The 7-Eleven on St. Mark's Place has closed. EV Grieve was the first to report the thrilling news, noting that "Workers on the scene confirmed...that the store has closed."
I had to go look for myself, to relish the joyful moment.
A peek inside the store reveals that the place is almost entirely emptied out. I'd like to think this shuttering was in response to the East Village's fierce rejection of the monster chain and its attempt to zombify our local bodegas. According to the Post's report on the closure, even the young people shunned it!
Immediately after opening, this 7-Eleven started threatening the future of Gem Spa across the street, a store that has been with us since at least the 1950s, and much beloved.
I had a nightmare that 7-Eleven had forced Gem Spa to close. In the dream, I stormed in and demanded of the cashier, "Are you the owner? Are you the fucking owner?" I screamed at him about how the closing of Gem Spa was his fault and told him, "I hope you fucking die. I hope you die a thousand deaths. I hope you get cancer!"
(It was just a dream. In my waking life, I hope the cashier goes on to a long, healthy existence at some other job.)
Meanwhile, the front window of this 7-Eleven was smashed--twice. Then the activist group "No 7-Eleven" formed, primarily fighting the 7-Eleven that opened further east on Avenue A. They held rallies, ran bodega tours, started petitions, and more--all to fight the invasion of this chain and others like it.
Years ago, Manhattanites defeated 7-Eleven. The chain tried to make it here, but no one shopped, so they failed, closing their last store in 1982. But then Manhattan changed. In the summer of 2005, the first 7-Eleven in 23 years returned, opening at 23rd and Park Avenue South. Many people were thrilled. They lined up to buy Slurpees. Since then, dozens (?) of 7-Elevens have followed.
Along the way, too many bodegas have fallen.
I don't know what the closing of this 7-Eleven means. I want to believe it's a watershed moment, a turning point, a sign that the people of this city are changing again--changing back to people who care more about local businesses than about "convenience."
But I would not (yet) dare to be so hopeful.
Also, when a Subway or a Dunkin Donuts or a Verizon opens in this emptied spot, I don't want have to eat my words.