Thursday, February 27, 2020

Papaya to High-Rent Blight

The beloved and successful Gray's Papaya was kicked off 8th St. and 6th Ave. in 2014 by a massive rent hike. As Mr. Gray told the Village Voice, "They wanted to raise my rent to $50,000 from $30,000."


It became a Liquiteria juice and smoothie shop. For about 5 seconds.

Now it's nothing but more high-rent blight.


It's located across the street from what might just be the longest-running high-rent blight in town, the former Barnes & Noble that's been sitting empty since 2013.

At that site, written on the window over the ever-present "flagship opportunity" advertisement, someone has scrawled, "There's Never a Bad Time to Abolish Capitalism."

Indeed. (While we're at it, let's bring back the always popular dogs and papaya.)

1 comment:

James said...

Sadly (or interestingly), having had moments of economic difficulty within the last 5 years ago or so, I've noticed that finding even a small portion of food for less than $6 (try even $4), in some of our more popular neighborhoods, rather difficult. Retailers - inspired by surreal rents - have been presenting simple sandwiches that cost even $7-$10, at various fast food chains. It's prohibitive. Even Grey's on 72nd Street can't manage a couple of hot dogs for less than $6 it seems.
What I do find interesting is that large corporations have quietly conceded that many of their customers are downright poor (or have to cut back), and they do offer items that cost as little as $1 (as at Taco Bell). McDonald's does sell a double cheeseburger and small fries order for $3 plus tax. Subway sells little sliders for $1.98, and Wendy's has burgers in the $2 range, if you know where to look on the menu. This is a quiet accession to the fact that while the rent does force the price of goods to rise uncomfortably, there's no reason to exclude masses of people who just can't afford to get anything unless those things be quite cheap.
I think that's the sadness of it - that the cheap stuff is hidden, while the expensive main courses of sometimes not very impressive fair are priced similarly to what you'd get at a good diner, only at a fraction of the quality. Grey's in Greenwhich Village had only simple goods that had become tougher and tougher to discount.
A hot dog is a hot dog, and if Grey's couldn't get the price of one down to what it should have been, the fewer customers that were still around simply could not sustain the place, given that you couldn't just happily charge $11 for a basic frankfurter and charge extra for the mustard.
Rental prices in Manhattan currently represent this rapacious greed that must - always - must be exploited. It's a rule. I don't think landlords care much about high-rent blight, given their billious visions of riches to come.