Are Bodegas the Future of Neighborhoods?
I am obsessed with bodegas. Small localized stores that carry the products the neighborhood wants.
Each neighborhood in NYC has one, and they are growing in LA. If you take a stroll through Flushing, the neighborhood store will carry many Greek items and usually amazing Feta cheese. If you wander through Park Slope, you will find sophisticated bodegas catering to young, affluent families. In the East Village, most will make a delicious egg and cheese bagel sandwich.
As we begin to order more of our basic items for delivery like paper towels and laundry soap, there will be less reason for that to be carried on the shelves of stores. Having huge grocery stores in urban areas where the real estate footprint is costly makes more sense to have small shops unique to each area.
In Paris, the local bodegas are really the local delis. They carry farm-fresh produce, hand-picked bottles of wine or beer, fantastic cheeses, and most importantly, you get to see the local community and get to know the shop owner. Each shop represents the owner’s tastes for the neighborhood.
I love traveling to neighborhoods around NYC and discovering new products on the shelves that wouldn’t necessarily be in my neighborhood. It is a reaction to eCommerce and the reality of diversity from area to area. It is also all of our desires to stay close to our homes in a post-pandemic world. Our needs have changed and how we shop is changing.
I am on the hunt for all the new shops, particularly the bodegas, neighborhood to neighborhood.