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Tag Archives: tourists

NYC Starbucks: Pearl & State

24 Dec

Pearl and State Starbucks

On this Christmas Eve, I decided to take a trip to the Starbucks closest to Battery Park in Lower Manhattan. This Starbucks is on the corner of Pearl and State streets and is located directly between Battery Park City and South Ferry.

When I emerged from the subway station, I was surprised by the desolate looking Battery Park that expanded far toward the water. Then I turned around and the familiar skyscrapers and construction scaffolding reassured me I was still in Manhattan. Although the park is not much to look at now in this winter blight, I’m sure it is a pretty sight to see in the spring.

The Starbucks that lies across the street from the park is large and crowded. The line inside is mostly tourists but I can also pick out a few locals that are most likely coming from or going to Staten Island. Although there is plenty of space, there is only seating in the back area furthest from the barista bar. There is also a bar lining the exterior walls in the front but no high tops to go with it — probably because they would just make the place even more crowded. After all, no one likes to sit down with a constantly shifting crowd pressing at their backs anyway.

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NYC Starbucks: 34th & 8th

3 Dec

34th and 8th Starbucks

 

Just a stone’s throw away from Macy’s Herald Square — in the thick of Penn Station traffic — is a the small Starbucks at the base of the towering skyscraper of 1 Penn Plaza. It’s semi-removed from the street and a few yards from the exterior plaza on the corner of 8th avenue. Technically, this Starbucks is neither on 7th or 8th ave, but I eye-balled it closer to 8th.

Although this Starbucks looks like it has the potential to be quite sizable from the outside — with its long window paneled exterior — it’s really just a trick of the eye. This Starbucks is another small shallow shotgun style store. There’s a few stools lining the glass walls and an entrance into the office space of 1 Penn Plaza, but that’s nearly it. No restroom, no distinct seating area, and no need to hang around for longer than you need to.

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NYC Starbucks: 34th & Broadway (Macy’s 2nd Floor)

1 Dec

34th and Broadway Macy's 2nd Floor

Well, I have to admit. I came to Macy’s today with a plan: Visit the four Starbucks inside starting from the top and work my way out of the massive store in time to meet some friends for brunch. I started with a latte at the 6th floor Starbucks, quickly followed it with a double shot of espresso at the 5th floor Starbucks, took my time sipping a tall pike in the 3rd floor Starbucks’ generous seating area, and then arrived at the first floor balcony Starbucks with just enough room in me for another double shot.

What I did not expect was to be told by one of the baristas at the balcony location that there is actually a 5th Starbucks cafe inside Macy’s on the the 2nd floor. Hell, I thought I was technically on the second floor! But no. When I asked about the supposed “Evening Menu”, I was told I would find it at the 2nd floor Herald Square Café. Needless to say, I quickly downed my double shot, cut through the perfumes and headed back up the escalator.

And there it was, right on the Broadway side of the building in the corner of the women’s shoe department. I had literally passed by it on my way to the 6th floor earlier and not even noticed. Why? Two reasons: they do a good job at distinguishing it from the rest of the merchandise, and there is technically no Starbucks branding on any of the signs. None. As you can see above, all signs read: Herald Square Cafe. Now before you go jumping to any conclusions, this is not like your typical Barnes & Noble Cafe that happens to serve Starbucks coffee. This is a truly unique experience altogether.

Where do I start?

So yes, this location is called the Herald Square Cafe, but it is owned by Starbucks. Some have called these kind of stores mercantile or non-branded, but honestly the coffee cups are still typical Starbucks red-cups, so it’s not that sneaky. Yes, there is also an evening menu that includes champagne and wines. It also has some pretty neat food options like truffle oil mac & cheese and hand-crafted chocolates, but honestly my mind went straight to the fact that they serve alcohol. I wonder what that says about me?

Anyway. The seating area — in fact, the entire cafe — is very elegant and classy. The tables and chairs are composed of marble and wood. The sofas are upholstered with a dark grey floral design, and there is a beautiful clock fixture mounted on the wall that represents Macy’s exterior clock that overlooks Broadway.

Well , I must admit I probably looked like a crazy person. Here I stand, a Starbucks enthusiast hyped up on 2 double shots of espresso, a latte and a coffee, standing in a newly discovered and very unique Starbucks that serves champagne and brings your food to your table. So what did I do? I ordered myself a brut rosé, sat down at one of the extravagant sofas and simply allowed myself to relax for a moment — a long moment. I sipped my champagne and thought how cool this past year has been and how I’ve enjoyed discovering places like this around the city. I know New York is not for everyone, and I know there is much more than Starbucks in New York. But this experience really has led me on quite the journey. Those are just a few of the thoughts that came to mind before I finished my glass and walked out of the Macy’s Herald Square and its five distinct Starbucks within.

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NYC Starbucks: 34th & Broadway (Macy’s 3rd Floor)

1 Dec

34th and Broadway Starbucks Macy's 3rd Floor

After visiting the Starbucks on the 6th and 5th floors of Macy’s, I’ve now made my way down to the 3rd floor Starbucks. This location differentiates itself from the others because it actually has seating. It’s not simply a Starbucks counter like the others. It is set up in the corner of the floor and is completely distinct from the surrounding Macy’s merchandise. It even has different floor tiling and a half wall dividing it from the 3rd floor women’s department.

There are a handful of tables-for-two, a sofa with power outlets, distinctive Starbucks decor and it even gets natural sunlight from the windows behind the barista bar. Unfortunately, it’s closer to the ground floor so it is also more traveled than the Macy’s Starbucks on the higher levels.

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NYC Starbucks: 34th & Broadway (Macy’s 5th Floor)

1 Dec

34th and Broadway Starbucks Macy's 5th Floor

After visiting Macy’s 6th floor Starbucks, I simply had to take one escalator down to the 5th floor woman’s department to find the next one. And I have to admit, these two Starbucks are strikingly similar. They are the same exact size. Neither offers seating. And they are both located up against a wall that separates one department from another. The only perceivable difference is that this 5th floor Starbucks is surrounded by woman’s clothing and not bedding.

I simply ordered my double shot of espresso, took in the scene and continued on my way. There are grander Starbucks inside this Macy’s to visit. I know that for a fact.

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NYC Starbucks: 42nd & 8th

29 Nov

42nd and 8th Starbucks

After nearly seven hours of Black Friday shopping in NYC, my body feels like it just went through a trauma. My feet are swollen like a pregnant woman’s and my back is sore from carrying the baggage I inevitably picked up. Still — it was kind of worth it. And I got to visit a Starbucks along the way.

While most retail stores — and practically everywhere near Times Square — were much more crowded today than usual, I can assuredly say that the Starbucks on 42d and 8th avenue sees this kind of crowd daily. This location is connected to the Regal Cinemas and stays open later than most Starbucks in the city to keep late-night movie goers and passers- by caffeinated.

Inside, this Starbucks is average sized — maybe a little big by Midtown standards — and has a heavy crowd flow. Obviously, it houses as lot of tourists, but it also has a decently sized seating area and a few random bar stool to maintain the crowd. But its most distinctive characteristic is its elaborate decor. Even the Starbucks logo outside is louder than most, but then again, in this neighborhood, your signing needs to be over-the-top to stand out from the hundreds of other flashy and eccentric marketing ploys.

My favorite piece inside the Starbucks is a large eclectic wall mural that takes up most of the wall near the street entrance. It contains random colors, various siren sketches and different quotes about coffee, nature, mermaids and other random stuff. Most of the mural and some of the quotes are pictured above, but my favorite is as follows:

“Come into the water,” the Siren said. “Without water there would be no life. It is water that brews our coffees. Many humans are convinced you know, that there is no life before coffee.”

And — yes — clearly, I am one of those humans. Especially on Black Friday, there would be no life in me without coffee.

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NYC Starbucks: 49th & 7th

8 Nov

49th and 7th Starbucks

Fall simply does not last long enough here in NYC. It’s only early November and already we’re in the 30s with the threat of snow next week. Obviously that’s the latent Floridian in me talking, but still… Brrr!

I’m currently concealed from the cold drinking my tall hot coffee at the Starbucks on 49th and 7th. Although, it’s technically north of Time Square, it’s still surrounded by the bright lights and hype of the area. The crowd is just as touristy here as it is on 42nd street, and the lines are no shorter. In fact, at the moment I can’t really make out the difference between those waiting to use the single restroom and those waiting for their drinks. They all stew in a still silence.

Also notable on this trip… there seems to be a group of pirates gathering in one corner of this Starbucks. It started with one. Then two. Now I’m sitting across from three fully dressed pirates. Perhaps they make money taking pictures under the bright lights, or maybe this is just a group of guys attending a very late Halloween party.

While I still hold the belief that no Starbucks in NYC is typical, I will admit that this one cannot help resemble every other Times Square Starbucks. It’s bursting with crowds. The baristas move slow simply because they’re consistently overwhelmed. The restroom line is a mess. And 50 percent of the people using the seating — if there is any — have made no purchase.

Still, if you like high energy environments, this very well could be the Starbucks for you!

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NYC Starbucks: 45th & Broadway NWC (Marriott Marquis)

6 Nov

45th and Broadway Starbucks Marriott Marquis

I know what you’re thinking. It’s already the sixth of November, and I’ve only visited two Starbucks so far. I’ve less than 60 days left in the year — time is running out — and here I am slacking. Well, maybe I’m the only one thinking that, but I promise my commitment to the cause is stronger than ever. I just happened to have some friends from Florida visiting for the Halloween weekend, and obviously they wanted to see more of NYC than the insides of various Starbucks.

To kick things back into gear, I decided a trip to a Time Square Starbucks would do the trick. And I’ve had my eye on the Starbucks within The Marriott Marquis lobby for quite some time. Before I describe the Starbucks, let me say how grand this hotel is. No — it’s not grand as in pretentiously opulent — it’s just impressive. The location. The glass elevators. The views from the hotel rooms. The accommodations. The crowds. Everything. It’s very high energy and things don’t really calm down in the lobby until after 4am — don’t ask me how I know that. I will also add that a friend once got their luggage stolen from the lobby when they were checking in. So be careful.

As for the Starbucks… It is located on the southeast side of the building. It has a street entrance on 45th street as well as a glass door leading into the Marriott’s lobby. There’s no seating inside nor is there a restroom dedicated to Starbucks. Fortunately, there is a standing bar that wraps around the glass paneled exterior. This way, visitors can stand in the warmth of the Starbucks while they gaze out the window at The Minskoff Theatre (home to The Lion King) and Junior’s (a giant NYC diner that attracts thousands of pre/post theatergoers). I recommend trying Junior’s grilled cheese!

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NYC Starbucks: 76th & Columbus

3 Nov

76th and Columbus Starbucks

Today was a very special day in New York. It was the first ING New York City Marathon since Hurricane Sandy and The Boston Marathon bombing. Last year, the controversial cancellation of the marathon left a lot of would-be-runners upset, and I remember seeing them run up and down the streets of Manhattan as a symbol of solidarity despite the marathon’s cancellation.

The race actually runs right near my apartment on 1st Avenue, and after we stood watching it for a while, we walked around the blockades, through Central Park and into the Upper West Side to enjoy a beautifully chilly day in the city. The race literally snakes around Manhattan, so several areas are blocked off. We watched as friends and family members searched to congratulate their loved ones in the race. And lucky for me, the Starbucks on 76th and Columbus was within a few blocks from where runners could reunite with family. In fact, as my boyfriend and I walked into the Starbucks I got the pleasure of witnessing a man embrace his female partner who had just finished the race. You could tell she was exhausted beyond belief as she nearly collapsed in his arms as he tried to wrap his jacket around her.

So obviously because of the marathon this Starbucks was as crowded as a nightclub this afternoon. Literally, I you had to shuffle through line inch-by-inch and the option of sitting was simply out of the question. However, I have been to this Starbucks in the past, and I can say that I had no trouble finding a seat and the crowd was totally manageable. But it’s not everyday that 47 thousand marathoners take the streets of NYC.

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NYC Starbucks: 37th & Broadway

29 Oct

37th and Broadway Starbucks

Once again I find myself back in NYC after a short reprieve. I totally understand why most New Yorkers travel so much; it really pays to spend some time outside of this concrete jungle — even for just a long weekend. This time I found myself meeting my boyfriend’s family in New Orleans. You can see my previous post for the details of my Starbucks experiences in The South, but just know that the two cities operate very differently.

While in The Big Easy I was introduced to something called the café au lait. Basically it’s the French version of Starbucks’ caffè misto — which is obviously Italian. The main difference is that in New Orleans, they add chicory to the brew, which gives it a spicy and woody taste that I loved instantly.

So now I’m back in the city sipping on my misto and wishing Starbucks would experiment with chicory in their coffees. I’m also wishing for more sun and warmer weather — but then again — that’s typical of the first few days after I return from a trip elsewhere.

I decided to visit the Starbucks on 37th & Broadway as a way of diving headfirst back into the city’s momentum. Being down south too long made me leisurely, and I can’t always afford to act like that. This Starbucks was not as crowded as I expected it to be, but that may be due to the fact that it simply isn’t big enough. Or possibly because its only restroom was out-of-order.

The patrons that were inside were mostly tourists. The limited window seating that this location offers up were all occupied. And there were no visible power outlets that I could see. Fortunately it’s in a conveniently located area, and if you’re desperate to take a load off, there are plenty of metal chairs outside on this strip of Broadway. I just wouldn’t recommend it on a cold and sunless day like today.

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