a public restroom. Yet still plenty of people rush in and out of its doors. Perhaps the reason it maintains such a crowd is because this Starbucks is above a subway station. Or maybe the park crowd tends to move southeast instead of northwest. Whatever the reason — of the two Starbucks that overlook Madison Square Park, this one is trampled by the competition.

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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: 23rd & 5th

28 Feb

23rdand5th

On this last day of February, I figured I would explore one more new neighborhood: The Flatiron District.

Apparently this small neighborhood has had an identity crisis over the past century or so. Former names include Toy District and Photo District because of the popularity of toy stores and photography studios at certain times in the 20th century. And yes, I know what’s going through your mind. And to answer your question: no, this neighborhood is not currently known for its sale and distribution of Flatirons. It is actually named after the Flatiron Building pictured above. The name was apparently a marketing ploy by real estate agents in the 80s to attract new residents to the area.

Too bad this Starbucks is not as attractive as the name of the neighborhood in which it resides. Although the service was good and the restroom clean, this was probably one of the most uninviting Starbucks I’ve been to in NYC. I think the drastically dim lighting is what turned me off initially. Don’t get me wrong — I appreciate a romantic candle lit dinner as much as the next person — but when it comes to my cafes: “Let there be light!”

Also, the seating was inadequate for filling the demand. I was lucky enough to grab a seat after receiving my drink, but there was a consistent crowd of people hovering around. One patron actually perched herself on the tiny windowsill and uncomfortably read from her giant textbook while waiting for a seat to open up. Also worth mentioning is that they have covered the available power outlets with metal plates. I’ve only ever seen this at one other location in the city, and its definitely a big turn off to any cafe goer.

I’m starting to differentiate the Starbucks of New York into two distinct categories: those worth lingering and those you grab on the go. This one belongs to the latter.

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