Wherefore Art the East Village’s Corner Markets?


While the East Village isn’t lacking for liquor licenses, its corner markets are becoming more scarce.

Or at least that’s what one can reasonably conclude from looking at EV Grieve‘s helpful roundup of the 13 corner markets that have closed over the course of the past year or so.

As with so many other things in the neighborhood, many of them are being replaced with more upscale, “gourmet” markets, the most egregious example being the Union Market that will open on Houston Street and Avenue A later this year. It replaces the Houston Deli & Grocery, an establishment where you could buy lottery tickets, toilet paper, and Pop Tarts 24 hours a day. You won’t find any of these things at Union Market, whose three Brooklyn locations are, in the words of one Yelper, “touchstone[s] for narcissistic Brooklynites to pay $4 for an organic apple.”

While only an unrepentant nostalgist could ignore the fact that many of these places had their problems — rotting produce, grime, and shitty service among them — the closings are still troubling, another reminder of the high rents and sanitized blandness that have put the neighborhood, and city, in a chokehold. If the trend continues, the only markets around will be of the ironic, pop-up variety.


This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on April 8, 2011

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