Twenty years of Starbucks in New York City

If your experience in New York doesn’t stretch back more than two decades, then you’ve never known a time when the city didn’t have multiple Starbucks stores in almost every neighborhood.

Broadway87thstsignIt was 20 years ago this month when the first Starbucks opened on Broadway and 87th Street.

“At 3,000 square feet, this is the largest of the company’s 318 stores and also one of the largest coffee bars in the city,” wrote Florence Fabricant in her New York Times column on April 27, 1994.

That writeup didn’t capture the conflicting emotions many New Yorkers felt about having Starbucks descend on the city.

“When the store at 87th Street welcomed its first caffeine-charged customers in April 1994, national chains and upscale retailers and restaurants were not common in that part of the Upper West Side,” stated a New York Times article from 2003, the year the first store closed.


Starbucks “stirs conflicting feelings among people who live near their branches,” another Times article from 1995 said.

“Some see the coffee bars as promising signs of upscale development and badges of sophistication. Others are put off by the sprawling uniformity of Starbucks stores and fear that they may threaten the distinctive character of old-time establishments in their areas.”

Twenty years later, the opening of a Starbucks branch can still whip up the same opinions.

[photo: a Starbucks in the East 20s, one of 283 in the city]

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5 Responses to “Twenty years of Starbucks in New York City”

  1. me Says:

    There is one now on Kings Highway and East 15th Street (Brooklyn) and the middle school/high school/college age crowds love it. Vey iz mir. My 13 and 11 year old daughters love it. I’m underwhelmed.

  2. Bookpod Says:

    The resistance toward Starbucks reminds me of the mid-1970s when moviegoers used to hiss at commercials shown before the feature film. Today we just accept them as a fact of life. It’s interesting that the appearance of a new Starbucks can still get people’s goat.

  3. ephemeralnewyork Says:

    People get very bent out of shape by Starbucks in certain neighborhoods. But teenagers love them–they seem to be very popular among the tween and young teen set.

  4. Laura Wilke Says:

    When a new Starbucks opens you know it only going to be there for a limited amount of time, where as what was there before probably had been there for 50 years. The new one in the photo is in a spot that was a bank for years and years.

  5. thud Says:

    Starbucks brought decent coffee to England so God bless em!

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