The corner bodega is the latest victim to Manhattan’s ever-ascending cost of living and operating an independent business, having been supplanted in some cases by chain supermarkets and pharmacies. That means even more premade Duane Reade bacon egg and cheese sandwiches for you, you filthy animal.
According to a statistic quoted in the New York Times today, 75 of the city’s roughly 12,000 bodegas have closed this year, many of them in upper Manhattan. That’s a pretty small number. The bodega isn’t facing extinction any time soon, but times are apparently tough even for those owners whose businesses are surviving, and it’s hard to imagine them getting better.
The leading cause of death, of course, is rising rent. José Alvarrado, who shuttered his 169th-street outpost after only eight months of business, told the Times that his landlord hiked rent by $100 every month and told him he wouldn’t be able to renew his five-year lease. An owner in Harlem said changes in the neighborhood have forced him to consider converting to a health-food model, with a “salad bar, fresh juices, that kind of thing.”
Do you really want to live in a city where rubbery meat from a pharmacy is your best option for breakfast? Yuck. Buy a coffee from the guy on the corner on your way into work today. If you live in a reasonable neighborhood it’s probably 50 cents for a small, and it’s at least as good as whatever they’re selling at Rite Aid.