One thing many New York visitors don’t realize is that NYC is not a city so much as a congregation of quite small villages, usually taking up just a couple of blocks or less.
And the keystone of most of these small villages is the local Bodega which is open usually 24/7 and caters to all needs.
You will recognize them easily because they are always signposted with colourful signs outside and even more jam packed with everything you can think of inside. See Manhattan Bodegas for a series of pictures of colorful bodegas.
They are where you go when you’re hungry to browse at the deli counter. They’re where you get your cigarettes, your newspapers, your groceries, fruit, veg and all the things that keep you going.
Everyone knows the people who man the counters, locals run a tab and you’re busy saying hello to locals whenever you’re at your local bodega.
7/11 stores are forcing many out but the cool efficiency of that chain will never have the ‘home’ vibe of the local bodega with it’s warm, crazy mixture of what keeps a NYC life humming along. LIKE New York’s bodegas a lot.