Image: Wikimedia commons
Even as New York City continues to experience record financial growth, a small explosion of fast food chains within city limits still comes as somewhat of a surprise. A recent Crain’s article confirms that, even more surprisingly, McDonalds, perhaps the fast-foodiest of all, is not only expanding but polishing up its image to appeal to a more upscale market–and it’s working. You might just chalk it up to a sweeping takeover by big chain stores, but isn’t that about gentrification? Fast food has traditionally had a big presence in the city’s lower-income neighborhoods–known as “food swamps“–and in tourist areas. But the nation’s largest Chick-fil-A just opened in…the Financial District. Reasons for the latest fast food boom are many, it turns out, and extend beyond mere mallification.
Image: Wikimedia commons
The Times highlights the plight of the city’s iconic local bodegas, tiny grocery-slash-beer-slash-whatever-the-local-patrons-need shops that have long been a colorful cornerstone of everyday life in the city’s neighborhoods. Photographer Gail Victoria Braddock Quagliata even spent nine months pounding the pavements of Manhattan in a quest to photograph every single one of its bodegas.
But many of these tiny shops have been scrambling to stay in business. The city’s roughly 12,000 bodegas are losing customers. About 75 have closed this year according to the Times, many in uptown neighborhoods like Inwood, Washington Heights and Harlem. Though that proportion is small, many shop owners are concerned.
- Quitting chain stores cold turkey and shopping only local in NYC isn’t easy. [Jeremiah’s Vanishing NY]
- Charting the emotions of every room in the house. [CityLab]
- New York City, particularly Brooklyn, has more female-run startups than anywhere else in the country. [Animal]
- Can American art museums continue to afford to be free to the public? [artnet]
- The Flatiron Building gets the LEGO treatment. [Inhabitat]
- You won’t find that pesky Allen wrench in this cardboard room-in-a-box, which can be set up in ten minutes. [Fast Co. Design]
You know rent is too damn high when mega chains like Starbucks start looking for cheaper spaces. The Commercial Observer reports that the city’s rising rents are actually driving the coffee giant to less popular side streets as many of the leases inked for stores opened up some 15–20 years ago are coming up for renewal. Starbucks is currently paying just a fraction of what the market is demanding on a chunk of their more than 200 Manhattan locales, and they could soon see an end to several of their most popular shops.
Image via Flickr
Does it feel like there’s either a Starbucks, Chase Bank, or Duane Reade on every corner? Well, that’s actually quite a realistic feeling. According to the Center for an Urban Future‘s seventh annual State of the Chains report, national retailers in New York City experienced a 2.8 percent increase in 2014, the largest jump in four years and the sixth straight year to see a net increase. Queens is experiencing the fastest growth in new stores, and coffee king Dunkin Donuts maintains its top spot for the seventh year running with a total of 536 locations, 21 more than last year.