The bodega: going, going, gon’? Maybe not…

22 Feb

Ezzaddin Alsaedi goes by on TikTok. His videos, typically filmed at his father’s Bronx bodega, have earned more than 15 million likes.Credit… (All photos: Gabriela Bhaskar for The New York Times)

A cool article about this bodega in the Bronx: Inside the New York City Bodegas Going Viral on TikTok; has some great photos too.

Money quote:

New Yorkers have long regarded bodegas — the 24-hour neighborhood institutions where shoppers can pick up everything from sandwiches and snacks to iPhone chargers and cold medicine — with something like reverence.

Truly. A Great Institution. Dunno how we lived without it. See another old post of mine: “Bodegas” about the origin of the name.

It’s probably legit, unfortunately, to worry about the bodega’s life-span, in a city where competition is brutal, and where, as Marx said in reference to capitalism, “everything solid melts into air.” Let’s try to support them by going there instead of Duane Reade or a 7/11.

Or be glad that sometimes a certain type of business genre passes from one ethnic group’s hand to another’s like, as story points out, Yemenis running bodegas, like the cutie in the pic (check out photos in Times), or Gheg Albanians from northern Albania and Montenegro buying all the old Italian pizza places (haydi good luck; try and fin a single Italian-owned pizza place…New York pizza will always be New York pizza, but truth is that…), or, in a curious reversal, my father and his landsmen, Greeks from Albania, who bought and ran what were pretty much semi-Jewish delis for 40 years, before graduating into the coffee shops and diners they now control. (Though not too many of their kids are taking over). Then his old deli became a Korean grocer’s and is now a Subway, and good luck trying to find a good pastrami sandwich late night time or early or any time. Search in the boroughs because in Manhattan only Katz’ is left.

“Everything solid melts into air.”


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