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Tag Archives: restroom

NYC Starbucks: 23rd & 3rd

26 Sep

23rd and 3rd Starbucks

Having visited well over 100 Starbucks in Manhattan this year, I’ve had my fair share of interesting experiences. NYC is an ‘interesting’ city — after all — filled with ‘interesting’ people. But what I witnessed today at the Starbucks on the corner of 23rd and 3rd Avenue, has got to be the craziest. I mean, most ‘interesting.’

An older gentlemen came into the Starbucks with one of those reusable plastic grande cups — stained and battered. Although he didn’t quite look homeless, he certainly smelled homeless. How do I know? Well, of course he sat directly across from me at the same table. In the short time I was there, I witnessed him harass the baristas — apparently attempting to give them a laptop he claimed had a virus on it — unload his bag of colored markers and half smoked cigarettes onto our table, and walk around the tiny Starbucks talking to no one in particular.

It’s my theory that NYC makes people crazy. It has a degenerative effect on people’s social skills and literally changes how people act, how they communicate, and how they go about their days. Eccentric may be a more politically correct way to describe the behavior I witness. But I think these habits get worse the longer someone lives in the city. After all, there’s so many people living on this tiny island, that crazy tends to blend in. It makes me wonder how I’ll act 5 years from now?

All that being said, I’d like it to be known that I already concluded this Starbucks was only worth 1-Cup long before Mr. Eccentricity showed up. Reason being: It is way too small, way too crowded and offers very few seats. Perhaps if it were more conveniently located or actually offered a restroom it would have received a higher score. But then again, if so, it may attract more kookie characters.

That’s all for the moment. Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to wipe off the banana smoothie that my table-mate splashed onto my laptop.

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NYC Starbucks: 117th & Pleasant (Target)

30 Jul

117th and Pleasant Starbucks

As the month wraps up, I’m continuing my trend of Starbucks stuffed into place, and everyone’s who’s ever visited a Target store knows how convenient it is to see smell their favorite coffee brand the moment they walk in.

There is actually only one Target on the island of Manhattan, and although this retail superstore is not nearly as popular in the city, it still has a special place in my heart. Without Target, I would never have had the courage to move to NYC. I actually worked for the company as a manager (or Team Leader, in Target-speak) for five years, and they were willing to transfer me up to one of their Brooklyn locations when I got accepted to New York University. Throughout my undergrad, I built my leadership skills within the red wall of Target; I’ve made several great friends; I learned work-ethic and life lessons; and I would never have met my current boyfriend if I had never adorned the red & khaki.

Another thing I got from working at Target — obviously — was an addiction to Starbucks coffee. Although I never worked at this Target, located on 117th and Pleasant Avenue in East Harlem, just walking in here brings back so many memories of my days with the company. I never did work in any of the licensed Starbucks that are within Target stores, but I would frequent them enough to get to know all the barista team members.

The Starbucks inside this Target actually has a great deal of space to itself. There are plenty of small and large tables to sit at, and not surprisingly, at least half of them are occupied by guests with loaded shopping carts. Of course it’s brighter than most Starbucks (fluorescent lights and all), and due to frequent guest traffic, tends to get dirtier a little more quickly.

All in all, it’s not the Starbucks you want to meet a friend for coffee at or hold a study group, but it sure is convenient if you need to get some shopping done.

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NYC Starbucks: 57th & Lexington NWC

27 Jun

57th and Lexington Starbucks

I wish I could say more positive things about the Starbucks on 57th & Lexington. My mother always said if you don’t have something nice to say don’t say anything at all.

So I guess I will start with the positive. This Starbucks is in a great location. Lexington avenue in this odd mixture of Midtown and the Upper East Side is filled with retail possibilities, good restaurants, and public transportation.

And that’s all the good I have.

Honestly, this is just one of those Get In, Get Out locations. It’s triangular in shape and reminds me of my first NYC apartment that was nothing but this odd hybrid between a kitchen, living room and bedroom doors. There are only  7 stools up against one windowed wall. There’s no bathroom and nothing notable about the decor.

Sometimes a Starbucks is just a 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: 58th & Madison

11 Jun

58th and Madison Starbucks

It’s been over 3 months of dedicated Starbucks blogging, but I’ve finally stumbled across another 5-Cup location. The 58th & Madison Starbucks  (b/w Madison and 5th Ave) caught my eye earlier last month. Unfortunately I was in no shape to bang-out a blog at the time but I made a special note to return here another time.

I walked in this morning and was once again impressed by the overall size, style and accommodations provided by this Starbucks. But something else struck me as well — a heat wave. Apparently the AC was on the fritz. Although today’s high 79 degrees, it felt more like 90 degrees inside. Okay, I thought, a minor setback. Luckily the baristas were super apologetic to every guest that complained, and the AC problem was fixed shortly after I arrived.

So what makes this location so special? It’s the impressive styling put into it combined with the size and location. When you walk in, you first enter a decent sized entranceway separated by glass panes. There’s even a tiny bit a seating here. Then as you walk into the main area you can immediately see this Starbucks is larger than most. To your right you’ll spot a seating area composed only of a large ottoman and tree trunk stools. Straight ahead is the monstrous barista bar which counters another large seating area equipped with a communal table and a raised sofa with high tables attached. There are two restrooms in the corner, and the walls are decorated throughout with shelving, mirrors, and Starbucks merchandise (of course).

I can’t say that this is the best one I’ve seen in New York City so far. But I will admit that it was a pleasure to stumble upon a top-notch location such as this one. The fact that it’s technically in Midtown makes this Starbucks even more impressive.

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NYC Starbucks: 43rd & 9th

5 Jun

43rd and 9th

The Starbucks on 43rd and 9th is another victim of construction shielding draped around the exterior. That’s two in a row! I know NYC is forever changing — updating, evolving, improving (maybe?) — but at times it seems like the entire city is covered by one monumental construction awning.

Earlier this year, my street was being torn up in order to get new piping — or at least that’s what I assumed. For at least 2 weeks we would find a notice on our building’s door saying that we would be without water for an 8 hour period starting at 8am. No showers — no flushing toilets — just bottled water to brush your teeth with. Thankfully my gym membership allowed me to maintain a normal schedule.

I was reminded of this when I entered this Starbucks and noticed a sign on the door that stated the Starbucks will be closing at 8pm tonight and would resume operating hours tomorrow. Then, on top of that, the 1 restroom has an out of order sign on the door. Strike 2, I think. Then as I take in my surroundings a bit further, I spot the covers on the power outlets. Strike 3.

Since 2 of these things could just be happenstance flaws, I’m reserving some judgement. After all, I was able to grab a seat right away, and the environment is welcoming enough to keep me here while I write. And one of the best things about Starbucks in NYC… There’s surely another one around the corner.

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NYC Starbucks: 63rd & Broadway

30 May

63rd and Broadway

I used to live at 63rd street on the Upper West Side when I first arrived in NYC, yet I never came across this Starbucks before this week. Just a block away from Lincoln Center (and all the theatrics that come with it), this Starbucks is definitely in a prime location. It’s also only two blocks away from Central Park and just north of Columbus Circle.

Location – of course – isn’t everything. This Starbucks happens to have a very accommodating interior as well, with a long, expansive lounge and multiple arrangements of seating. You can grab a seat at the window, sit at the cushioned bench bordering one wall, plant yourself at the communal table in the center of the store, or even find a spot in a little seating nook that is pushed off to one side of the building.

Today – however – I chose to make Central Park my ultimate destination. And can you blame me? Temperatures soared to 90s this afternoon – so far the year’s high. Also, I had the advantage of having this weekday off while most are cooped up in offices under florescent lighting. Because of this, Sheep’s Meadow (the largest and greenest area in the park) was barely occupied. So I was spared the hundreds of frolicking children and fellow sun-bathers. It was just me, the sun, and an iced coffee.

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NYC Starbucks: 73rd & Columbus

12 May

Starbucks on 73rd and Columbus

If the neighborhoods of Manhattan were competing in a beauty pageant, I feel the Upper West Side would take it by a landslide. Not only does it border Central Park, but it has some of the prettiest buildings and unique architecture (take note of some of the street art and statuary I captured above). It’s less congested, and you can take your time to walk slowly and window shop without becoming a barrier to the go-getters of NYC.

As a gay man, I often tend to look at the city through a rainbow colored lens. The “gay scene” in Manhattan has been on a steady migration ever since the days of Stonewall (1969). Over the past 40 some odd years, the gays have been slowly working their way up the west side of the island. From the West Village to Chelsea to Hell’s Kitchen. You can see the remnants of this slow migration in slug-like trail of stereotypes: The Village houses the “old gays” while Chelsea is for the “muscle daddies” and HK is for “the youngins.”

Always being a forward thinking person, this train of thought has driven me to the conclusion that the Upper West Side will be the next big gay neighborhood within the next 20 years. The proof is in the past and present. As Chelsea bars begin to close and reemerge in HK, the same thing is bound to happen as rent in HK continue to rise. Also since the city was built up — with the northern neighborhoods being newer than the south — there is more room to spread out here.

Building on this stereotype even further, this inevitable migration of gay men with their expendable incomes will certainly lead to more Upper West Side Starbucks. I really hope you can read the jest in my voice here, people!

This Starbucks on 73rd & Columbus is a good example of why I have not grown bored of visiting Starbucks after Starbucks here in Manhattan. Every now and then I stumble upon one that is distinctive enough to keep me pushing forward on my coffee-colored journey.

This location is small but brewing with charm. It’s angled, glass-paneled walls and dark espresso decor attracted me immediately. Then I saw the little seating area separated by a mirrored half-wall and the adorableness factor of this location increased considerably. I believe this to be the first open mirror I’ve seen at any Starbucks so far. Although the restroom line runs long, I still recommend this as a homey and brightly lit Starbucks to spend some time in while on the Upper West Side.

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NYC Starbucks: 57th & 8th SWC

10 May

57thand8th

The Starbucks on 57th & 8th is the emptiest location I’ve seen since beginning this blog. Yes it’s 9pm on a Friday night, but still… there are plenty of Starbucks here in Manhattan that have long lines at this very moment.

This Starbucks’ eerie emptiness is probably due to its vague placement on the NYC grid. It’s right near Columbus Circle but just south of it. It’s a few blocks from the Theatre District but several other Starbucks are much more convenient for the Broadway-goers. And it’s pushed a little too far north to attract any of the crowds from Hell’s Kitchen.

This is all bad for business — but for patrons that need a place to sit and study/read/write/etc, this Starbucks is prime caffeinated real-estate. If only it had a few more power outlets…

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NYC Starbucks: 14th & 6th

25 Apr

14thand6th

The Starbucks on 14th & 6th straddles the West Village to the south and Chelsea to the northeast. Although these are two of my favorite neighborhoods in the city, neither this block nor this location takes on any of their admirable characteristics.

This isn’t a “bad” location by any means — it’s just crowded and condensed. Besides the fact that 14th street brings a lot of pedestrian traffic, it’s also right off of the F/M trains. Fortunately, this location is just a 10 minute walk from several great attractions, including: the Chelsea Market, Union Square, Washington Square Park, and the Meatpacking District.

One notable characteristic is that the restroom is slightly hidden. There’s no signage for it, and it’s behind a door with a keypad-handle. It opens right up to reveal a small hallway with the typical gender-neutral restroom at the other end. Unless you’re curious-by-nature or inquisitive, you may miss it entirely.

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