In a big city New Yorkers live small. they buy from nearby shops, fraternize with their close neighbors and play and picnic in the local park. And in any neighborhood the crucial linchpin will be the corner bodega, see the video for a quick intro to them, what they sell and the role they play.
Bodegas are mostly open 24/7, they carry everything from bits of electronic equipment to frozen berries, from ready prepared food to build your own salad bars, along with all the main grocery items you need, drinks and even baby oil etc. The advantage of a bodega is it’s close when you run out of something late at night and it has everything you need for you or your apartment. It’s the local neighborhood hub where everyone meets everyone else, gossips, is acknowledged, and where you’re allowed to run up a tab.
The major downside is costs. No bodedga owner who is making a sufficient profit to survive can offer the prices chain eateries or big stores can offer. So you’ll pay a bit more than you would if you shopped around but everyone writes that off as the price of convenience. And hey, your know this guy or gal who runs it and you don’t mind helping them make a living. After all he or she is part of the neighborhood.
If you are a visitor to New York city and you want to know how New Yorkers live, and soak up some real New York atmosphere, find the nearest bodega and hangout and watch who comes in, and how the bodega operates. Every time you’re in a new neighborhood check out the bodega and notice the differences from others you’ve seen. They will always exemplify the ethnic mix of the people who live nearby, the foods they like and the everday items they ask for the most. Because that’s the secret of bodegas. Each one embodies the spirit of the neighborhood it serves. If there isn’t a bodega near for people to go to, the neighborhood is that much the poorer for it’s loss. Pity the neighborhood where the bodega has folded and a 7 Elevan has taken its place.