NYC bodegas are being pushed out of gentrifying upper Manhattan neighborhoods
Bodegas, the ubiquitous corner stores that populate nearly every block in New York City, are being pushed out of neighborhoods like Morningside Heights, Harlem and Inwood in upper Manhattan, buckling to rising rents and an increase in chain stores. This year, 75 have closed. Compared to the 12,000 in the city, that's not many, but the strain is being felt across the board even by those who are still afloat for now.
The lack of laws protecting commercial tenants is one of the problems. Another is rising rent: Manhattan rent rose 34% between 2004 and 2014, while in upper Manhattan it rose 20%.
“The neighborhood has changed; what people want has changed,” William Marte, a bodega owner in Harlem told the New York Times. “Lots of the people who used to live here couldn’t afford it anymore.”
Facts about bodegas:
A 2010 New York Times article said that the rent per square foot in bodegas had increased between 50% and 130% between 2005 and 2010.
New York City started a program in 2006 called the Healthy Bodegas Initiative, which works with bodegas in the most poverty stricken neighborhoods to encourage them to stock healthy food.
The word "bodega" comes from the Spanish "la bodega", which can mean "store", "pantry" or "wine cellar".