|A new 7-Eleven is under construction in the East Village.|
Last week, the New York Times reported that the East Village was emphatically protesting an incoming 7-Eleven. The Slurpee giant is worming its way right to the trendy core of the neighborhood, renovating a storefront on Avenue A and East 11th Street. The neighbors are worried that the snack chain will have a negative impact on local businesses and further gentrify the already-changing area.
It's not the first time a New York neighborhood has tried to block a big chain from moving in -- think way back, if you will, to the Astor Place Kmart kerfuffle of 1996. The Times diligently covered that one too (although they've updated their terminology for anti-capitalist kids in the last decade; what were once "skateboarding teen-agers" are now "black-clad youths"). Back then, one resident fretted, "I hate the thought of stepping over Kmart shoppers on my way to buy bagels on Sunday morning."
Skeptical that one store, even one as gigantic as the 145,000-square-foot Kmart, could have such a distinctive impact on a neighborhood, we decided to pay a visit and find out.