A NoHo Starbucks deals with more than just a constant stream of caffeine addicts looking for their fix.
The cafe on the corner of Astor Place and Lafayette Street regularly sees drug users, the mentally ill and the homeless looking to take a nap, The Post noted.
“Starbucks woke up too soon,” said Constantine Dobryakov, a regular customer of Java. “Some customers are now too scared to go in because you have a bunch of homeless people sleeping there. They should be ready to kick people out and not give everyone a free cup of coffee. You give them a finger and they take a hand.”
For the past week, The Post has seen homeless people fall asleep, wash their hair in a public sink and be transported to hospital from the recently unionized Starbucks. Among the eye openers:
- A man brought his own box of Cinnamon Toast Crunch, a carton of milk and some Entenmann’s mini crumble cookies before laying face down on the table. Then he rolled spliffs nearby, paying customers trying to enjoy their lattes and Frappuccinos.
- A mentally disturbed man in a black trench coat talked to himself and shouted obscenities at the communal mirror by the bathrooms for 30 minutes. “There’s a guy at the toilets who makes people very uncomfortable,” one customer told an employee behind the counter. Two police officers, one of whom was wearing a riot shield, eventually removed him without incident.
- There’s also the foul odor and rubbish that accumulates on the site – newspapers, food wrappers and empty coffee cups litter the covered patio. “There’s nothing like the smell of BO and urine in your morning coffee,” commented one Nextdoor user in response to a photo that showed squatters slumbering in a cubicle surrounded by trash, carrier bags and luggage.
- On Friday, EMTs were called to help a man who had passed out on the stairs and blocked an exit. He regained consciousness and got into the ambulance with the help of paramedics.
Once Manhattan’s largest Starbucks — now bigger than the Starbucks Reserve and the 23,000-square-foot Roastery in Chelsea — the Astor Place location is a go-to spot for the needy, said Dave, a 28-year-old homeless man from Boston. .
“They have phone chargers and nice couches,” he said. “Since those black guys were arrested in Philadelphia a few years ago, nobody really wants to touch you. Employees can come and very quietly ask sleeping people to wake up and move on, but then those same guys fall right back to sleep. The police only show up when someone is dangerous.”
Critics say it’s Starbucks’ own fault that the stores were confiscated by bums, drunks and drug dealers after they made their bathrooms public and even put syringe disposal boxes in some of them.
“They allow anyone to use their toilets, which sounds like a good idea, but when you have a country that uses public spaces as shelters for the homeless and mental health wards, that makes people spray heroin in the bathrooms. and move to them halfway through,” said Kevin Williamson, a political commentator.
The java giant has been hit hard this summer.
Starbucks recently announced it would close 16 profitable stores, two of which are unionized, throughout Seattle; Los Angeles; Philadelphia; Washington, DC and Portland, Oregon, due to security concerns, violent crime, and rampant drug use in and around stores.
“I am shocked that one of the primary concerns of our retail partners is their own personal safety. And then we heard the accompanying stories about what’s happening in our bathrooms,” CEO Howard Schultz said at an internal meeting that was held. first reported by the Post Millennial in July. “We are confronted with things the stores are not built for. So we listen to our people and close stores. This is just the beginning. There will be many more.”
A Starbucks spokesperson said individual locations have the authority to change hours or go “drive-in only” as a way to “do what they need to create a safe environment.”