7 eleven is near

EV Grieve’s post about the pending arrival of the chain convenience store 7 Eleven around the corner on Bowery generated much interest at our co-op and in local blogs.  It appears to be a done deal, with the open date set for Oct 5.

So now what? At a local conservation meeting attended by Lippe, apparently some folks “think it might be fought via liquor laws, public outcry spectacle, or the soon to be recognition of Bowery as a historic district.”

Is it too late for that? Is our only hope in trying to prevent 7 Eleven from implementing even further massive expansion, as reported by Crains last January? It’s hard to feel anything other than powerless in the face of harsh economic reality and the onslaught of capitalism. We can vote with our wallets, which means supporting local businesses and not allowing storefronts to become prey to giant corporate monoliths. We can choose to patronize independent delis, newsstands, and candy shops over chain stores. And by the way, this is not about competition with the co-op; we are not a convenience store by any means.

This is more about having a voice in the kind of neighborhood we want to live and work in. With that, I’ll suggest a listen to a recent interview on WBAI with Frances Goldin.
(thanks to Dan for the link to the program; you can scroll forward to get to the interview). Goldin and others came up against huge odds in their decades-long battle against Robert Moses’ plan to remake the Cooper Square area in 1959. Without their persistence, the area could be a series of sterile high rises that would have displaced thousands, and without any of the small cultural institutions or independent businesses that make the neighborhood unique.

One has to wonder, will corporatism finish the job that Robert Moses couldn’t?

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