I SPY: Love Thy Neighbor

Nov 2, 2016

Twenty years ago in NYC before Duane Reade and 7-Eleven over populated our sidewalks there were bodegas.  What are bodegas?  A mix match of many things!  Mainly your corner store, deli, mom and pop stores.  That place you'll pass by on the way home from the subway to pick up coffee, milk, beer, cigarettes, ice cream, snacks…and even a quick bite.  Well they're sparse now due to high rents and these big chains taking over.

A result of gentrification?  Unfortunately yes, and with them gone we've also lost some of the best deli sandwiches, bacon egg and cheese's, and tacos I can remember.  You know how I feel about my food! SAD lost.

I've been seeing the word 'Bodega' make a revival, with a handful of restaurants making the name trendy again.  Bodega Negra at the Dream Downtown is one I know well, with a very hip atmosphere, but by far not a bodega other then by name!  But we did discover one when we were taking a stroll through Fort Tyron Park last weekend…Bodega Pizza.  Formerly the space of Apt 78, you know that club all the cool kids hung out at?  It's turned into a full fledged restaurant now.  Again not an active bodega, but set up like one.  The awning sign, cereal boxes, goya beans and chips on shelves as their decor all mimic a bodega.  Kitschy but fun.  Don't mind the cob webs, that was halloween decoration!

Pizza was good.  Atmosphere was neighborhood friendly.  Picnic table seating made it chilled, and the Pac Man arcade box emphasized old school.  Loved it and so did the kids.  We had the Margherita, Picasso Baby, & Summer of '86 pizza.  Don't you love those names?  Then that Nutella calzone for dessert is a MUST.  Save room for that!

Also do not skip the bathroom y'all!  It was decked out in graffiti.  The cup of pens in the bathroom encourages you to add to the creativity and my kids went wild in there with that freedom to vandalize.  Yes, I did let my kids play in a bathroom.  EEEcck I know!  What was I thinking?!!

I just live for the nostalgia and dodginess…there's something definitely cool about it.  Or simply just different.  Maybe because everything is so clean and modern these days.  Don't get me wrong I do love the progression and clean up NYC has made in the last 20 years I have lived here.  However I also believe that some of the original vibes need to be kept in tact that give the neighborhood color.  Otherwise, everything becomes so sterile and cookie cutter.  Agree?  Hit like to put more effort in saving the bodegas, supporting small businesses and allowing the mom and pop's to thrive.  Bottom line…shop locally, not on Amazon.  I'm just as guilty, because cyber shopping is just too easy!  But remember, they're our neighbors that add character and culture that our modern society is lacking.   So go out and love thy neighbor.

P.S.  Every Tuesday from now till November 22, 2016 Bodega Pizza will be donating a percentage of your bill to feed 50 - 100 families in Washington Heights & Inwood for Thanksgiving.  Poverty does exist in our back yard New Yorkers.  Don't take it lightly.

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