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

By TATIANA SCHLOSSBERG

In Upper Manhattan, bodegas are being squeezed out of their neighborhoods. From left, Red Apple on West 143rd Street, Campus Deli on 139th Street, and Amsterdam Stop 1 on 131st Street. (Photo: Mark Kauzlarich | NY Times)

In Upper Manhattan, bodegas are being squeezed out of their neighborhoods. From left, Red Apple on West 143rd Street, Campus Deli on 139th Street, and Amsterdam Stop 1 on 131st Street. (Photo: Mark Kauzlarich | NY Times)

José Alvarrado saved for more than a decade to buy 3 Brothers Mini Market, a bodega at 169th Street and Audubon Avenue.

But at his store on a recent weekday morning, only eight months after he opened shop in Washington Heights, shelves that had held bags of rice and beans were empty. Gallons of milk lay sideways in a refrigerated case, offered at half-price or less.

Mr. Alvarrado is closing his store, saying that even with a five-year lease, rising rent and other conditions make it impossible to stay.

His situation is similar to one faced by many bodega owners throughout Upper Manhattan: Despite their profitability, stores are being squeezed out of the neighborhoods they call home. Once lonely grocery outposts in a dangerous city, their colorful awnings part of the streetscape, they are now losing customers to chain stores.

Bodegas — there are around 12,000 in New York City — cannot be strictly defined. You know one when you see it.

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

Related: Documenting the Dwindling Number of Manhattan Bodegas | WSJ

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