157-41 Cross Bay Boulevard
Howard Beach, NY 11414
(718) 641-9332

I love Coffee and I love Starbucks. I realize that, to many, a review of Starbucks might be no different than a review of McDonalds. After all they're both megachains bent on world domination. But this isn't a review so much as a quick blurb to point out the best Starbucks in NYC that I know of. The Howard Beach Starbucks.

Howard Beach is a tiny residential enclave in Queens with a disproportionate number of grotesque mansions in its upscale parts. There are few useful stores and virtually no decent places to eat. You'd think that since half the cars around here are luxury ones, there'd be restaurants and bistros that would cater to the population, or that since it's right by the water, there'd be some local seafood joints. You'd think that there'd be these little hold-in-the-wall gems. You'd think it, but you'd be wrong. In truth, there's really no reason to ever go here, except, perhaps sadly, the Starbucks. Or maybe some pizza. And after reading that link, maybe not even the pizza.

The great thing about this one, that for me sets it apart from the others here in the city, is the aura. Yeah, it sounds hokey, but it's so calming there. This Starbucks sits along a little inlet lined with yachts and small boats on Cross Bay Boulevard on the way to the Rockaways, so you have this calming water view that, this past summer while I was there, reminded me of being in the Florida Keys (sans palm trees). Unlike most Manhattan Starbuckses, this one is large and spacious. No one's elbows here will be digging into your side as you're sitting at your table.

Plus, there's a lot of seating outside in the fresh sea-air. There's outside seating in front in the shade, on the side along the water, and upstairs on the roof. Definitely a great summer place to chill out. Too bad it's already autumn.

My one complaint is that, like every Starbucks, they don't have any low-carb pastries. Last year I went on a crazy blitz filling out dozens of "tell us what you think" cards each week for about six months asking for some. Alas, I was ignored like the crazy person they clearly thought I was. But that's a company-wide problem in no way associated with this location.

See? Not really a review at all.

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