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Tag Archives: Treat Receipt

Reflection: August

2 Sep

NYC Starbucks August

 

Labor Day is here, and August has run out. I guess it’s time to retire those white shoes and tank tops.

For me, August was a month of travel — either I was traveling or had someone visiting. This made for a fun and exciting month — for sure — but it also staggered my blogging a bit. Still, I must admit it was worth it. I actually spent the last six days in California with my boyfriend celebrating one year of being together. We arrived in Los Angeles, made the leisurely trip up the Pacific Coast Highway, and spent a few days in San Francisco. And, yes — of course — I was very observant of the west coast Starbucks and how they compared to those in NYC. In fact, while sitting in the Castro district of San Francisco, I was able to take pause, snap some photos and write out my thoughts:

Castro and 18th

I’m currently sitting in the gayest Starbucks in the country.

No, I’m not using gay in a derogatory way. And no, I’m not even in New York. At this very moment, I’m sipping my iced coffee on a bench outside the San Francisco Starbucks on the corner of 18th and Castro.

If I had to rate this Starbucks, geography aside, it would certainly get a 5-Cup rating. It’s clean. Spacious. Cozy. And adorned with rainbow flags! The baristas are super friendly, and — not going to lie — really cute. All in all, this is the epitome of a gay man’s dream Starbucks.

But now I’m back in NYC, and it’s time to reflect on the 14 NYC Starbucks I made it to in the month of August.

With summer coming to an end, I knew I wanted to explore some of the more obscure Starbucks before the inevitable temperature drop. So I packed a bag and headed north — to the most northern Starbucks in Manhattan, that is. Although there was nothing particularly special about that Starbucks, it was a great experience to walk around north Manhattan for the first time. This is such a diverse city, with something for everyone in any of the hundreds of neighborhoods within.

All in all, it was a pretty good month. I even found two 5-Cup Starbucks and only one 1-Cup location. I’ve now visited 127 Starbucks in total this year, and my urge for caffeine is not quite yet satiated.

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NYC Starbucks: 78th & Lexington

18 Aug

78th and Lexington Starbucks

All good things must come to an end. Vacations… coffee breaks… Lady Gaga and Perez Hilton’s friendship… and — sadly — this season’s Starbucks Treat Receipt. I almost wonder if it would be more profitable for Starbucks to keep the Treat Receipt program around year-round, but I assume their marketing team has already looked into that and decided against it. It’s kind of like the Disney Vault… if those movies were available all of the time, no one would be buying them.

I decided to enjoy my last $2 iced beverage at a Starbucks in the Upper East Side on the corner of 78th and Lexington. To further treat myself, I decided to make it a iced white chocolate mocha, which — if you’ve had one — you know they are to die for.

This Starbucks is directly on the corner and extends down Lexington for quite a distance. There are numerous bar stools placed up against the avenue facing windows and an additional seating area with a long sofa, two tables-for-two and a communal table at one end of the store. There are two entrances, one restroom and plenty of uncovered power outlets. The environment is very chill and relaxed — lots of laptops, books and a few families.

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NYC Starbucks: 86th & Columbus

16 Aug

86th and Columbus Starbucks

Life has a natural symmetry… a way of balancing things out. Yesterday, I visited one of the worst Starbucks in Manhattan and today I’m sitting at what is arguably one of the best.

The Upper West Side Starbucks on the corner of 86th & Columbus is roughly the size of three regular NYC Starbucks. I actually passed by the entrance on my way to grab lunch and as I kept walking I noticed that I was still passing by windows that belonged to the Starbucks. It just goes on and on.

The neighborhood surrounding this Starbucks consists of nice restaurants with outdoor seating, coffee shops (other than Starbucks, that is), a few delis and, of course, Central Park to the east.

Inside, the Starbucks has two seating areas equipped with sofas, comfy chairs, tables-for-two and a few larger tables as well. The decor is nice; including a curving mural wall, hanging mirrors, pictures and even some white pillars on display in the window. The lighting is a little dim but not too bad. But, what I think is most impressive about this Starbucks is the lack of a crowd. I’ve been here for quite some time, and there has always been a few seats available — comfy seats at that! There’s even open outlets.

I could go on and on about how much I like this Starbucks. But I’d rather spend a little more time enjoying it instead of writing about it.

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NYC Starbucks: 34th & 7th

15 Aug

34th and 7th Starbucks

I consider the corner of 34th and 7th Avenue to to be the epicenter of Midtown, Manhattan. It’s just west of Macy’s; just north of Penn Station; and a few blocks south of Times Square. Buses heading out of the city (if not going through the Port Authority Bus Terminal) often pick you up and drop you off on this street, and it’s surrounded by hotels in every direction.

But what does all this say about the Starbucks that exists on this corner?

Three words: busy, crowded and cramped.

This Starbucks is narrow in structure, but that kind of works for this location since it has both a street entrance and exit into an office building; so in theory, it serves its purpose for all those who work in that building. Unfortunately, for everyone else, this Starbucks’ structure is much more frustrating than convenient.

There are six tables lined up against one wall. Each of those are crowded with patrons and non-patrons. Actually, a lot of people are on laptops with no coffee in hand or simply sitting and staring blankly with luggage by their side. Each time one person leaves, another person that has been standing and waiting rushes to the empty seat.

So — yeah — this Starbucks may be in the epicenter of Midtown Manhattan, but that only means it takes the crowd of two Midtown Starbucks.

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NYC Starbucks: 27th & 6th

13 Aug

27th and 6th Starbucks

This weekend I did something I can’t say I’ve done in over a year: I spent an entire weekend without any Starbucks. This was not by choice but an inadvertent reality I had to face when visiting Provincetown, MA. Luckily, what this small town on the tip of Cape Cod lacks in Starbucks, it makes up with culture, beaches, bars and quirky shops to visit. This was my first time in Ptown, and I must say, I’m a huge fan. In a way, it’s the anti-New York, and I even enjoyed sampling the local cafes.

However, after a long weekend away from NYC, sometimes it feels good to return to the fast paced streets and active lifestyle of a New Yorker. At least there’s Starbuck here.

Today, I’m spending some time in a Starbucks on the corner of 27th and 6th Ave. This area is on the border of both Chelsea and NoMad, yet it hardly resembles either neighborhood. This strip of 6th Ave is inundated with quick service lunch restaurants to service the nearby business crowds of the Flatiron district.

The Starbucks itself is designed well, but tiny. It’s placed directly on the corner and constructed like the cutout of a circle. There’s no restroom, and — even worse — no seating. Yes, there are plenty of Starbucks in either direction on 6th Ave, but I still see no reason why 8-10 stools can’t be placed facing the window-bar.

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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: 42nd & 9th

26 Jul

42nd and 9th Starbucks

I’ve passed by the Starbucks on 42nd and 9th avenue several times, and although never entering, I knew what I would most likely rate this Starbucks months ago. That’s because its exterior wall is nothing but paneled glass. Each time I passed, I could see exactly what was going on inside.

Essentially, this Starbucks is a small space with crowded tables, a consistent crowd and little room for much else. I could even tell there was no restroom just by a passing glance. Although it’s well enough removed from Time Square to not have a giant crowd shuffling by outside, it still attracts enough of a crowd. It’s close to the Port Authority Bus Terminal and just north of the traffic nightmare known as Hellsea.

I’m not saying grabbing a seat here would be impossible. Just prepare to wait a while — or arrive early. This bad boy opens up at 6am, Monday-Friday.

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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: 33rd & 7th (Penn Station)

22 Jul

33rd an 7th Starbucks

I just couldn’t stay away.

After visiting one of the two Starbucks inside of Penn Station, I knew I had to come back and check out the other one. So I decided to take my Treat Receipt from this morning back to Midtown. This Starbucks is in the northeast corner of Penn Station — at least as far as I can tell, it is — close to the 7th avenue entrance and Madison Square Garden.

Before I found this Starbucks, I stumbled upon three separate Dunkin Donuts and dozens of other well known chains that are taking advantage of the masses that venture into the station. I came here directly after work, and the 5 o’clock traffic was in full bloom. Upstairs, where the incoming trains are posted, the crowds just pile in and stand, but down near the tracks where these Starbucks are, the crowds are like a stampede of suits and suitcases.

The Starbucks itself does a pretty good job at differentiating itself from the one down the way. It has distinctive decor, different seating styles and a much poorer WiFi connection. Also worth noting, is that this one has its power outlets covered up while the other one does not. Other than that, the lines and crowds are fairly equal, and they are about the same size.

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NYC Starbucks: 48th & 3rd

17 Jul

48th and 3rd Starbucks

New York City has been undergoing a heat wave this week. Basically, this city has been transformed into a concrete oven that heats to 97 degrees and seems to stay that way ALL day. So these Starbucks Treat Receipts couldn’t come at a better time.

The Starbucks on 48th and 3rd avenue is a tiny rectangle with a small barista bar, a row of chairs against the front window. and one long cushioned bench with tables. The neighborhood of Turtle Bay is kind of off the beaten path (unless your heading to a train), so this Starbucks seems to only attract passersby, making the tiny seating area more than enough to hold the crowd.

Despite the fact that it’s small, closes earlier than most and doesn’t appear to have any power outlets, this Starbucks is still a welcoming reprieve from this NYC heat.

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