For seven years, Cinema Nolita occupied the storefront at 178 Mulberry Street. The video and DVD rental shop was one of the last of a rapidly dying breed, but when word of its potential closure surfaced in 2009, its customers rallied to try to save it. But despite their efforts, and those of Bad Lieutenant director Abel Ferrara, Cinema Nolita lost its battle. And now, two years after its closure, there is news of its replacement. To absolutely no one’s surprise, it will involve food.
Bowery Boogie reports that 178 Mulberry Street will soon be home to La Cremeria, a gelato shop. According to an article published in an Italian newspaper, it is owned by Martino Carciagli, a native of Bologna, and will be “equipped with benches and … the best technology,” and “carefully furnished.” All of the ingredients will come from Italy, except for the milk, which will come from “a farm in New Jersey.” Local-ingredient quota fulfilled!
The place is scheduled to open in September; somewhat unsurprisingly, its owner, who has a background as an accountant, is already hoping to open additional branches in countries like Brazil and Japan.
All of which leads us to wonder: Is there any business left in New York that can’t be replaced by food? And is it possible that we’ve reached a point where the proliferation of restaurants and food-related businesses has come at the expense of retail and cultural diversity? And perhaps most importantly, does Little Italy really need more gelato?
Well, at least it’s not another Crumbs.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on April 25, 2011