Tag Archives: Upper East Side

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: 85th & 1st

16 Jun

85th and 1st Starbucks

I first stumbled across the Starbucks on 85th and 1st Avenue last year in December. Once I saw it, I knew I would have to make a trip back up this way once the weather turned more agreeable. This is the only Starbucks in Manhattan (that I’ve seen so far) that has an outdoor seating area, equipped with dozens of tables and several patio umbrellas.

The seating courtyard is raised up from the sidewalk and is equipped with WiFi. Sitting here typing on my laptop outdoors is bringing me Florida flashbacks of all my time spent at the Starbucks down south. In Florida, it was rare to find a Starbucks without an outdoor area — here it’s the exact opposite. Although I understand why. For almost half the year this location is practically unusable. The patio will be far too cold and the indoor seating is very limited. Still… it’s great to know there’s at least one on the island of Manhattan.

This Starbucks is located in a small neighborhood within the Upper East Side called Yorkville. It’s pushed off to the far east of the island and is just below East Harlem. Apparently it’s known for being affluent and family friendly. Lots of people pass with dogs, and it lacks the typical pushiness of NYC. All in all, this area is very quiet and peaceful. The only convenient trains are the 4/5/6, but maybe that’s the price you pay for peace of mind?

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NYC Starbucks: 75th & 1st

7 Jun

75th and 1st

Today I decided to continue my trend of  thoroughly exploring the surrounding neighborhood before diving into my destination (aka Starbucks). Unfortunately, an umbrella was a necessary companion on my journey through the Upper East Side since it started raining late last night and still has yet to show any sign of stopping.

But I was adamant about my decision. Sure, it’s only the Upper East Side and I’ve probably walked through this 10 block radius before, but this time I wanted to take notice of the little things. And what did I notice? Well for starters, there’s a lack of delis — appealing delis that is. There was a cute bagel place on 78th that I stopped in. There was an Indian place that should some potential, and for some reason there was at least 2 hardware stores that caught my eye. All in all, everything this far east seems very pedestrian. It’s all the essentials, but nothing to wow the eye.

The Starbucks on 75th and 1st Ave was yet again surrounded by construction shielding (the third this week!). Luckily, the interior was much more appealing then the view from outside. I found it to be full of seating (mostly wooden, but at least one cushioned sofa) and not too crowded. I stayed for several hours to get some work done, and it never quite filled up nor did the line become too long. Perhaps the rain was keeping people out? If this location were easier to access through public transportation,  I probably would have ranked it higher, but until then we wait for that elusive 2nd Avenue train system.

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NYC Starbucks: 63rd & Lexington

23 May

63rd and Lexington

I’ve been monitoring the arrival of the Starbucks on the corner of 63rd & Lexington as a botanist would study the budding of a new exotic plant.

The first signs of life appeared when the ever-popular “STARBUCKS COFFEE” lettering appeared over top the vacant shop. Then the windows were covered with construction paper as the inside of this building began to transform from whatever it once held into the most well-known coffee house in the world. I must admit, it took longer than I thought it would. You hear of Starbucks “popping” up here and there, but this was much more of a slow growth. Then, just a few days ago, the doors finally opened for business.

I knew I had to visit this location within a week of its opening. Would it be different than the others? More modern? Technologically advanced? Would there be any kinks to work out? What goes into designing one Starbucks from the next?

Now that I’m here, it’s obvious that no great changes have been initiated for Starbucks’ latest fleet of openings. They’re not trying to reinvent a fully functional wheel here on 63rd and Lex. While the decor is nice (grey wood tones accented with silver chairs and stools) and the whole building seems to glisten with newness, it’s not another generation of Starbucks. Pretty soon, I’d imagine it will look similar to all the others in the city.

The one unique feature that I’ve yet to see at another location is its window seating. Most locations have a short bar attached to the windows accompanied by raised stools. This Starbucks has two padded seating cubbies nearly the size of a mattress. These are raised about 2 ft above the floor and are on either corner of the entrance. I’m sitting cross-legged in one now, and I must admit it’s quiet comfortable and comes with a childlike sense of amusement. I’d love to see more of these at other Starbucks.

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NYC Starbucks: 58th & Lexington

28 Apr

58thandLexington

Before moving to New York City, I knew that Michael Bloomberg was the current mayor. What  I didn’t know is that before politics, Bloomberg was a hugely successful business man. Now, I’m sitting in the Starbucks on 58th and Lexington, which is directly underneath the Bloomberg Tower.

This large tower is one of the most unique in the city (see above for pictures). I had the privilege of touring the Bloomberg HQ last year and was taken aback. The company was founded when Bloomberg (the man) developed a computer system for monitoring financial data in real time. Now the business has expanded to a mass media hub. Besides being architecturally impressive, it seems like one of the most enriching places to work in the media industry.

And to top it all off, there’s a Starbucks on site. What more could you ask for?

Although this technically a Midtown location, it’s only two short blocks from the Upper East Side. Which means it’s not nearly as crowded, and you see much more people walking their dogs as they pass on the sidewalk. Although it’s an average sized location, it doesn’t seem to attract the typical weekend crowd, and the few seats that are here have a high turnover of occupants. The walls are mostly glass, so natural bright light is flooding through on this sunny Sunday afternoon.

Speaking of — what am I still doing indoors on a nice day like this?

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NYC Starbucks: 60th & 3rd

1 Apr

60thand3rd

I hate to start the month off with anything less than the best, but today’s Upper East Side Starbucks was anything but impressive.

This is the second location in a week that I have been unable to connect to WiFi. I thought it was an April Fool’s joke or something. Now I will admit that I have had previous encounters with this location and been able to access WiFi just fine. They were obviously having an issue today. Maybe that’s why it was pretty vacant when usually it contains quite the crowd.

Still… in today’s age having a Starbucks without WiFi (even for a moment) is like living on the 10th floor without an elevator. You don’t need it, but you really really want it.

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NYC Starbucks: 60th & 1st

9 Mar

60thand1st

Today I woke up to spring. Yesterday may have consisted of snow, rain, and dreary skies. But today spring decided to pay Manhattan a visit for the first time in 2013.

I don’t think I’ve ever looked forward to spring with such zeal. In Florida, spring was a simple reminder that summer was on its way. Meaning: stay indoors and crank the AC. But here in New York, I can feel the city’s eagerness for the bloom of spring — which is ironic considering our lack of greenery.

To further brighten my day, I decided to sample the latest addition to the Starbucks espresso family: The Hazelnut Macchiato. Like its sister-drink, the caramel macchiato, you can get this one hot, iced, or skinny. Not only are the macchiatos the most visually appealing drinks, but they are delicious and pack an espresso punch. Although I still prefer the caramel to the hazelnut (I think it’s the vanilla syrup) I appreciate the expansion of the macchiato family. Next, I’d like to see a mocha macchiato variant.

The Starbucks on 60th and 1st Avenue seems to defy neighborhood placement. It is north of Sutton Place — south of Yorkville — East of Lenox Hill — and is west of the East River and Roosevelt Island. All of these areas are relatively small sub-neighborhoods. So I guess we can just say this is another generic Upper East Side Starbucks. Which would explain its superior accommodations.

One of the most charming aspects of this location is that it is slightly tucked in form 1st Avenue, and rows of outdoor chairs have been staggered on the sidewalk – a  concrete version of a park-bench, so to speak. This, combined with the natural lighting and studious crowd, makes it an excellent Starbucks to take a load off at.

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NYC Starbucks: 92nd & 3rd

2 Mar

92ndand3rd

The Starbucks on 92nd street and 3rd avenue is only the third Starbucks I’ve visited on the Upper East Side, but I am already seeing a pattern. If the Starbucks of NYC were a clothing line, the Upper East Side locations would be the formal wear. These Starbucks dress to impress.

Being up in the 90s, this location actually boarders on East Harlem, which may also explain the communal atmosphere I picked up on while sitting here. Several older patrons seem to frequent the location. They don’t bring laptops or iPads. They come with newspapers and paperback novels. They chat with each other and are on a first name basis with the baristas. Simply adorable — to say the least.

But all Starbucks come with their flaws. Yes this Starbucks may be beautifully decorated and clean — almost sterile, in-fact — it falls short in the practicality department. The small seating lounge is just a bit too snug. Causing people to shift around to let others pass in and out of seats or to the creamer station.

Also, this Starbucks doesn’t appear to have any public power outlets. Unfortunately this too is becoming a pattern I’m noticing. In-fact, I did a bit of research on the matter. Check out this article I discovered from 2011 that talks about the need for Starbucks to eliminate squatters in”extreme cases.” Now I’ve often been quoted saying that Starbucks is my “office” but apparently there are some that have taken that statement to the next level, turning Starbucks into their 9 to 5 workroom.

This begs the question: Is Starbucks cutting off New York’s power supply?

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Reflection: Starbucks at the Met?

20 Feb

Starbucks Is a Work of Art.

This weekend I set out to to explore a piece of New York City apart from Starbucks: the Metropolitan Museum of Art. However, while I was at the museum I just happened to stumble upon a little piece of Starbucks:

metstatue

 

What’s a Siren, and Why Is It on my Coffee Cup?

This particular statue, titled “Siren”, was made in the 16th century in Rome. While there a many statues depicting these creatures, this one appears to be the most similar to the original Starbucks Coffee logo, with twin tails and a hand holding each. Of course the logo has gone through several changes since its inception, but if you look up the original — or you’ve been drinking coffee long enough to remember — you’ll find the resemblance to be uncanny.

Now why would Starbucks choose this hideously beautiful creature to be their mascot to the world? Well let’s think about this. A siren is a mythological creature that was said to entice sailors with a melodic song only to leave them ship wrecked on jagged rocks and thrust into the sea. How many of us hear the call of coffee in the morning? Despite the consequences of caffeine or the health risks of added sugars and the pastries that so often accompany it, we cannot seem to turn ourselves away.

So here I am in New York City, walking to work — or wherever — when I happen to spot that oh’so familiar logo on the side of a building.   Just like hearing the siren’s call, I cannot help but head that direction. And clearly, I’m seeing Starbucks wherever I go in this city.

If you’d like more information on the relationship between Starbucks and the siren, you can check out this detailed video I found. It discusses the history of the logo and the mythology behind the siren.

NYC Starbucks: 66th & 3rd

28 Jan

66thand3rd

It’s snowing!!!

Yeah, I know I probably shouldn’t lead with that statement, since its relativity to this blog is reaching at best, but the fact remains: It is indeed snowing. This being my first winter up north, I have yet to inherit a prejudice toward this white substance that falls from above. When a seasoned New Yorker says “It’s snowing,” the statement comes out a guttural growl of disdain; coming out of my mouth, the words crack the edges of my mouth into a smile and turn my eyes into saucers of glee. In a year or so, I’ll probably assimilate with the masses and learn to despise the snow, but until then I’ll allow my Floridian instincts to fill me with wonder at the sight of this strange-white phenomena.

Shielding me from this Winter Wonderland today is the Starbucks on the corner of 66th and 3rd. Back in the Upper East Side again, this Starbucks is starkly different then the location on 69th and 1st that I visited previously. Whereas the other location was an excellent spot to sit and read or write, this store seems to be strictly business. Those walking in aren’t really looking for a cafe, they’re looking for their coffees, their lattes, their sugary pastries, and they’re looking for them fast.

This Starbucks is literally designed like a drive-through:

Enter in Front: Order: Move Forward: Pick Up Drink: Proceed to Add Cream/Sugar: Exit in Rear

No fuss, no muss. Get in, get out. But of course IF you were looking to sit down for a spell, there are a few tables toward the back as well as bar seating lining the windows. Of course, it’s my personal goal it sit and observe all the Starbucks in Manhattan, but if you’re not me (which I’m assuming you’re not…) you might be best finding another location that has a little less traffic and a little more seating.

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