One of the Joes in my life is Joe, the Art of Coffee. Our local outpost is at 23rd & 9th Ave, though there are locations on Waverly, East 13th, Grand Central and the UWS.
After trying out various Starbucks in our search for a true local coffee spot, we were blessed when the 23rd Street Joe opened for business in about March 2008. It took about a year for the building scaffolding to go away, so we finally see the sun through the high windows.
I will admit, my favorite is the Breakfast Blend but there is another roast that is in rotation that I enjoy (I can't remember the name!). Mexican Chiapas, in rotation now, is good as well.
Coming here, I'm reminded that NYC is a small place and that you do see familiar faces at the neighborhood spots. We typically head over around 8 (with reading material or the iphone to read on) and watch the before work crowd come in. And New Yorkers are really good about leaving reading material for the next person, so I can usually get a NYTimes.
Joe has it's own running blog at: http://teamjoecoffee.blogspot.com. I will admit, that I haven't joined, but follow it.
A shot of the lights (not captured well) and the barista area:
They have the prettiest latte drinks. This is from their website:
And the outside (the messages on the board crack me up. But as someone pointed out to me, it's not necessarily 8 am somewhere, it could be AFTER 8 am):