NYC might be a big city but New Yorkers live in villages composed of few blocks around where they live. And within those blocks they’ve always been able to find what they need. The local Bodega gives them all the out of hours goods they need, the local laundrette lets them drop off their clothing and pick it up, the local shoe repair shop helps them keep their shoes in order, their local drug store is there if they need something and there will be a favorite coffee shop as well. In all these shops New Yorkers will be known and welcomed.
But it’s all changing, all those little local stores are being displaced by rising rents, other businesses wanting to expand, the impact of new technology and even changing fashions.
Laundrettes in NYC have been closing down at a great rate as new services let you use an app to order up some laundry services that include pick up and drop off. For most people they’re a big time saver so laundrettes are losing custom and clsoing down.
And now shoe repair shops are also going, see the video. The reasons seem more complex. There’s certainly the issue of rents but shoe fashions are changing too. Once everyone made their shoes last as long as they could and shoe repairers were essential to this process. But shoes of all types are now made more cheaply and meant to be disposable. Then there’s sneakers worn by everyone to everything. The full on dress shoe, especially men’s one’s that require constant cleaning, buffing and repairing are also getting rarer and rarer. so the shoe repair shops of NYC are disappearing.
Of course as soon as neighborhood shops close down, so do the rituals associated with them, not to mention jobs and the historical traditions of each neighborhood. But people in NYC need rituals, and they also need familiar places they can drop into when they want to. It is sad seeing all this change occurring but it is accompanied by new places and new rituals taking root. New yorkers have always needed to gorund tehmselves in the everyday rituals of their lives in order to go out and tackle the hugeness of their City and that will never change.