Nothing Can Replace the Bodega | NY Times

By ADAM CHANDLER

A group of friends playing dominoes outside a bodega in Washington Heights. (Photo: Victor J. Blue | NY Times)

A group of friends playing dominoes outside a bodega in Washington Heights. (Photo: Victor J. Blue | NY Times)

Like solar eclipses and bipartisan legislation, moments of near-universal consensus are extremely rare. One such event took place on Wednesday, when a start-up named Bodega stated its intention to put its namesake — real-life, neighborhood corner stores — out of business by replacing them with unmanned pantries.

“Eventually, centralized shopping locations won’t be necessary, because there will be 100,000 Bodegas spread out, with one always 100 feet away from you,” one of its co-founders told Fast Company. The start-up, run by two ex-Googlers, was widely savaged across social media on the grounds that its name and business mission are culturally insensitive, morally dubious, and, perhaps worse of all, lacking in personality.

Few things make a New Yorker defensive like an assault on bodegas. Largely immigrant-owned, they are the ultimate frills-free symbol of consumer access and gritty mini-embodiments of both the city’s diversity and its 24/7 ethos. Bacon, egg and cheese sandwiches in the morning; basic groceries and oversized heroes in the afternoon; and, inevitably, all three of these things at 3 a.m.

Read more: Nothing Can Replace the Bodega | NY Times

Related:

Bodegas: Living the American Dream

New York City Bodegas And The Generations Who Love Them | NPR

Bodegas Declining in Manhattan as Rents Rise and Chains Grow | NY Times

The Chopped Cheese’s Sharp Rise to Fame | NY Times

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